Monthly meetings held at the ‘Ku-ring-gai Centre for Seniors'
259 Pacific Highway Lindfield NSW 2070 on the third Monday
of the month (except Jan) - all welcome
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President's May 2014 - Cat Dorey

Welcome to our May newsletter, with this section coming to you all the way from Klamath Falls in Oregon, USA!

Firstly a HUGE thank you to all our members who helped make International Permaculture Day a success. An extra big thank you to the weather for being so nice on the big day! Check out Lucinda's update on the day below.

I've been working in San Francisco for the last week, but managed to escape on the weekend to see some friends in Klamath Falls, just north of the border in Oregon. My friends, Kelly and Udi, both have doctorates and worked in universities for some time. They grew disillusioned with our formal education systems and left their jobs in England to visit education centres all over the world that explore new ways of teaching – programmes that get out of the lecture halls into the real world, that are lead by the needs of teachers, students and local communities. They're now holed up in Klamath Falls with a new baby, editing and promoting their film about Enlivened Learning. So why is this important to us Permies? Well, I've stolen some sections of Udi's blog to explain:

"When we set off on this journey I never imagined that I would learn so much about food. I did not consider that what I knew, thought and felt about food would change so much nor that I would be exploring the connection between food, learning and higher education.

As it turned out, I have come to learn quite a lot over the last year about the various ways that food is connected to our identities, our relation to our environment, to humans and non-human beings, but more broadly on the various processes of production, processing and waste surrounding food. All of these processes and the different relationships, practices and experiences they create have diverse, and often competing, kinds of knowledge systems behind them – distinct paradigms and cosmologies and as such this has become a key topic in Enlivened Learning.

I am calling this total system of relation to food, involving relationships, knowledges and practices, the foodscape.

What was noticeable within almost all the learning places we visited in our journey was the centrality of foodscapes in their knowledge and pedagogy (teaching/learning practice and philosophy). This in turn made me consider the almost complete absence of learning about foodscapes in my own educational trajectory.

This has prompted me to think about how much of our food system involves an escape from food. The systems industrial society has created for sourcing, processing and selling food has meant an ever-greater distance and disconnection from the importance of wholesome food relationships. Our foodscape has then become a food-escape.

In contrast, the centrality of foodscapes in the places we visited reflected a greater concern, reciprocity and care for the land, the environment and all its beings, for sustainability in the use of resources for the production of food and shelter and in the water system and in the production of waste. Many of the places also showed a much greater awareness and care for the economic relations between those involved in food growing with concepts of cooperative work in growing food being key organising nodes (especially in indigenous communities – ie. comunalidad in Oaxaca, Mexico, choba choba in the Peruvian Upper Amazon with the Quechua Lamas)."

You can read the full blog and more about the Enlivened Learning project here: and follow it on Facebook. I'm hoping to get Kelly & Udi to visit Sydney and share some of their fantastic experiences with PSN.

See you at our May meeting in Lindfield with the team from Our Land, Our Water, Our Future, or at a Permabee somewhere soon!

Cat Dorey

18 May: Ryde - Hunters Hill Local Group are off to Bilpin this weekend

Our next get-together will be to do something quite different and interesting.
On Sunday 18th May, 10:00 (for a 10:30 start) I would like to invite you to a visit to Bilpin Springs Orchard to pick apples.
For details and register click here.

19 May : PSN Monthly Meeting - David Burgess

David Burgess from the Total Environmental Centre, a member of the "Our Land, Our Water, Our Future alliance, will be speadking on the threats of coal and gas mining.

For further details please click here.

International Permaculture Day - Coal Loader Events

International Permaculture Day provided wonderful cause for PSN to collaborate with government and community partners and its permie members to bring many a community initiative across the North Shore. One such initiative was PSN’s first Festival collaboration with North Sydney Council’s Coal Loader for Sustainability which saw a series of free workshops, screenings and open gardens delivered to PSN members and the community. Run over 30 April to 3 May, the workshops included a an evening session on the essential hows and whys of fermentation with PSN member Gillian Kozinicki. Gillian’s session, with a dedacent spread of tastings including keffirs, kombuchas, labnes, pickles and kim chi, had the crowd of all ages and backgrounds milling in conversation on their next projects. Other workshops included a detailed talk by Kuringai Council’s bee expert, Peter Clarke, on spotting, setting up and caring for native bee hives as well as a session on minimising food waste and maximising the garden to plate harvest by PSN member Peter Pezzolessi. The West Australian landmark case setting an international precedent for organic farmers was the subject of the Festival’s film screening and Q&A session and drew a crowd deeply engaged from across Sydney on the issue. To round out the Festival, the community gardeners at the Coal Loader showcased their permaculture gardens and local chooks with morning garden tours for crowds braving the winter cold. PSN extends its thanks to the folk at the Coal Loader for their support in helping us spread the word on sustainability by providing a beautiful venue, promoting the Festival through social media and arranging bookings. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive and we look forward to more collaborative projects!

