President's Report
I'm so proud of several members at the moment. It's really great to see all these events and activities just being organised by people outside of offical PSN activities. The Chook Forum in Hornsby, Pruning Workshop in Ku-ring-gai, a totally different style monthly meeting format organised by the education team this month, the new PSN monthly Open garden initiative, the Grey Water Systems talk in Northern Beaches. It takes a lot of time and energy to coordinate and promote such events, so thank you for stepping up and making them happen!
I'd also like to say how thrilled I am by some of the these members who have promoted the events and put them up online into the What's On section of our website themselves. We ran a couple of training sessions in previous months to teach our Team Leaders and Local Group Coordinators how to utilise the functionality of the PSN website, and they've taken it on and tackled it wonderfully. Well done people - you know who you are!
Regarding the Advertising Policy that was released last month, there has been a fair amount of feedback. Considering there was a long time between the first time we put it out for comment and when it was released, and despite it having gone through several iterations of review and modification, we in the Management Committee decided last week to change one thing. That is that only PSN related and special community based events (eg. National Permaculture Day) will be allowed to be put onto the What's On page of our website. The reason for this is that it does take volunteer time and effort to put these events up and we want to minimise the load on our volunteers.
Any other notifications regarding courses / workshops being run or anything related to non-PSN events - as long as they are relevant to Permaculture and Sustainable living and are clearly something that our members could potentially be interested in and/or benefit from, can be posted by members on the PSN Noticeboard and on the PSN Facebook group.
Members can subscribe to the PSN Noticeboard so that they are notified by email on a daily basis of any updates that have been posted. To view the actual advertising policy, and any other PSN policies, please click here (login required).
Finally, the PSN Constitution... we have pushed the voting on the PSN constitution back by another month to allow more time for people to read, absorb and comment on the proposed constitution. We value your feedback, and as this is your organisation, and this is the document which guides how the organisation is / will be run. It is important that you a) have the opportunity to have your say; and b) vote in regards to its adoption when the time comes. Please ensure you get your comments in by Friday 14th September.
A notice will be sent out advising of a Special General Meeting to vote on this Special Resolution (adoption of the proposed constitution) at least 21 days before the meeting. The meeting will occur in conjunction with the regular October monthly meeting (Mon, 15th October). People unable to attend the meeting are entitled to vote by proxy.
Barry Hadaway has put a lot of effort into updating the document and has kindly put together an excellent comparison document which outlines, clause by clause, the current constitution compared to the proposed constitution and why changes have been proposed. Click here to access the relevant documents and for instructions on how give feedback. (login required).
To log in to the website, your user name is your email address. If you don't remember your password, click the "forgotten password" link. If you have any difficulty, please let us know by emailing so we can sort your access out.
Kind regards,

PSN Monthly Meeting - Monday 20 Aug 2012 @ 7:30pm
At this month’s monthly meeting we are trying something very different.
Rather than have one main speaker, we’ll have four speakers discussing different permaculture topics.

The meeting will be broken up into TWO distinct halves. The first half of the meeting will involve breaking up into 4 groups with each group rotating around the room listening to all four 15 minute presentations.

The second half of the evening will be a short form of a strategic process called World Café. This will involve breaking into smaller groups of 4-6 people with a scribe at each table opening up and drawing out information surrounding issues that matter to you.
Each group will move onto a different table two times (except the scribe). This will allow us to compare and add to each table’s thoughts and ideas, creating a comprehensive and expanded view.

By asking everyone to look and discuss these topics, we will be able to identify the similarities and differences within the group to better understand some of the issues requiring further development.

As PSN is a volunteer organisation, the management group are in their roles to support your needs. So please come along with your learning caps on for the first half and your thinking caps on for the second. This will help us develop PSN’s strategic direction based around what the greater group requires which will ultimately benefit you.
7pm for a 7:30 start.
Please remember to bring your own coffee mug and join us for supper and a chat afterwards.
PSN requests a $5 donation for non-members to attend.
Doors open at 7pm. Lindfield Community Centre, 259 Pacific Hwy, Lindfield. Just a few minutes walk from Lindfield railway station.
Thanks in advance to the Hornsby Local Group who will be providing supper this month.

