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.


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.

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.

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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.

Building soil and saving Turtles

Fifty five projects supported by PA’s Permafund

Fifty five! Thanks to a generous donation from Permaculture Sydney North we are thrilled to fund another permaculture project – bringing the grand total of projects supported by PA’s Permafund to fifty five in sixteen countries.

A Permafund grant will support PRM, a grassroots organisation, to assist women farmers in 10 rural villages in India to revitalize their farming with permaculture and organic practices. This will include training, tree planting, promotion of local Indigenous seeds, & improved water harvesting activities.

PRM promotes biodiversity forests using the Miyawaki Forest promotion methods – when diversified tree saplings are planted with limited spacing, they grow straight, fast and tall. The local community was involved when PRM initiated this innovative method at a village named Pappudayanpatti, contributing their time, energy and material resources.

“A cultural change is required in the food habits of the communities, with a renewed focus on traditional foods which were the only source of diet in earlier days when our ancestors lived happily and healthy. Similarly, farmers want to restore and promote Indigenous seeds that are drought tolerant, medicinal and healthy. “

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.

‘Fair Share’ in action

‘Fair Share’ in action

“The ethics earth carepeople care and fair share form the foundation for permaculture design and are also found in most traditional societies. Ethics are culturally evolved mechanisms that regulate self-interest, giving us a better understanding of good and bad outcomes”, Permaculture Principles

Permaculture ethics: Fair Share

The Permaculture ethic of ‘Fair Share‘ is related to setting limits and redistributing surplus in times of abundance. The icon of the pie and a slice of it represents the taking of what we need and sharing what we don’t, whilst recognising that there are limits to how much we can give and how much we can take.

There are many ways we can enact the ‘Fair Share’ ethic – including  donating surplus income to your organisation of choice including PA’s Permafund.

Fair Share: supporting Permafund

Permafund provides small grants to permaculture community projects in Australia and internationally. Dozens of project have been funded supporting seed banks, water harvesting, permaculture training, food security projects and composting toilets to name a few.

We are thrilled to acknowledge a small number of our Permafund 2020 donors here (noting there are many more!) while showing the different ways Permafund support can be provided.

Note, this is not a definititive list, and we extend a huge thank you to all of our Permafund donors for their generous support.

1. One off donations

PA member Beck Lowe, 2020 Permafund donor.

Donations can be made any time of the year, including in the lead up to the ‘end of financial year’, for an amount you choose. A huge thank you to PA members including (but not limited to) Beck Lowe, Claude and Helene Marmoux, Permacoach and Milkwood Permaculture who provided donations this EOFY.

The permaculture ethics are intrinsic to what I do. Although I earn well under the average Australian wage, I’m conscious that I’m very wealthy by global standards.  Once I made a decision to donate, Permafund was pretty much a no-brainer – it is a charity that aligns with my ethics and outlook on life and is run by volunteers with the maximum amount of money going directly to grassroots projects,” Beck Lowe

PA members Milkwood Permaculture, Permafund 2020 donors.

We love that Permafund is an effective way to distribute fair share – it’s great to be able to donate to an organisation that we know gets the funds straight to communities and projects that need it,”  Milkwood Permaculture

2. Regular or tithe donations

Set up regular payments to Permafund – for which you choose the donation amount and frequency. A huge thank you to PA Patron & Formidable Vegetable frontman Charlie Mgee, Koren Helbig and several other members (who wish to remain anonymous) for donating using this method. Fast, easy and a set amount each week tithed automatically to Permafund.

Charlie Mgee, Permafund Patron & frontman of Formidable Vegetable

“When I started making a small surplus from my music, it seemed like the obvious thing to do was to tithe some of my income to Permafund, so that the music could also directly benefit people practicing permaculture on-the-ground… Permafund was a great way that I could give back to the community and adhere a bit more to the ethics of Earth Care and Fair Share”, Charlie Mgee, Formidable Vegetable.

Koren Helbig with Gertie the Bantum chicken

“I choose to donate monthly to Permafund as it’s a super simple way to contribute to meaningful impact in Australia and further afield. Permaculture has been such an inspiring force for good in my life over recent years and I’m keen to pay this forward. I love the idea that my small contribution helps fund all sorts of fabulous permaculture projects, and hope these can become a catalyst for positive change for other people and our mighty planet,” Koren Helbig

3. Partnership or business donation

The fabulous folks at Permaculture Principles donate 100% profits from the sale of the Permaculture Calendar each year to Permafund – amazing!

“It has been important for me to ‘walk the walk’, so the entire design process, production and sale reflects the ethics and principles that [the calendar] displays. We have always encouraged community participation in the contributions for the calendar, so I felt the need to give back to the permaculture community. Permafund was set up for this purpose. I hope that our model can inspire others to ‘return the surplus’ and demonstrate our ethics,”  Richard Telford, Permaculture Principles.

4. Event fundraiser using social media or other methods

Facebook has an online Fundraiser tool that has been used by Permafund supporters including the tiny house concert launch of the ‘Climate Movement‘ collaboration with Brenna Quinlan, Charlie McGee and Spoonbill.

PA Life member Robyn Francis also used the Facebook donation option recently for her birthday – resulting in the donation aim being met and exceeded well in advance – thanks Robyn and friends!

Says Robyn “For my birthday this year, I’m asking for donations to Permafund. I’ve chosen this charity because their mission means a lot to me, and I hope that you’ll consider contributing as a way of celebrating with me. All donations to this fund are given out as micro-grants to grassroots community projects making a big difference, in Australia and overseas. Every little bit will help me reach my goal – making the world a better place with Earthcare, Peoplecare and Fairshare”.

5. Donation in lieu of presenter fee(s)

PA members Brett and Nici Cooper at Limestone Permaculture completed *lots* of online workshops & events during Covid-19 restrictions – and requested participants to donate to Permafund in lieu of presenter fees – yeah!  A huge thank you for their generous support and to Permaculture Toowoomba, among others, who made a donation in their name too.

“Permafund offers those making a living from permaculture to share the abundance on another level, not unlike sharing produce and knowledge within your community. We may not always have the opportunities or capabilities to assist with projects outside of our region but donating through Permafund, which is part of our Fair Share Ethic, is a way we can help to support those that can. This support assists projects to ‘Care for the Earth’ & ‘Care for People’ & life in general,” Limestone Permaculture

6. Bequests

PA has been fortunate to receive a numbef of bequests which have been gratefully received.  To assist you with leaving a gift in your will to PA, including Permafund, we have compiled suggested wording and information here. Please contact hello@permacultureaustralia.org.au for further information.

Want to know more?

Donations to Permafund over $2 are tax deductible in Australia with donations received supporting projects in Australia and internationally. More information about Permafund can be found here. We are incredibly grateful to all of the generous donors to Permafund throughout the year for their support – thank you.

The Permaculture Principles website has great examples and information about each of the permaculture ethics and principles, including Fair Share. You can also listen below to Not The End by Formidable Vegetable, which represents the ethic Fair Share and is available on the album Grow Do It.