Permaculture Design Course

Permaculture Design Course

This two week intensive Permaculture Design course is an inspiring immersion in a real living Permaculture system. The 72 hour PDC covers the full Permaculture Design curriculum. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Nimbin valley of northern NSW and the beautifully designed and established Djanbung Gardens. Robyn Francis, is a leading permaculture teacher, having inspired people in many countries, to put their ideas and inspiration in to action, She is joined by other innovative Permaculture practitioners in this inspiring and informative course. The course includes: the opportunity to see the concepts taught in action in the living classroom of Djanbung Gardens; a walk through the beautiful word-heritage Nightcap national park; beautiful home-cooked local food; and an abundance of sharing and learning with other students.

Skills and knowledge include:
an integrated approach to earth science systems; low energy design for productive rural and urban environments; holistic approach to regenerating the landscape, incorporating food production systems, conservation management and resource management; creative problem solving and community building initiatives; and strategies for individual, community and enterprise responses to climate change, resource depletion and disaster mitigation.

Permaculture Australia members will be offered a discount of 10% for registration

Dry composting toilets are a solution in Bali

Emas Hitam is a small NGO operating on the Indonesian island of Bali in the village of Petula. They received a Permafund grant of $1,000 in February 2017 to construct two dry composting toilets on their community garden site called Ancut Garden.

Emas Hitam volunteers

In Balinese, ’Ancut’ means the ‘border’ which represents the permaculture principle of ‘Use Edge and Value the Marginal’. The 40 families in the village of Petula use the site for their ceremonial and nutritional needs and it’s also hoped to provide an evacuation point in the event of the Mt Agung volcano erupting again.
One of the downsides of the popularity of Bali being a tourist destination is that it has created a water crisis. Stored groundwater is being sucked dry by the ever-increasing resort industry making water a finite resource for everyday use by the Balinese people.

Community area and composting toilet systems under construction

Dry composting toilets become one of the solutions to this problem through water minimisation. The added benefit of this process is the ‘humanure’ that is created is returned to the soil to produce food.

Signage has been placed inside the toilets with educational facts about soil, compost and water conservation for the many visitors expected.

Household scale system

Construction material of the two composting toilets consisted mainly of natural materials such as palm fronds woven around bamboo frames for the walls and river stones for the floor and drainage.

The first toilet built used a small bucket as a collection point to demonstrate a household scale while for the second toilet, a wheelie bin was used for larger numbers of people attending the site.

Wheelie bin dry composting toilet in cubicle built using local resources

Emas Hitam will continue to provide community outreach and educational programs with the two composting toilets providing valuable structures to demonstrate some solutions for the challenges that Bali faces.
Help support projects such as this by making a donation to Permafund. Donations of $2.00 and over are tax deductible in Australia and are much appreciated.
For more information please contact

Compost toilet—pickel barrel style instructions

… by Andrew Rettig

Designed for medium maintenance, tight spots and above ground, this compost toilet uses the latest in low-budget compost toilet technology (ie worms and aeration!) to breakdown humanure within 3 months (1 year rest time is reccommended for complete pathogen destruction). Using a false floor, PVC Pipe and a Compost Screw (not pictured), this system could be made for under $150 (depending on what matertials you have lying around the house).
The compost toilet has been designed for low cost installation above ground using minimal infrastructural requirements.

  • Material cost can be as low as $50 depending on what extra bits and tools you have lying around (for one barrel).
  • Barrel to people ratio is about 2 barrels for 2-3 people when used everyday.
  • Best to have a “two barrel rotation system”. When you fill up one, leave for 6 months and start using the other.
  • The toilet is designed for squatting so be careful not to fall in!
  • When it is time for you to close the link in the nutrient cycle (i.e. use the compost toilet) think about privacy as these types of systems are currently illegal without council approval.
  • Try to keep urine separate from the compost toilet (CT) as too much moisture causes the breakdown process to turn anaerobic.  The CT operates aerobically so it requires some moisture occasionally – eventually you sense what the CT is doing and can adjust your behaviour accordingly.
  • Trying to get as much airflow as possible through the mass of rich humanure is the aim.  Some people will install a small extraction fan to the upper ventilation outlet pipe or extend the pipe and paint it black for natural thermal convection (i.e. black pipe attracts sun and heats up top layers of air causing a convectional current of air sucking through the lower ventilation holes.
  • Put in a small bucket full of compost worms, to help the break down process.
  • Complete the Carbon : Nitrogen ratio by adding carbon matter.  Sawdust can tend to clog up and form ‘cakes’ that don’t break down very well.  So wood shavings from your local saw miller can be used (be wary of treated timber and particle board saw millers).  Wood shavings have greater airspaces than saw dust – see the theme of maximum air flow through your system?
  • As for the Urine that can’t go in the CT – Urinate in a bucket and fill with water at a ratio of about 1:20 i.e. a twenty litre bucket for a litre of urine.  You can use this on your fruit, native trees or any other above ground crop as a little Nitrogen hit and also for watering purposes.
  • Once you have filled a barrel, leave the full pickle barrel for about 6 months (to be safe) before removing the contents for burial under fruit trees or incorporation into the soil for a green manure crop.  It is best to leave it as long as possible, to let all the good microbes and worms break down any potential harmful microbes into good.

For the book that could change your life read:

The Humanure Handbook by Joe Jenkins published by Jenkins Publishing This book outlines a huge variety of different methods people have tried in the past and also brings our attention to our current general mind state of ‘faeceophobia’.  He also deals with all the questions raised about bugs and pathogens extremely well.