PSN Education Team - Autum Intro Course

Saturday was the first day of the Autumn Intro Course with a new group of wonderful students. Jill Fisher very generously allowed us to use her house for the first class in her bush setting herb garden. The afternoon excursion to Kimbriki Tip delighted everyone and is a great place to take visitors for a glance at what the future could be. Recycling and reuse on a grand scale. Better the permie way but this is good too.

Whilst the mega bunches of bananas and native raspberries in Peter Rutherford’s Eco Garden enchanted everyone, the big hit was discovering the exercise machine on the composting toilet block verandah. The problem solving team worked out the link with a nearby pond and a volunteer set to work to test the theory. Lo and behold, the pedals drove the pump, that pumped the water through the air into the boat pond. An encore revealed that it also watered a vertical garden. Thank you Peter. With our boots full of Kimbriki compost and a prized set of planter boxes for a balcony we left – it was the end of a perfect day.

Again, the students give us hope that the next generation is taking sustainable living seriously.

Diana Watson, Education Team Leader

International Permaculture Day - Open Gardens

PSN celebrated a most successful International Permaculture Day (IPD) on Sunday 4 May. This annual celebration was initiated by PSN a few years ago and soon went national and then international. It is both a celebration of Permaculture and an opportunity to showcase Permaculture to the wider community. This year, PSN had nine open gardens and community gardens on display, as well as a number of workshops in the days leading up to IPD. Here is a brief summary of successes at a few of those gardens.

Liz and Morris Nakhla’s IPD Open Garden. It was a wonderful afternoon; the sun shone, the garden looked wonderful, and the visitors came, 60 of them, and most of them stayed for quite a while, asking questions and taking photos. . There was plenty to look at; a variety of trees bearing fruit, a herb spiral, passion fruit, dragon fruit and pumpkin vines, vegetables galore and contented hens. The poly-pipe attracted lots of interest as did the two kinds of compost (one hot compost and several other compost bins.). People came because of publicity in the local paper and because Morris had managed to get it included on the council website.

Helen and Roman’s garden in Greenwich, a traditional suburban garden (roses, flowers, shrubs, lawn) with permaculture elements, attracted between 40 and 50 people. The garden was looking its best - lots of things still fruiting (capsicums, eggplants, lemons), lots of green (herbs, vegetables) and lots of colour (camellias, calendulas, zinnias). Visitors saw a productive garden of raised vegetable and herb beds which had replaced the traditional front lawn. Also in the front garden: bananas, a raspberry patch, paw paws, dwarf mulberry, pomegranate and fig, coffee, camellia (for black tea), curry leaf tree. And some unusual ones - Spanish liquorice. There were separate beds for garlic, onions and asparagus, some beautiful roses and lots of salvias. The back garden boasted herbs and greens (a few steps from the kitchen for a salad), some cape gooseberries, 3 chooks, 4 compost bins and 2 worm farms. There was also a display of amazing sculptures throughout the garden - made from materials like old fence netting and chicken wire. These were provided by Andrena Smith from Nyngan.

The lead up to opening Cecilia's garden in Carlingford for the first time was intense: Cecilia came back from a holiday to three days preparation for a permabee that for quite some time had only three people signed up. With 3 major tasks to achieve and 4 cubic metres of mulch and 2 tonnes of sand to move this left us in a quandary. Peter’s call for gardeners, however, resulted in 17 people on the day and more than the scheduled tasks being achieved and Cecilia thanks all who participated. All this was one week prior to opening leaving only a little time to tidy up, sort out and prepare for visitors, but friends pitched in to help reach the end point. The result was very pleasing and visitors seemed to appreciate it. Those who made the biggest impression were ones who had found other people interested in all things Permaculture.

All those involved in this years event have learnt a lot, and those lessons will be put to good use in future events, such as the planned open gardens for Sustainable House Day and, of course, for PSN's efforts for next year's IPD! If you are interested to find out more about how one opens ones garden to the public, please contact Lucinda via the vp@ email address.

Re-Use Roundabout Table

Re-Use Roundabout table: if you have Things you no longer need, or Stuff you think may be of use to others, please bring it along to the next PSN meeting at Lindfield, to the Re-Use Roundabout!

There are only two rules: if you think you got a bargain (by taking useful Stuff from the table), please consider a small donation. And if any Stuff you brought along has not gone by the time you pleave, please take it with you.

Calling all Proud Permee Gardeners!

In the past we have had great success with PSN members opening their gardens to other members to enjoy, Having another opportunity to socalise and learn from one another is a wonderful thing.

With this in mind, if you would like to open your garden to PSN members, for two hours some time this year, we would love to hear from you. Please drop an email to to arrange a chat. Who knows the Garden Team might even offer a permabee in the lead up to an open garden.

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