Positions vacant: Join the PA team

Positions vacant: Join the PA team

Permaculture Australia is the national member-based permaculture organisation in Australia, governed by a Board of Directors.  We currently have two (2) vacancies on the Board, to commence in mid-January 2023. The position(s) is for a period of four months, with the option to renominate at the AGM to be held in April 2023.  The position of ‘Director’ is voluntary and applicants must be a current financial member of PA to be considered for the role(s), and located within Australia. You can read more about our current Board of Directors here: and sign up to PA here if not a member

Why join as a PA Director?

PA is in an exciting phase, with solid foundations having been set and significant growth in memberships and funding over the past year. Since early 2019 the Board has increased the hours and number of part-time paid positions which has helped enormously in relieving the Board of many operational tasks. Whilst COVID has presented challenges to many people and in our communities, it has also brought a large resurgence of interest in permaculture which is exciting. This is an excellent opportunity for those who are interested and would like to apply their skills and experience while contributing to permaculture in Australia. 

What’s in It for You?

  • Get actively involved in helping take PA through to the next phase of development and shaping our direction
  • Develop skills in the governance of a Company, which is also a national charity and environmental organisation
  • Support provided including an allocated ‘mentor’ and an opportunity to shadow more experienced team members.
  • Develop your work experience, resume, networks and skills.
  • Flexible volunteer hours that can be completed online from anywhere in Australia.

About the role(s):

We are looking for general Board members (x 2) and someone who’s interested in being Secretary from the 2023 AGM. Ideally, you’d have skills in one or more of the following areas: project management, governance, strategic planning, fundraising, media, marketing, volunteer management, budgets, and/or financial modeling.  Full support will be provided including an allocated ‘mentor’ from the current Board, and an opportunity to shadow more experienced team members.
PA is a virtual organisation with meetings and work activities conducted predominantly online. Applicants must be experienced in/or willing to learn the use of Zoom and Google Suite, including email and Shared Folders.

Requirements and commitment:

The time commitment is at least two (2) hours per week plus a monthly online Board meeting. Applicants must have a reasonable internet connection to access online documents, and have read the document What Does Board Membership Involve? Our Board follows the
Permaculture Ethics and Principles in all activities and has a Shared Agreement all volunteers must agree to. 
As this is an Interim position, this is an excellent opportunity for those who may be new to a Board role and would like to gain some experience while contributing to Permaculture Australia.

For more information:
Inquiries are welcome and should be directed to either Donna Morawiak, Treasurer of Permaculture Australia at donna.morawiak@permacultureaustralia.org.au

How to apply:

To be considered for the role(s) please send a copy of your resume and brief cover letter (no more than one page) outlining the skills you would bring to the role and why you would like to join the PA Board of Directors. 
 
Applications should be submitted to treasurer@permacultureaustralia.org.au before Friday 16th December 2022.


We look forward to hearing from you.

What do some of our past Board members say?

“It has been my privilege to work with a succession of fabulous teams. PA is a wonderful organization with a serious and professional side, as well as a fun and joyous side as we work with our partners and friends in communities all over Australia.” Virginia, Chair of the PA Board

I’ve found the Board supporting and welcoming with diverse, interesting volunteer work. I’ve enjoyed researching and learning about aspects of governance whilst applying skills from my professional background”, Wendy Secretary of the Board

“I’ve joined PA as a new Board Director and the Permafund Liaison and am looking forward to supporting Permaculture projects in Australia and overseas”, Greta General Board

Permafund grant supports sustainable agriculture training for 50 women farmers in India

Permafund grant supports sustainable agriculture training for 50 women farmers in India

The Panchayat Raj Movement (PRM) was founded in India in1989 by a group of youth activists with the vision to create a society where every human being can live in peace, harmony and respect with each other. They aim to connect various grassroots groups of different backgrounds to form an integrated community.

Over the course of 6 months two staff members from PRM, with the help of 15 volunteers, facilitated the training of 50 farmers from 10 different villages- Aiyavayal, Kurunchampatti, Shanthinipatti, Kadiyapatti, Veerakudi, Kangampatti, Perampur, Surundampatti, Muttampatti and Palaiyaveerakudi.

The initial session was held at the PRM Field Office run by Mrs. Vijaya, a local organic farmer, teaching permaculture skills with a focus on introducing mixed crops into agriculture, digging small ditches for rainwater harvesting, growing herbal plants to make pest repellents and compost making with agriculture waste and promoting perennial crops. The participants gained hands-on experience in making compost, natural pest repellents and setting up worm farms.

The development of better and more affordable pump systems has seen a steady increase in the groundwater consumption in the south of India. The ancient technique of digging ditches for rain water harvesting was demonstrated and is reviving the area immensely. 

