The next installment of our ‘meeting the team’ series – celebrating the amazing diversity and skills of the volunteers that keep Permaculture Australia running. This includes the Board of Directors – six extraordinary women volunteering their time and skills for twelve months.
PA’s Kym chats with Wendy Marchment from the Board of Directors – about how she got involved with permaculture, plans for 2020 and how she ‘walks the permaculture talk’ in her daily life.
How did you get into permaculture?
My vague memory is that my Dad had some copies of the International Permaculture Journal in the early 90s and had visited Tyalgum where Bill Mollison was at that time. Around the same time I watched The Global Gardener series on ABC TV which resonated with me and subsequently bought the book Permaculture One.
I’ve been involved in various permaculture activities over the years whilst living in South Australia, Queensland and now Victoria. I particularly enjoyed teaching whilst working at Northey Street City Farm.
I love spending time outside creating edible gardens where I’ve lived. Lately, particularly during this COVID time and not working, I’ve been spending a lot of time on creating extra spaces and plantings on my large suburban block, as well as some design adjustments.
Banana crop. Photo credit: Wendy Marchment
Where do you live, and on what sort of property?
I’ve lived in Geelong on a north facing, sloped 1300sqm suburban block for the past 7 years with a 1960s cream brick veneer house that I share with my uni student son, our much loved mallinois rescue dog and sometimes an international student. I have a diverse range of plantings including a few experiments, for example bananas that I have actually obtained the odd bunch from. I’ve had to focus on soil improvement since my block had hydrophobic, sandy loam soil with little life in it. There’s been lots of free stable manure and coffee grounds used, in addition to green manure crops and heaps of straw. Two large worm farms in bathtubs help with this. I tend to cook what I grow and share or barter the surplus. Since I have limited storage space, my preserving is limited and often ends up as well received gifts. I’m getting more organised with seedsaving but still scatter various seeds around [in the garden] which leads to pleasant surprises.
Colour in the garden. Photo credit: Wendy Marchment.
What do you do with PA – and what is the best part of your role?
I’m just into my third year as Secretary on the Board of Directors and draw upon my experiences working in universities across many years. With a maths and statistics background working on projects, I have attention to detail and am organised so it’s a pretty good fit. I enjoy the fortnightly morning catchup with the paid positions [AMM Kym and Webmaster Kiran]
– PA is lucky to have such capable people in these roles. I also like to create and improve, facilitate handovers and set things up to make it easier for newcomers. That’s still a work in progress and is part of the reason I’m still on the Board – along with the great group of people I get to meet and interact with.
What are your permie activities or plans for 2020 – and beyond?
It’s a bit hard to tell at this point given the unusual start to the year. Definitely more gardening. I’m looking forward to a little travel and catching up with friends and family. Hopefully I will also be able to get to a natural building course or two- I have a fascination with Cob and Bamboo.
In 20 words or less, describe what is permaculture and/or why it’s important?
Permaculture is fun and creative! It utilises design principles and observations of patterns in nature. It is essential for a healthy, resilient planet and communities.
Want to get involved with PA?
Read more about the PA People, including staff and volunteers here
. If you’ve got skills to share and would like to join our volunteer team, please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also get involved with PA by becoming a member to help us advocate for permaculture solutions here.