Building soil and saving Turtles

Building soil and saving Turtles

The 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 received a 2020 Permafund grant to offer training in vermicomposting and food growing to reduce the reliance on aquatic wildlife for food.

In the three months leading up to February 2021, the project outcomes include the:

  • successful completion of a household-based survey to gather nutrition information of riverine women communities. Preliminary analysis of data suggests the women living in riparian and fishing hamlets bear major responsibility for their families, work harder in the agricultural field and poor economy, and have limited access to a nutritious diet.
  • completion of an awareness and capacity-building program providing training in nutrition, small-scale farming and the benefits of Indigenous crops, and
  • provision of vertical bamboo frames to use for gardening in water logged areas, as well as vegetable seeds and gardening tools.

To reduce the use of chemical fertilizers a large vermicomposting pit has been developed. The lined pit was filled with manure worms, organic materials (such as straw, grass clippings, vegetable peels, manure), and covered with soil.

This is what PA’s Permafund is all about – enacting the the three ethics of permaculture (Earth Care, People Care & Fair Share) and supporting grassroots projects around the globe to build stronger communities.

How can I get involved?

Want to make a difference too? Donate to PA’s Permafund today here and help build food security and stronger communities across the globe. Donations over $2 are tax deductible.

Adelaide Edible Garden Trail celebrates urban food growing

Adelaide Edible Garden Trail celebrates urban food growing

The Adelaide Edible Garden Trail celebrates the many ways Kaurna Land residents are creating food sovereignty while saving money and the environment — and enjoying the health benefits of homegrown fruit and veggies.”

On Saturday, April 24 2021, six urban food gardens will open to the public during the very first Adelaide  Edible Garden Trail – aimed at inspiring more South Aussies to get growing at their place. 

Growers large and small from across Adelaide will share their knowledge via informative video  garden tours, which will be released online and are accessible to all by donation. 

The tours showcase sustainable garden practices for South Australia’s local growing conditions, including water conservation, composting, increasing soil fertility, planting to encourage beneficial insects, home food production and organic growing techniques.

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Jacqui Garcia, Event Coordinator. Photo credit: Baxter Wiles

Event Coordinator and PA member Jacqui Garcia, one of nine volunteers organising the first-time event, said  growing even just a little food at home can have a positive impact on our environment, health and  local food sovereignty. 

“We’re all passionate about urban food growing and all into permaculture. We call ourselves the Growers’ Collective. The idea came about when we were discussing ways we could celebrate Urban Agriculture Month, which is about raising awareness about urban agriculture”

Several of the organising team are PA members, and permaculture ethics are incorporated into the event including:

  • ‘Fair Share’: This is a volunteer-run event. We are very thankful for receiving a micro-grant to get this project going from our local chapter of the Awesome Foundation, which has volunteer-run local chapters funding awesome local projects.
  • Event proceeds will be reinvested into local community food growing projects through grants to schools, community gardens & community groups.
  • Earth Care’: the featured gardeners are all sharing sustainable and organic gardening practices and tips for our local growing conditions.
  • ‘People Care’: price for a ticket is ‘pay what you can’ to ensure our videos are accessible to all. 

“I’m looking forward to sharing the videos of our featured gardeners with growers – and hope to see garden trails hosted by other South Australian communities, in places like the Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu peninsula, Barossa, regional and remote towns too,” Jacqui Garcia.

Photo title & credits:

  • Jelina Haines, Ligaya Garden.
  • Lachlan McKenzie, The Goody Patch. Photo credit: Baxter Wiles for the SA Urban Food Network.
  • North Brighton Community Garden. Photo credit: Baxter Wiles for the SA Urban Food Network.
  • The Goody Patch. Photo credit: Baxter Wiles for the SA Urban Food Network.

Building soil and saving Turtles

Fair Share Friday – introducing three new Permafund projects

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We had such a great response to our ‘February Fair Share’ promotion, that PA’s Permafund has allocated funding to an additional three projects. Thanks to your generous support, we’ve now supported a total 58 projects in 16 countries!

Our first new project is in Tanzania – funding practical permaculture for youth and women, and implemented by SuBeHuDe. This project will include permaculture training for 100 community members, supporting green jobs and employability to break the cycle of poverty.

Our second new project in the Philippines, supports the Seed4Com 7HUrban Permaculture project. This project will convert a property into an urban farm using permaculture principles & regenerative farming, with the aim of improving food security for the Indigenous community.

And last but not least – we will also be funding the 1000 tree project supported by Swayyam in Southern India. This is a rural initiative which will support small groups of marginal farmers to acquire fencing, water harvesting earthworks, drought tolerant native crop seeds and high quality tree saplings.

Why donate to Permafund?

