Ideas, remembrance, conviviality — APC13 was all of these

ThreeDays in October

Story and photos by Russ Grayson, October 2016

We came expecting West Australian warmth. We found winter. And rain, for some of the time anyway. Perth in October can be a cold place.
That might have been the weather but it was not the warmth of the welcome extended to interstate permaculture practitioners by their Western Australian colleagues. Their organisation of APC13 — the biennial Australasian Permaculture Convergences held in Australia and New Zealand — made the event run smoothly. The event and accommodation was based at the Swan Valley Adventure Centre, the same venue where the 1996 International Permaculture Convergence was held.
Setting the mood for the convergence was the Saturday public open day that launched the event. Thousands attended to view a sweeping range of exhibits and talks and to hear and dance to — and that dancing included that of permaculture co-inventor, David Holmgren — Western Australia’s and permaculture’s own Formidable Vegetable Sound System as they blasted the culture back into perma-culture (http://formidablevegetable.com.au/ ).
People came from overseas — Xavier from Chang Mai in Thailand, Graham Bell (http://grahambell.org/permaculture-2/ ) and partner from Scotland, Finn from Auckland and Courtney and Robina McCurdy from Golden Bay at the top of Aotearoa-New Zealand’s South Island.

Just a little bit different

APC13 was a little different to past convergences. Rather than an established permaculture personality making the first of the keynote addresses, Perth futurist, Annie Macbeth ( http://www.annimac.com.au/), described how permaculture can adapt to the lifeways of different generations, their priorities and their use of technology. It was refreshing to hear a different perspective on permaculture and society.
Also making keynotes was permaculture co-inventor, David Holmgren (https://holmgren.com.au/), who spoke about retrofitting the suburbs. David says that future energy and water efficiency in our cities is likely to come through the refitting of existing structures rather than new buildings. He also talked about extended, multi-generational households.
In his keynote address, Josh Byrne, a Perth local, discussed how he approached the development of his suburban home by doing what he could within existing planning and construction systems. Josh has built a grid-connected, energy and water efficient home in the suburbs that is fitted with a photovoltaic array that stores energy in a battery bank and sells excess to the grid. Remaining grid-connected, he said, makes more clean energy available. One of the urban tours following the convergence visited Josh’s home.
Maybe it was because this is the southern hemisphere and Rob Hopkins ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rob_Hopkins?wprov=sfsi1) was in the northern, some suggested, when Rob’s keynote video link showed him upside down on the screen. Rob instigated the Transition Towns movement. After the initial amusement at an upside-down Rob and a rejigging of the image, he responded to questions such as what had been the role of the Transition Towns movement, with its localism, in Britain’s Brexit vote to quit the European Union.

Remembering Bill

On the first day of APC13, Ross Mars, permaculture educator, author and one of the organising team, presented a photo show of the late Bill Mollison. There, we remembered Bill and his work in co-creating and popularising this thing we call permaculture. The presence of people form distant countries as well as those from Australia was testament to the legacy Bill leaves.
An artful illustration by Mt Kembla artist, musician and permaculture educator, April Sampson-Kelly, was displayed, together with some eucalypt foliage, on a corner memorial table to remind us of this practical visionary who had brought something fresh and new to the world.

Education — the continuing conversation

A strong educational theme ran through the days of the convergence.
Permaculture Australia’s Virginia Solomon announced a new arrangement that promises to take Accredited Permaculture Training forward. A media release announcing the arrangement was hastily prepared in the days before the convergence. Keri Chiverall from Centtral Queensland University which now offers permaculture education, was also present. The University postumously awarded Bill Millison and honarary degree and, more recently, awared an honorary degree to David Holmgren.
The long-running conversation about permaculture education continued with a session about what educators include and what could be left out of permaculture introductory and design courses. Designed as an exploratory exercise, no decision about courses was made. Education is always a tricky topic and it was good to see it handled in a collegiate manner.

Sessions aplenty

Workshops were numerous, interesting and often intriguing.
Graham Bell, attending all the way from Scotland, led a discussion about permaculture in cool temperate climates and another about community or, as he terms it, ‘family’.
Workshops indicated the diversity of focus that is permaculture design:

  • a permaculture approach to organising your life and home using permaculture principles was led by Cecilia Macauley from Sydney
  • Erin Young and Gina Price introduced a better approach to making group decisions through sociocracy
  • there was a session on permaculture design using the placemaking approach
  • another looked at blogging your permaculture story
  • the workshop on community food systems found local food groups to be well-connected although lacking is connection on a national scale
  • Beck Lowe, a rural permaculture practitioner from Central Victoria, led a session on animals in a permaculture system.

