Are you interested in learning permaculture skills to help make lives, homes and communities more sustainable? We offer the opportunity to immerse yourself in sustainable living in the Byron Shire, the green heart of the North Coast. Make like-minded friends in this highly practical course as you gain experience and confidence to transition your life and the lives of others towards a better future.
You will learn and be inspired by natural ecosystems, holistic philosophy integrating organic farming, animal systems, natural building, food preservation, systems thinking, community development and more. This course is the ‘trade equivalent’ qualification that prepares you to operate in a skilled and independent manner developing and operating permaculture systems.
The course will combine time in the classroom and out onsite at our purpose designed 1-acre permaculture site located at Mullumbimby Community Gardens (MCG) for hands-on experience.
During the course, you will be required to participate in weekly or fortnightly practical work at the MCG. Maintenance tasks include chicken care, watering seedlings and beds, turning compost and maintaining paths.
Byron Region Community College is a registered training organisation offering this course with the support of Mullumbimby Community Gardens (MCG) and Permaculture Australia.
You Will Learn:
Permaculture Principles and ethics
Integrated plant and animal systems
Seed saving and propagation
Establishment of urban permaculture systems
Planning and design of food forests and orchards
Building and installation of permaculture structures
Crop planning, maintenance, harvesting and cooking
Installation and maintenance of permaculture water systems
Plant, pest and disease management
Landscape and map interpretation
Soil health and soil types
Career and Employment Opportunities Include:
Urban and rural property design and implementation supervision
Permaculture and environmental information services
Development and management of sustainable land-use systems
Environmental management and community development programs
Education and training in permaculture and environmental management
Facilitation and coordination services
Eco-tourism enterprises and operations
Tuesdays and Wednesdays 9am to 3.30pm
No classes over school holidays
This course is Austudy Approved.
Smart and Skilled funded places may be available for this qualifications – please call the college for more information on 02 6684 3374
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…by Russ Grayson
An Eastern Suburbs council hires a local permaculture designer and commercial landscaper to set up a training garden for its home food gardening courses.
Sydney landscape architect, Steve Batley, has installed an organic training garden at Randwick Community Centre. Steve, who completed an urban permaculture design course in Sydney some years ago, operates his own landscape design and construction company, Sydney Organic Gardens (www.sydneyorganicgardens.com.au).
The garden is used by participants in Randwick City Council’s Sustainable Gardening courses. The free courses consist of five Saturday meetings at which participants learn organic growing practices, site analysis, water conserving irrigation, garden design, soil improvement, plant characteristics, composting and mulching as well as pest and disease management. The most recent course attracted a total of 45 participants, some from outside the Randwick Council area.
The garden includes a keyhole bed sized to accommodate a large number of participants. Keyhole beds have been popularised by permaculture educators and the idea has spread beyond the permaculture milieu. Like the bed at the community centre, keyhole beds are sized so that gardeners can reach about half way across the garden from both sides, providing full access to crops and avoiding the need to trample the soil by stepping into the garden.
Native legumes an experiment
Elsewhere in the garden, indigenous legume shrubs are being trialled as interplants with herbs and vegetables to provide the plant macronutrient, nitrogen. These will later be coppiced and the foliage used for mulch.
Integrating native plants, including flowering species that attract pollinators and other beneficial insects, forms part of the garden design to demonstrate integrated pest management. It also accommodates the wish of some course participants to learn about native plants, although Council offers workshops at its community nursery on this topic. The planting of perennial natives involved Council’s Bushcare Officer, Tina Digby, who is responsible for bushland regeneration.
The garden adjoins a large area of native vegetation that is to be rehabilitated, so care was taken in plant selection to avoid species that could become bushland weeds. Sometimes, kestrel can be seen hovering over the bushland near the garden and Steve uncovered a blue tongue lizard – a beneficial species because of its appetite for snails – when he moved a plank.
Making use of waste
Mulch for the garden consists of sweepings from the NSW Police stables in Redfern, a source also used by the nearby Randwick Community Organic Garden.
The sweepings are heaped and left to mature to start the decomposition process and to allow any veterinary chemicals to break down.
Course participants contribute their own kitchen and garden wastes to the compost making lesson.
Qualifications and experience provide reliable information
As a qualified landscape architect, Steve teaches the garden design topic. He also advises householders on the concept designs they draw up during the course, and leads the irrigation and water harvesting topic. Emma Daniel, a TAFE qualified landscape designer and horticulturist, and a spokeswoman for the Randwick Community Organic Garden, assists in teaching. Fiona Campbell, as Council’s Sustainability Education Officer, organises the courses. The experience and qualifications of the trainers meets Council’s need to provide reliable information that participants can safely act on.
The small training garden is a temporary installation. Eventually, it will be replaced by a larger one in a different location an the community centre.