Author Archive | Maureen

Rocklyn Ashram Permaculture Design Course

Only a few weeks left to book into our new Permaculture Course  in the Wombat Forest south of Daylesford at the beautiful Rocklyn Yoga Ashram.

Garden3This wonderful location was chosen for several reasons;

The Ashram has been expanding its focus over the last few years to encourage and emphasise sustainability and permaculture;

David Holmgren and Hamish Macallum completed a permaculture design at the Ashram which has been being put into practice, so there is much to look at and discuss;

The spiritual focus of Ashram life complements the mindfulness of permaculture practice and reminds us to balance our activity and thinking with reflection, a point not normally emphasised in PDCs;

Being quite close to Melbourne, Castlemaine, and Ballarat, it is centrally located and very accessible, though the overwhelming feeling when you’re there is of being in another world.

The Ashram has extensive gardens to cater for their visitors, and course participants; Most of the food for the course will be produced on the property. Vegetables

This PDC will cover all seven Permaculture Domain topics, study the twelve Permaculture Principles, as well as the three ethics, there will be at least three excursions to significant local demonstration sites, with twice-daily opportunities to attend Yoga sessions, as well as a meditation/havan session daily. 

The location, the venue and the forest around it, is very beautiful and will invite you to explore or just sit in peace, in the program time out allowance.

With seven highly experienced tutors, the depth of practical and theoretical knowledge will be another unique feature of this very special PDC.

If you’re thinking about attending this course, send us an email enquiry, or call Ian Lillington on 0478297057 for more information, and refer to our earlier post,

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Melliodora summer tours

Melliodora house tourThe 2013/14  season of public tours at Melliodora will continue on 12th January. The weather during summer will guarantee good photos for visitors touring through the farm garden system at Melliodora. There are two different tours on offer on the day and many choose to attend both tours.

The morning tour will guide visitors through the way the house functions to support the home-based lifestyle of David Holmgren and Su Dennett, as well as all the visitors and workers at Melliodora. Su will explain the principles behind passive solar house design, as well as show examples of practical applications at work. Ask Su about cooking; making miso, bread making, how to make weeds into ‘gourmet peasant’, etc., her expertise in this area is unsurpassed.

The afternoon tour explores the relationships between plants and animals, landscape and garden farming setups and designs. Along the way, you will see many  practical applications of permaculture principles. To hear David speak in his home paddock challenges and informs, and is guaranteed to be a memorable experience.

The next tours are on Sunday January 12th, 2014. They are always very popular so do remember to book now at our online shop, to secure your place and avoid missing out.

Note, we offer tour vouchers for either the morning, the afternoon, or the two tours on the same day. These vouchers are a great gift idea for the silly season or New Year.   To purchase please email us info[at]holmgren[dot]com[dot]au.

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Ideal gift to welcome in the New Year

2014 Permaculture Calendar CoverIf you haven’t already seen the Permaculture Calendar you can’t appreciate the amount of information and the motivational content in it. Each month a permaculture principle is highlighted. The calendar offers the chance to remember all the twelve by the end of 2014! This calendar is not one to throw out at the end of the year; add it to your library, in particular the permaculture section, as it will (they all will) be invaluable when revising the principles …. the more simple aids we have the better. Used in conjunction with David Holmgren’s Permaculture Principles and Pathways beyond Sustainability, and Richard Telford’s Permaculture Principles website you can develop such a facility with the principles that they automatically come to mind when confronted with a problem and truly become extremely useful thinking tools.

We’re just mentioning this because you may like to use this time of the year to tell your friends and rellies that you care for them with a useful AND ethical gift (produced in Australia, 100% post consumer recycled paper, using vegetable based inks, and 10% of net returns donated to Permafund)  that won’t break the bank, and supports the small home business that produced it. A more ‘sustainable’ gift is hard to find!

 

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Crash on Demand: Welcome to the Brown Tech Future

Slide16In Crash on Demand, David Holmgren not only updates Future Scenarios (2007) work but also builds on his essay Money vs Fossil Energy: The battle for control of the world (2009), as a running commentary on the rapid changes in the big picture context for permaculture activism, especially in the Australian context.  It assumes understanding of these previous works and, of course permaculture.  ‘Preaching to the choir’ it may be, but hopefully it contributes new perspectives to keep permaculture activists ahead of the game.

