What does effective permaculture aid look like?

What does effective permaculture aid look like?

In our monthly video interview series, PA Members Morag Gamble, John Champagne and Lachie McKenzie share their experiences working with community permaculture projects across the globe. Key lessons learnt include:

  • community led projects and solutions are key to success
  • youth led activities are effective to bring positive change, and
  • the importance of promoting and re-learning Indigenous knowledge and traditional skills.

The panel members

Lachlan McKenzie (Dip. Permaculture) is the Co-Director of Permatil Global. He has been immersed in permaculture since completing his Permaculture Design Course (PDC) in 1994. His permaculture adventures took him to Timor-Leste in 2001 working for 5 years with Timorese NGO Permatil and consulting for International NGOs providing trainings (including PDCs), writing curriculums, creating educational materials and demonstration sites. This culminated in co-writing and producing the Permaculture Guidebook from Timor-Leste in three languages. An accompanying bi-lingual Permaculture Facilitator’s Handbook and permaculture educational DVD were created working with IDEP Foundation in Bali and post-tsunami Aceh, Indonesia. He volunteered with the Permaculture Association Britain for two years, working with permaculture projects in the UK, France and Portugal. He is a core member of the International Permaculture Education Network (IPEN) project, current Chairperson for Permaculture South Australia and loves to keep his hands dirty in the garden.

Morag Gamble is an award-winning international permaculture teacher, speaker, designer and practitioner. She is the founder of the Permaculture Education Institute and Director of the registered charity, the Ethos Foundation. Morag is based at a UN World Habitat Award winning permaculture village in Australia and has taught permaculture in more than 20 countries over the past 25 years.  She leads the Permaculture Educators Program – the first comprehensive combined online Permaculture Design Certificate and Permaculture Teacher Certificate. Morag is co-founder of the iconic Northey Street City Farm in Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast University Community Garden and the Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network and many other local food initiatives around the world. She leads permaculture camps for schools, nature kids programs for young children, and mentors many young people in permaculture.

John Champagne (Dip Permaculture) has more than 25 years permaculture experience in teaching and projects in Australia and internationally, including Indonesia and India. John is recognized as an elder within the Permaculture Movement in Australia  and continues to be active in permaculture.  He was on the Board of Permaculture Australia for three years and is the Convener of PA’s Permafund, a registered charity that receives and distributes funds to permaculture projects worldwide. In 2018 John was one of the drivers and organisers of the Australasian Permaculture Convergence (APC14) held in Canberra. He is based at Brogo Permaculture Gardens in NSW.

Video interview: What does effective permaculture aid look like?

​More information:

PA’s PERMAFUND provides small grants to community permaculture projects across the globe. They have funded 51 projects in 15 countries with a focus on food security, regenerative agriculture practices, seed sovereignty, women’s empowerment, and permaculture education to name a few. Donations over $2 are tax deductible in Australia.

PERMATIL GLOBAL is making permaculture tools and knowledge accessible to everyone across the globe, working with people to strengthen food sovereignty, facilitate environmental regeneration, mitigate climate change and build resilient and sustainable communities everywhere.

THE TROPICAL PERMACULTURE GUIDEBOOK is a comprehensive resource of permaculture, food sovereignty and environmental regeneration strategies.

ETHOS FOUNDATION, in partnership with the PERMACULTURE EDUCATION INSTITUTE, is supporting local permaculture initiatives in East Africa. They are committed to supporting community led programs that are guided by the ethics – earth care • people care • fair share.

Permafund projects making a big difference

Permafund projects making a big difference

PA’s Permafund provides small grants of less than $2000 AUD to community permaculture projects across the globe. Since 2012, we have funded 51 projects in 15 countries that support food security, seed sovereignty, regenerative farming practices and water harvesting.

Some of the volunteer Permafund team members

After reviewing a record number of applications, we are thrilled to announce thirteen successful grant recipients for 2020/2021. A huge thank you to our generous donors and to the Permafund volunteer team (pictured left) for their amazing work coordinating the grant program.

We have four more projects we’d like to fund on the waitlist. If you have thought about donating to Permafund or would like to organize a fundraising activity to assist please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.

