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 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 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.

Guest post: Permaculture and Ethical Investment

Guest post: Permaculture and Ethical Investment

Miles (right) in Lesotho, Southern Africa.

Miles began his career in 1968 at Perth Kings Park and Botanical Gardens WA, before completing a PDC in 1983 with Bill Mollison. His roles have included Secretary,  Earth Bank Society; Plant nursery manager, Zaytuna Farm; NASAA inspector, Co- housing and MO development; Permaculture Advisor, Lesotho; and volunteering in multiple Australian Indigenous communities. He is also a PA member and volunteer with the Permafund team, and a Permaculture Elder. Miles has Diplomas in both Horticulture & Permaculture, and an Associate Degree in Training Development.  He lives at the Tasman Ecovillage, Southern Tasmania.


In the following article, Miles recalls some of his experiences during permaculture’s formative years when ethical investment systems were in development. 


 “During the late 1980s Bill Mollison promoted an interest in ethical investment as an alternative to the banks. The concept of an Earth Bank was raised at an ethical investment workshop led by Bill in Fremantle. One of the results of the workshop was the forming of the Earthbank Society of WA. Related to that was the forming of August Investments by Damien Lynch in 1981. I was one of its founding members and the first secretary of Earthbank Society WA. After the initial interest declined and for various reasons, the Society was dissolved.


An ethical investment company, Entone, was formed by some of the members of the Earthbank Society. This was dissolved in the early 1990s and some of its shareholders took up shares in August Investments. In the 1990s this became Australian Ethical Investment Ltd,  which continues to this day in a very successful, new mode Australian Ethical.


The 1980s were a very active time for social and environmental change. The alternative movement, as it became known, included the birth of the permaculture community. I was very fortunate to be a permaculture design student of Bill Mollison for a PDC in Stanley in the winter of 1983. I am now back in Tasmania in the winter of 2020, still contributing to the permaculture story.


The Down to Earth Association held a number of Confests in the 1980s, with several in WA. I was involved in the organisation and running of the Nanga Confest and the two Confests in York in WA.  Permaculture presentations and workshops were included. Dr Jim Cairns and Bill Mollison often had close encounters at these events with both of them having almost superstar status. I recall Bill and Jim doing a credible waltz in the elaborate foyer of the Grand Peninsula Hotel, originally a gentlemen’s club. I can’t recall who took the lead during the waltz!


Up to the late 1980s the sea port of Fremantle was a place of very diverse cultural activities including art, music, permaculture, the Earthbank Society, co-housing and a LETS system. There was the pre-America’s Cup era (BC) and post America’s Cup (AC) era. After the Cup, Fremantle became much sought after by the rich and trendy, a change from previously when it was a homely pre- development town with low cost rent and housing.


Permaculture continues its evolutionary journey, on a road increasingly travelled. The concept of a permanent agriculture remains the core of its’ values and vision. As the permaculture community increases in numbers so does its’ diversity of form and content. It can be seen as an open book with endless blank pages to be written on. The lack of dogma and openness to all humanity is its strength and resilience. The field is open to the intellect. My interest in ethical investment continues as I and others contemplate how best to leave an ethical and perpetual legacy for favourite charities, the community and generations to follow. “


How does ethical investment related to permaculture? As taken from the Permaculture Principles website: “The permaculture journey begins with the ethics and design principles. We apply this thinking to the seven different domains required to create a sustainable culture, including finance and economics. Alternative exchange systems reduce reliance on the fragile monetary economy.”

Additional information:

Miles is an Ordinary member and volunteer of Permaculture Australia, the national permaculture member based organisation. Not a member? Sign up and join us here today.

PA’s Permafund has provided dozens of small grants to permaculture community projects in Australia and internationally. Donations over $2 are tax deductible in Australia and can be set up as recurring or one off donations.  Find out more including how to donate here and to leave a bequest to PA, including Permafund here.

For more information on ethical investments and content mentioned above:

Permaculture West History including the Earth Bank Society

Needed an alternative stock market, Bill Mollison

Ethical Investments

August Investments

Down to Earth Association

Permafund welcomes micro grant applicants

Permafund welcomes micro grant applicants

Do you represent a community organisation in a region recovering from the past year’s many natural disasters and catastrophic events? If so,  now’s the time to consider applying for a Permafund micro grant.

Focusing on the theme of resilient communities, Permaculture Australia’s Permafund is welcoming applications for grants to support permaculture- oriented projects that are preparing your community to withstand disasters such as bushfires, food shortages, cyclones, drought, floods or disease or helping your community recover from any of these challenges.

Demonstrating how to make liquid fertilser

Soil improvement & seed distribution workshop

For example, the micro grants are available to support community projects working to install and restore food production, water harvesting and renewable energy systems, to protect and re-vegetate habitats and build community resilience.

To apply, the Application form and Grant Guidelines are available here to download as PDF and Word documents.

2020 Grant-Guidelines (PDF)

2020 Grant-Guidelines (WORD)

2020 Application-Form (WORD)

2020 Application-Form (PDF)

Please send the completed form and any supporting documents to before the closing date of Sunday 30th August 2020 ( midnight Australian Eastern Standard Time AEST).

Permaculture Australia’s Permafund plays a unique role in the worldwide permaculture community through its micro grant program that distributes donations received from individuals, businesses and fundraisers.

Donations of $2.00 or more are tax deductible in Australia and are shared with grateful recipients who put their grants to work in a wide variety of creative environmental and community building projects.

For more information please contact Grant Coordinator, Jed Walker

Seed stored to improve village food security