May Lucky Prize draw winner

Permaculture Australia offered an excellent prize of a David Holmgren signed RetroSuburbia book for any new and renewing members before 30th May 2018. The draw took place in early June by random number generation using a spreadsheet function. It was attended by 3 current Board members who validated the process.
The lucky winner was Atlanta Camilleri. Here is a photo of her and the book that she sent us:

Atlanta also sent us a photo with David Holmgren taken at the recent APC:

Prize draws

PA ratified changes to the membership options at the AGM in April 2018. Now they are:

new memberships table

To incentivise everyone to join or re-join early, we have prizes up for grabs most months:


win retrosuburbia signed book

Win a signed copy of the new RetroSuburbia book by David Holmgren

Prizes generously donated by:
David Holmgren
Robin Clayfield
Sugarloaf Permaculture
Janet Millington
Junagar Media
Permaculture Principles
Woodford Folk Festival
Join Permaculture Australia today!

A renewables policy for Permaculture Australia

HOW DO WE create the positive change we want to see? How do we defend our permaculture projects from those who would stop them?
This is something permaculture practitioners are going to have to think about if we want to see our design system adopted by more people and more organisations. Permaculture is about change. Creating change means participating in advocacy. That makes it political, though not necessarily in the conventional sense of that word.

A word on advocacy

Before moving on to an interesting proposal by a Permaculture Australia member, let me say that advocacy is the practice of supporting and arguing for something.
If you talk to your friends about  permaculture being a good thing, you are advocating it. When we do that with politicians or organisations, it is called ‘lobbying’. Sometimes, advocacy takes the form of lobbying against something by advocating a course of action. It takes different forms including political, educational, direct and indirect action. Essentially, in lobbying for something advocacy is about exerting influence. And to exert that influence implies that our organisations need to be seen as:

  • authoritative (they know what they are talking about)
  • transparent (making our motivation and sources of support clear)
  • credible (what we say is believable).

Permaculture Australia has already dipped its toes into the advocacy waters:

Those are examples of political advocacy. Other times, we advocate within our organisations by lobbying for something to be done. We saw an example of that when Permaculture Australia member, John McKenzie, lobbied at the Canberra convergence for the networking of permaculture organisations.
If permaculture practitioners take David Holmgren’s new book, Retrosuburbia, and set up workshops and courses around the ideas in it, they will indulge in advocacy by educational means because they will by advocating a course of action. Simply by talking to people, by teaching, writing about and arguing for permaculture we become advocates for it. I am advocating in favour of advocacy in Permaculture Australia by writing about it in this piece. Seen this way, advocacy is a key component of the permaculture design system.
Advocates are enormously influential on government. Their lobbying affects the opportunities open to the people and affects our future. Despite our distaste of indulging in politics, especially those involving the mainstream political process and political parties, the need to do is important to create what we would like to see and to defend it from those who do not want to see it. As someone said, if we do not have to bother with politics we must be very privileged people.

You might not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in you.
Paraphrasing Leon Trotsky’s statement about war.

A fresh approach to developing policies

Guy Stewart is one of those smart, articulate and technologically savvy young people those of us who have been working in permaculture for a long time are all too happy to see emerging as leaders. Guy’s leadership is based on leadership-by-doing. Before joining the Rainbow Power Company and the renewable energy industry in his hometown of Nimbin in northern NSW, some years ago Guy worked on a food localisation project. With Annaliese Horden, another of those smart, savvy young leaders, Guy teaches permaculture at Robyn Francis’ Permaculture College Australia.

Alaliese Horden and Guy Stewart at APC14 in Canberra.

Guy is developing a crowdsourced energy policy he plans to put to the Permaculture Australia board of directors. If they endorse it, Permaculture Australia and permaculture practitioners can then use it to advocate renewables. This is a new approach in Permaculture Australia and Guy’s taking the initiative sidesteps the barrier of lack of volunteer and board time to do the work themselves.
Guy’s is an invitation-only initiative. To participate, Permaculture Australia members email Guy for a link to the draft version of the policy.
“Happy for people who want to contribute to email me with the subject ‘PPP’ at”, said Guy.
Taking note of the comments and suggestions coming into this participatory process, Guy then produces version two of the policy which is presented to the board. The board votes on endorsing the policy. That successfully done, Permaculture Australia and its members make use of the policy as the basis for meeting with their electoral representatives to lobby them for a better energy policy for Australia and by using the policy in other ways.