There was so much more.

The permaculture international

Discussions about International Permaculture Day (IPD) and the Next Big Step (NBS) brought an international flavour to the convergence. Both are managed by an international crew.
IPD, started in Australia around seven years ago by Sydney permaculture educator Penny Pyett (Permaculture Sydney Institute) and Permaculture Sydney North, encourages people to organise events for the Day in their local areas and to notify them on the revived IPD website. More: permacultureday.org.
The Next Big Step in permaculture is an idea stemming from the international permaculture convergences in Cuba and the UK. IPD came from the realisation, as one of its UK instigators said, that ” …permaculture is a global movement but doesn’t act like one”. Planned to be an international organisation, IPD is in its formative phase.

On the road with APC13

Tours, some spanning several days, followed APC13. Some headed out to regional centres while two explored the Perth urban area. The first of these visited innovative urban housing solutions including Josh Byrne’s development, a couple resource-efficient, medium density townhouse developments and the Ecoburbia development in Fremantle where Ecoburbia’s Sharni and Tim have subdivided a large house into comfortable, energy efficient ‘smallhouse’ type apartments complete with a large, shared vege garden, a chook run and even a couple urban goats. The building also functions as a community hub.
It was refreshing to find permaculture people involved in new ideas in urban developments that could house higher densities in human-scale design. Higher population densities are frequently cited as one of the solutions to sustainable cities because they have the potential to reduce the urban sprawl of detached, single-family dwellings that eat into city-fringe farmland and create car-dependent suburbs in which the residents waste a great amount of time and fuel in commuting.
The second tour took us into the urban fringe of the Perth hills, an upland area of bushland and villages where we visited small-scale rural properties including that of Ross and Jenny Mars with its strawbale buildings, bamboos and nursery. After a sumptuous lunch in the shade cast by trees at a family property with a very large food garden, we went on to a diverse, intensively-managed farmlet producing vegetables, fruit and chooks.
The urban tours demonstrated innovative urban development that can house more people per hectare in energy and water efficient dwellings that include the opportunity to produce some of the food the inhabitants eat. They also demonstrated how Perth people are developing productive and comfortable urgan fringe lifestyles out where city blends into country.

On to APC14 — but where?

One the final day of APC13, a new batch of permaculture elders who had made 25 or more years contribution to permaculture or who had made some other significant contribution was welcomed. As the convergence couldn’t make Graham Bell an honorary Australian citizen, the organisers opted to make him an honorary permaculture elder.
APC13 also reestablished the permaculture community service awards for people who have made a significant contribution.
Then it was time to vote on the location of the next APC, in 2018. There were three contenders — Brisbane, represented by veteran permaculture educator from Northey Street City Farm, Dick Copeman; the south-east region of NSW; and Auckland, over in Aotearoa-New Zealand.
Rather than voting with the conventional show of hands, Earthcare Education’s Robyn Clayfield, from Crystal Waters Permaculture Village in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, instigated a sociogram in which people voted by standing along a line. The first vote eliminated Brisbane. Those who had supported that city as venue for APC14 then reallocated their vote. Would it be the south-east or would we be crossing the Tasman again as we had done for APC11?
No trans-Tasman trip this time, though. APC14 will be held in the south east where it will be based around Canberra and extend to the NSW south coast. There’s lots of hard work ahead for the south coast crew.

One big thanks

It is the unplanned, the change encounters, the conversations over dinner that compete with the formal proceedings to make permaculture convergences memorable. And so it was with APC13. There, in the big dining room at the Adventure Centre, over and after breakfast, lunch and dinner, numerous conversations around the tables brought people together, put faces to social media friends and reunited acquaintances.

So… this is for the imaginative, hard-working and most likely thoroughly-exhausted crew who organised APC13 — one huge THANK YOU! (with exclamation mark and applause). That’s not only from the appreciative person writing this piece, but — can I be so presumptuous? — from all of this diverse, widely distributed tribe we call permaculture.

