This is our inaugural Pip Permie of the Year Award. We started this award because we wanted to celebrate dedicated people making change in the world with permaculture.
When I first came to look at the property we now call home, the house was far from ideal. It faced south, had small dark rooms, the kitchen was poky and a wide verandah ran down the length of the north side, preventing any sunlight from finding its way in.
In this issue, I invite you into my family home to see what we’ve done to retrofit it to make it run more efficiently and be a more comfortable place to live. We also meet people around the country who are growing food in public spaces. There is a lot of vacant public land out there, so these people are using it to not only grow food but also community.
International permaculture convergences (IPCs) are an opportunity for people from all over the world to get together and share their passion for permaculture. With 1200 participants from over 60 countries at the latest IPC held in India last November and December, there was a wide representation from across the globe.
Seaweed is having a renaissance. For years it has been undervalued; out of sight, out of mind. However, researchers around the country and the world have begun to explore its amazing potential as an alternative to many products and practices which are proving to be unsustainable in the long-term.
Kay Saarinan grows medicinal herbs, creating a range of organic skincare products in a purpose-built lab on her six-acre property on the NSW far South Coast. She started her business Saarinan Organics ten years ago, selling five products at the local markets. Kay now has 37 different products in her range, including facial cleansers, calendula ointment and moisturising creams.
After talking with Tim Flannery and exploring his research, I was blown away by the true potential of this watery weed and its capability to have a real effect with issues surrounding climate change.
Growing in our oceans and lining our beaches, seaweed is familiar to us all. But what many of us don’t realise is the nutritional benefit that seaweed offers. The edible seaweed industry in Australia is in its infancy. It’s only recently that scientific research is being conducted into the nutritional benefits of seaweed and how we can start incorporating it into our diets.
In bringing together this issue of the mag, I am reminded more and more that permaculture offers so much in the way of solutions to the challenges facing many of us today, from rising house and food prices, work and time pressures, and the industrialisation of our food systems.
Living a committed life of service to humanity and this beautiful planet is natural for Rosemary (Rowe) Morrow. She has been working and supporting people in areas of need for more than four decades through teaching permaculture in places where others don’t go. Without permaculture, the needs of people and the land would be less adequately met.
In an age of mass production these makers are keeping these dying arts alive. ‘I’m a fifth-generation cooper. I made my first barrel when I was fifteen, and I came to the trade full-time when I was forty – thirty years ago now. I’m an old bastard.’
Fair Harvest Permaculture is a testament to Jodie Lane and her dedication to community. Created over the last two decades, Fair Harvest is everything a permaculture demonstration site should be: a living, breathing example of permaculture principles in action, honouring the three permaculture ethics. But it is not the physical examples of permaculture that are most striking; it’s the community involvement that stands out the most.
We as humans have included chickens as part of household life for thousands of years. The earliest evidence of domestication is believed to date back to 5400BCE in China and evidence has been found dating back thousands of years across the world, in Iran, Pakistan, India, Africa, North and South America.
Ideally we’d do away with cars altogether, to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and carbon emissions. We would use bikes, public transport, walk or even go back to saddling up our trusty steed. But the reality is that most people still use cars daily: in our recent Pip survey, 86% of readers said they rely on cars as their main form of transport.
Five modern-day hunter-gatherers share their passion for eating from the wild
I was asked recently what brought me to the place I am in today: the editor of a permaculture magazine, living in the country on a property with an evolving permaculture design, teaching permaculture, growing food, eating well and trying to bring up my kids to understand and respect the planet.
Having chickens in your vegie garden can be a disaster. Most chicken owners would have experienced the heartbreaking disappointment of chickens getting into freshly planted garden beds, full of next season’s seedlings, and destroying the lot in a matter of hours.
Common2us is made up of a small team of young farmers from Spain and Australia who are passionate and driven to produce fresh, local, sustainable organic food for their Sydney community. They focus on producing highest quality food for their community and believe that ‘healthy’ food is grown and distributed in ways that benefit not just human health, but the health of the environment, the community and the producers who’ve grown it.
Buena Vista Farm is a small family farm growing food (primarily pastured meat chickens, and a market garden with laying hens, bees, ducks, pigs and cattle), making delicious fermented foods, and teaching homesteading skills, in particular ‘from-scratch’ cooking (e.g. sourdough and sauerkraut).
After reading Nick Rose’s book, Fair Food; Stories from a Movement Changing the World (UQP 2015), I knew it was going to be the theme for this issue. Fair Food is central to what so many of us are striving for: food that is produced in a way that supports not only our bodies, but the producers who grow it and the wider community as well.
I am so happy to bring you issue four of Pip Magazine, with its bee friendly focus.
Without the pollination services that bees provide our tables would begin to look very bare. Bees are responsible for one-third of the food we eat. In Australia around two-thirds of European-introduced horticultural and agricultural crops are entirely dependent on bees.
HG Eco-logic Constructions is about building quality and beautiful homes that work for our clients, the people who will live in them. Our focus is on creating a climate – in both house and site – that is comfortable, and is achieved through passive energy and efficient design.
Steven Hoepfner, Brett Young and I set up Wagtail in 2013. After completing an internship with Allsun Farm (near Gundaroo NSW) in 2011, my partner and I started looking for land in Adelaide to start up a small urban farm. Steven joined an urban farming interest group I’d set up, and mentioned he’d been offered land in Mitchell Park, about ten kilometres from the CBD. Along with Brett, we decided to start Wagtail together.
Issue three, here we are. Pip Magazine is now into its second year of publishing and it is growing strong. What began as a crazy, out-there idea is now well and truly a happening thing. As they say, it takes a community to raise a child, well it takes a community, a permaculture community, to raise a Pip Magazine. Yes, there are few key people that pull it together and make it happen but it is the whole permaculture community that support it and help it grow.
I see the greatest problem as blindness to the life of the planet; therefore, irresponsible destruction of the planet in every seed, whether it be for food or energy. Food is being produced through a system that is devastating the planet. In fact, what is being produced is not food, it’s not worthy of eating. It’s destroying our health and the health of the planet. Look at energy: why are we relying on coal, when we know there are more efficient alternatives that the earth provides, that won’t harm the planet and don’t violate people’s right in the abusive way that coal does.
I am developing a small farming business, with my partner Kirsti, which grows good food for our community. We aim to do that in an environmentally, socially and financially sustainable way. My personal aim is to regenerate this twenty-six hectare property into a farm that will be multigenerational in its viability. Whether I can achieve that or not remains to be seen, but I’m going to give it a good crack.
I design practical, productive gardens, help people get the most out of their existing gardens, and sell organic and heirloom seeds through my market stall.
I am a qualified horticulturist and landscape designer with permaculture training and values. I am also a holistic manager. Everything does something and has a purpose. I also felt, spin and am in a band with my husband and some great friends. My motto is ‘it starts with a dream for it to become a reality’. Give anything a go because it will lead to another and another.
Nineteen year old Madelaine Scott is an egg farmer and has been for twelve years. While people her age are often studying or still trying to find their feet, Madelaine is a full-time farmer running her own business.