Other monoculture farmers have taken an interest in the project and have since experimented with more sustainable ways of mixed farming and natural fertilisation of their crops.  

Now over 150 acres of land have been planted out using permaculture techniques. Soil and water conservation structures are being made and only organic inputs were used.  500 to 750kg of produce was harvested and up to 350 farmers in 10 villages are being made aware of permaculture techniques for land regeneration. 

In addition to this, there was another training day offered by Mrs. Sumathi to teach 30 women how to value add to their millet products. Also, 5 seed banks were established over the course of the project. The monsoon rains were better than expected and allowed the farmers to earn an income from their farming activities. The project achieved its goal and created a larger impact than anticipated. 

Fund-raising activities, donations, tithes and pledges to Permaculture Australia’s Permafund are warmly welcomed and are supporting community projects like this in Australia, Asia, Africa and the Pacific.  One off or recurring tax-deductible donations to Permafund can be made here.  Many thanks.

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

Felix Leibelt – Permafund Team

Panchayat Raj Movement (PRM) https://prmngo.webs.com/

The Review of Accredited Permaculture Training almost complete

The Review of Accredited Permaculture Training almost complete

For the past 18 months, a group of Permaculture Educators has been working hard to complete the 5-yearly review of Permaculture in conjunction with Skills Impact, who are the Skills Service Organisation that manages the AHC – Agriculture, Horticulture & Conservation and Ecosystem Management – Training Package of which Permaculture is a part.
There have been many opportunities for engagement with this process and lots of you have participated which is great as it means the resulting Units, Qualifications and Skill Sets will be ‘fit for purpose’. It also means that you will have the chance to participate in and benefit from the roll out of the reviewed courses, if you wish.

Training providers, including those offering the PDC, might be interested in partnering with RTOs to offer some components of this training
 There will be funding available for some programs in some States
 There will be opportunities for those with current qualifications (including Certificate IV in Training and Assessment) to deliver this training
 There will also be opportunities to work with the Education Team of Permaculture Australia to update assessment tools and training materials
 And of course there will be opportunities for study and professional development


In a nutshell, here are the main components resulting from the Review:
 5 reviewed qualifications
 48 units of competency
 13 skill sets

It is exciting to note that many of the barriers between the PDC and the accredited training have been removed, and it is now much easier for teachers and trainers to find work in the accredited system (with a TAE qualification, of course). It is also exciting to note that two of the new skill sets have been specifically developed to bridge gaps:

Permaculture Designer Skill Set – corresponds to the core skills and knowledge of the PDC This skill set describes the skills and knowledge for working with clients and community to design and develop private, community or enterprise based permaculture systems in rural and urban
environments. Comprised of units:
 AHCPER401 Provide advice on permaculture principles and practices
 AHCPER402 Design a rural permaculture system
 AHCPER403 Design an urban permaculture system
 AHCPER4X3 Select ‘appropriate technology’ for a permaculture system
 AHCPER406 Identify and analyse bioregional characteristics and resources

Advanced Permaculture Skill Set – bridges the gap between Diploma of Permaculture and Bachelor Degree in the Higher Education system
This skill set describes advanced skills and knowledge to help individuals to transition into higher education. The units provide skills and knowledge for planning community governance and developing strategic plans for permaculture projects. Comprised of units:
 AHCPER6X1 Develop a strategic plan for a permaculture project or enterprise
 AHCPER6X2 Plan community governance and decision-making processes

 AHCPER6X3 Prepare a sustainable community and bioregional development strategy

The timeline for the roll out depends on the government processes, but we anticipate that the newly endorsed courses will be available from early 2023. If you are interested in the process or want to familiarise yourself with what has been done, please go to the Skills Impact project page and click through to the areas that interest you. You can find the documents that correspond to earlier stages in the process by clicking on the arrows in the flow chart.

Finally, Permaculture Australia would like to acknowledge the work of the following people and organisations who participated in the Subject Matter Expert Working Group:
 Lis Bastian, Blue Mountains Permaculture Institute
 Fiona Blackham, GAIA Permaculture
 Sue Brunskill, Permaculture Australia
 Rob Fenton, National Environment Centre, TAFE NSW 
 Robyn Francis, Permaculture College Australia
 Graeme George, Permaculture Yarra Valley
 Megan Hall, South Regional TAFE WA
 Julianne Hartman, Byron Regional Community College
 Martina Hoeppner, Permaculture West
 Keri Hopeward, Permaculture SA
 Lachlan McKenzie, International Permaculture Educators Network
 Ross Mars, Water Installations Pty Ltd
 Janet Milllington – Eumundy Community Gardens
 Kushala Prem, Natural Systems Permaculture
 Nicole Steel, Byron Regional Community College
 Karen van Huizen –  Alpine Shire Emergency Management
 Aaron Sorensen, Elemental Permaculture
 Virginia Solomon, Permaculture Australia
 Richard Vinycomb, Byron Regional Community College

