In September 2019, the members of Permaculture Australia’s Permafund team gathered at Brogo Permaculture Gardens, the home of John & Sharon Champagne, near Bega, southern New South Wales.
Property tour guide John Champagne
The team members, who’d travelled from Tasmania, Victoria, Queensland and the Blue Mountains, New South Wales, enjoyed a tour of the permaculture-designed property before settling in for a weekend of discussions to look back at the previous years of Permafund projects and to plan for the years ahead.
It was great to see each other face to face, exchange ideas, work on projects, enjoy Sharon’s delicious meals and see the results of years of planning, creativity and hard work come to fruition in the form of Brogo Permaculture Gardens.
Sharon’s vegetable gardens protected from the birds and insect predators
Spring flowering of fruit trees protected in a fully screened orchard, also home for a family of happy geese.
The Permafund team has received a positive mid-term progress report from the Kiini Sustainable Initiative based in Nyeri, Kenya. Following their receipt of an AU$2,000 micro grant in 2018, they’ve reported that the overall project is progressing well in terms of accomplishing their objectives and adhering to their February to November 2019 timeline.
In a community where farmland and the environment have been degraded and natural resources like rainwater are being under-utilised, the project has aimed to encourage the wise use of resources to improve community food security and overall productivity.
Students from the Nyeri Farm View Academy learning about compost making
Deforestation, over-cultivation of farmland, loss of topsoil through water and wind erosion, indiscriminate use of insecticides and inorganic fertilisers, loss of biodiversity and pollinators have inspired the Kiini Sustainable Initiative to introduce permaculture education and activities as tools for change.
Through education about permaculture principles the Initiative’s goal is to inspire attitude change and transformative thinking in the community to better use their natural and human resources to: –
harvest water and improve water quality
improve land management practices
increasing biodiversity and
restore the environment
On site permaculture solutions have included the installation of water tanks on homes to harvest roof run-off for domestic use and irrigation of food crops, construction of a simple water recycling system including grey water collection and terracing to slow erosion allow improvement of the soil.
A simple grey water recycling system
At the Nyeri Farm View Academy children are learning about permaculture through the creation of a kitchen garden assisted by teachers, parents and the community. Other schools in the area are interested in the project which could expand if more funding support becomes available.
Junior students visiting new gardens
The Kiini Sustainable Initiative is optimistic the project will achieve its objectives despite the challenges of drought conditions, the proliferation of pests due to the high temperatures and the slow adoption of permaculture principles among some community members.