A step-up

Guy’s plan promises to make Permaculture Australia a more effective organisation by giving it a new social role. It would be a step-up for Permaculture Australia and a step into a wider, relevant and timely role in society.
For some time I have thought about how we could develop an advocacy capacity in Permaculture Australia. I kept running into those too-familiar barriers of time and energy. The board is fully committed keeping the organisation’s key roles in Accredited Permaculture Training, the Permafund tax deductible donations and small grants scheme and its networking function going. There has not been time or energy to take on more.
That is why, sitting in the audience at APC14 and hearing Guy talk about his energy policy idea, I was enthused at this new approach to participatory policy formation in Permaculture Australia. The question arose about whether the ‘representative council’ that has been proposed to assist the Permaculture Australia board could have a role not only in Guy’s idea but in advocacy in Permaculture Australia more broadly.
What do you think? Is this a possibility? How would we go about it?

Guy Stewart is leading a new way of making policy in Permaculture Australia.


Annual meeting at APC14 elects new faces to Permaculture Australia board

Change came to Permaculture Australia at the Australasian Permaculture Convergence in Canberra in April 2018, as a new board of directors was elected at the Permaculture Australia annual meeting.
The directors are elected each year. Their role is to oversee the operation and direction of Permaculture Australia and to make decisions on how it operates. Some members of the board serve as liaison people between the board and Permaculture Australia’s teams such as communications, Accredited Permaculture Training and Permafund.
The meeting approved changes to Permaculture Australia’s membership structure and the distribution of digital and paper copies of the permaculture magazine, PIP, which comes with membership.
John Mckenzie, from Melbourne, presented his proposal for networking permaculture organisations to the meeting. John is a past-member of the board of directors although he is not on the new board.

The newly-elected board of directors. From left: Ben Habib, Ronnie Martin, Cally Brennan, Wendy Marchment, Keri Chiveralls, Virginia Solomon. Not present: Dylan Graves.

The newly-elected board of directors include:

  1. Ben Habib
  2. Wendy Marchment
  3. Cally Brennan
  4. Ronni Martin
  5. Keri Chiveralls
  6. Virginia Solomon
  7. Dylan Graves

Virginia, Ronni, and Dylan continue from the previous board.

Among new board members:

Ben Habib (and here) is a Melbourne-based lecturer in international relations and researcher into permaculture as a global social movement. He is also a participant in Permaculture CoLab, the global permaculture organisation currently in formation
Keri Chiveralls, an Adelaide resident, is associated with establishing the post-graduate Permaculture Courses at CQUniversity
The first challenge to be met by new members of the board of directors is understanding the current situation of Permaculture Australia and what the current working group teams do, as well as how the board and teams operate.
With new board members living in different states, we anticipate they will bring regional perspectives to the governance of Permaculture Australia.

Notice of 2018 Annual General Meeting

Notice to members of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Permaculture International Limited (trading as Permaculture Australia) to be held:

  • Wednesday 18th April 2018 at 14.00 at GREENHILLS CONFERENCE CENTRE, Stromlo, ACT (near Canberra) (find out more here), or join us via Teleconference (see instructions below)

Members are recommended to read the Financial and Annual reports before the meeting. Note that the Annual Report is for Jan 1-Dec 31 2017 and so the 2018 AGM accepts the 2017 report. The meeting will cover standard AGM business as per the following Agenda.

Here are all the relevant documents

If you are unable to attend the AGM, you can still vote (All proxies are to be returned by email to the Secretary by 2.00 pm Tuesday 17 April 2018.). Here are the instructions on how to vote via proxy and the form for you to complete to nominate your proxy voter:

You have until 5pm Sunday 15 April to nominate someone as a director of PA:

Click on the tabs for more information…

[accordion][accordion_element title=”Election of Board of Directors”]
Notes on the election of Board of Directors:
Current directors Robyn Francis and Kym Blechynden have notified the Board that they will not be available for re-election. We thank them for their service and commitment to PIL/PA on the Board. Current directors that are prepared to serve again on the board if nominated are Virginia Solomon, Steve Burns, Ronni Martin, Eric Smith, and Dylan Graves.
Under the Articles of the Company, a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 7 Directors shall be appointed. The current Board have expressed a strong desire to support new Directors, to maintain diversity of representation and to achieve the full number of 7 Directors. The roles of Secretary and Treasurer will also need to be filled, from within the elected Directors.
All nominees must be nominated by two other members. Nominations can be received in writing before the meeting or when the item is considered during the meeting. If you cannot attend in person please use the attached proxy form to make nominations or to offer an expression of interest to accept a nomination to the Board.
If you are not attending in person, you may join the meeting via Teleconference call. (See instructions below) The Teleconference will be opened 10 minutes prior to the commencement of the meeting allowing the secretary time to verify members as they join the call.
[/accordion_element][accordion_element title=”Instructions for using Teleconference facilities”]
Telephone numbers for joining a conference call
The participants join the meeting by dialing the toll free number or one of the city telephone numbers listed below – as appropriate for you, then the enter the access code as directed.
1. Dial into the conference:
Dial-in Number: (02) 8077 0530
Australia: Access Code — 324972
International Dial-in Number —
2. Join the online meeting:
Online Meeting Link:
Online Meeting ID: enews

  • At the scheduled date and time of the meeting, dial into the conference line. When prompted, enter the Access Code followed by the # key.
  • To join the online meeting, click on the meeting link listed above and follow the prompts to join the meeting.
  • For 24/7 customer service please call 844-844-1322

For Inquires:

[/accordion_element][accordion_element title=”Election of Directors to the Board”]
If you would like to be active in the PA organisation and help its development over the coming twelve months and beyond, it important to:

  1. Make sure you are a current financial member of Permaculture Australia and
  2. Consider whether you may like to nominate to become a Board member or if you would like to nominate another qualified permaculturalist to become a Board member (with their prior agreement).
  3. Attend and contribute to the AGM in person or by teleconference.
  4. If you are not available on the AGM date, you can submit your proxy vote beforehand.

[/accordion_element][accordion_element title=”What does Board membership involve?”]
Being a Board member of Permaculture Australia is an unpaid honorary position with the Board requiring the 7 Board members to collectively have a mix of the following skills and abilities:

  1. Leadership skills & qualities
  2. Willingness and reliability to dedicate a significant amount of time for the duties which come with the position including availability for monthly evening teleconference Board meetings and regular evening sub-committee Skype or teleconference meetings. Also an enthusiasm to participate in subcommittees focused on key initiatives eg. APT, Permafund, Communications etc.etc.
  3. Preferably some experience with the administration of permaculture groups or projects or other not-for- profit groups
  4. Communication, consultative and diplomacy skills
  5. Some degree of IT savvy and adequate, reliable internet connection facilities
  6. Financial management, accounting or book-keeping skills are advantageous for liaison with auditors, government departments and registered training organisations
  7. Project and/pr event management skills
  8. Some experience with registered training organisations, permaculture teaching, course design and delivery and administering Accredited Permaculture Training.
  9. Media liaison and advocacy skills
  10. Marketing skills
  11. Grant writing, acquittal and assessment skills
  12. Clerical and administrative skills
  13. Understanding of governance and legal compliance requirements
  14. Fund raising ideas to help support permaculture projects through the Permafund
  15. Networking experience.

[/accordion_element][accordion_element title=”How are Directors elected?”]
Under the Permaculture Australia Constitution, members who wish to stand for election to the Board must be nominated by at least 2 other members. If you want to self-nominate and don’t know any PA members, then send a couple of references from people who know what relevant skills you have to offer PA, and PA members attending the AGM can nominate during the AGM if they feel they have enough information about you (you are also entitled to speak to the meeting in support of your self-nomination).
The minimum number of Directors is 5, and the maximum 7. All positions are declared vacant at the AGM, but current Directors can re-nominate. Nominations can be made prior to the AGM, and nominees are encouraged to post information in support of their candidacy on the PA website, including the names of their nominating members.
Nominees can also be nominated by 2 members on the floor of the AGM. Where there are more than 7 nominees, Directors will arrange for a ballot to be held.
PA Board member nomination details
[/accordion_element][accordion_element title=”I’d still like to vote and nominate someone but can’t attend the AGM?”]
If you cannot attend the AGM you can have someone vote on your choice on your behalf, as a proxy. Click the button about proxy voting above.

