Permafund is the ‘Permaculture International Public Fund’, for tax deductible gifts (donations), run by Permaculture International Limited trading as Permaculture Australia.
Permafund has provided much-needed funds towards projects in both Australia and overseas such as: assisting with land restoration, erosion control and vetiver grass propagation in Haiti; communitybased training and earthworks in Kenya; food-growing workshops through the Neighbourhood House in Wodonga, Victoria; and training and support for remote herder communities and livestock keepers in Pakistan. Details of two funded projects are included in the boxes.
Permafund is administered by a dedicated group of seven committee members who offer their time voluntarily, and answer to the elected board of Permaculture Australia. The committee was formed three years ago in Katoomba (Blue Mountains NSW) at a gathering titled ‘What does good permaculture aid look like?’ Bill Mollison was fond of saying that permaculture was the best aid program ever invented, so we were curious about what would work.
After thirty-five years of permaculture activists initiating projects in the developing world, there were many examples: some were hugely successful; others did more harm than good. The Permafund committee decided to focus on offering ‘microgrants’ to non-government organisations (NGOs) to assist with eligible projects; and to build relationships with such NGOs to establish a better understanding about appropriate financial aid and development support.
Permafund has so far allocated about $13 000 to assist sixteen projects, four in Australia and twelve overseas. A list of these projects with details, photos and updates can be found on the Permaculture Australia website at www.permacultureaustralia.org.au
Permafund Needs Your Help
Permafund has appealed for donations via the Permaculture Australia website and its networks, and the permaculture community has donated generously. Notable donations have included profits from sales of the annual Permaculture calendar, and the book Permaculture pioneers: stories from the new frontier (Holmgren Design Services, 2011). There are also anonymous one-off donors, and one kind gentleman deposits $40 into the Permafund account electronically each month. Some permaculture groups and businesses donate a percentage of the gate takings from public events such as International Permaculture Day. Permafund thanks you all.
Permafund needs continuing funds to evolve and, hopefully, play a critical role in assisting worthy projects into an uncertain future. To achieve this we need your help.
Tithing – donating a tenth part of something – is an old concept that’s been on the fringes of permaculture from its beginning. Donating any percentage of profits to nourish others less fortunate than ourselves is consistent with permaculture’s ‘fair share’ ethic: if we all give a little we’ll gather a lot.
The Permafund committee is asking the permaculture community in Australia to engage with us. Whether you belong to a local group that stages regular events and are looking for a fundraising focus, or a permaculture educator or consultant willing to share your profits, please consider the vision and purpose of Permafund, and build a relationship with us. We’d love to hear from you.
Spending three years or more on any committee is a big commitment, and it’s important for us to replenish our enthusiasm and goals. We’ll use the Australasian Permaculture Convergence (APC12 in Penguin Tasmania in March 2015) to discuss new directions and gather support for Permafund. The committee will welcome new members.
For more information and to make a donation go to permacultureaustralia.org.au/permafund/
Foundation for Research and Sustainable Development
(Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India – $1000) The Foundation for Research and Sustainable Development (FRSD) is an NGO which wanted to form a network of voluntary organisations and farmers to promote permaculture in rural areas of the Western Ghats mountains in Tamil Nadu. One FRSD priority is to promote a traditional form of feeding and protecting plants using five cow products (dung, urine, milk, curd and ghee) known as Panchagavya, and to wean farmers off using chemical fertilisers and pesticides. FRSD has prepared handouts for farmers on permaculture practices that have proven successful in the field, and engaged regional NGOs to assist with distributing them.
(Cambodia – $1000)
Ockenden is an NGO with six current projects in Cambodia. Permafund donated funds towards a farm forestry demonstration site west of Battambang near the border with Thailand. Permaculture elder Max Lindegger helped to design this site.
Funds were used to:
- plant 1500 seedling paper trees as part of a woodlot to demonstrate the potential for community forestry
- upgrade two latrines that connect to a biogas plant which uses manure from a herd of cows penned nearby
- replacing the roof of the training centre with fire retardant leaves.
- All work was carried out in September to November 2014, and we received a comprehensive final report.