President's Report
'Tis the season of panic. Christmas is but 6 weeks away and as is done time and time again, there's a mad rush to ensure that all members of the family (especially the kids) and a selection of good friends will have a prettily wrapped present waiting for them under the  tree. Large companies often distribute branded gifts to their employees, and some appreciative business owners  might give their staff a gift too. And then of course there are all the parties and bbqs, where rather than cleaning up and risking breakages, it's easier to buy some disposable plastic plates, cups and cutlery and a roll of garbage bags to get it all out of sight and mind as quickly as possible. Then to top it off, many get up early so as to get first pickings at the Boxing Day sales. It makes me anxious just thinking about it.
According to the Australian Greeting Card Association (AGCA), Australians spend $100 million on wrapping paper each year, and $500 million on gift cards - the average person purchasing 22 cards per year. And the mission statement of the AGCA?... "To increase the per capita consumption of greeting cards in Australia". The book "Natural Capitalism" (P. Hawken, 1999) and The Story Of Stuff (A. Leonard, 2007 - state that only 1% of stuff is even still in use 6 months after it's been sold. "In other words, 99 percent of the stuff we harvest, mine, process, transport undefined 99 percent of the stuff we run through this system is trashed within 6 months."
Several years ago I read a book called the The Five Love Languages (G. Chapman, 1992). The author speaks about people giving and wanting to receive in their own "language". Often, when people communicate using different love languages people don't recognise what (or that) their partner is giving, and feel unappreciated when their partner doesn't recognise what they are giving.  The different languages are 1) Words of Affirmation, 2) Quality Time, 3) Receiving Gifts, 4) Acts of Service, and 5) Physical Touch; All year round, but particularly around Christmas time (and mothers day, fathers day, valentines day) we are bombarded with messages and deals and pressure to buy stuff... because the act of buying is what keeps our economy artificially pumping. But really, there's a very good chance that you can show the people in your life that you love and value them without buying them stuff wrapped in stuff.
As an example, it was my birthday the other week, and my parents sent me a Jacquie Lawson e-card which I absolutely adored. According to her website, Jacquie, an artist living in a picturesque village in England, hand paints all the scenes in the cards and then animates them. My Dad has set up all the birthdays/anniversaries etc. he wants to send cards for, he pays a $15 annual fee, and then he can choose and write the cards at his leisure. They're really special cards. They expire in 30 days or something, but that's more than the life span of most cards. If it's super special and you want to keep it, you can take a screen shot of it. If and when I want or need something later in the year, or should I have received something earlier in the year, my folks might say "we'll buy you that for your birthday". Who cares what time of year it is... better to have something that you want/need when you want/need it than something because a social construct says you should get it on that day. In contrast to my much loved e-card from Mum & Dad, my aunt, a renound shop-a-holic, for the first time in my life I think, didn't buy me a gift, but bought me a Westfield gift card. The plastic card came encased in 6 pieces of packaging. That didn't go down so well with me.
So, before hitting the shops this year, think about how you can make a difference, if you so desire, to your ecological footprint. Think about using each dollar you spend as a vote for whatever you believe in. Think about what your friends and family would really appreciate not just on the day, but in the context of their lives (I've given a worm farm as a house warming present, and even a wedding present, on several occassions. Unique, useful... and never, ever on the gift registry!).

Happy panic season! And I hope you get to spend many happy hours pottering around in a garden - perhaps growing some Christmas presents!
And don't miss the screening of "Bag It: Is your life to plastic?" at our monthly meeting at Lindfield on Monday night!

PSN Monthly Meeting - Monday 19 Nov 2012 @ 7:30pm
Screening of Bag It: Is your life too plastic? 
Please join us on Monday 19th Nov for the screening of the multi-award winning movie Bag It!

In this touching and often funny film, we follow "everyman" Jeb Berrier as he embarks on a global tour to unravel the complexities of our plastic world. What starts as a film about plastic bags evolves into a wholesale investigation into plastic and its effect on our waterways, oceans and even our own bodies. We see how our crazy-for-plastic world has finally caught up to us and what we can do about it. Today. Right now.

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.