Permaculture teaching and activism have always aimed to work with those already interested in changing their lives, land and communities for the better, rather than proselytising the disinterested majority.  Over many decades, idealistic youth have responded positively to the ‘can-do’, personal empowerment of permaculture design, but it has also attracted more experienced citizens disillusioned with top down mainstream environmentalism’s failure to stop the juggernaut of consumer capitalism.  Similarly, disillusioned social and political activists are just starting to recognise permaculture as a potentially effective pathway for societal change as 20th century style mass movements seem to have lost their potency.

David’s argument is essentially that radical, but achievable, behaviour change from dependent consumers to responsible self-reliant producers (by some relatively small minority of the global middle class) has a chance of stopping the juggernaut of consumer capitalism from driving the world over the climate change cliff.  It maybe a slim chance, but a better bet than current herculean efforts to get the elites to pull the right policy levers; whether by sweet promises of green tech profits or alternatively threats from mass movements shouting for less consumption.

Crash on demand (2Mg pdf)

A Spanish translation (by Silvia Di Blasio, Daniel Mendez and Hernán Del Vecchio): Colapso por Encargo.

In Turkish (translated by Suat Ertüzün): Kahverengi Teknoloji Çağı’na Hoş Geldiniz.

See the discussion this essay has created.

See also the intervies and a summary.


Future Scenarios: How communities can adapt to Peak Oil and Climate Change
Also available:

Future Scenarios: How communities can adapt to Peak Oil and Climate Change – the book

In it David outlines four scenarios that bring to life the likely cultural, political, agricultural, and economic implications of peak oil and climate change, and the generations-long era of “energy descent” that faces us.

 

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An interview with Permaculture Pioneer Robyn Francis

Robyn_Francis_sqA little bit about Robyn

From a background in organics, sustainability and community activism, since 1983 Robyn Francis has worked throughout Australia and internationally as a permaculture teacher, designer, facilitator and presenter. She has taught hundreds of courses including PDCs, specialist training and Accredited Permaculture Training (APT). She edited the Permaculture International Journal for five years, was a founding director of Permaculture International Ltd (1987), and contributed to the design and successful accreditation of APT. Since 1993 she has developed one of Australia’s leading purpose-designed education and training centres, Djanbung Gardens, now home base for the bioregional campus of Permaculture College Australia Inc.

Robyn has trained and mentored numerous permaculturists, many of whom are doing significant work internationally and in their local communities and bioregions. She is a passionate communicator, cook, gardener, poet, singer/songwriter and composer who loves gourd crafting, building with bamboo and generally walking her talk.

A Permaculture Pioneer

Permaculture Pioneers: stories from the new frontierRobyn Francis is one of the 26 contributors to Permaculture Pioneers – stories from the new frontier. In this short interview, introduced by co-editor Kerry Dawborn, Robyn talks about how permaculture informs everything in her life now, how permaculture brings a sense of hope during tumultuous times, and how the movement needs to find a better balance between the human ‘people care’ element and the practical physical systems.

10% of all sales of Permaculture Pioneers whether in print form, or eBook form, continue to go to Permafund, supporting Permaculture projects around the world especially those that assist with resilience in the developing world and in places of extreme need. So why not purchase a copy and dip into the stories of these inspiring early adopters. Permaculture Pioneers is now available on iTunes.

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The Tea House Poems

the-tea-house-poems-coverVenie Holmgren, our resident poet at Melliodora has just published a new collection of poems under the title of “The Tea House Poems”. Her eighth solo book traces her waiting months spent at Melliodora’s Tea House.

in the half light

of very early morning

geese on the pond

stately

silent

Well into my 90th year, I was headed for the even smaller village of Hepburn in the Central Highlands of Victoria to my family David and Su.

Oliver and I had agreed to drive there the long way, through the mountains. I shared the driving, being at the wheel when we crossed the state border. We arrived on February 28, David’s birthday.