2020/2021 Permafund grant projects

  • Aranya India aims to promote permaculture farming practices to create ecological, sustainable and regenerative  livelihoods. Permafund funding will support the design and development of permaculture farms for small and marginal farmers, with a focus on female farmers in rural India.

Emas hitam Indonesia is a grassroots permaculture non-government organization (NGO) that aims to promote, support and develop regenerative solutions to poverty and development across Indonesia. This project supports training and seeds for food security in Bali, an area hard hit from the fallout of Covid-19 travel restrictions.

  • Fambidzanai Zimbabwe supports food and income security projects through sustainable land use management, training and the facilitation of market opportunities for organic produce. The Permafund project will set up a biogas model plant in Harare for learning and replication in rural and peri-urban communities.
  • Foundation for Research and Sustainable Development (FRSD), India is an NGO devoted to the preservation of the natural diversity of plant and animal species and their habitats, through the prevention of environmental degradation and destruction. Permafund funding will support the training and set up of permaculture kitchen herbal gardens for rural and Indigenous women in rural areas, including the purchase of plants, biofertilisers, training and the translation and printing of booklets into Tamil language.

IRDS India is an NGO that envisages a society where the less privaledged are socially, economically and politically empowered. The funded project will support tribal farmers in rural Tamil Nadu with training on permaculture and low input farming, Indigenous seeds and a seed bank, and materials for natural pest control.

Laikipia Permaculture Centre (LPC) in Kenya is a partnership of 11 Maasai women groups with  770 individual members who have been pushed by climate change, severe environmental degradation and change of land available for grazing to find alternative livelihoods in drylands. The grant will be used in land rehabilitation through the planting of trees, developing food forests in established groups and permaculture training.

  • Poret Zimbabwe core activities are in permaculture practices both at our Centre and in the villages in which they work, including natural resource management, water catchment, indigenous seed saving and organic farming. The Permafund grant will support the purchase of seed tubers to ‘bring the Madhumbe tuber back’, including training and training and construction of swales to assist with growing the tubers.
  • OTEPIC Kenya is a community based organization sharing knowledge and innovative approaches on permaculture, renewable energy and peace initiatives, with a focus on women and youth groups. The grant will assist with training and setting up of bee hives for 100 community members, as well as promoting the value of bees as pollinators in mixed rural agriculture settings.

SCDI Kenya aims to empower smallholder farmers to lift themselves out of poverty and hunger with sustainable livelihood, environmental conservation, food security and water & sanitation projects. The Permafund project will support 200 small holder farmers with green manure seeds and training to improve soil fertility, farm planning and crop rotation.

Sustainable Kenya aims to build the resilience of sustainable community food through transformation of healthy soils and promotion of native plants for pollination. Permafund funding will support a regenerative agriculture project for marginalized communities that have been affected by Covid-19 with seeds, tools, native plants and permaculture training.

Turtle Survival Alliance India has a focus on conservation efforts with local communities to safeguard threatened freshwater species in four (of the five) turtle priority areas in India. The project will offer training in vermicomposting and food growing to reduce the reliance on aquatic wildlife for food.

White Mountain Tanzania is part of the White Mountain, Maasai community-led initiative which aims to regenerate the land and livelihoods around Mount Kilimanjaro. This funding will support the training and set up of community food gardens based on permaculture techniques in ten 10 villages of Amboseli which have been impacted with reduce tourism due to COVID.

WORD Trust India improves the lives of communities through health, safe water, sanitation and sustainable development projects. This funding will support training on preparation of vermi-composting, construction on compost pits and supply of seeds and saplings for growing for rural marginal women farmers in Tamil Nadu.


Permaculture for Refugees

Permaculture for Refugees

A small team of permaculture practitioners are developing culturally appropriate permaculture resources, with a focus on teaching in displacement settings & crowded urban areas.

Led by international permaculture pioneer & Permafund Patron Rosemary Morrow, four days were spent in the Blue Mountains recently to progress the teaching resources.