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.
Member Input
PSN is moving towards a more volunteer driven organisation in 2013.
With this in mind, we'd like to know what 3 issues you feel strongly connected to and would like to see our PSN community tackle?
Please send your thoughts to by 3rd Dec.
Advocacy Report by Barry Hadaway
Planning Issues
Last month was dominated by food issues with our National Food Plan Submission and the Sydney Food Fairness Alliance event Sustainable Farming for a Sustainable City.
November has been another Planning month.  I say ‘another’ Planning month because planning issues have figured largely over the past 18 months since the NSW Government announced the Review of the NSW Planning System.
A couple of weeks ago we were alerted to the fact the NSW Government was introducing legislation into the parliament titled, Environment Planning and Assessment Bill 2012.
My understanding is that this bill, if passed, would significantly erode Council planning powers by making Development Control Plans effectively worthless.
It is understood this bill would:
  • Give developers a ‘get out of jail’ free card if they don’t want to comply with DCPs and say the DCP ‘unreasonably restricts development’.
  • Change maximum entitlements under DCPs (i.e. - the height and size of buildings) to ‘as of right entitlements’, rather than the maximum allowable.  This will remove any assessment of impact of a development.
  • Require Councils to be ‘flexible’ in allowing development that breaches a DCP; and
  • Remove the ability of Councils to take into account the cumulative impact of allowing a type or style of development in a locality.
I have written to my local member Victor Dominello, protesting the way the government is steamrolling local Councils and communities with this bill and with the Review of the NSW Planning System.  I expect I will receive a vacuous, ‘toe the party line’, response for Victor.
More importantly I have written to each of the independents in the NSW Legislative Council, Fred Nile, Paul Green, Robert Borsak and Robert Brown, urging that they vote against the Environment Planning and Assessment Bill 2012.  Corinne Fisher, from the Better Planning Network, which PSN is supporting, is meeting with the Christian Democrats on 13 November 2012 to try to persuade them to vote against the Environment Planning and Assessment Bill 2012.
Let’s hope someone in the NSW Parliament cares about community.
Free Range Eggs
You may have heard on the news that the Australian Competition and Consumers Commission (ACCC) has refused an application by the Australian Egg Corporation Limited (AECL) for a ‘free range egg’ Certification Trade Mark.
The ACCC knocked back the AECL’s application and proposed standards for free range egg production because they felt the Trade Mark and proposed standards would be misleading. The AECL proposed a stocking rate of 20,000 birds per hectare, that is two birds every square metre!  The ACCC correctly decided that the public at large would not regard 20,000 birds per hectare to be free range.
ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said:
“The strong public interest in this matter shows that consumers want clear and accurate labelling of eggs and the ACCC considers that the Australian Egg Corporation’s Certification Trade Mark proposal may be misleading,” and, “The ACCC considers that these practices and standards do not accord with consumer expectations about the free range production of eggs”.
What is needed now is follow-up action to push for a reasonable industry standard for true free range eggs and poultry meat.  The Humane society International is organising a ‘postcard campaign’ and I have ask them to send me some for PSN members who wish to support this campaign.
Advocacy Meetings
The last Advocacy Meeting for 2012 was held on Tuesday 6 November 2012.  I would like to thank those members who came to Advocacy meetings throughout this year.
Barry Hadaway – Advocacy Team Leader
PSN Aquaponics Permabee- Sun 18 Nov in Denistone
The next permabee will be at Margaret and Chris's property in Denistone on Sunday 18 November, 2012, starting at 9.30am.
This will be our last permabee for the year and it will be packed full of interesting projects. 
Firstly, we will be putting in place an aquaponics system.  Using a pre-made pond we will create a habitat for frogs, lizards and other wildlife using sandstone rocks, a decking platform under which they can hide and grasses surrounding the pond.  Native fish will added to the pond to provide the nutrients for vegetables that will be grown in the grow beds using river pebbles as the medium. The grow beds we are using are old cement laundry tubs.  Apart from producing an abundant crop of veggies, the plants will play a critical role for the fish by filtering the water which will run back into the pond.

In another part of the garden, we will establish a no-dig garden, building soil using a technique of layering - applying lucerne, manures, rock dust for trace elements and then growing a green manure crop.  Finally, we will plant banana circle for composting and fruit. 

This event is free for PSN members, however the numbers will be limited.  Please note that due to access and some heavy work involved, this event is not suitable for children. If you would like to join the garden team for the day, please register on our website or you can contact the Garden Team Leader at
PSN Open Garden - Epping Sunday 25 Nov 2012. 2pm to 4pm     
In August 2012, PSN started 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 take place on the 4th Sunday of the month.

Next on PSN’s calendar of open gardens is Lucinda’s: a townhouse conversion to Permaculture demonstrating how a small suburban garden can become a more useful, edible landscape, whilst retaining an attractive character. Lucinda says, “I have always been interested in living within the planet’s means, and in bringing back the bush habitat. I became involved in Permaculture at the end of 2006 and through meetings, courses and talking and working with Pc people, came to realise that there are practical things I can do and that it will make a difference – and that at the same time, I can have a productive and an inviting garden. I liked the thought of growing my own, becoming a little less reliant on supermarkets. I also realise that wildlife need a place to live and that we can benefit each other.”

