Tag Archives | permaculture

Is there a doctor in the house?

QUniversity has awarded an Honorary Doctorate to the co-originator of the permaculture concept, David Holmgren, during the launch of the Graduate Diploma in Permaculture Design.

David Holmgren accepts his Honorary Doctorate from CQUniversity Associate Vice-Chancellor (SA region) Professor Drew Dawson.

The event at The Joinery in Adelaide, on 19 April, echoed the launch of the Graduate Certificate program (by South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill) which took place early last year and included the award of an Honorary Doctorate from CQUniversity to the late permaculture co-originator Bill Mollison, accepted on his behalf by Geoff Lawton.

This year’s event featured a speech by State MP for Ashford Stephanie Key and also introduced a new David Holmgren book titled RetroSuburbia.

State MP for Ashford, Stephanie Key.

Published by Melliodora, RetroSuburbia highlights changes to our residential landscapes to make them ‘fit for purpose’ before the world slides into energy descent.

As author David Holmgren remarks that “the incremental and ongoing retrofit of the built, biological and behavioural domains of the household is recognised by many as the best bet to weather the storms of uncertain times and contribute to a better future for the next generations”.

The recent event in Adelaide also enabled a showcase of the first year of the Graduate Certificate in Permaculture Design. It featured presentation of ‘capstone projects’ which have enabled Graduate Certificate students to apply what they have learned to a specific idea.

Projects presented by the CQUniversity students ranged from conventional permaculture designs for food production through to the application of permaculture ethics and principles to projects in existing disciplines like the ‘perma-psychology’ project, and permaculture education projects.

Permaculture Design and Sustainability Program Leader Dr Keri Chiveralls congratulates David Holmgren

The projects also included development of proposals for new start-up businesses like ‘Companion Planting’ (a sustainable/regenerative pet memorial service involving pet burial via container gardening) and The Food Print Experience (a food van that sells delicious permaculture food while also providing educational permaculture workshops).

From here.

You can read David’s acceptance speech in its entirety, here.

Pedro Souza has been kind enough to translate David’s speech into Brazilian Portuguese, which you can read here.


New Melliodora Tour Dates

You have a small block of land and you’d like to learn how you can live more sustainably.
You live on a farm with chickens and an orchard and you’re interested in seeing how you can integrate permaculture principles.
You live in an inner-city apartment and you’re keen to see how you can live more in line with your values.

Whatever stage of life you are at, there is no better insight into the ins and outs of how permaculture works on a season to season, day to day way than to take part in the whole day guided tour of Melliodora.

Situated in the Victorian central highlands, Melliodora is one of the best examples of a cool-temperate climate permaculture property that produces an abundance of food and other yields from a beautiful living environment.

The one hectare property has been transformed from the blackberry covered wasteland in 1985, into a model of small-scale intensive permaculture. David Holmgren and his partner Su Dennett will show you how their passive solar house, mixed food gardens, orchards, dams and livestock, as well as creek revegetation, have been developed and maintained over the last 30 years. The Melliodora garden farming model is most relevant to large town blocks and small rural allotments, but you don’t have to have a large block to gain a huge amount from the tour. All visitors will discover ways that they can apply the underlying principles and strategies to their own lives.

The 2017/2018 Melliodora tour dates are as follows: Sunday September 3, Sunday October 1, Sunday November 5, Sunday December 3, Sunday January 7, Sunday February 4, Sunday March 4, Sunday April 1 and Sunday May 7. The tour begins at 10 am. In the morning you will be shown around the house. We will break for lunch between 12.30 and 2pm. In the afternoon the tour will take you to the garden farm, and the day concludes at 4.30pm.

The whole day tour includes the Melliodora eBook CD: a detailed record of how the house and garden you see on the tour were designed and established, explaining the logic behind design decisions, detailed plans, plant species selection and how it all works together. It is a refresher of the tour, a valuable reference for your own project, and an ideal way to introduce family and friends to permaculture.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience first-hand how permaculture design can help restore and improve land, and provide for residents’ needs and enjoyment.

Things you need to know:

  • Tours can be booked via the Events page.
  • Children are welcome. Parents must take responsibility for them and their actions.
  • Visitors are on the property at their own risk.
  • Please park in our driveway to avoid inconvenience to neighbours.
  • Books and other publications are available for sale on tour days at discount prices. You might like to look at the Publications page of our website to see more information about some of the publications that will be available for sale on the day.
  • Melliodora is a private home so please respect our privacy. Group or private visits can be arranged by appointment.

The tours are very popular – we advise you BOOK NOW.


Advanced Permaculture Planning + Design Process

Have you completed a PDC but feel there is more you’d like to learn?
Are you interested in design principles and ethics but are not quite sure how to integrate the processes into your thinking, designing and decision making?

On this four-day residential course, tutors David Holmgren and Dan Palmer will take you through various approaches and methods that they implement in their own design processes to help you establish your own framework for designing and living.

Participants are encouraged to arrive on the night of April 10 and camp over, ready to begin the course at 9am on the 11th. Dinner will be provided on the 10th, and brekky on the 11th, as well as all subsequent meals for the duration of the course.

More information + bookings here.


Vale Toby Hemenway

Toby Hemenway, one of the most influential permaculture authors and teachers from North America, passed away earlier this week aged 64.

