Key Permafund supporters

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Donations Appeal for Permafund’s 2020 grant round

Donations Appeal for Permafund’s 2020 grant round

Dear Donors, Key Supporters and the Permaculture Community. 

Permaculture Australia’s Permafund is very grateful for your thoughtful, kind and generous donations over the past days, weeks, months and years. 

We are pleased to announce that the focus of Permafund’s 2020 grant round will be on the recovery from extreme weather events, including bushfires, plus designing for disaster in preparedness for the future. The recent crises here in Australia and internationally demand a response and a donation to Permafund is a meaningful way to contribute.

Permafund Chair, John Champagne of Bega Valley explains, “Permafund has been active over the past eight years assisting small NGO’s around the world with their permaculture initiatives. It’s important now to focus on the crisis we’ve experienced from extreme weather events and assist local permaculture groups effectively assist their communities in this time of need.”

Echidna hunting for water during the bushfires

The total of the donations made to Permafund at present is just short of the amount that triggers a micro grant round.

The Permafund team is calling for donations to help boost this total as high as possible before the 2020 grant round is opened for applications.

By making a one-off donation or setting up a regular donation on this website you will be supporting communities with funds to assist them to recover, restore and prepare for the future.

Essential water tanks destroyed by fire

We thank you in advance for your kind donations to support this important appeal.

Permaculture Australia’s Permafund team welcomes suggestions for partnering in fund-raising initiatives.

Donations to Permafund (Permaculture International Public Fund) of $2.00 or more are tax deductible in Australia. Many thanks.

For further information please contact permafund@permacultureaustralia.org.au

Bushfire debris on NSW South Coast beaches

Combating malnutrition in Kakuma Refugee Camp Kenya

Combating malnutrition in Kakuma Refugee Camp Kenya

In the 2018-19 Permafund micro-grant round an application by Faulu Productions to establish a permaculture food production system in the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya was supported with AU$2,000 to help combat malnutrition in the camp.

Faulu Productions is an organisation that consists of refugees, volunteers and supporters from all around the world. Their mission is to promote agriculture and education, to help create a safe, sustainable living for refugees and to empower them to improve their lifestyles.

The project has established a multi-site permaculture system with 200 participants establishing 5 by 10 metre garden plots in their own compounds and contributing to the maintenance of the larger Kakuma community garden and central Turkana permaculture community gardens.

Preparing garden beds for seeds

The gardens are modeled on natural ecosystems combining ecological, engineering and environmental principles. The designs have used integrated natural water resource management systems and sustainable architecture, so the project is self-maintaining, regenerative and an ongoing source of fresh produce and biomass.

Newly planted beds and maturing crops

The objective has been to help the refugees to become self-sufficient. The key component of the plan was water conservation with an investment in water storage (40 water tanks to harvest 2,000 litres). Digging tools and bulk seeds were purchased and watering cans to help prevent splash erosion and the destruction of young seedlings.

Preparing the harvest for sharing

The participating workers have been resourceful collecting mulch materials and manures and contributing earth building skills.

Making mud bricks for house construction

Trees were planted in the gardens for shade, erosion protection and to provide chop and drop material to assist with mulching & soil creation.

With no “qualified” experts inside the camp the participants are using YouTube to learn the practical skills of permaculture, including watching videos by Australian experts including Geoff Lawton and Morag Gamble.

This project is viewed on the ground as 100% sustainable because it has created job opportunities among refugees, improved the quality of the camp’s environment and helped improve community health and well being. More permaculture inspired enterprises and initiatives are being undertaken following this ground-breaking project.

The community appreciates all donations.

The Kakuma Refugee Camp suffers from regular, severe flooding, the most recent being in early February 2020. Houses have been destroyed and belongings and food washed away.

Flood damage to buildings

Continuing permaculture projects not only supply food and hope but also prevent erosion and washaways as trees and plants take root.

Newly planted gardens and maturing crops

Your generous donations to Permafund support this and other permaculture related projects in Australia and overseas and are very much appreciated.