More:

Futurist at APC13 highlights how younger generations are different…

 …and why permaculture must adapt to their world

Story and photos by Russ Grayson, February 2016

IT WAS GOOD to have someone unexpected opening Australasian Permaculture Convergence 13 (APC13) as keynote speaker. That’s because she provided a much-needed perspective for permaculture practitioners and because it addressed past comments about the ‘same old’ keynote speakers at convergence after convergence. Annie Macbeth was not one of the ‘same old’. She was different.
A middle aged woman with short red hair and wearing a bright yellow jacket, Annie described her life to those assembled in the big hall at the Swan Valley Adventure Centre where APC13 was held on the Perth outskirts.
“I’m a futurist, a consultant”, she said. “I look for patterns. I look for what we see and don’t see. I look at social and political trends around the world. Futurism is value-driven. It is not materialist”.
Futurism is one of those new professions that have appeared as citizens, business and government grapple with the challenge of making sense of, and finding their way, in a rapidly-changing world. It is perhaps in Alvin Toffler’s 1970 book, Future Shock, that the profession of futurist can find its origins. That was the time when computerisation started to change society and working life, when the neoliberal model of capitalism started its ascendency and when young people took to the hills as the ‘back to the land‘ or ‘alternative’ movement that, in Australia, involved tens of thousands. It is also the time when permaculture first appeared in the form of the book, Permaculture One (followed around a year later by Permaculture Two). In recent times the practice of futurism has seen a wealth of books and websites published, including the 2016 book, The Inevitable, by Kevin Kelly, who was founding editor of Wired magazine, who was hired by Stewart Brand to edit the Whole Earth Catalog in 1983 and who started the Cool Tools website, a sort-of online successor to the Whole Earth Catalog.
Annie said that she still lives her ‘hippie values‘. Such a statement might seem odd to some at a permaculture convergence, however global trends are stimulating many of that generation — (in Australia, many refer to themselves as having been ‘alternatives’ rather than hippies) — to revisit those values because as well as an inward-looking focus, for many they were about building a better society and a better world. As that, those values Annie referred to have parallels with permaculture’s ethics. The appearance of books like Margaret Nash’s Rebellious Aging attest to this return to past values to address the present times.
Annie’s comments about the pace of technological change and how emerging generations are different to those that went before are relevant to permaculture educators and practitioners because permaculture is a multi-generational phenomena. Understanding the differences will determine how relevant the design system is perceived to be by younger generations and how it must change to better fit newer priorities and ways of life. During her talk it became evident that Annie has high regard for permaculture.

Change creates fear, people look backwards

To speak of the rapid pace of change today is nothing surprising. We live immersed within it. We try to cope with the disruption to yesterday’s institutions, beliefs and values that it leaves in its wake.
“The rapid pace of change creates fear”, Annie explained. “It impacts on personal life and overwhealms. Because of this, people look to the past and we see a gap between those who are fearful of the future and those who like change”.
Looking to the past is not an alien practice in permaculture. How often do we see comments on permaculture’s social media extolling the value of some past technology or harking back to some past lifestyle? Good things are to be found there, however all too often what is not mentioned is the lack of opportunity, the diseases then without cure, the lack of personal mobility and an unfamiliarity with the world.
Past lifestyles were not all home pickling and bottling, tending the chooks and vege patch. Poverty was as pervasive as it is today, the religious brand you were born into could be a determinant of opportunities open to you, and a university education was the province of the well-off. The middle class was smaller, meaning that fewer were affluent. The industrial working class was large. The parents’ social class usually delineated the opportunities available to their children. A good point, though, was that housing was affordable.