My years have shown that there are few materials available in translated languages to the participants we teach. This workshop will ensure accurate & appropriate training materials, which at the time of COVID-19 is even more essential to support distance/online training and community reach even more camp and urban settlement settings”, Rowe Morrow

Highlights of the workshop also included sessions with Permaculture for Refugees members BASD in Bangladesh, Sarah from Green ReLeaf in the Philippines, Blue Ribbon in Malaysia, Kat Lavers, and Morag Gamble sharing information on Permayouth.

Professional development sessions on teaching online, developing videos, cartoons, written and visual training materials were completed to assist with the resource development.

A new booklet ‘Teaching Permaculture in Refugee Camps‘ by Rowe Morrow and Ruth Harvey was also launched at the workshop.

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P4R SEA member Sarah Queblatin from Green ReLeaf in the Philippines briefs the Blue Mountains participants via Zoom.

Permaculture Australia, including Permafund, are well representated with members Kym Blechynden, Jed Walker, Greta Carroll, Morag Gamble and Sarah Boulle all involved in the project.

“PA staff and members are thrilled to be involved withthe Permaculture for Refugees SEA activities. By partnering together we’ve been able to produce appropriate teaching resources for local NGO’s working in refugee camps and informal settlements – improving access to information by communities across the globe who often need it the most“, Kym Blechynden, PA.

These teaching resources will be translated and made available for use by communities in early 2021. The key to making these resources accessible to refugees are their translation into multiple languages. Funds are required towards covering the cost of translations, so all donations are welcome and gratefully received. Please contact hello@permcaultureaustralia.org.au for more information

PA’s Permafund members Greta Carroll, Rowe Morrow (Patron), Jed Walker & Kym Blechynden at the Blue Mountains workshop.

A huge thank you to the Blue Mountains Food Coop, Quakers Service Victoria and Permaculture Australia Permafund for their financial support to the workshop, all of the facilitators and participants for volunteering their time and travel costs, and to lead organisers Rowe Morrow and Jed Walker.


For more information:

This article relates to the three permaculture ethics (Earth care, People Care & Fair Care), Use and Value Diversity, and Use Edges & Value the Marginal. More information on the permaculture ethics and principles can be found here.

Permaculture 4 Refugees South East Asia is a network of permaculture aid workers in Australia, Bangladesh, Malaysia and the Philippines, including members of Permaculture Australia and PA’s Permafund. We work in partnership with local NGO’s to support permaculture training and resource development in displacement and crowded urban settings. Donations are required and gratefully received to assist with the translation of resources into multiple languages, contact hello@permacultureaustralia.org.au to find out how to donate.

PA’s Permafund provides small grants to community permaculture groups across Australia and internationally. Since 2012 we have provided 38 grants in 14 countries, with another 12 projects being announced on the 1st November 2020. Donations over $2 are tax deductible in Australia. Find out more including how to donate here.

Rosemary (Rowe) Morrow is a permaculture pioneer, Permafund patron, author and teacher. For almost 40 years Rowe has worked extensively with farmers and villagers in Africa, Central and South East Asia and Eastern Europe and to communities experiencing the serious effects of climate change. When not working overseas, Rowe is based in Katoomba, NSW and is an active member of Permaculture for Refugees.

The Great Stretch Jean Challenge

The Great Stretch Jean Challenge

Hands up if you know what this strange looking item is?

These remarkable images are from our PA member Meg McGowan, Permacoach, of her stretch jeans that have been hot composted for one year. Yikes. Photos of the jeans have gone viral being viewed millions of times and featured in online news stories across Australia.

I have been using my composting systems to experiment with some of the things that we ultimately contribute to the waste stream. This pair of stretch jeans would usually have been repurposed but I sacrificed them to the compost to see how much of the fabric was cotton and how much was plastic. Our disposal options are to burn them and release toxic fumes or to not burn them and have them persist in our environment, possibly forever, as micro plastic particles… Our best option is to take good care of the clothing we already have and to refuse to add anything to our wardrobe until we actually need to replace something.” Meg McGowan

To raise awareness of plastic waste, Meg is putting out this challenge:

Instead of buying your next pair of stretch jeans, keep wearing what you already own & donate part/all of that money instead to Permafund – Permaculture International Public Fund. You will have saved money, reduced the load of plastic waste the planet needs to deal with AND helped people learn how to grow healthy food, build resilient communities and cycle energy. Talk about multiple functions!”