Don't Forget to BYO Mug
Please bring your own reusable mug/cup to all meetings.
PSN Monthly Meetings are held on the 3rd Monday of every month.
Doors open at 7pm. Lindfield Community Centre, 259 Pacific Hwy, Lindfield. Just a few minutes walk from Lindfield railway station.
PSN Fundraising Raffle
Go into the draw to win a Tapas Class and Dining Experience for two valued at $280 at Sydney’s multi award winning sustainable steak house MUMU Grill
In this hands on experience, you’ll learn how to make everything from restaurant-quality pizza and breads (which you’ll craft from dough and bake in the restaurant’s stone oven) through to rubs and pastes (which you can apply to different types of cooking later), delicious tapinades and up to six Spanish tapas favourites. You’ll also learn how to make an authentic sangria to enjoy with your meal.
Tickets: 1 for $5 or 3 for $10
Tickets can be purchased online
And it's not just for PSN members... invite your friends, family, colleagues to buy tickets and support PSN too!

Raffle to be drawn @ Permaculture Sydney North monthly meeting | Monday 15th October
Craig from MUMU Grill in Crows Nest has kindly donated this fantastic prize so that PSN can do some much needed fund raising.

Here is an excerpt from an
interview with Craig last year by Cassie White.

Mumu Grill, a steak house in Crows Nest NSW is showing us that we don’t need to stop enjoying meat to eat sustainably and ethically. All of the animal products served are grass fed or organic, while produce is purchased from local growers. Owner and head chef Craig Macindoe says serving food that is in season keeps him inspired.
“For me it’s all about ‘this is what’s coming into season, so I need to get used to working with it’. You’re talking to farmers and asking things like when stinging nettle will be available … so it becomes a real interaction between the food and us,” he says.
Macindoe says the life of the animals is a major concern for him and the producers he deals with. He ensures they’re cared for properly and fed on native perennials and grasses.
For Macindoe, the restaurant industry should be all about honest, clean and fresh tasting food...
“People should know where their food comes from because it makes the producers more accountable. As part of the whole Slow Food Movement, people need to think of themselves more of a co-producer, rather than the end consumer.
“...If we know where everything comes from then there’s some kind of accountability and we tend to eat fresher and better quality. "
“It’s like a spiral of goodness. We do regular dinners where we invite the farmers in and they speak. Then I’ll talk about why we do certain things and that sort of education is the backbone of our business”

Note: In accordance with the law ( people who purchase tickets online will be emailed a unique ticket number (we have physical raffle tickets), but as this is a manual process, the ticket number will not be included in the automatic / system-generated registration confirmation email.
PSN Open Garden - Gladesville
Sunday 26 August, 2012 - 2pm to 4pm
Starting this month, PSN will be organising open permaculture garden days for members to visit, enjoy and benefit from the exchange of information and knowledge of other permies. The open garden visits will take place on the 4th Sunday of the month.

Our Garden Team leader, Deb, will be the first to open her garden on Sunday 26 August from 2pm to 4pm. Deb’s garden featured in Geoff Lawton’s DVD on Urban Permaculture. This is a great example of permaculture design, incorporating: solar; water harvesting with swales/paths on contour and a grey water reed filtration system; animal systems – chooks and native bees; productive vegetable /herbs beds with flowers attracting beneficial insects; and aquaponics – growing rainbow trout to eat and provide nutrients for a productive kitchen garden in Zone 1.
Deb will conduct a tour of her garden, providing short talks about her design, aquaponics, native bees, chooks, and espalier training of apple trees.

If you would like to attend please register here or email The address will be provided on registration. If you would like to bring along family or friends who are not members, a small $5 donation can be made to PSN on the day.
If you would like to stay and have a cup of tea and a chat after the tour, please bring along a mug.
Advocacy Report by Barry Hadaway
National Food Plan
The Australian Government is developing a National Food Plan. The stated aim of the National Food Plan is, “To foster a sustainable, globally competitive, resilient food supply that supports access to nutritious and affordable food.”