Toby discovered permaculture in 1990 after a career in genetics and developed a rural permaculture property in southern Oregon with his wife Kiel.

He was editor of Permaculture Activist magazine from 1999 to 2004 and his book Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture is credited as being the most successful book about permaculture in the world, having sold more than 250,000 copies.

His 2015 book The Permaculture City: Regenerative Design for Urban, Suburban, and Town Resilience applies permaculture thinking and principles to organising everyday life.

In 2005, Su and I were hosted by Toby in Portland, Oregon during our 6-month teaching and study tour of North America. I remember him as earnest and modest as he maintained a passionate commitment to permaculture ideas as he made the transition from rural self-reliant living to applying permaculture in the city. His move back to urban living was emblematic of the learnings of our generation about the limits to rural self-sufficiency.

– David Holmgren, December 2016

Su + Toby in August 2005 on a walking tour of Portland urban permaculture


Graduate Certificate in Permaculture Design

In Adelaide today, at Central Queensland University, students are making history as they begin a brand new course: A Graduate Certificate in Permaculture Design, the first university-accredited permaculture program in Australia.

On Friday last week, the Hon. Jay Weatherill MP, Premier of South Australia, and CQUniversity Appleton Institute Director and Engaged Research Chair Professor Drew Dawson, officially launched the program.

The Hon. Jay Weatherill MP

The Hon. Jay Weatherill MP

Based in Adelaide and available to students nationally and internationally, CQUniversity’s Graduate Certificate in Permaculture Design will give professionals the skills of truly sustainable design, and has the potential to revolutionise our transition towards a low-carbon future.

Guests mingling at the launch

Guests mingling at the launch

The event also recognised the work of permaculture co-creator Bill Mollison, with CQUniversity bestowing on him an Honorary Doctorate of Science.

Geoff Lawton (holding Mollison's Honorary Doctorate) and Keri Chiveralls.

Geoff Lawton (holding Mollison’s Honorary Doctorate) and Keri Chiveralls.

Skyping in from his home in Hepburn Springs, David Holmgren, who sits on the Advisory Committee, delivered the following address:

I’m not sure that I can live up to that introduction in a few minutes, but it is good to be able join permaculture colleagues, university staff and the South Australian premier at this launch, without the need to burn precious fossil fuels (and contribute to climate change).

I want to applaud the university in its timely award of the honorary doctorate to Bill Mollison and its role in the Garden of Earthly Delights project. Obviously I could say many things about Bill but just one might be appropriate. Beyond his co-conception of the permaculture concept is clearly, the father of the permaculture movement. His vision that a social movement, based on education through the Permaculture Design Course, was the best way to carry our original and evolving vision out into the world, has stood the test of time (despite my original skepticism.)

It is 16 years since I wrote the section on permaculture in the Alternative Ag unit in the first post grad diploma of Sustainable agriculture, at what was then Orange Agricultural college. That course was part of the wider adoption of permaculture in the late 1980s and early 90’s, that I have identified as the second wave. Of course, the first wave in the late 70s and early 80s, was associated with the energy crises and the huge interest in sustainable alternatives, at that time.

I see this CQU course breaking new ground in the spread and diversification of permaculture education, as part of long, slow third wave of permaculture design, activism and education that is building, not just in Australia but right around the world.

These waves have run counter cyclical to faith in mainstream values, governance and economics. These pulses of permaculture activism reflect a heritage of earlier waves of ecological sustainability innovation in the 1890s and 1930s that coincided with challenging times.

It is highly appropriate that of all the places in the world, this event is in Adelaide. While ups and downs of economic cycles and activist enthusiasm have been as big a factor here as anywhere, I think it is true to say that permaculture has played a consistent role over more than three decades in making Adelaide and South Australia, more innovative than its population size might suggest.

Grass roots household, community and small business activity have been the core of permaculture activism everywhere, but in SA there has also been a healthy interchange with those seeking better policies and institutional change from above. Many people and projects have contributed to that creative exchange but I want to make special mention of Graham and Annemarie Brookman from the Food Forest in Gawler for their tireless efforts in creating sustainable solutions that resonate for radical visionaries, the average punter and policy wonks alike. It is no accident that this course was conceived here in Adelaide, given that post graduate education in permaculture has been part of Graham Brookman’s vision for as long as I can remember.

As one cranky ecological pioneer to another, Brookman knows well my skepticism about University education but he did manage to persuade me to support this course as representing the best of university education. I also acknowledge that Keri Chiveralls infectious enthusiasm and dedication and Drew Dawson’s can do approach to working within institutional structures were influential.

As I concentrate on finishing my book Retrosuburbia: a downshifter’s guide to a resilient future, the world is moving, into what could be described as an economic, geopolitical and ecological convulsion. While most of the outcomes will be bad news, I trust that this course and my book will be part of a tsunami of permaculture positivity about how we can surf a prosperous way down.

More specifically I see huge opportunities for the household and community non monetary economies to grow and prosper to provide basic and even more sophisticated needs and in the process rebuild community spirit that will be so necessary to that prosperous way down.

If there is a simple message for anyone working top down, including the premier, it is to focus on reducing the regulatory and other impediments to flourishing household and community non monetary economies. This is an equally important task to, considering policies that support households and neighbourhoods to be more self-reliant and permaculturally productive.

I trust that one of the outcomes of this university program will be the ideas for the policy initiatives to help that vision unfold over the coming years and decades.