The technological driver

“Technology drives change”, Annie asserted. It accelerates trends.
Yet, despite its disruption technology offers solutions. Technology in the form of mobile telecommunications is now of value in alleviating developing country poverty. Cheap mobile phones enable farmers to monitor prices for produce and to sell at the best time. The internet connects people to the world and in so doing exposes them to useful information and knowledge of what happens elsewhere. That latter point has much to do with why paranoid regimes that are fearful of change block social media and many websites. Now, a growing number of people with access to electricity and telecommunications networks can access the world even though they might live in a village.
In the technologically developed parts of the world, technology has changed how we work. That will be clear to those whose working life began before computing started to change the economy in the seventies. Computerisation created new types of jobs at the same time it automated others out of existence. The question now is whether it will continue to do so. Although it destroys, technology creates new ways of working, such as co-working venues, makerspaces with their computer numerically-controlled machines and platform cooperativism (and here), online platforms structured as cooperatives that are owned and democratically controlled by employees, customers and users.
“Technology has no inherent value”, Annie said. Neither ‘good’ nor ‘bad’, it enables people to live in some virtual world because, in some situations, that world is better than the real world. It also blends those worlds. Augmented reality on a mobile device, she said as an example of emerging technology,  blends big data and the real world by adding an augmenting layer of information to the world before our eyes.
The economic system is no longer sustainable, Annie said in positing permaculture as of value because of its focus on sharing and working together. This leads to the question of how platform cooperativism could be used to create an economy around permaculture that benefits practitioners and creates a sustainable economic base and livelihoods in permaculture.

A new leader generation

“It used to be that government looked after people. The job was the most meaningful thing in life. That’s now gone”, Annie told the audience.
This is the reality faced by the generations that are now shaping social trends and assuming leadership roles in society. It also affects many born into the baby boomer generation who are choosing to continue working so as to make ends meet. Many cannot afford retirement. This creates difficulties for newer generations, said Annie.
Annie spoke of ‘Generation Z’, the demographic cohort following the Millennials or, as they are also known, Generation Y. There are no precise dates for when this cohort started, although demographers use mid-1990s to early-2000s as birth years for the generation. Whereas the baby boomer generation, which was the first permaculture generation, it that gave birth to the design system, was once the most populous, Generation Z is now more numerous with two billion entering the workforce in 2015, according to Annie. This generation is driven by morals and a sense of justice, she said, in explaining that this comes from their global online connectivity.
“They have access to other people’s realities and this leads to an understanding of the world. They listen less to media reports and have more direct contact.”
At the same time, suicide and social problems co-exist within this generation. This might be attributable to a despair-without-hope that their world will improve and to the dissonance between the limitlessness of the online world and what they pick up in school and experience in life.
For this generation, said Annie, loyalty to institutions is a concept without sense. This will only be reinforced with the increasing casualisation of working life and the income insecurity of part-time, project and contract work as well as by the impact of workplace automation as robotic systems and software replace even middle class workers, as we already see happening. Loyalty to employer has no place in such a shifting working life. Jobs will be short term stopovers and people will likely have several careers through life.
Generation Z lives in the moment. Unlike previous generations they can operate on more than one channel at the same time, as we see when they are listening to someone while clicking at their mobile phones. This generation is collaborative and connected, Annie said.
It is also the generation that will inherit the permaculture design system, and I deduct from Annie’s talk that the design system, like everything else in society, will have to adapt to retain its relevance.

A changing climate

Annie addressed more in her presentation.
Water will be the challenge in our changing global climate, she believes. Climate change is impacting with “unexpected severity and is speeding-up.” Weather patterns are moving south and extreme events intensifying.
“Nature won’t adapt in time with the rate of change”, she warned. Because of this, ecosystems are changing as species of plant and animal migrate out and others migrate in.
Perhaps this is where permaculture will prove of value. Permaculture mixes species in recombinant ecologies. Through revegetation, permaculture practitioners could create a deliberately designed ‘new nature’ adaptable to changing climatic conditions. While some, especially those engaged in restoration ecology seek to hold ecosystems in some kind of statis denoted by existing species mixes in existing ecosystems, permaculture, by cooperating with a changing nature, could explore new ecosystems adapted to changing climatic realities. Although Annie did not say so, large-scale revegetation of the type proposed by some permaculture practitioners and educators would be a form of geoengineering with potential to affect regional weather and climate.
Annie also warned about the use of statistics. Citing Einstein’s comment that the things that matter most can’t be counted, she warned us to check sources, to “peel the layers back” and find who packages them when it comes to numbers. Sage advise for a time of claim and counterclaim, dubious marketing practices, fake news and ‘alternative facts’ otherwise known as lies.

