Editorial

robyn

I am so happy that you are holding this magazine in your hands and reading it. It has been a long time in the making, growing from pip to peach, and here it is present in the world, sitting in your hands.

The idea of doing this magazine first came up while I was doing my Permaculture Design Course a few years ago, when I was seven months pregnant with my third child. After much discussion and encouragement, I knew by the end of the PDC that this was going to be my contribution.

Since then, I gave birth to my daughter at home in the converted shed we were living in; my partner and I have renovated our house, making it more sustainable; we’ve slowly started implementing the design I created in the PDC; and we’ve enjoyed growing our little family. In the spare moments that exist around all that, this magazine has slowly grown.

Throughout its creation, I have met many awesome people and learnt so much from them. In the process of researching for our ‘story of permaculture’ article I spent a day with David Holmgren.

Sustainability in Nimbin

sustainability-nimbin

Many projects start with a champion: someone who believes enough in an idea to take those perilous early risks. In our community that was Natalie Meyer. She was the team leader and able to draw on the resources of the Nimbin Neighbourhood and Information Centre (NNIC), a membership-based not-for-profit organisation that does a lot of community work at all levels.

Community services typically focus on crisis relief, counselling, referrals and other support. The NNIC wanted to expand the scope of that work to include capacity building.

The idea is that if we have a resilient community that is self‑determined, self‑supporting and highly connected we are all going to have a better life now, and be less likely to need those emergency social services when things get tough; we will be supported more organically through our strong community networks. Refocusing

Robin Clayfield

Wild, abundant, full of wildlife. Some parts neat, lots messy! Always jobs to do – subtropical, so heaps of biomass to turn into compost. Alive. Quiet spots to sit, with garden sculptures and installations. A heaven for people and animals to rest and be in. Paradise.

How do you spend your days?

Every day is different. I don’t lead a routine lifestyle, although I do my best to take a three kilometre walk each morning, and have a healthy green juice to start the day no matter where I am.

How would you describe the work you do?

Diverse, innovative, creative, leading edge. I do lots of different things – training teachers and group leaders, writing books and learning resources, guiding and consulting to community groups, leading tours of Crystal Waters Permaculture Eco-village, and presenting and hosting workshops.

Ideas For Designing And Building An Attached Greenhouse

building-greenhouse

An attached greenhouse is a great feature in any permaculture design because it serves so many functions and is a great way to integrate zone one and zone zero. Your greenhouse can become not only a growing space but also a living space.

Zone zero

An attached greenhouse

  • is an integral factor in the passive solar design of a home, letting in sunshine and trapping and storing heat
  • provides an air lock and living space in colder months
  • is an efficient and convenient work/storage space throughout the year.

Zone one

An attached greenhouse

Pamela Forward

pamela

I live on one acre outside of Margaret River, WA.

Tell us about what you do

I am a sustainable building designer, with clients Australia wide. In my work I express commitment to simplicity, beauty and sustainability, underpinned by core values of permaculture. With clients, I prioritise passive solar design, use of local and recycled materials, and minimum ecological footprints with maximum function and flexibility.

I also teach sustainable building design (‘zone zero’) for the Fair Harvest Permaculture Design Certificate, and facilitate workshops on sustainable topics. I love co‑teaching the Living Smart course which takes us all on a journey, scrutinising our households and lifestyles.

Greenhouse Living

greenhouse-living

Grapevines hanging from the ceiling, trees growing inside, passionfruit within an arm’s reach of the bed – Anneke van Tholen’s greenhouse home takes the term living with nature literally.

Anneke lives on a five acre block in the beautiful Bega Valley in NSW. What stands out most when you enter her home aren’t her abstract paintings, hung from every wall. It’s not the open, spacious design that exudes rustic charm, nor is it the recycled steps leading up to her artist’s studio. It’s the large and bountiful greenhouse that runs the length of the building.

Unlike most greenhouses, Anneke’s is part of her living space. There is no wall or window or barrier between the two; the greenhouse is part of the inside of her home, and it is this that makes it remarkable. What is also remarkable is that it cost less than $60,000 to build, she has no debt, it was built in six months by her and her family, and aside from the slab nearly all of the materials are recycled.

Grow Your Own Shiitake

growing-shiitake

Shiitake mushrooms are the yummiest variety, in my opinion. They’re also the most expensive in the shops, and it’s virtually impossible to find organic ones, at least where we live. Solution: grow your own.

You’ll be happy to hear that making your own shiitake mushroom log is very easy. It would make a great holiday project for any family, or a great skill-share workshop in your community. Here’s how you do it.

Making a shiitake log:

Materials

  • one recently cut log – ideally 100–150 mm in diameter, and preferably no less than 600– 750 mm in length
  • shiitake spawn (plugs or sawdust)
  • hand drill

Adam Grubb

adam

Melbourne. Inner city enough to grow bananas, thanks to the heat-island effect.

Describe your property

We live in an old weatherboard, painted pale turquoise. The whole garden is full of fruit trees, edible vines, currants, berries, vegetables and flowers. When we’re in the front yard, people walking by often stop to tell us how much they like it.

Who do you live with?

My wife Annie, our dog Little and Lucy our housemate.

Starting A Food Forest

food-forest

Food forests are production systems that try to mimic nature. Rather than growing trees in grass, we aim for a variety of plants of different shapes and sizes among the trees. Like natural forests, food forests include layers from the ground up. By selecting plants relevant to each layer, space can be used efficiently and competition reduced. We also want to replicate the interactions between animals, soil and plants that make a forest ecosystem function.

In 2010 I was invited by a Canberra primary school to revive its garden which was started in 2008 and develop a food forest. The following guide uses that project as an example (see green text).

International Permaculture Convergence 11, 2013 Cuba

ipcii

After the three most unsustainable days of my life, spent mostly in aeroplanes and hotel rooms, we arrived in Cuba for the eleventh IPC in late November and early December last year.

First up was a conference held over three days in Havana. We were treated to a great overview of permaculture from speakers from around the globe, in both English and Spanish. Day 1 was ‘Permaculture on islands’. Day 2 focused on ‘Climate change’ and Day 3 was on ‘Urban permaculture’ with examples of inspiring community-based projects and organisational structures.

Following the conference there was a day of urban tours. The food gardens were inspiring, combining permaculture with other areas of life – one with anti-violence education, another a car detailing business!

The highlight was Organoponico Vivero Alamar, a commercial food production system in the suburbs which brought approving gasps