The government has produced a Green Paper which outlines its vision and approach to food policy. The Green Paper is available now for comment.
I have been wading through the Green Paper, which runs to 274 pages and have found it to be pretty nebulous and full of feel good statements with little identification of any concrete action. Please note the national food plan website also provides a 20 page summary of the green paper.
Perhaps the problem is that the business of growing, processing, distributing and selling food in Australia is horribly complicated. The Australian government is involved in many ways. A few examples are:
  • The Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry – is responsible through the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) for Biosecurity and regulation of Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals
  • Department of Health and Ageing – is responsible for regulating GM foodstuffs through the Office of the Gene Regulator
  • Department of Trade – Promotes exports through Austrade and negotiates international trade agreements and export quotas
  • Food Standards Australia and New Zealand – is responsible for Food Safety and Food Labelling
  • Treasury – through the Foreign Investment Review Board examines foreign acquisitions of Australian Businesses, including agriculture businesses and purchases of agricultural land, to determine if such acquisitions are in the national interest. At present the FIRB only looks at foreign acquisitions of Australian businesses worth $244M or more. Most sales of agricultural land are well under this threshold and the government has no idea how much of Australia’s agricultural land is in foreign ownership. On the 15 June 2012 the Assistant Treasurer and the Minister for Ag announced the establishment of a working group to consult on the development of a Commonwealth foreign ownership register for agricultural land.
Alongside the Australian government many, many aspects of agriculture, fisheries, forestry and food processing, etc are controlled by the State governments.

I am coming to the conclusion that it isn’t practical to attempt to comment on the 274 pages of the Green Paper issue by issue and topic by topic.

As an alternative I am thinking we should make a statement as to what outcomes we want from a National Food Plan. Naturally, such a submission would promote permaculture and organic approaches and relocalisation of food production.

Interestingly, the Permaculture Research Institute made a submission to the initial consultation phase of the development of the National Food Plan. The PRI submission may be viewed here.
The PRI submission argues that Australia should move away from conventional agriculture and adopt ‘agroecology’, which applies ecological science to agricultural systems.

Agroecology advocates the use of nitrogen fixing plants to replace artificial fertilisers and avoidance of pesticides, herbicides, etc by providing habitat for beneficial insects, birds, etc. The PRI submission relies on a UN Report to the General Assembly by Olivier De Schutter, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, to carry the argument for the adoption of agroecology.
Perhaps a PSN submission can build on some of the ideas presented in the PRI submission and supporting documents.

What do you want in a National Food Plan? Remember this is all aspects of food not just growing food. If you have some ideas for a PSN submission please send me an email to by 15 September 2012. Submissions close on 30 September 2012 and I am aiming to send in PSN’s submission at least a week before the cut off date.

Chinese Market Gardens – Bunnerong Road, La Perouse
Recently PSN was asked to assist in a community campaign to save the Chinese Market Gardens in Bunnerong road at La Perouse from a proposed takeover by the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park Trust (ESMPT). The ESMPT wants the land to expand an adjacent cemetery.
The Chinese Market Gardens should be protected for a number of reasons:
  1. Heritage Value
    The site in question has significant heritage value as a site of continuing urban agricultural production for some 110 years.
  2. Peak Oil
    Fuel scarcity and high fuel prices will eventually cripple broad-acre food production and long distance road transport. We will need to produce food locally on all available areas of green open space and sites such as the Chinese Market Gardens will be invaluable.
  3. Climate Change
    Close to 30% of the average Australian’s greenhouse gas emissions relate to the production, processing, transport and distribution of their food. Local food production is a key element in the overall strategy that we need to adopt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  4. Local Democracy
    The community wants the site protected for its heritage values, for its value in local food production and for its education value, and these aspirations are consistent with making Randwick a more sustainable community. Accordingly, the site should be protected.
    PSN made a submission to Randwick Council making these points on 23 July 2012. A copy of our submission has been posted on the PSN Noticeboard.
Advocacy Team Meetings
This year the Advocacy Team is meeting on the first Tuesday of odd months. That is the first Tuesday in September and November. Meetings will be at 3 Yerong Street, Ryde unless otherwise advised, commencing at 7.30pm.