And as an added bonus, the person making the largest donation gets to decide what happens to the jeans! Meg will cover postage to anywhere on the planet if the winner chooses to use them as a teaching aid or a work of art for example.

Meg has set up a donation link for the Great Stretch Jean Challenge donations to Permafund here. We look forward to seeing how your challenge progresses.

More information:

This article relates to the three permaculture ethics of People Care, Earth care and Fair Share, as well as the permaculture principles including Produce No Waste, and Apply Self regulation and accept feedback. You can find out more about the ethics and principles here

PA’s Permafund provides grants for permaculture community projects across the globe. Since 2012, 38 projects have been funded in 14 countries with a focus on improving food security, water harvesting, increasing seed diversity and building soil health. Find out including how to donate here.

Earth care, People care & Fair share

Earth care, People care & Fair share

Permaculture Australia is registered as a charity with the ACNC operating as Permaculture International Public Fund (Permafund). Since 2012, Permafund has funded 38 community permaculture projects in 14 countries including Kenya, Nepal, Bangladesh, Tanzania, Timor Leste, Indonesia, Afghanistan and Cambodia.

Permafund has received double the usual number of applications in this year’s micro grant round. The 37 projects applying for funding of up tp $2000 are mostly concerned with food growing. Countries like India have seen city workers pouring back to their villages and putting pressure on local food supplies. Other proposals include fish farming, women’s livelihoods and saving endangered turtles by using riparian permaculture techniques. 

Permafund has received double the usual number of applications in this year’s micro grant round. The 37 projects applying for funding of up tp $2000 are mostly concerned with food growing. Countries like India have seen city workers pouring back to their villages and putting pressure on local food supplies. Other proposals include fish farming, women’s livelihoods and saving endangered turtles by using riparian permaculture techniques. 

The Permafund team scrutinises and assesses all the proposals, often contacting applicants for clarification about their plans and the techniques employed. Priority is given to those with the greatest need, with a good concept and implementation plan, in line with permaculture principles and with conservation value. 

Beekkeeping, a biogas plant, gardens in refugee camps and revival of traditional foods such as the madhumba tuber are examples of the range of projects to consider.

While the team will have the difficult task of rejecting some applications, an increase in donations this year will mean that more communities than before will be successful.

When asked why Permafund was so successful, our volunteer Grants Coordinator Jed replied:

Permafund is able to scrutinise on-the-ground projects to ensure they produce a good yield and distribute it fairly to those most in need. By funding projects directly and ensuring permaculture techniques are properly used we know that all funds raised result in healthy landscapes. Increasingly we see groups who have the knowledge and skills but lack the resources to progress their food-growing plans…. Permafund makes their designs a reality which is very satisfying”

A huge thank you to all of our donors, including a recent donation from our supporters at Pip Media and Pip Magazine.

“At Pip Media we follow the permaculture ethics of earth care, people care and fair share – by donating to Permafund we share some of the profits that come through the work we do… We know the donation will go to projects that have been carefully selected by the great team behind PA’s Permafund – Permaculture International Public Fund whom share similar values to Pip.” Robyn, Editor Pip Magazine.

Thanks Robyn and team Pip!

The Permafund team is currently hard at work assessing the applications and can’t wait to announce the successful grants on 30th October 2020. In the meantime, you can find out more about Permafund and the projects we support, including how to donate here

Earth care, People care & Fair share

Permaculture grants close Sunday 30th August

PA’s Permafund has run five grant rounds since 2012 – funding 38 permaculture projects in 14 countries around the world.

Permaculture projects are more important than ever to help keep communities safe and strong. This year our focus is on the theme of resilient communities.  This means projects that prepare a community to withstand and recover from disasters such as fire, food shortages, cyclones, drought and diseases.

Applications for our current grant round close Sunday 30th August with grants of up to $2000 available for community projects. More information including how to apply can be found here.

A huge thank you to our wonderful donors and all of the communities we’ve worked with who are doing such amazing work (pictured below). 🌿🌻



Permaculture Australia is registered as a charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission ABN 13 196 056 495, operating as Permaculture International Public Fund (Permafund). Donations over $2 are tax deductible and can be made here.