And our amazing professional training consultants from Skills Impact
 Ruth Geldard, Industry Skills Standards Specialist, Skills Impact
 Ron Barrow, Writer, Skills Impact and Nestor Consulting

We all look forward to rolling out our new courses and to energetic participation and enthusiasm from permies everywhere.
For further information on the Review and the new components, please contact
education@permacultureaustralia.org.au

Living fences: Using plants to define your boundaries – With Mara Ripani

Living fences: Using plants to define your boundaries – With Mara Ripani

Mara Ripani is Permaculture Australia Professional Member – you can find her at https://villagedreaming.com.au/

Fences are often necessary for privacy, security and the safety of pets and children. As Mara Ripani explains, there are myriad ways to create them with plants, adding extra greenery to our built environment.

With populations increasing and cities and towns growing, we need to take every opportunity to
introduce green into our built environment: ‘rewilding’ our surroundings, even in small ways. A living
fence is a simple and effective way to start. There are many approaches to creating a living fence:
what they all have in common is a thriving explosion of plants!

What is a living fence?
Fences are commonly used for creating privacy (both visual privacy and by preventing access), for
keeping pets and children contained and safe, and simply for marking property boundaries. With a
bit of planning, all of these requirements can be fulfilled with a living fence: one that is made using
plants on their own or by combining plants with an appropriate structure.
Depending on its main purpose, the space available and your aesthetic preference, a living fence can
take the form of closely-planted clumping grasses, a hedge created from shrubs, a line of small trees
or espaliered fruit trees, or a cascade of tendrils and flowers from a climbing vine – to name just a
few possibilities.

Why choose a living fence?
No matter how small your property, if there is room for a fence then there is probably room for a
living fence. Well-kept living fences are extremely beautiful. Evergreen plants provide a verdant wall
to look at all year round. Climbing plants with flowers provide colour, interest and architectural
shapes to admire. A living fence is an extension of your garden, allowing you to layer greenery to
create depth and texture. And if you already have a standard fence, you can breathe life into it with
a climbing plant.

Cooling microclimates
While living fences add a great deal of beauty, they can also help green our cities and create cool
microclimates. Built-up urban areas are prone to the urban heat island effect: dense concentrations
of pavement, buildings and other thermal mass surfaces absorb daytime heat, releasing it again at
night. As a result, ambient temperatures can increase by one to three degrees Celsius. Greening
infrastructure projects large and small, including living fences, can help counter this effect through
the plants’ natural transpiration.

How to choose plants for a living fence
When deciding on the style and plant selection for your living fence, consider its purpose,
maintenance requirements, and how it will fit into your existing garden. Whether you opt for native
or non-native species, always ensure you avoid species considered invasive in your area. Be careful

that your living fence does not impede communal walking paths, and consider traffic sightlines
where necessary – especially for cars exiting driveways.

Grasses
If your main priority is boundary marking, a living fence can be as simple as planting a row of
ornamental grasses. There are many choices: Poa labillardierei (Common Tussock-grass)
Pennisetum alopecuroides (Chinese Fountain grass), Lomandra hystrix (Green Mat-rush,)
Miscanthus sinensis (Chinese Silver grass), Schizachyrium scoparium (Little Bluestem) to name but
a few. Be sure to choose perennial grasses that will live year after year, either evergreen or grasses
that will dry to a sandy or copper colour, marking the changing seasons. Some grasses have spiky
foliage or sharp edges hence consider their appropriateness. Grasses can be cut back in late winter
or left uncut for a few years. When cut back they reappear as vibrant green tufts in spring.

Shrubs
Privacy and safety for children and pets can be achieved with shrubs planted to make hedges
(though note that hedges need dense foliage or supplementing with a wire fence to reliably contain
small pets). There are many shrubs to choose from, and garden nurseries offer plenty of information
on the growing requirements of plants to help you make your selection. Look for plants in the
following genuses Acacia, Westringia, Acmena, Yew, Thuja, and Laurel to name but a mere few.
Search for plants that suit your soil type and climate, and be sure to check the height, width and
growth rate. Fast-growing hedges will establish quickly but need more frequent pruning, watering
and compost. Slower-growing hedges can take years to establish but will then need less
maintenance.
Also consider colour, foliage texture, and whether you’d prefer evergreen or deciduous. An
evergreen shrub will stay green all year round, while deciduous species will change colour before
(usually) dropping their leaves. For example, Berberis thunbergia (Japanese Barberry) is a deciduous
shrub that goes from green to bright red foliage in autumn. For silver foliage try Westringia fruticose
(Native Rosemary(, Teucrium fruticans Tree Garmander), or Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Silver Sheen’
(Pittosporum Silver Sheen)

Trees
A line of small trees can also be used to create a fence, or to green an existing fence line. A popular
choice is any tree in the conifer family with a tall, narrow form; plant them as close as planting
instructions will allow.
For an ‘edible fence’, you can espalier fruit trees. Espaliering is easy to do, saves space and allows
even small garden owners to access seasonal fruit. Buy bare-rooted trees and plant in winter, and
explore the many instructional videos on different espaliering techniques available online.

