He was tireless in his service to, and ‘needling of’ permaculture and its design process. Dan is sadly missed as a fearless questioner, a passionate connector, and strong and fragile a spirit as the living systems he loved.
Donations of support for his young family can be made at GO FUND ME
If you, or if someone you know is struggling with mental health, don’t wait – get help now. Talk to a friend, reach out and visit to Beyond Blue
The 2022 Permaculture Australia Annual General Meeting was held on the 23rd April at Research, Victoria and online.
Congratulations to the following Board of Directors who have been appointed for 2022/2023:
Toad Dell, Queensland
Debbi Long, Victoria
John McKenzie, Victoria
Donna Morawiak, Queensland
Jed Walker, New South Wales
Huge thankyou to the outgoing Directors, Wendy Marchment, Greg Rodwell and Sophie Thompson. Big thank you also to Virginia and Stephen Solomon for hosting the AGM at their residence. It was a gorgeous Autumn day which was perfect for a pot-luck lunch outside post the AGM followed by a tour of the house with a Retrosuburbia perspective. The property is one of the Retrosuburbia case studies and is undergoing further changes to ease the load post retirement from paid work.
Special thanks and acknowledgement was given to Wendy Marchment with a bouquet of flowers, on her work as Secretary over the past four years. In particular, on getting PA’s compliance and governance systems up-to-date, having established many templates and processes including the Directors’ induction checklists which will make the transition easier and smoother for incoming Boards.
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.
The team from the OTEPIC Peace Project, represented by Coordinator, Philip Odhiambo Munyasia, thanks donors to PA’s Permafund for their support in promoting permaculture in Kitale Kenya.
In 2020, OTEPIC received a $2,000 Permafund grant for a beekeeping project. This included establishing ten bee hives initially and training a core contingent of 70 local community members in beekeeping. A further 100 community members are being introduced to beekeeping as a means of generating personal incomes and reducing local poverty. Youth leadership training is ongoing.
As an alternative local farming enterprise, beekeeping is already creating employment at a low level. Four people are working on the bee project while learning to build bee hives to sell to the local market. Farm yields have also increased due to the availability of bees as pollinators.
OTEPIC’s apiary was established in April ’21 providing ongoing beekeeping business management training and demonstrations for members of the Biddi community. By December 2021 members of the community will be sharing roles for the collective management of the apiary and the surrounding bee attracting gardens and food forest.
Honey has been harvested twice already with a beeswax and propolis extraction process to be established by the end of 2021. Hives have been bought collectively and are being managed by OTEPIC project community members as a group demonstration site at the Upendo garden.
To keep the bees in good health for the long-term sunflowers and nectar rich flowers have been planted, water sources made available and bee feeding stations are set up when required.
There are many social and economic factors that cause division among communities and bee keeping has helped to bring people together to exchange and share, promoting unity and diminishing the divides of political and resource-based disagreements and conflicts.
The project has its challenges including transportation of materials, bee hives and volunteers to the working site. The unpredictable rainy season has affected the swarming season which helps add colonies for the bee hives. There wasn’t enough shade when the hives were first installed so fast-growing trees are being grown around them.
A lot has been learned during the project planning process, which has served as a reminder to look at how each element is connected to the others and the importance of looking at whole systems and the complete vision when planning one aspect.
Members of OTEPIC and its neighbours have learned from every step of the installation of the bee keeping project and will be able to replicate the process in future projects. They have been inspired by the experience of collaboration and exchange with other regional projects such as the Garden of Hope project and will continue to look for these opportunities, Monitoring and evaluation of the project is ongoing.
Donations to Permaculture Australia’s Permafund over $2 are tax deductible in Australia and support environmental and community building projects like the OTEPIC Beekeeping project. Find out more including how to donate here.
“It is with great pleasure I accept the honour of being a patron of Permaculture Australia. I have been involved in the organisation since it’s incorporation as a non-profit in 1987 as a Founding Director and five years as Editor of the Permaculture International Journal, which nurtured the early growth of the global permaculture movement. Since the early 80s, I have been teaching permaculture and consulting internationally, including working closely with Bill Mollison.
Over the past two decades my key focus in PA has been the design and roll-out of the Accredited Permaculture Training vocational education and qualifications to take permaculture practice to a new level of proficiency and professionalism, and to support the organisation’s transition from global to a more focussed national voice for the permaculture community in Australia.
Now as a PA Patron I offer my experience, insights and historic perspectives to the Australian permaculture community in promoting the important role permaculture has to play in meeting the challenges we face, as a nation and as a planet in crisis. In a rapidly changing and uncertain world, the permaculture ethics, principles and practices provide guidance and direction for solution-oriented actions by individuals, households and communities to adapt and regenerate our physical environments and social landscapes.
Permaculture Australia is growing and maturing as a dynamic, member-based organisation that embraces the diverse nature of permaculture people, projects, groups, enterprises and initiatives around the country. Through this collective voice, we can provide vital support and inspiration for each other and use this platform to reach out to the wider Australian community and those searching for solutions and the hope that arises from meaningful action.
I personally feel that there’s much healing to be done as we move forward, on a personal level of deep reconnection with nature, of shifting from a ‘me’ to ‘we’ focused society through community action, and of acknowledging and embracing the wealth of indigenous and first nation wisdoms, their intimate connection to, and knowledge of, Country.
Another world is possible, and through a strong Permaculture Australia we can harness our collective energy, skills and experience to be more effective change-makers.”
Robyn Francis, August 2021
Read more about Robyn’s permaculture experience and insights in our interview with Robyn in 2020 here