If you cannot make it to a meeting but you have an issue of concern please drop me an email at
Barry Hadaway - Advocacy Team Leader
Growing Growing Gone - Richard Heinberg Event
Is our growth-based economic system leading us to a future of prosperity and plenty for all?
Acclaimed US Author and speaker Richard Heinberg argues that the opposite is true and that perpetual growth in the economy and population is taking humanity toward a future of scarcity, hardship and dangerous environmental decline.

Why are our leaders and media commentators so determined to persist with an economic system that defies the most basic laws of mathematics and physics?
What can we do to wrestle the future direction of humanity onto a more sustainable trajectory?
Come and hear Richard Heinberg explores some of the most profound questions confronting human civilisation.
Venue: Guthrie Theatre, University of Technology Sydney (UTS)
702-730 Harris St, Ultimo (between Broadway and ABC Ultimo Centre)
Date & time: Tuesday, September 18, 6.30pm
Cost: Free, optional donation ($5-10 suggested)
Inquiries: ph. 02 96803245 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 02 96803245 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Permaculture Northern Beaches
July 26th meeting
Our July meeting was a screening of the documentary Growing Change - A Journey Inside Venezuela's Food Revolution, and had 2 guest speakers Jim McIllroy and Coral Wynter. Both of them have lived for several years in Venezuela and are organising a delegation to Venezuela later this year. Jim is a national co-convenor of the Australia Venezuela Solidarity Network and Coral appears in the documentary.

This documentary tells the story of Venezuela’s food revolution, where the community, assisted by their government, started to take responsibility over their food needs by taking control over the food production and distribution systems, thus reducing food imports and ensuring a fair share to all. They call this concept Food Sovereignty. The peoples claimed their right to define and control their own food, agriculture, livestock and fisheries systems, in contrast to having food largely subject to international market forces. It was quite an inspiring night!
Permaculture Principles and Us
Since we’re a permaculture local group, we thought that we should spend a little time at each of our monthly meeting to reflect on a permaculture principle and think of new ways we could apply it in our lives. See to read the listing of all principles.

This month, we will focus on the 1st one:
Observe and interact: By taking time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.

This whole month we will all think of new ways we could apply this principle in our lives.
Warringah Grant: $5000!
Thank to Elle, our Warringah LGA Liaison, we have received a $5000 grant to produce 3 public talks and some useful permaculture printed material (educational fact sheets / information kit). It’s a great opportunity for our local group to get some exciting events happening! We’re now in the process of planning these talks and the production the information kit. These events will be an opportunity to learn something about permaculture from inspiring speakers, as well as to celebrate together in a different
environment than we usually do. Watch this space!
Vision/Mission development for PNB
There are so many projects we can do as a group! We feel that the time has come to define who we are as a group and what our priorities should be, and establish a clear common vision for our local group that will serve as a guide to prioritize what we will focus on. A common vision will also allow us to reinforce the bonds that connect us and focus on our common interests to become an even stronger community.

We’re still talking about the different ways we could organize this to be as inclusive as possible of everyone’s input in the process. And we want it to be fun too!
Permaculture Northern Beaches Library: now open
This to announce that we now have a permaculture library on the northern beaches! There are a few permaculture books, magazines and videos, which you can use on the spot or borrow for a couple of weeks. Our librarians are Simone and Daniel Yakich, and the library is located at New Leaf Nursery.

All our members are welcome to make use of it! Also, if you have any permaculture related books or DVD’s you’re not using so much anymore, please consider making a donation to our library – contact Daniel or Simone directly.
Greywater Workshop - 23rd August - Save the Date!
Make sure you lock in the evening of August 23rd in your diaries as Cameron Little is set to teach you everything you need to know about Greywater. Attached is a flyer that you can forward on to friends and family to invite them to the event.

Greywater is used water excluding toilet water. With some planning, the right equipment for your circumstances and a little care, you too could be using it to irrigate your food forest, orchard or for general greening of your garden.

In this presentation you will learn of design and practical considerations plus the DIY and off-the-shelf equipment available to help you to achieve your greywater objectives.
What: Permaculture Northern Beaches Monthly Meeting
Venue: Lakeview Hall, Tramshed Arts & Community Centre, 1395a Pittwater Rd, Narrabeen
When: Thursday 23rd August 2012
Times: Doors Open 7pm for a 7:30pm Screening
Cost: Free although non members are requested to make a gold coin donation.
Meeting concludes 9pm
Wishing a good month to all!
Kind regards,
Myriam Pitre
Co-ordinator, Permaculture Northern Beaches
Living Skills Workshop By Barbara Clark
At the August living skills workshop we were most fortunate to have Peter Wright show our enthusiastic members how to construct a sturdy quail/chook pen.