My new home was unfinished. Meantime, I decided to live in what they called the Tea House, a one large room and veranda cottage, well built, pleasantly situated, looking through willow trees across the dam, but woefully bereft of the mod cons necessary for the comfort of a very old woman with a walking stick. The expected waiting time was 2 or 3 months. In fact, it became 8 months.

Anyone who has had the owner/builder experience should not be too surprised; the adaption of second hand materials for the special needs of a passive solar home of unconventional design, delays on arrival of necessary goods and so on.

My family did the very best to make me welcome and comfortable. I remember a bunch of red roses in a crystal vase and other signs of the special efforts made for me. I did my best to adapt. However, as time dragged on, tempers frayed, more than a little at times.

During the last 7 or so weeks, I picked up my pen and after long quiescence, began writing poetry again – a poetic diary, if you wish, of my time in the Tea House.  It became, naturally, The Tea House Poems.

(From the “author’s note”)

The Tea House Poems are available here.

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Have a permaculture year with the calendar

2014 Permaculture Calendar - AugustHave you started planning for 2014 already? Not yet? Then the all new Permaculture calendar for 2014 might help. It serves many functions, as the permaculture principles say. Each month an inspirational photo cheerfully looks out to remind us of the wonderful permaculture projects that are already afoot in Australia and the world.

The moon planting guide has all you need to give your plants the extra advantage of being in sync with the cosmos. Four action icons have been developed which correlate with the phases of the moon. An icon appears as a daily reminder to indicate good times for certain garden actions making it all much simpler than looking up charts.

The monthly highlighting of just one permaculture principle helps give the month a focus for design thinking and deepens understanding, and memory, of the principles. An example is principle 10 in October ‘Use Small and Slow Solutions’, demonstrated by the calendar’s cover photo, it reminds us that even the smallest achievement is good, when the next generation urgently needs our nurturing as well.

All the messages are enticingly encouraging.

The calendar makes a perfect gift, be that may birthdays, christmas and everything. The all new permaculture calendar 2014 is available from our online shop. For the festive season’s only, we offer a combo dea of the Permaculture Calendar and  Permaculture: A Rhymer’s Manual. You will get 20% off the purchase price. Get the coupon on the right hand side bar.

 

 

 

 

 

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Friendly reminder: book early for Melliodora tours

On the first day of September the new season of public tours at Melliodora opened for 2013/14.

In the morning David Holmgren and Su Dennett took the full house of enthusiastically curious visitors through their house. They showed some of the principles behind passive solar house design as well as examples of practical applications at work.

Taking advantage of fine mild spring weather, the visitors walked through the famed farm garden system at Melliodora, observing the plants and animals, landscape and garden farming setups and designs. Along the way, they saw many  practical applications of permaculture principles. Our season openers were enjoyed by all of us here at Melliodora, and by all reports the visitors did as well.

Our next tours are on Sunday October 6th. As with the September tours, they are very popular. Remember to book early at our online shop, to secure your place and avoid missing out.

Bulbs planted under fruit trees

Bulbs planted under fruit trees

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Sydney welcomes David

Unknown

True to his comments in ‘Why I haven’t been flying‘ David went on his way by train to a three week stint teaching courses and giving talks in the great city of Sydney. According to an intercepted  wire transmission, he got out this morning to “visit chooks and birds, forage some pepinos, view a few banana bunches between rain” in an unconfirmed location. Nice. He observed that “from Wagga up, it looks like they have lots of rain, especially around Goulbourne, flooding on the plains.” We could do with some of that here.

In between foraging on some tropical fruits and sending home weather reports, no doubt he will tell us some stories from a far away up north. He will be teaching in two PDCs, two public talks, an intensive two day Farm Forestry course and a two day Advanced Principles course (see Events at the top for the details).

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Seed freedom and permaculture

David Holmgren agrees access to seeds is vitally important; “It’s an issue about who controls and owns the energy that fuels humans”. This is part of an interview conducted by Peter Charles Downey for United Natures, International Permaculture Day and Dr. Vandana Shiva’s Seed Freedom movement. The protest footage is from the Melbourne edition of the March Against Monsanto and their genetically modified organisms, which occurred worldwide on May 25th 2013 with over 2 million people in 52 countries.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8LthXM_0ks?rel=0&w=600&h=338]

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