Lucinda has proved that any home, big or small, can improve its sustainability. She has efficiently used every inch of her townhouse and garden to grow vegetables, fruit and herbs, recycle water and generate solar power. Come and check out some Permaculture solutions to living in smaller spaces: herb spiral, pergolas ... a PVC pipe system: pipes attach horizontally to a wall; holes are cut to allow pots to be placed in them; the pipes are filled with water and plants can suck up the moisture through weed matting placed under the pots. A mandala garden: several keyhole beds instead of the traditional rectangular garden beds. These beds bend around the gardener, allowing the person to reach most of the bed from one spot, cutting down on the space needed for paths.
There’s a kitchen garden, a food forest, ponds, worm farms and other composting systems… See what can be done on unused common land areas (eg a banana circle!). Lucinda did a TAFE Intro Pc course in April 2007 and a PDC in November 2007. She started construction of her garden in March 2008 and completed her mandala garden in August. The food forest was commenced later that year. In addition, Lucinda has solar hot water and 1.2kW of photo voltaic panels to assist in the provision of power. Two water tanks - one 5,000 litres the other 1,400 litres - water the garden and fill the washing machine. Her washing machine also has a greywater system to irrigate her garden.

Please note that unfortunately due to the small space numbers are limited and will be restricted to adult members only.  If you would like to attend, please register on our website or you can email
!st Prize Garden Award  
PSN's Garden Team leader, Deb, this month was awarded 1st prize for The Best Edible Garden in the 2012 Spring Garden Competition run by The City of Ryde. A deserving and worthy winner who with her very full life, still managed to produce a productive and interesting garden.
Congratulations Deb. We bask in your reflected glory! 



Hornsby Local Group News by Kay Phelan
Last Saturday we enthusiastically celebrated ‘Good Food Month’ with demonstrations and tastings of kefir, green smoothies, tofu, sprouts and hummus courtesy of Ann T, Barbara C and Kay P.  Recipes are on the website.
We also heard from Ann about her recent food adventures and research, and from Suzi Perryman founder of Co-opStop.  There were 19 adults and 3 children, all superbly hosted by the Williamsons – thank you Virginia and Michael.  In fact, thank you to everyone for being so engaged and making it another great meeting.
Last month’s screening of ‘Growing Change’ has given birth to a think tank which will be working on ideas for increased involvement with the community.
This month sees us sashaying forth into bulk food buying with Co-opStop.
For December we are planning a Christmas Spectacular which will be kindly hosted by Cecilia again - and if it is as good as last year that will be just fine.
Any enquiries to Kay P 
October PSN Permabee by Cecilia Bird
A good crowd turned up on a lovely spring day not knowing how much hard yakka was ahead......
After a little, all-important, house-keeping we started with a briefing which detailed the process of creating swales on contour and the bunds downhill of them. Deb and I pegged out the four contours before the day, taking into consideration space required for the guinea pigs and their cage – they are my living lawnmowers. We were able to get three swales on contour - and one not - in this very gently sloping backyard. As chance would have it, that was the non-contour swale was the lowest one in the garden which suits just fine.
Whilst a small group attended to much-needed kitchen duties and the needs of individuals, the rest of the crowd mattocked, dug, raked, barrowed, watered and sweated heaps. I was busy and time just flew but I can barely tell you what I did all day.
Mindful that you don’t send an army to war on an empty stomach the kitchen was a hive of activity, including my insistence that one dish, for which I had made up the recipe and had never done before, be created. So thank you my cooking ‘guinea pig’ and the crowd for obliging by eating it! Some participants and the neighbours chipped in with morning tea and a pavlova which went down well – thank you.
By the end of the day, amongst many other activites, 10 m³ of forest fines had been barrowed from the front to the back and deposited in the swales and on the bunds. 7 bales of straw. 7 of lucerne, 35kg of dynamic lifter, 15 bags of cow manure, 20kg blood and bone and other  soil conditioning materials were all added in lovely layers that were each watered in well. At the end of the process a green manure crop was sown and is now showing. We simply didn’t have time to do the spillways – that’s a job for me at a later point, before some much-needed rain. This has given me the time to consider the best position for them and means I am now happy with the decision.
Some people were disappointed that we didn’t get to the banana circle but I am relieved. We had so much to do AND I don’t think the materials would have stretched that far. As it is, the circle will be placed slightly away from the original plan once the long-running fence saga is over.
The day ended with everyone feeling most satisfied with a job well done. For those who wished to participate, the wine came out. The neighbours joined us and we sat admiring the work for quite some time.
The whole day was a marvellous example of Permaculture in action. A BIG thank you to all who made it such a great day. I will continue to attend permabees – come and join us – I just love them!
There will be a report, in pictures, at the PSN November meeting in Lindfield.

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

Welcome new PSN members
A big welcome to all our new members since our October meeting.
Hornsby: Craig B.
Ku-Ring-Gai: Allyson A, Jackie H.
Lane Cove: Bridget K.
North Sydney: Isabel A.
Northern Beaches: M E, Peter E, Sajeela C, TRACY M, Aleesa G, Jennifer B, Jonathon W, Justine W, Lauren P, Shane M, Bruce M, Jake M, Ryan M, Ty M.
Ryde: Don A.
Other: Jane A, Dave R, Warwick B. 
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  
Think globally, act locally

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