Peter provided some excellent advice including talking through some of the different types of wood joints, use of tools including hand saws, circular saws, hammer & chisel, the pros and cons of using hard wood & pine (including treated pine), how to protect the wood against the weather by sealing the end grain of joints during construction and ways of attaching the wire.

Peter had the frame of the quail house in various stages of completion so he could easily demonstrate the different methods of construction.

This hands-on workshop was attended by 98 people and proved thoroughly enjoyable. Although no-one was able to complete their coop that afternoon, everyone was armed with a copy of the plans so they could finish the project at home.

At the next living skills workshop in September we’ll be making Sour Dough Bread. More details to be announced on the website soon.
Hornsby Local Group Chook Keeping Forum by Cecilia Bird
Thanks to the many talented members in PSN we had a most successful afternoon learning about keeping chickens. We were blessed with lovely weather and a lovely venue with Jenny as a great host.
The panel consisted of experienced and new chicken-keepers who took us through housing, tractoring, feed, choosing a breed and health issues. Thanks to our presenters for preparing so well for this event and sharing their knowledge – Libby, Jacqui, Monika, Selena and Rhonda on standby. We even witnessed the hypnotising of a chook prior to a wing-clipping demonstration.
An interesting garden-tour and afternoon tea (thanks to all contributors) was followed by Diana W. who brought two of her quails along and talked about aspects of keeping them. Owing to their classification, they can be kept on a balcony. This was followed by Peter W. and his hand-made tractor/quail house. Thanks both for your efforts.
Thanks to everyone who attended and for contributions to afternoon tea and discussions. It was a wonderful exchange of information and ideas.
Upcoming Hornsby group events can be viewed on the noticeboard.

Thank you
This month we say farewell to Mandy Stubbs from her position as Lane Cove Local Group Coordinator. In the four years that Mandy has been in this role she's been instrumental in the starting up and running of Permapatch, the Lane Cove community garden. Mandy has opened her garden numerous times for National Permaculture Day, Open Garden Schemes and for local group activities. In 2009 (I think) she was the PSN Show's Team Leader, and over the years has shared her knowledge of, and passion for, Permaculture with many people through local community stalls, fairs and expos. She is also an instigator of a local edible verge-planting garden scheme in Lane Cove.
On that note, at this very minute Lane Cove Council has a Draft Policy on the Planting or Landscaping of Nature Strips which opposes edible verge gardens - actually it opposes almost anything other than lawn or pavement... Comments close Thurs 15th September: See here. Make sure you have your say!
In other news, Cecilia Bird has announced that come October she will be stepping down from the role of Hornsby Local Group Coordinator. Cecilia recently orchestrated the hugely successful Chook Forum. Under Cecilia's leadership, the Hornsby local group has done several mini-permabees and assisted members in opening their gardens up for National Permaculture Day. Seed saving has been a prominent activity in the Hornsby group, and the local group enjoyed a Christmas Party last year.

The Hornsby group, earlier this year, did something that we'd love to encourage in PSN... A member who had attended the tomato preservation Living Skills workshop shared what they had learned by recreating the activity at a Hornsby local group meeting. Local Group meetings are a great opportunity for members to share skills and knowledge in their local community, and allows for members who miss out on the monthly Living Skills events to still benefit from them.