“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 Rosenfelt, Editor Pip Magazine

Our farmers knowledge is increasing in permaculture systems, they are becoming resilient and are able to grow their own local food that benefits many families and more! When farmers are able to grow & eat their own local food it is the best way of giving power to our communities in ways that are truly regenerative, and improves the quality of life and biodiversity on Earth, for our children to inherit”, Grant recipient, Kenya

This is what PA’s Permafund is all about – enacting the the three ethics of permaculture (Earth Care, People Care & Fair Share) and supporting grassroots projects around the globe to build stronger communities.

How can I get involved?

Want to make a difference too? Donate to PA’s Permafund today and help build food security and stronger communities across the globe. Donations over $2 in Australia are tax deductible and are a great way to enact the third permaculture ethic ‘fair share’. For more information including to donate please click here.

How to become a teacher of accredited permaculture training

How to become a teacher of accredited permaculture training

“At the moment, very few permaculture teachers in Australia hold the qualifications to teach all accredited permaculture qualifications and only a few registered training organisations are offering the courses. We are experiencing a marked increase in interest in studying permaculture in the accredited system though and should do everything we can to accommodate these future students.

Are you interested in teaching accredited permaculture training? Martina Hoeppner holds a Diploma in Permaculture and a Certificate IV in Training & Assessment and teaches PDCs and Certificate III in Permaculture in Perth, Western Australia. She provides a great summary of accredited permaculture teaching below.

What is accredited permaculture training?

Accredited training for permaculture is fast gaining popularity in Australia, especially here in Western Australia. There are five levels of accredited permaculture training available. Certificates I and II are mainly taught at secondary education settings in the vocational education program. Over the last few years we have seen a decrease in students choosing to study horticulture and an increase in the uptake of alternative qualifications like permaculture. Western Australia currently has five schools teaching Certificate I and three offering Certificate II, with more teachers training to start their programs in 2022. Certificates III and IV as well as Diploma in Permaculture are taught directly through registered training organisations (RTOs), either face-to-face or online.

Currently six RTOs are offering permaculture qualifications in Australia. Skills Strategies International in Western Australia is the only one offering all levels of accredited permaculture qualifications. Permaculture Australia is aiming to increase this number. We project a considerable growth in interest from students, but one of obstacles to more accredited training is a shortage of qualified teachers.

So, how do you become a teacher for accredited permaculture training?

In short, every teacher needs to hold at least the qualification they would like to teach plus a generic Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. For Certificates I and II, a PDC is equivalent and sufficient to having done the qualification. Teachers wanting to teach either of these certificates in their school are required to do a PDC and have a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. While it is not required, it is advisable to do a Demonstrator Skill Set in Permaculture. As PDCs are not standardised or quality-monitored, the accredited skill set consisting of four units ensures a greater understanding of permaculture ethics, principles and practices. The skill set also familiarises the trainer with the accredited system of teaching and assessing. For Certificates III and above, the trainer must hold the same qualification, either through studying it or through Recognised Prior Learning (RPL).

Many permaculture teachers see the requirement to hold a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment as the biggest hurdle to becoming a teacher in the accredited training programs. Many RTOs offer this training in various forms. Whether full-time intense short courses, part-time or online training, there is a course to suit most learners. Certificates IV in Training and Assessment are not permaculture specific and every trainer in the accredited system needs to hold this qualification. The qualification teaches delivering training and assessing students fairly, with a big focus on teaching and assessing students with language, literacy or numeracy problems. While a big hurdle indeed, once a trainer holds this qualification, they can teach any other accredited unit or qualification they hold within the TAFE and VET sector.

At the moment, very few permaculture teachers in Australia hold the qualifications to teach all accredited permaculture qualifications and only a few registered training organisations are offering the courses. We are experiencing a marked increase in interest in studying permaculture in the accredited system though and should do everything we can to accommodate these future students.

Where can I study accredited permaculture training?

Skills Strategies International Pty Ltd in Western Australia

South Regional TAFE in Western Australia

TAFE NSW

Gold Standard Education Ltd Pty in Victoria

Byron Region Community College Inc

NutraChange Pty Ltd

More information:

Contact education@permacultureaustralia.org.au to find out more about the accredited permaculture education as a student or potential Registered Training Organisation interested in adding the qualification.

Have you got your permaculture uniform?

Have you got your permaculture uniform?

“It’s the ‘permaculture uniform’ – you can wear this whenever you’re walking down the street, teaching a workshop, running a webinar or on TV to help get the word out about permaculture ” Brenna Quinlan

In addition to our current designs including one by Brenna, we are thrilled to release the following new designs to help you promote permaculture in your daily activities. Click on our ‘shop‘ page to check out the expanded range, including children and infant sizes too.

  1. ‘Express your chicken-ness was designed by Mia Solomon.

