“As more emphasis and urgency is placed on the need for sustainable living due to the Earth’s health, through societal norms, economic drivers and (hopefully) legislation, people will turn to learning from and employing those with permaculture skills.”
Jo Bussell’s permaculture journey started with two weekend permaculture introduction courses in 2010 and 2011. In 2013 she completed a PDC in Fremantle with Sparkles, Harry Wykham and a range of presenters, followed by an Advanced PDC with Ross Mars and Graeme Bell in 2016. Only a year later, Jo opened Urban Revolution in Perth, WA. Martina from the PA Education team chats with Jo about the permaculture skills required for her retail employees & opening a permaculture store in Perth, WA.
Jo, you have the only permaculture ‘brick-and-mortar store’ in Perth. Tell us a little bit about the concept and how you got the idea to open this store.
Permaculture sparked (like for so many people) a passion in me to make my home food gardens efficient and mineral dense, followed by helping friends and family implement permaculture design elements into their gardens. This moved onto paid permaculture design work. There was a need to recommend tools and soil inputs to have a successful food garden in Perth. This morphed into working with Men’s Sheds to make plastic free gardening tools such as our first product, a seedling flat. I then created an online store and went to markets offering the products, permaculture advice and design work. The bricks and mortar store came to fruition due to the number of products we were supplying and the need to take the business out of our home.
What are the goods and services available in your store?
The store offers garden, cleaning, homeware and personal care products that are made from materials that are compostable, plastic free or are better for the Earth. The gardening products are aimed at growing food along with a fabulous range of local, heirloom and open-pollinated veggie, herb and flower seeds. We assist and educate people individually on how to grow food, create soil and compost everyday organic waste. We randomly present on various permaculture related subjects at community events and in schools. We also connect interested people with permaculture courses, teachers and designers.
I know your employees have done Permaculture Design Courses and at least one has done her Certificate III in Permaculture. Is permaculture knowledge something that is needed for the work at Urban Revolution?
Yes. Permaculture knowledge is key to assisting our customers with product use and our free advice on how to create soil, compost, grow food, and modify or add elements into an urban garden using permaculture design techniques. Skills I am looking for in particular are a holistic composting knowledge, soil creation specifically for growing vegetables, experience in growing various vegetables, herbs, fruit and flowers; companion planting, backyard chickens and integrated pest management knowledge.
Are you encouraging further permaculture studies for the people you work with and your customers?
Yes, absolutely. Out of our six staff, three have Permaculture Design Certificates (PDCs) and two have completed further permaculture education – and we all would like to do more. The remaining three are growing food at home and are eco aware with other skill sets. They are learning about permaculture by just working in the store. When possible, I hope they will all complete a PDC. In addition, our customers are consistently recommended to do a PDC at every appropriate opportunity!
There aren’t many permaculture jobs advertised at the moment. Do you think this will change?
Yes, I think it will change and gain momentum. For example, why hire a mowing company to maintain your garden? Y ou can hire a permaculture-based gardening company to improve and manage your garden’s health, grow food, educate and provide garden design. As more emphasis and urgency is placed on the need for sustainable living due to the Earth’s health, through societal norms, economic drivers and (hopefully) legislation, people will turn to learning from and employing those with permaculture skills. Ultimately our business goal is to employ permaculturists to provide presentations and workshops to schools, businesses and especially in our communities. At the moment this is a longer-term goal due to cash flow and providing an appropriate venue.
Martina Hoeppner holds a Diploma in Permaculture and a Certificate IV in Training & Assessment, teaches PDCs and Certificate III in Permaculture in Perth and is the current Co-Convenor of Permaculture West. She contributes to Permaculture Australia’s Education Team and tries keep alive her own garden and three sons in her spare time. More information on the different types of permaculture education completed by both Martina and Jo can be found here.
Martina and Jo are Professional and Organisation members of Permaculture Australia, the national member based organisation in Australia. Sign up as a member here today to join hundreds of members across Australia advocating for permaculture solutions.
Urban Revolution Australia is anEco & Garden Store and Online Shop with household, personal and gardening products to make it easy to have a thriving garden, wasteless kitchen and greener lifestyle. There have a current vacancy to join their team which would suit someone with a permaculture background (a Permaculture Design Certificate would be highly regarded).