Upgrading permaculture

Annie’s work as a futurist well-places her to point to emerging trends in society, economy and ecology that are reshaping the world-we-once-knew. With this information in mind when the recurring discussions around permaculture education, organisational structure and the other conversations resurface, we can perhaps adapt our ideas around permaculture to include the trends she identifies.
I was surprised to find a futurist leading the convergence’s keynote speaker list. It was timely, though, because Annie’s was knowledge coming into permaculture from outside. All too often, people in organisations resist change and new ideas, especially if those ideas contradict existing beliefs. People within organisations and systems of belief and practice can form echo chambers in which acceptable ideas are bounced back and forth and challenging ideas excluded and ridiculed. That didn’t happen with Annie. The audience was appreciative of her insights.
There’s a long-lived meme purported to originate with a North American indigenous tribe (though I don’t know if that is true) that proposes we think ahead seven generations when planning something. I think seven generations is a time span too hard for many to envisage. Instead, I suggest we focus on a timeline easier to imagine and plan for the world likely to be inhabited by our grandchildren. I should point out that for many of the baby boomer generation, this is what motivates their social, environmental and permaculture work.
That world is the one that Generation Z will inherit. And just as the world many of us inhabit today is substantially different to that of our youth — it is substantially different to the world we inhabited only 35 or so years ago when permaculture first appeared — so will the world of Generation Z be substantially different to our contemporary world. This suggests detailed planning to be rather pointless. What we in permaculture might do best is work to build that resilient world in which Generation Z can achieve a modest prosperity.

More…

Registrations open for IPC India 2017


Time to book your seat for the 13th International Permaculture Conference and Convergence in India, Nov 2017.
EARLY BIRD rate available for all (Indian and International) until March 31st. Don’t miss out and join everyone on this beautiful Permaculture journey!
 
[button_link url=”http://ipcindia2017.org/participants.php” target=”blank” style=”blue” title=”” class=”” id=”” onclick=””]Click here to register for IPD India 2017[/button_link]
 

APC13 — The West Shows How It's Done

APC13

APC – those present at the time the photo was made. Others came on a daily basis so not everyone is in the photo.

Story and photo by Russ Grayson, November 2016

We came expecting West Australian warmth. We found winter. Perth in October can be a cold place.
That might have been the weather but it was not the warmth of the welcome extended to interstate permaculture practitioners by their Western Australian colleagues. Their organisation of APC13 — the biennial Australasian Permaculture Convergences held in Australia and New Zealand — made the event run smoothly. The event and accommodation was based at the Swan Valley Adventure Centre, the same venue where the 1996 international permaculture convergence was held.
Setting the mood for the convergence was the Saturday public open day that launched the event. Thousands attended to view a sweeping range of exhibits and talks and to hear and dance to — and that dancing included permaculture co-inventor, David Holmgren — Western Australia and permaculture’s own Formidable Vegetable Sound System as they blasted the culture back into perma-culture.
People came from overseas — Xavier from Chang Mai in Thailand, Graham Bell and partner from Scotland, Finn from Auckland and Courtney and Robina McCurdy from Golden Bay at the top of Aotearoa-New Zealand’s South Island.

Keynotes a Little Different

APC13 was a little different to past convergences. Rather than an established permaculture personality making the first of the keynote addresses, Perth futurist, Annie Macbeth, described how permaculture can adapt to the lifeways of different generations, their priorities and their use of technology. It was refreshing to hear a different perspective on permaculture and society.
Also making keynotes was permaculture co-inventor, David Holmgren, who spoke about retrofitting the suburbs. David says that future building in our cities is likely to be the refitting of existing structures for energy and water efficiency rather than new buildings. He also talked about extended, multi-generational households.
In his keynote address, Josh Byrne, a Perth local, discussed how he approached the development of his suburban home by doing what he could within existing planning and construction systems. One of the urban tours following the convergence visited Josh’s home.
Maybe it was because this is the southern hemisphere and Rob Hopkins was in the northern, some suggested when Rob’s keynote video link showed him upside down on the screen. Rob instigated the Transition Towns movement. After the initial amusement at an upside-down Rob and a rejigging of the image, he responded to questions such as what had been the role of the Transition Towns movement, with its localism, in Britain’s Brexit vote to quit the European Union.

Remembering Bill

On the first day of APC13, Ross Mars, one of the organising team, produced and presented a photo show of the late Bill Mollison. There, we remembered Bill and his work in co-creating and popularising this thing we call permaculture. That we were all gathered there in a distant part of the country, getting on for 40 years since he unleashed the design system on the world, was testament to the legacy he leaves.
Mt Kembla artist, musician and permaculture educator, April Sampson-Kelly, produced an artful illustration of Bill and, together with some eucalypt foliage, it was placed on a corner memorial table to remind us of one of the practical visionaries who had brought something fresh and new to the world.