Nominations so far…

The following people have been nominated for election to the management board of Permaculture Australia. Click on their name to find out more… [more will added here as they are received]

[accordion][accordion_element title=”Virginia Solomon (PA member) — VIC”]Current PA Director standing for re-election
Supporting statement:  why Virginia would make an appropriate board member
BA, Grad. Dip Education, Diploma of Permaculture, Diploma of Training and Assessment Systems, Cert IV TAE, PA Member for more than 10 years
Member of the Technical Reference Group for development of the Permaculture components in the Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation & Land Management Training Package, formerly member of the Victorian Institute of Teaching and Australian Association of Environmental Educators Accredited Permaculture Training Liaison with PA Board, Convenor of the APT Working Group since 2014, Editor APT Assessment Guides Project and Chair of the Review Committee.
[accordion_element title=”Eric Smith (PA member) — TAS”]Current PA Director standing for re-election
Supporting statement: why Eric would make an appropriate board member
Dip Permaculture (APT), Cert Hort. Committee member for APC 2015 (Penguin), self employed landscape gardener. Eric has been involved in organising a successful national permaculture convergence in Tasmania and has completed his Permaculture Diploma at the Riverina College which has given him a good insite into the APT. He also has online communications experience – experience with Facebook page maintenance and administration – which will help PA communicate and connect with the wider permaculture movement around Australia. Eric would bring his useful experience with APT and online work to the organisation.
[/accordion_element][accordion_element title=”Veronica (Ronni) Martin (PA member) — QLD”]Current PA Director standing for re-election
Supporting statement:  why Veronica would make an appropriate board member
She completed her PDC in the 1980’s with Lea Harrison and Judith Turley at Tyalgum. She was awarded a Diploma of Permaculture around two years later. She also hold a Bachelor of Design Studies, a Grad. Dip. in Community Development and Masters in Social Welfare Administration and Planning
She is currently the Education and Support Team Manager for Northey Street City Farm. She was previously the State Director for Qld for Oxfam Australia. She has also been on the board of Co-operatives and an ethical investment fund.
She operated two permaculture nurseries – Edible Landscapes and Food Forest Nursery in the *0’s and 90’s. This also involved convening permaculture courses and doing suburban permaculture designs. Currently she works at Northey Street City Farm, promoting permaculture through our education program.
She is passionate about implementing and promoting permaculture in the broadest sense, especially in the area of organisational development – creating well-functioning structures to support our growing movement for change.
She gained experience in fundraising & community education while working for Oxfam.
[/accordion_element][accordion_element title=”Dylan Graves (PA member) — QLD”]Current PA Director standing for re-election
Supporting statement:  why Dylan would make an appropriate board member
Founder and organiser of Stanthorpe Permaculture Group since 2014. Fully immersed in Permaculture since 2011 – implemented systems in Tropics and Cool temperate. A Permaculture teacher.
Committed sharer of Permaculture in action through articles, video, blog, presentations, social media, etc. Experienced user of social media, youtube, Google products, general content creation software – very IT savvy.
Motivated to back the Permaculture movement in any way possible. Up to date with Permaculture worldwide – avid listener of podcasts, collector of videos, reader of related books, and peruser of other online resources. Plenty of practical experience in implementing systems on the ground – growing soil & food, building, animal systems, water, solar, etc.
Attention to detail – desire to do things right. Passion for the Permaculture Ethics and Principles.
[/accordion_element][accordion_element title=”Steve Burns (PA member) — VIC”]Current PA Director standing for re-election
Supporting statement:  why Steve would make an appropriate board member
Director of private company April 2000 to present, current President of Ballarat Permaculture Guild, teacher on local Permaculture Design Courses & specialist skills workshops (e.g. grafting, group stages) presenter at Permaculture Scotland convergence (July 2017)
Experience and drive.