Climbing vines
Climbing vines on a structural support can form a fence for privacy and for containing animals and
kids. Choose evergreen plants for year-round screening or deciduous ones for a flash of autumn red
followed by bare branches. You can use metal mesh or tensioned wire on a structural frame or a

wooden fence to support your vines; remember that climbing plants are heavy once established so
make sure the structure is able to support the weight.
There are many fantastic climbing plants to choose from. The evergreen Hardenbergia violacea
(Purple Coral Pea )produces a mass of gorgeous purple pea flowers. Pyrostegia venusta (Golden
Shower) has stunning orange trumpet flowers and climbing tendrils. Trachelospermum jasminoides
(Star Jasmine’s)’ sweet fragrance, Rosa banksiae’s (Lady Banks Rose) rose clusters and the tiny
fairylike leaves of Muehlenbeckia complexa (Maidenhair Vine) are all attractive options. If your home
or rental property has an existing brick or masonry fence then try Parthenocissus tricuspidata(Boston
Ivy) with its burnt red autumn leaves, or Ficus pumila’s (Creeping Fig’s) attractive juvenile leaves.

Before planting
Whether you opt for grasses, shrubs, trees or climbers for your living fence, do your plant research.
How will the plant grow? How will it change over time? What level of maintenance will it need? Will
it drop leaves? Might its root system cause any long-term problems? While it is good to be aware of
these things, however, don’t get overwhelmed: generally the value of a living fence far outweighs its
care needs. And one final piece of advice: if establishing a new fence, it’s a good idea to do a
property boundary search via your relevant state agency to ensure you’re putting the fence in the
right place and not on your neighbour’s property.
Whether you live in a city, a regional town or in the bush, infrastructure like fences is often
necessary. Likewise, rewilding our living environments is important, and easy to do. A living fence is
a great way to combine the two, and the benefits will be experienced by you and all that pass by.

Permaculture Project public consultation

Permaculture Project public consultation

Dear colleagues and friends

Permaculture vocational training is currently under review and the Public Consultation phase is open now until March 28th.

All permies are encouraged to participate, even in a small way. Any engagement, any comments or questions are welcome and will be acted upon.

Go to the project page or visit the Skills Impact Website and follow the prompts to the Permaculture, Organic Farming and Composting project. Permaculture is completely separate from the other two subjects, but the project is occurring in the same phase of a wider project.

If you have missed the workshops and would like to discuss it or get some direction from the project manager, please don’t hesitate to contact Skills Impact direct by phone or email. The Project Team (Project Manager, Writer and Subject Matter Expert committee) are very keen to hear from all permies.

This consultation has far-reaching effects on the entire permaculture sector and your input will make all the difference to the outcome. Please take the time to visit the pages and post your comments.

Thank you for your time

The board, staff and volunteers of Permaculture Australia

TedxPermaQueer – Cultural Solutions to Climate Change

TedxPermaQueer – Cultural Solutions to Climate Change

Tackling our ongoing climate crisis means adjusting the behaviours, attitudes and relationships we hold with the environment and with each other. It’s not just tech solutions we require but deep cultural shifts. It won’t be a single action but the collection of many small and sweeping changes that sets us up for success or failure and culture is the bedrock of behaviour.

We’ll be exploring through a variety of speakers how shifting culture from mainstream society, whether ancient or modern, can help change our current climate path. With special emphasis on first nations ways of knowing and being, drawing from lands managed in sustainable and regenerative ways prior and post colonisation, we will explore what a new space of cultural emergence might look like. An emergence that is appropriate, equitable and listens to the needs of the land and the people.

  • What does it mean to be a custodial species in our environment?
  • What is culture? what is good culture and what does it mean to reclaim our cultural practices?
  • How can we contribute to meaningful cultural emergence as ethical and responsible consumers?

These are a few of the questions we’ll be exploring in depths over the three days of this seminar, with many more exploring the themes of right relating, impacts of colonisation, moving beyond helplessness, cross-cultural dialogue and breaking the binaries we live within.

All profits raised from this event is going towards a specific land back fund for First Nations Aboriginal people. 

For more information:

The event details can be found here.

Permaqueer are Professional members of Permaculture Australia, the national permaculture member organisation. Find out more including how to join here.