President's Report
What a wet and soggy summer we’ve had! I wonder what can be expected from our 2012 autumn. I know the rain makes it difficult to mow the lawn, which is probably overgrown and well above the height of your gumboots… well perhaps that’s an excellent reason to consider converting your unproductive lawn into a marvellous, abundant, Permaculture garden!

There’s always something Permaculture related happening, regardless of whether it’s pouring or windy or sunny outside. For example, Peter Pezzolesi’s Living Skills / pasta making workshop at Karonga this month was one person short of a sell out! (can you say “sell out” for a free event?). Make sure you always get in early to register for these events so you don’t miss out. Keep an eye on the PSN webpage, and Facebook page and articles in this newsletter for information about upcoming events, Permabees and workshops.

I think everyone enjoyed the screening of Urban Permaculture at our February meeting, and many were inspired by seeing some of PSN's member's gardens proudly and prominently displayed in the documentary.

In April (Monday 16th), our monthly meeting will be a Show and Tell evening. These nights are always hugely popular! I'd like to invite anyone who is interested in sharing their garden, or permaculture related project, by means of a short presentation / slide show / demonstration, to get in touch with me at at their earliest convenience.

On behalf of PSN, I'd also like to extend condolences to the Barclay family and wish them all, together with Andrew's friends, an abundance of strength and good wishes during this difficult time.

LETS Announcement
On a different note, I’d briefly like to talk about LETS (the Local Energy Trading Scheme). LETS allows members to trade skills, time, knowledge, products and services for an online currency called “Operas”. 1 opera is valued at $1, and 1 hour of time is valued at 20-25 operas. No money involved, just community based transactions. This wonderful online tool and concept operates locally around the world and is beautifully in tune with Permaculture ethics and principles. Sydney LETS has grown from 5 members in 2003, to >720 members in 2011.

For a short period of time, anyone who joined PSN was also given membership to participate in the LETS community. Due to the complexity and insufficient capacity to administer the arrangement, LETS informed PSN mid-late last year that the arrangement was no longer feasible. So, PSN membership no longer automatically provides membership to LETS but we strongly encourage you to join and utilise LETS individually. Sydney LETS website:

PSN Website Announcement
As mentioned in the February Permibytes newsletter, one of the things the Management Committee is focusing on this year is to strengthen the governance of our organisation. PSN has nearly 500 members now, and in order for things to run consistently, smoothly, and safely there needs to be a few common ground rules and guidelines in place.

We haven’t worked out exactly how it’s going to look in the longer term yet (and we’ll definitely be needing your feedback and suggestions on what would work best for you), but we’re going to start by adding an extra item on the Members Only section where you can access forms (ie. Reporting an OH&S incident / claiming PSN related expenses, etc.) and policies, the PSN org chart, and the PSN New Members Kit, etc. etc.). Over time this will evolve and we’ll keep you posted as to what’s there, but for now, I’ll just take the opportunity to inform you that it is coming and should be your first port of call regarding “official business type stuff” (excuse the jargon).

Take care and happy Autumn everyone,

PSN Monthly Meeting - Monday 19 March 2012 @ 7:30pm
Screening of "The Chikukwa Project" trailer and talk by producer Dr. Terry Leahy
Dr Terry Leahy is convenor of the Master of Social Change and Development Program at the University of Newcastle and the co-producer, with his sister Gillian, of The Chikukwa Project - a documentary about possibly the most successful food security projects in Africa.

On Monday 19th March 2012, PSN will be screening the 20 minute trailer for the documentary, followed by a short talk and Q&A with Terry, who will tell us a bit about why The Project is so successful.

Gillian and Terry and the team are trying to raise funds to complete post production of the full length film.

100% of donations will go directly to the making of this documentary and promoting this amazing success story of food security and community building and resilience in Africa to the world. Funds raised in excess of the documentary making team's needs will go directly to The Chikukwa Project team in Zimbabwe.

They are utilising a crowd-sourcing website (small donations from lots of people). To donate directly please go to We will also be taking donations at the meeting.

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.

In Memory of a fellow permie Andrew Barclay
This forum is a great testament to our community and brings mostly good news, events and useful tips. We have many members and some very active and enthusiastic contributors of knowledge and skills who we appreciate but do not often publicly celebrate.

Today, sadly, I am delivering bad news. Andrew Barclay, one of our very active members and a great contributor, died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack on Wednesday.