“Chickens are such permaculture creatures: they produce no waste that isn’t also a resource, they give various yields (including entertainment), and they integrate so well into our lives. They are all individuals and yet they make the most of their chicken community. We can learn a lot from chickens!

2. ‘Permaculture. Care for what you love in your own backyard’, Megan Forward

This image comes from the A Patch from Scratch children’s picture book that Megan wrote and illustrated as her family transformed their backyard into a wonderful permaculture paradise.

“I wanted to share our journey and encourage other families to join us in this celebration of nature, permaculture, the joys of harvesting your own produce, reducing waste, and the gentle home-grown family activism of caring for the earth one small urban backyard at a time. Because you care for what you love.”

‘People, Planet, Permaculture, April Samson-Kelly

April heartily embraces the concept of ‘art as activism’ as one those strategies that suits her nature and her environment.

“When I can inspire a child to ask ‘do chickens think?, then I know I have seeded a whole new way of looking at the world, our part in it, and what one person can do.”

SO what are you waiting for? Jump online and get your permaculture uniform today to wear for your permaculture activities or events, while supporting PA and our wonderful members.

More information:

There are six Permaculture Australia member designs to choose from here by Brenna Quinlan, April Sampson-Kelly, Megan Forward, Irene Pagram, Cally Brennan and Mia Solomon. Each design is available in a range of colours, T shirt styles and sizes, including children and infants. Profits from the T shirts are split between the T shirt designer and Permaculture Australia to support permaculture advocacy activities.

Positions vacant: Join the PA team

Positions vacant: Join the PA team

Permaculture Australia (PA) is the national member based permaculture organisation in Australia. As a Company limited by Guarantee and registered charity, PA is governed by a Board of Directors who are all volunteers.  We are seeking Interim Directors who are interested in being on the PA Board but are perhaps unsure about what this involves. This is a great opportunity to get an insight into the Board and PA’s operations, with the option to nominate at the AGM to be held on 13 April 2021 at the Australasian Permaculture Convergence in Brisbane.  

Interested persons must be a current financial member of PA and be located within Australia. You can read more about our current staff and Board of Directors here: and sign up to PA here if not a member.

Why join as a PA Director?

PA is in an exciting phase, with solid foundations having been set and significant growth in memberships and funding over the past year. Since early 2019 the Board has increased the hours and number of part-time paid positions which has helped enormously in relieving the Board of many operational tasks. Whilst COVID has presented challenges to many people and in our communities, it has also brought a large resurgence of interest in permaculture which is exciting. This is an excellent opportunity for those who are interested and would like to apply their skills and experience while contributing to permaculture in Australia. 

What’s in It for You?

  • Get actively involved in helping take PA through to the next phase of development and shaping our direction
  • Develop skills in the governance of a Company, which is also a national charity and environmental organisation
  • Support provided including an allocated ‘mentor’ and an opportunity to shadow more experienced team members.
  • Develop your work experience, resume, networks and skills.
  • Flexible volunteer hours that can be completed online from anywhere in Australia.

About the role(s):

We are looking for general Board members who have skills in one or more of the following areas: chairing meetings, networking, project management, governance, company law, budgeting, strategic planning, policy, writing submissions, fundraising, media, marketing, organizing events, permaculture education, volunteer and/or staff management.  Ideally, interested persons will have previous experience on the Committee of a not-for-profit and/or community organization/s. Broad networks within the permaculture community will be highly regarded.

PA is a virtual organization with meetings and work activities conducted predominantly online. Applicants must be experienced in/or willing to learn the use of Zoom and Google Suite.

Requirements and commitment:

Time commitment is at least 2-3 hours per week on average plus a monthly zoom Board meeting. You need reliable Internet access and must have read What Does Board Membership Involve? Our Board follows the Permaculture Ethics and Principles in all activities and has a Volunteer Agreement that all volunteers must assent to. 

What do some of our current Board members say?

“It has been my privilege to work with a succession of fabulous teams. PA is a wonderful organization with a serious and professional side, as well as a fun and joyous side as we work with our partners and friends in communities all over Australia.” Virginia, Chair of the PA Board

I’ve found the Board supporting and welcoming with diverse, interesting volunteer work. I’ve enjoyed researching and learning about aspects of governance whilst applying skills from my professional background”, Wendy Secretary of the Board

“I’ve joined PA as a new Board Director and the Permafund Liaison and am looking forward to supporting Permaculture projects in Australia and overseas”, Greta General Board

For more information:

Further queries are welcome. Please contact Virginia Solomon, Chair of the PA Board, via 0438 437 919 or chair@permacultureaustralia.org.au.

How to apply:

Please send a copy of your resume and brief cover letter (no more than one page) outlining the skills you would bring to the Board and why you would like to be involved with PA. Applicants should be sent to secretary@permacultureaustralia.org.au by Friday 5th February 2021.

We look forward to hearing from you.