A Continuing Conversation — Education

A strong educational theme ran through the days of the convergence.
Permaculture Australia’s Virginia Solomon announced the new arrangements that promise to take Accredited Permaculture Training forward. A media release, hastily prepared in the days before the convergence, was distributed [read the media release here]. Central Queensland University, which offers permaculture education, was also present in the form of Keri Chiveralls.
The long-running conversation about permaculture education continued with a session early in the convergence about what people include and what could be left out of permaculture introductory and design courses. Even though no decision about courses was made, this is always a tricky topic and it was good to see it handled in a collegiate manner.
Click to download the presentation (.ppt file, 340Kb)

Sessions Aplenty

Sessions were numerous, interesting and often intriguing.
Graham Bell, attending all the way from Scotland, led a discussion about permaculture in cool temperate climates and another about community or, as he terms it, family.
Other sessions focused on: a permaculture approach to organising your life and home using permaculture principles, led by Cecilia Macauley from Sydney; Erin Young and Gina Price introduced a better approach to making group decisions through sociocracy; there was a session on permaculture design using the placemaking approach; blogging your permaculture story; community food systems which found local food groups to be well-connected although lacking is connection on a national scale; Beck Lowe, a rural permaculture practitioner from Central Victoria led a session on animals in a permaculture system. There was so much more.
Discussions about International Permaculture Day (IPD) and the Next Big Step (NBS) brought an international flavour to the convergence. Both are managed by an international crew. IPD, started in Australia around seven years ago by Sydney permaculture educator Penny Pyett (Sydney Permaculture Institute) and Permaculture Sydney North, is seeking people to stimulate events for the Day in their local areas and to notify them on the revived IPD website (permacultureday.org).
The Next Big Step for permaculture brought the idea stemming from the international convergences in Cuba and the UK to APC13. IPD is in its formative phase, involving people from the UK, Australia and the USA. It seeks global permaculture solutions to the global scale of the big issues that confront us. IPD came from the realisation, as one of its UK instigators said, that ” …permaculture is a global movement but doesn’t act like one”.

The Tours

Tours, some spanning several days, followed APC13. Some headed out to regional centres while two explored the Perth urban area. The first of these visited innovative urban housing solutions including Josh Byrne’s development, a couple resource-efficient, medium density townhouse developments and the Ecoburbia development in Fremantle where Sharni and Tim have subdivided a large house as a comfortable, ‘smallhouse’ type development complete with energy efficiency, large vege garden, a chook run and even a couple urban goats. It also functions as a type of community hub.
It was refreshing to find permaculture people involved in new ideas in urban development that could house higher densities in human-scale design.
The second tour took us into the urban fringe of the Perth hills, an upland area of bush and villages where we visited small-scale rural properties including that of Ross and Jenny Mars with its strawbale buildings, bamboo and nursery. After a sumptuous lunch in the shade cast by trees at a family property, we went on to a diverse, intensively-managed property producing vegetables and chooks.
The urban tours demonstrated the potential for innovative urban development in housing and food production that catered for needs ranging from city lifestyles with city-based work to the rural life on the fringe where city meets country.

On To APC14… But Where?

One the final day of APC13, a new batch of permaculture elders who had made 25 or more years contribution to permaculture or who had made some other significant contribution was welcomed. As the convergence couldn’t make Graham Bell an honorary Australian citizen, the organisers opted to make him an honorary permaculture elder.
APC13 also reestablished the permaculture community service awards for people who have made a significant contribution.
Then it was time to vote of the location of the next APC, in 2018. There were three contenders — Brisbane, represented by veteran permaculture educator from Northey Street City Farm, Dick Copeman; the the south-east region of NSW, the NSW south coast to Canberra; and Auckland, over in Aotearoa-New Zealand.
Rather than voting with the conventional show of hands, Earthcare Education’s Robyn Clayfield, from Crystal Waters Permaculture Village in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, instigated a sociogram in which people vote by standing along a line. The first vote eliminated Brisbane and those who had supported that city as venue for APC14 then reallocated their vote. Would it be the south-east or would we be crossing the Tasman again as we had done for APC11?
No trans-Tasman trip this time, though. APC14 will be held in the south east, between the NSW south coast and Canberra, with that city likely to be the venue for events. Lots of hard work ahead for the south coast crew.

