OUTCOME NOTES on Permaculture Australia's
Imagineering event held at Bondi on 26-28 April 2013
The event was called by the Board as part of the ongoing project to transition the organisation from it's old form as Permaculture International to Permaculture Australia with an increased community based membership and more links with other permaculture groups around Australia. The meeting was called to invite people to get together to discuss PA's future, it's potential for new projects and to offer a forum where working teams could form and new energy become involved in the organisation.
PROGRAM & PROCESS
The program planning was greatly assisted by Peter Cuming from Sustainable Futures Australia. Peter has been a long term supporter of the Permaculture movement and offered many useful suggestions in assisting the shaping up of the program.Visit Peter Cuming's website to find out more
The local logistics and support was organised by Peter Dowson his colleagues in Transition Bondi. They were an incredibly competent bunch and there was no problem they couldn't solve!Visit Transition Bondi's website to find out more
It was like a hotpot of exchange with a 40+ people participating. Attendance was diverse, young and old, many were urban Sydney but also many from other places to give what seemed a great spread of voices. We started with a dinner on the Friday night at the Chapel by the Sea, then went on to two days of workshops at the Pavilion on the beach foreshore. Both venues were excellent.
We made skpye calls:
- to Penny Pyett- organising Permaculture Day. She outlined their program and their need for organisational support and funding support. http://www.permacultureday.org
- to Andy Goldring — chief executive for the Pc Assoc of UK. He outlined their 30 year journey and current operating platform, very inspiring http://www.permaculture.org.uk/ Andy spoke about their structure with some paid staff and a wide range of activities delivered by a groups and individual members. He spoke about their governance model — 'Carver Governance' www.carvergovernance.com/, as a useful framework for directors and their relationships with members. Andy's comments were very well received by the group and we had a 20 min Q&A session.
- to Orietta L'Abbate - committee organiser for community aid for La Gonave Island Haiti, one of the recipients of a 2012 Permafund grant. We heard an update on their project with vetiver grass, farmer training and water. Also their plans to link with IPC11 Cuba http://www.aaehaiti.org/
We had a visit from Costa who gave a great talk. He gave his strong encouragement and an offer of any support he could give. His love of life and enthusiasm for the creative potential of life was on full display and very infectious for us all.
The weekend was way too short for all the talking and ideas that people wanted to share. Keeping to the program was difficult as it meant cutting into conversations and session discussion to move things along. The 'market place' on Saturday morning in particular was too short, 40 minutes was not enough for the mingle and consideration of the depth and breadth of the ideas that were spread on the walls and tables.
The main goal for the weekend was to open the PA working process for more people to participate and this seems to have been achieved. Sunday was fully devoted to re-energising the PA working groups, and to open the conversation about starting new one, short term and longer term groups, their tasks and their work plan strategy.
We gathered in these groups on the Sunday sitting along the Pavilion balcony overlooking the beach. Each group was asked to discuss their current situation and consider new directions, plans and the potential for ongoing work. To discuss possible work plans and strategy for their team. This was reported on later inside in a plenary session. The plenary reports demonstrated the broad participation but also that it will take more time, another month or three of consideration before drafts of a strategic vision are likely to emerge from the groups. The afternoon plenary session where groups reported was a rich and varied session and showed every group had made substantial progress in forming, but also needed more time to talk and get organised to develop their strategy plan. When the drafts are finished they can be distributed and will be a great assistance in building transparency and governance of Permaculture Australia.
The main groups that were worked on were:
- Education: all aspects of Permaculture education, including APT and PDC teaching,
- Permafund: the management of PA's charitable fund and it's funds distribution process,
- PA Management: memberships, finances, governance, ...
- Communications: electronic platforms, newsletters, links with other groups, ...
- Land & Farms: support and engagement with farmers and people on the land, ...
- APC support: assisting the organising of Australian Permaculture Convergences,...
Additional groups were flagged on issues of:
- links with the proposed new Permaculture magazine "PIP": Robyn Rosenfeldt's proposal
- grant seeking & the PIJ archive:
- PA's identity & branding:
Robyn Rosenfeldt's proposal for a new magazine was enthusiastically received and everyone was keen to discuss how best to support her.
The 2013 AGM for PA was discussed
It's likely to happen in late June and some of the current Board are not renominating so the invitation was put that there is an opportunity there for new people being needed on the Board.
With limited resources for organising everyone joined in to assist and it worked well as an event. It was a testament to the power of community, the team from Transition Bondi and Mark Moss deserve specific mention. All up only only $1750 in costs ($1000 Dinner for 40, $350 venue hire, $400 workshop catering) and approx $1800 income so a happy breakeven. 🙂
One lesson learnt that may interest those of you who run events: The program was adjusted a few times over the weekend as we attempted to stay in-touch with session outcomes, time overruns and reaching the goal. The conversations around adjusting the program were sometimes intense and demonstrated some gaps in preparation and our team approach, which would have been nice to avoid. But the main overriding outcome for the weekend was it represented a whoosh of new engagements and a great offering of goodwill from a diverse group of new people to support Permaculture Australia to grow.
The Board is very pleased that the weekend got as far toward the goal as it did and would like to express deep appreciation for all who attended and contributed so thoughtfully.
Produced 4 May 2013,
The PA Directors
Download Outcomes Report 2013 — pdf (84KB)