Category 14

Permaculture plant: Coffee


We all love coffee, but often the beans have travelled a long way to reach our cup. Is it possible to grow it yourself and cut down on those food miles?

Generally, coffee is grown in warmer climates. In Australia, this means from Northern NSW, South East Queensland and the Atherton Tablelands. The theoretical lower latitude is 30º (about Grafton), but it could be grown further south if protected from frost in suitable microclimates.

An attractive and ornamental plant, coffee (Coffea arabica) belongs to the same family as gardenias and citrus. It has glossy dark green leaves and a covering of fragrant small white flowers, followed by green berries and bright red cherries. It is a very robust plant, with few pests and diseases.

The greatest production of beans comes from well-fertilised bushes growing in full sun, however they are also shade tolerant and grow quite happily under or with other trees and bushes. This makes it a suitable plant to be used as an understory or windbreak.


Save the date! On Sunday 19th April 2020, the next APC will begin with a Permaculture Festival open to all at Northey Street City Farm in Brisbane. Then, for those who have completed a Permaculture Design Course (PDC), conference talks, workshops and more will be held from Monday to Thursday 20–23 April 2020 at Redland Bay South Moreton Bay (35 mins from Brisbane—accessible by public transport). Tours of Northern NSW and Southeast QLD will follow the convergence.

APCs are held every two years with a changing location around Australia or New Zealand. Attendees from Australia, New Zealand and Asia come together to share their permaculture journeys, share best practise in sustainable living and share the positive change permaculture has to people’s lives around the world. APC is supported and run by Permaculture Australia.

Pip Picks: Things We Like

This creative card deck is designed to support your permaculture practice, learning, teaching, designing and consulting. This work is the culmination of 16 years of permaculture design study by Delvin Solkinson, sharing the largest collection of permaculture principles, strategies, attitudes, ethics and design methods, learned from permaculture’s greatest thinkers and educators including, Bill Mollison, Rosemary Morrow, David Holmgren, Geoff Lawton, Toby Hemenway, Larry Santoyo, Robin Clayfield, Starhawk and Looby Macnamara. Featuring permaculture illustrations by Brenna Quinlan

The cards are divided into five suits: Design Principles, Ethical Principles, Attitudinal Principles, Strategic Principles and Design Methods. There are three bonus sets that include; 7 Ways to Think Differently, Design Web and Grounded Gardening

Bill Mollison’s Permaculture Principles


The concept of permaculture can be difficult to define. Often people have a basic understanding but find it hard to really grasp the concepts behind it that make it different from just organic gardening or sustainable living. What sets permaculture apart is that it is based on design, permaculture principles and the three ethics of earth care, people care and fair share.

The permaculture concept was created by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren at the University of Tasmania in the 1970s. David was Bill’s student and together they published the groundbreaking Permaculture One, (Corgi, 1978) which offered the first description of what permaculture was.

After this book was published, David and Bill went their separate ways. Bill travelled the world, spreading the word of permaculture. David set about gaining skills and putting what he had come up with into practice.

Permaculture Around The World


Husband and wife team Marlene and Robert Founder started an NGO called Trees Of Life, with the aim of improving quality of life in the Mongolian countryside and giving people self-worth through horticulture and training using permaculture principles. Trees of Life is in the process of establishing a sustainable fruit tree orchard and vocational training centre in Northern Mongolia. They are actively building and investing in the people of the Sukhbaatar, Selenge community through the use of sustainable horticulture, permaculture teaching and relationship building.

Permablitz: Working Together

As its name suggests, a permablitz is a permaculture version of a backyard blitz. It’s a great way for like-minded people to get together, share knowledge, food and friendship, and build better edible gardens.

A permablitz sees a group of people come together to implement a permaculture design on one member of the group’s property. The lucky host (the owner or renter of the property) gets a permaculture design done for them and what would be months of work, completed in a single day. In return, the host must provide the materials as well as a healthy and filling lunch, drinks, and morning and afternoon tea.

Grow Your Own Herbal Teas

There are so many great reasons to grow your own herbal teas. Having a range of herbs on your doorstep, each with varying flavours and health benefits, is the main one. You will also have fresh organic tea available whenever you feel like having a cuppa. By growing your herbs organically, you are avoiding hidden pesticides and herbicides, as well as saving yourself money. And finally you are reducing waste and reducing the environmental footprint involved in bringing tea from a commercial grower to your kitchen.

As long as you have a few different plants growing you will always have a cup of herbal tea available for yourself or when visitors pop by. Here are some of our favourites.