So a big thank you to both Mandy and Cecilia for their time, effort and committment over the years.
The Lane Cove Local Group Coordinator position is now vacant for anyone intersted in stepping up. And come mid-October, Gerardine Crowly will be the Hornsby LGC.
Sustain Expo
Last month’s Sustain Expo was a huge success with organisers and attendees loving and inspired by what we do.
One of my favourite comments came from a man who had first heard about Permaculture at the PSN display at the Organics Expo and Green Show last year. Since then, he, his wife and daughter have established a no-dig veggie patch in their garden and are now keen to get into bees.
I’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge all the people who committed their valuable time and energy in making the PSN display such a success.
  • Phillip & Di Evans built the original and much used PSN balcony
  • Richard Brassil built the polypipe vertical garden, and always generously helps out in a massive way by transporting the balcony and PSN signs and frames whenever we do a display.
  • Rolf, Monika, Matt , Louise, Lorraine, Di, Steph, Rosemary, Barry, Brenda, Justine, Jeremy, Craig, Deb, Shawn, Guilliame, Peter, Steve W, Steve B, and Monique for manning the stall, talking to people, setting up and packing down.
In no particular order, I would like to thank all the following businesses. We could not have made the stand so interesting and interactive without their support.



Chikukwa ( Zimbabwe Permaculture) Project Update
For those of you who attended the monthly meeting back in March, you'd remember we screened a video called the Chikukwa (pronounced Chee-cook-wa) Project, and had the producer, Dr. Terry Leahy, come to talk to us about this amazing project. This incredible Permaculutre project, over the past 20 years has successfully moved 70,000 people in the Chikukwa region from a state of malnutrition to having food security.
John Seed, founder and director of the Rainforest Information Centre, came and spoke to PSN late last year about the concept of Deep Ecology. In conjunction with the Chikukwa Project, John is develping a train the trainer course to be run in Chikukwa this October. This course will allow the participants to prepare the Chikukwa farmers for a larger workshop in the new year which will bring in a group of farmers from one of the communities (from Zimbabwe or possibly from across the border in Mozambique) who have been requesting such training. This is the start of educating and empowering other communities to replicate the Chikukwa successes elsewhere in Zimbabwe and Africa.

The Rainforest Information Centre has pledged to raise $2,200 to be able to run the train the trainer course in October and has requested that PSN members be informed, and given the opportunity to donate to this worthwhile project. The proposal for the project can be accessed here: In October a budget will be prepared for a two week training for maybe 30 people including the cost of their travel, food and lodging and then a crowdfunding site for the project will be set up. Any money raised now beyond the $2200 for “train the trainer” will be used to get the ball rolling for the larger project.
If you would like to contribute now or if you’d be interested to be contacted again in October when they set up a site to crowdsource funds for the teachers at Chikukwa to train another African community on how to achieve food security through permaculture, please contact John
Seed on All donations are tax deductable.
For the Earth | John Seed | | The Rainforest Information Centre

Seed Savers Monthly Meet with Peter Pezzolesi
Seed Savers meet on the 4th Saturday of every month from 9am-12 noon at the Bidjiwong Community Nursery in Baulkham Hills. (Rear of Ted Horwood Reserve carpark, off Renown Rd, opposite the sports club).
All PSN members are welcome. You'll meet great people, learn a lot about cleaning seed, propagating, how to recognise and save seeds, heaps of growing tips and herbal remedies from Robyn and other knowledgeable people.
We can share our seeds with you and would love for you to share some of your special heirloom seeds with us.
Peter Pezzolesi
Seed Savers Co-ordinator
Phone 0412 817 605 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 0412 817 605 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Welcome new PSN members
A big welcome to all our new members since our July meeting.
Hornsby: Catherine D; Chris S; Harry B; Luke G; Nicola B; Ros B; Vanessa G;
Ku-ring-gai: Liz N; Morris N; Steve H; Sunny H; Tanya N; Wudhi N;
Lane Cove: Lesley W;
North Sydney: Sophie R;
Northern Beaches: Dane M; Natalia S; Ken R; Ben O; Gay R; Tamsen S;
Ryde/Hunters Hill: Kate S; Sarah S;
Willoughby: Karen G; Richard G; Rose Y;
Other: Bruce D; Michael M; Reina M;
For details on local group monthly meetings please refer to the noticeboard or email your local group coordinator or check out the new re-occuring events page (PSN diary) here.
PSN Facebook
Our facebook page is rocking! It's an excellent place for finding out what's going on in and around our area in a broader context.
Costa frequently posts here as do other well-known people and organisations.
You can interact with like minded permies to share ideas, pose questions, post interesting articles and find out what courses and events are happening in our region and around the world.
If you would like help in setting up a facebook login please email
Words of Wisdom
The more you know, the less you need

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