[accordion_element title=” Keri Chiveralls (PA member) — SA”]
Supporting statement: why Keri would make an appropriate board member
Qualifications (incl. PDC, APT, & other): PhD Grad Dip Social Science BA Arts Hons Anth, PDC Food Forest, Green Educators Course, Permaculture Teacher Training Permaculture College, Advanced Permaculture Teacher Training Melliodora
Experience (in Governance & Management): International Permaculture Convergence Committee, Permaculture Educators Guild, Head of Course and Discipline Lead CQUniversity Permaculture
Permaculture background: Founded post-grad permaculture at CQUniversity
What would you/they bring to PA and the board?: Passion for permaculture education and linkages with IPCC and higher education and research.
Referees: Annaliese Hordern, former PA board member
Nominated by:
Virginia Solomon (PA member)
[/accordion_element][accordion_element title=”Ben Habib (PA member) — VIC”]
Supporting statement: why Ben would make an appropriate board member
Qualifications (incl. PDC, APT, & other): PDC, PhD
Experience (in Governance & Management): Board member, OASES Graduate School 2014-16.
Permaculture background: Teach into CERES PDC.
Teach permaculture in environmental politics subjects at La Trobe University.
Academic research project on permaculture as an international social movement; permaculture in Northeast Asia.
La Trobe University / CERES Global organic agriculture and sustainability study tours to China, South Korea and India.
What would you/they bring to PA and the board?: Board experience, experience in education sector, international permaculture connections, public profile and large social media network.
Referees: Robin Clayfield, Crystal Waters, QLD
Nominated by:
Sarah Gorman
[/accordion_element][accordion_element title=”Wendy Marchment (PA member) — VIC”]
Supporting statement: why Sarah would make an appropriate board member
Qualifications (incl. PDC, APT, & other): BSc, PDC, Cert III Permaculture, Cert IV TAA
Experience (in Governance & Management): numerous committees associated with universities. Have held positions of Chair, Treasurer and committee member associated with Permaculture Geelong, Bicycle advocacy, squash clubs, Child care management etc
Permaculture background: Education Coordinator at Northey Street City Farm 2010-11
Permaculture Geelong Convenor 2014-16, organiser of 2015 Geelong PDC
Member of Permaculture Educators Guild
What would you/they bring to PA and the board?: organisational skills, teacher perspective, university admin background, expertise in surveys and analysis, report writing skills
Referees: Robin Clayfield, Dick Copeman
Nominated by:
Virginia Solomon
[/accordion_element][accordion_element title=”Cally Brennan (PA member) — ACT”]
Supporting statement: why Cally would make an appropriate board member
Qualifications (incl. PDC, APT, & other): 2011 PDC, 2016 Advanced Permaculture Design, BA Hons, PhD
Experience (in Governance & Management): I am on the organising committee for APC 14, where my role has been to model the likely costs and income from APC 14 to help set the ticket price, as well as manage the relationship with the venue (Greenhills) and manage all ticket bookings and accommodation requests.
I work part time in the public service and I manage a governance contract for a $20 million big data project with the CSIRO, called the Energy Use Data Model.
Permaculture background: I joined PermablitzACT in 2009 and subsequently coordinated PermablitzACT for a year, before founding a small permaculture-focused garden design business called Canberra Permaculture Design through which I offer design and education services to Canberra and surrounds, currently on a part time basis (I also work part time in the public service). I have also taught on one PDC which was run by Martyn Noakes (Bredbo Valley View Farm).
More recently I did an advanced permaculture design certificate with Ross Mars and Graeme Bell which was a great way to compare and develop my design process with other permaculture designers. At home we are slowly converting our land and building along permaculture principles with the aim for it to become a teaching and demonstration space for what can be achieve through permaculture in the suburbs.
What would you/they bring to PA and the board?: I have enthusiasm and energy, care and compassion. If I commit to a project I will see it through. Through my work for APC 14 I have realised I am particularly focused on the people care ethic, and would like to explore the following opportunities within a role on the PA board:
1. Using any money made from APC 14 to support future Australasian Permaculture Convergences to be able to guarantee a certain amount of financial assistance to their volunteers and to enable sponsorship of overseas attendees who otherwise could not come.
2. Looking at how PA can store and share the knowledge and learnings from each convergence to share with the next organising committee.
3, Exploring ways to promote and support PA members and the work that they do, as well as permaculture more broadly.
Referees: John Champagne & Penny Kothe
Nominated by:
Virginia Solomon
Signed Kym Blechynden
Company Secretary
Permaculture International Ltd.
Australian Company Number: 003 386 258

PA offering free promotion of your Permie courses and workshops at APC14

Do you offer courses in permaculture or permaculture-related skills? 

Would you like some help with promotion?

Permaculture Australia is hosting a stall at PermaFest18 on Sunday 15th April in Canberra where we want to showcase the wide range of offerings in Permaculture education. So, if you offer courses or workshops anywhere in Australia in anything related to Permaculture, please make contact so that we can include you. PDC, Intro, Diploma, short course, skills workshop, teacher training, school or community program – we aim to showcase the rich choices available in permaculture education all over Australia.

Formal or informal, accredited or not, on-line or face-to-face, funded or self-finding, the opportunities and choices are vast and we would love to celebrate everything. Membership of PA not necessary.

Whether you are attending APC14 or not, you can provide us with brochures, cards or other printed information for distribution, or display, or you can give us electronic links which we will make available at the stall.

Email Virginia at before April 8th and please feel free to pass on this offer to any other educators you know.