One Big Thanks

Some of the APC organising crew

At the final session, some of the APC13 organising crew stepped on stage to receive the applause and cheers of attendees for their hard work in making the event happen.


It is the unplanned, the change encounters, the conversations over dinner that compete with the formal proceedings to make permaculture convergences memorable. And so it was with APC13. There, in the big dining room at the Adventure Centre, over and after breakfast, lunch and dinner, were numerous conversations around the tables. Here, we caught up with people unseen since our last convergence, with people we hear about but seldom see, with people new to us. We learned of their lives, their work, their aspirations. And, here, faces were put to those Facebook friends we have only online contact with.
So… this is for the imaginative, hard-working and most likely thoroughly-exhausted crew who organised APC13 — one large THANK YOU! (with exclamation mark) not only from this appreciative person writing this piece, but — can I be so presumptuous? — from all of this diverse, widely distributed tribe we call permaculture.

Latest APC13 News

David Holmgren, Keynote Speaker at APC13


It’s all getting very exciting! We have just secured Keynote addresses from Permaculture co-originator David Holmgren and ABC Gardening Australia presenter Josh Byrne.
David will be speaking on “Retrosuburbia: revitalising the landscapes and communities that will raise the next generation”. His talk will focus on the following questions:

  • Why retrofitting, not new build, should be the focus of most permaculture design.
  • Why the suburbs should be the focus of most permaculture design.
  • Why building better households rather than houses should be a strategic focus of permaculture activism.
  • Why garden and urban agriculture has such a strong future in a world of climate chaos, peak energy and economic contraction.

David will highlight a very diverse range of DIY action in the suburbs with and without the permaculture label.

Josh Byrne, Keynote Speaker at APC13


Following on from David Holmgren’s opening address, Josh’s talk will focus on “Mainstream application of Permaculture principles in commercial and civic projects”. Josh will showcase some of the projects his team have designed and implemented – from community gardens, adventure playgrounds and recreational playspace to large-scale housing developments and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
These keynote addresses will take place as the first sessions on Wednesday morning at APC13.
For more details of the program and presentations visit www.apc13.org.

Wow… we're online at last!

apc-website

Story by Ross Mars, convenor of APC13

And now you can follow us as we invent the thirteenth Australasian Permaculture Convergence — APC13 in Perth, Western Australia.
We’re going to add new information as it becomes available, including how to register to attend this event that will bring together permaculture practitioners from across the country.
You can already apply to register a workshop and we’ll soon be posting info on courses and tours.
So… what are you waiting for? Click… read… think… plan — and we’ll see you in 2016.
[button_link url=”http://www.apc13.org” target=”blank” style=”blue” title=”” class=”” id=”” onclick=””]Visit APC13’s new website[/button_link]

Update 23 December 2015…

You can now register and subscribe to the APC13 News and Updates. At least subscribe then you can be sent relevant info as it comes to hand. Please also join up on our facebook group, as we intend to post regular info about the program of events.
While you can register you can’t finish by paying for things such as the convergence, tours and courses. We are still sorting out the payment gateway and hope to resolve soon.
The website now has some info about the four different tours on offer, as well as the various courses before and after. We are not offering a PDC beforehand, as part of the formal APC13 program, and would encourage everyone to attend a local one in their own state or region. However, Greg Knibbs is organising one just before, in case overseas visitors need to do PDC.
You can now send in your abstracts should you wish to present. The guidelines and deadlines are listed on website.
We are looking at presenters and workshops for the public open day on Sunday (The Expo). If you have suggestions or can run a hands-on workshop please let us know.
There is an early-bird registration (end June). If anyone has words of inspiration please send them along to me to add to the fantastic statements already on website.
Hope everyone has a safe and wonderful Xmas and New Year.
 
Kind regards,
Dr Ross Mars. Wastewater specialist. Permaculture Teacher, Author, Designer
Water Installations Pty Ltd,  — Greywater Reuse Systems
Candlelight Farm Permaculture Centre 
Mundaring Ecostay
Red Planet Plants
0439971213