For more information contact the Permafund team at permafund@permacultureaustralia.org.au

 

Permafund 2018 grant round recipients

The team from Permaculture Australia’s Permaculture International Public Fund (well known as Permafund), is extremely grateful for the generous donations from individuals, key supporters and fundraisers that have enabled the 2018 round of micro-grants.
With donations of AU$13,000 to distribute, Permafund received applications from projects in India, Kenya, Nepal and Australia.
From 16 applications the Permafund assessment team has selected six organisations who have each received an AU$2,000 micro-grant as seed funding for their various projects.
IRDS (Integrated Rural Development), Salem District, Tamil Nadu, India.
Enabling 50 tribal farmers in 3 villages to cultivate indigenous millets, and vegetables through intercrops using permaculture and indigenous farm practices so that the soil fertility and soil moisture will be  improved and micro-organisms increased.
Kiini Sustainable Initiative Kenya
Establishment and management of a Permaculture integrated land use design model in the Nyeri farm school. Education about greywater recycling, water harvesting and composting will be included.
Nepal Permaculture Group, Kathmandu
Rooftop gardening systems and 10 permaculture farms will be developed with three major aims: food production, research and demonstration using ecological technologies related to permaculture and climate resilient farming practices.
OTEPIC Kenya
Educating children about permaculture gardening at Tabasamu Orphanage Children’s home and Biddi primary school. The grant will support the purchase of teaching materials, gardening tools and equipment, seeds and fencing.
Permaculture for Sustainable Communities – Kenya
The project will focus on establishing permaculture as a fully-fledged occupation in the Kakuma Refugee Camp, Turkana County in the north-western region of Kenya, by providing essential materials to all supported households to fully implement permaculture to produce food, work and income.
(WORD) Women’s Organisation for Development, Tamil Nadu
Promotion of Indigenous millets cultivation through the creation of seeds banks for 15 villages and involving 75 farmers.
A micro-grant of AU $1,000 was approved to assist Ethos Foundation raise funds to support women and children in East Africa to establish permaculture garden systems under the guidance of touring permaculture educator Morag Gamble and family.
Each organisation will provide Permafund with project updates, photos and a completion report to share with donors, key supporters, Permaculture Australia members and the community.

What is Permafund?

Permaculture Australia’s Permaculture International Public Fund (i.e Permafund) is a unique, beneficial mechanism with huge potential for doing good in the worldwide permaculture community though the distribution of funds donated by the Permafund community and its supporters.
It is an organisation with Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status in Australia so is entitled to receive tax deductible gifts. You can only claim a tax deduction for donations or gifts to organisations that have a DGR status.  Tax deductions for donations or tithes  are claimed by the donor person, or business, that makes the gift.
Donations of $2.00 or more are tax deductible and are shared with grateful grant recipients who put the funds to work in a wide variety of creative and effective projects.
For more information please contact permafund@permacultureaustralia.org.au.

Beck Lowe: Frugal, productive living is a fulfilling way of life

Beck Lowe: Frugal, productive living is a fulfilling way of life

Beck Lowe is a permaculture practitioner, educator, writer and editor from central Victoria. She’s been teaching permaculture for almost two decades and written in various publications including Pip magazine. She is also David Holmgren’s editor, in particular with RetroSuburbia, and manages Melliodora Publishing, which produces a small range of permaculture related titles. In her spare time, she spends as much time as possible on her farm. PA’s Kym chatted with Beck about life during COVID,  permaculture as a solution, & living a frugal, productive & fullfilling way of life.

 

How did you get into permaculture? 

I first got into permaculture in the mid-90s. Prior to that, I had gone straight from school into activism, protesting again the destruction of old growth forests amongst other things (I got my year 12 results in jail!). The world is full of things to protest about, and consequently my life was very focused on the negative. So discovering permaculture was a revelation for me – an articulation of a positive way forward, focused on the solutions rather than the problems. I’ve been on the permaculture path ever since. Permaculture is about creating a life that is resilient, regenerative and fulfilling, whilst respecting and working with nature.

 

David Holmgren and Beck Lowe.

You have a big involvement with Retrosuburbia, including editing the book and teaching. What advice would you give to those starting out, or who think permaculture is only possible with land and/or money? 

Yes, RetroSuburbia has been a very big part of my life for quite a few years now! It has an emphasis on doing what you can, where you are. Permaculture is a mindset and a way of life – there are opportunities for everyone, whatever their situation. I would encourage people to look at the case studies on retrosuburbia.com, especially the rental properties, and immerse themselves in the ‘Behavioural Field’ of RetroSuburbia for inspiration. And visit some community gardens – these provide great spaces, and community, for those who can’t grow food at home. I don’t want to gloss over the fact that many things can be easier with more money, more space and greater security of tenure, but creativity and flexibility can blossom in any situation. Most Australians live in urban areas, so that’s where the transformation has to happen.

 

You’ve recently donated to PA’s Permafund – thank you! Why did you choose Permafund?

The permaculture ethics are intrinsic to what I do. Although I earn well under the average Australian wage, a permaculture lifestyle is relatively frugal and I’m conscious that I’m very wealthy by global standards. So it felt right to share some of this income, especially as my increased workload in recent times has left less time for volunteer activities. Once I made a decision to donate, Permafund was pretty much a no-brainer – it is a charity that aligns with my ethics and outlook on life and is run by volunteers with the maximum amount of money going directly to grassroots projects.

 

One of your many hats is teaching permaculture and volunteering with the PA Education team. How important is permaculture education as part of building more resilient communities? 

I think permaculture education is critically important in building resilience – but this doesn’t necessary mean formal education, it might be kitchen-table-chat-type education. There is no one way that permaculture education should look. Diversity is key: some people respond best to one-to-one interaction with mentors, others to hands-on practical activities, others to formal course structures. This is the idea behind the RetroSuburbia Trainers and Facilitators Workshops. Rather than specifying a particular course format, we aim to give participants the tools and inspiration to tailor formats and activities to suit the groups they work with.

I have been involved with Accredited Permaculture Training for many years as it provides outcomes that other delivery platforms can’t. For instance access to funding and formal certificates recognised by a wide cross-section of society. That said, by far my favourite way to teach permaculture is on PDCs: a tried and tested format that has inspired so many people from all over the world for decades. It is long and/or intense enough to take participants on a real journey of discovery.

 

It’s been a rocky start to 2020 for many – has life changed much for you with COVID-19 restrictions?

There were no big fundamental changes to my life – but restrictions did result in a lot more screen time with a greater workload and many more online meetings! Some courses I was involved in were adapted for online delivery; others were put on hold. There was a huge rush from the RetroSuburbia team to get the book online, to enable it to be accessed by as many people as possible at a time where it could have the most impact – this was very successful, but also very stressful. On a personal level, COVID-19 has reinforced to me that I have made good life choices. As the crisis hit, I felt resilient and empowered, with a strong sense of being rich in the things that matter: I have food in the garden, skills and knowledge to share, and a community of like-minded, supportive people (and no worries about what to wipe my bum on!).

 

There has been a huge interest in permaculture and calls to ‘not return to normal’. Will this interest continue – and how can we advocate for ongoing change?

Before and after – the transformation of Beck’s property

The increased interest in food growing, permaculture and Retrosuburbia has been inspiring and exciting, but even the panic buying and stockpiling exposed the lack of faith people have in the current systems. COVID-19 has been a wake-up call for many; a chance to reassess life and make changes. And critically, COVID-19 has shown that change is possible – not only from the bottom-up, with people rediscovering household food production and the importance of community, but also from the top-down, with those in power making big changes when they regard the situation as serious enough.

 

I would love to think that we won’t return to ‘normal’ and will voluntarily transition to a more resilient, sustainable, regenerative and connected society, but I don’t think this will happen easily. I suspect more people will be forced into frugal ways of living by the financial fallout of the crisis rather than by making the transition voluntarily. Whether change is forced or voluntary, the permaculture response should be the same – offering tried and tested solutions. The best way to advocate is to lead by example – go about our permaculture lives and through that, show people what is possible. And we need to articulate that frugal, productive living is a fulfilling way of life: meaningful work, more time with family and loved ones, more dirt under the fingernails… That said, there is a role for more formal advocacy too; we definitely need more permaculture voices in the mix as society grapples with the crisis.

 

What is coming up for you in 2020 and any final messages?

Melliodora Publishing is launching its first novel – 470 by well-known permaculture writer Linda Woodrow. And Brenna Quinlan, Richard Telford, David Holmgren and I have been working on a picture book adaption of David’s ‘Aussie St’ story which will also be published this year. I’ve been working on a permaculture animal book for many years, and this should see the light of day soon too. All going according to plan, another PDC is about to start through the Castlemaine Community House, and the RetroSuburbia Trainers and Facilitators Workshops should be running again soon. On the farm, I’m doing lots of work on my water systems and making the most of the recent rain by planting more trees.

My final message? Especially in this time of crisis, permaculture people are some of the most important people in the world – we have the skills and knowledge to guide people through the transformation to a more localised, sustainable and resilient society. Keep up the great work everyone!

 

Additional information

Beck is a professional member of Permaculture Australia, the national permaculture member based organisation. Not a member? Sign up and join us here today.

Retrosuburbia: the downshifters guide to a resilient future is the latest book by David Holmgren and edited by Beck Lowe. Described as part manual and part manifesto, the book shows how Australian suburbs can be transformed to become productive and resilient in an energy descent future. It focuses on what can be done by an individual at the household level (rather than community or government levels). To obtain a copy of the book check out our supporters Permaculture Principles and don’t forget to use your PA 10% member discount too.

PA’s Permafund has provided dozens of small grants to permaculture community projects in Australia and internationally. Donations over $2 are tax deductible in Australia and can be set up as recurring or one off donations.  Find out more including how to donate here