We will all remember Andrew differently. Some call him the chilli guy, others may note his passion for fertilising which has played out with experimentations in compost tea recipes, making his own rotating composters with internal teeth, foliar feeding sprays and drip lines. Some might remember how he always had something to contribute at our monthly meetings from the back row. He always had time to come and look at other people's gardens and give advice, swap seedlings and donate plants to permabees.

Andrew was a very generous, enthusiastic and analytical gardner. He was passionate about understanding how plant systems work and how to get the best out of them, then extending his fact finding to sharing knowledge with others. He and his garden was an inspiration to many of us. What he had been able to achieve in such a small space using every vertical and horizontal surface was a testament to his can do and will do attitude. Andrew loved to share his sources, organise group purchases of products, share seeds and tips and give tours of all his tinkered together innovations for growing stuff.

Over the last few months Andrew has been talking with much passion about enrolling in a PDC then applying his new knowledge and his existing technical abilities on his block at Anna Bay. He was loving being part of our group and contributing to our community and dreaming about all the possibilities permaculture had for his unending and every expanding list of projects.
Andrew leaves behind his wife Jeanette, their two daughters and a beautiful 1 year old grand daughter.

A funeral service will be this Friday March 16 at 2.30pm St Johns Anglican Church , 1624 Pittwater Rd, Mona Vale. Andrews family would like to welcome you to attend.

PSN Permabee - Sunday 18 March - Epping - 9:30am to 4pm
Keen to learn how to build a keyhole garden? Want to try no-dig gardening or compost tea brewing?

Then come along and join us at the first Permabee for 2012!

The PSN Garden Team is running a big event at Karonga School, Epping. We will be dismantling and re-lining the famous keyhole garden outside the school kitchen, and this will be a great event for picking up all the practical skills you need for constructing your own productive garden in a small space.

We'll be also be brewing up a huge batch of compost tea, and this is a great opportunity to learn how to use the brewer and see how to build healthy soil using biological methods.

This day will be a big one and there will be something for everyone to do.

For the muscly types there will be some shovelling, barrowing of compost and brickwork. For those looking for a gentler day we'll be doing mulching, planting and general garden maintenance.
Garden Team days are great opportunities to learn practical skills on the job, meet passionate and active new people and, above all, having fun. It will also be a great chance to catch up with PSN permaculture experts and garden team regulars after a long Christmas break.

A simple dish or other contribution to share for lunch will be greatly appreciated. Tea and coffee will be supplied by the school.

Also, please bring your own hat, gloves, water bottle, block out and garden tools (such as spade, shovel, secateurs etc).

We need all the wheelbarrows we can get, so if you are able to bring yours along please do!

This event is free for PSN members. Register here

If you are not logged in, you will need to enter your email address and password. If you don't remember your password click 'forgot password' and you will be sent an email to help you log in.

If you'd like to join our community and take part in this event, please join here

Future Permabees
The garden team is planning a number of interesting projects this year.

If you would like to be notified about upcoming Permabees, please provide your name and email address to Deborah Alderton at

Warringah Pittwater Manly Local Group - Cameron Little
Thursday 22nd March. 7pm for 7:30pm start
Growing Food in Small Spaces Made Easy
Growing food in a small urban space has challenges of its own. With a few simple tips, it can become an easy and rewarding experience. In this workshop you will be given 10 easy tips to grow healthy organic food in small spaces, while reducing the amount of time, energy and money you invest in your food growing project.

There will also be a live demonstration of how these tips are applied when planting in a water-saving planter box, which will be given away as a lucky door prize at the end of the presentation.

About the Speaker: Myriam Pitre
Having grown up in a sustainable household surrounded by organic gardens, it has always been a priority for Myriam to eat healthy home-grown food. Despite living in a unit as a tenant in an urban environment, she eats from her garden daily.

Myriam had to use her exceptional problem solving skills and resourcefulness to find creative ways of overcoming certain challenges unit dwellers can face when growing food in the small spaces.

She has come up with a number of practical solutions and tips to make it easier and get better yields, inspiring herself from permaculture and her own optimization abilities.

Myriam’s multi-disciplinary background, including NLP based presenter trainings, enables her to powerfully inspire participants to action. She aims to deliver the presentation with a down-to-earth approach that helps people to feel comfortable to participate and leaves them with the desire to take action.

For more information please contact: Lauren and Chris Pothof
Education Team Leaders
Permaculture Pittwater Warringah Manly
PH: 0401 674 461

Meeting & venue details for this workshop
When: 7pm for a 7:30pm start, Thursday 22nd March 2012
Where: Coastal Environment Centre, Lake Park Road North Narrabeen

Guided Mushroom Picking Tour - Peter Pezzolesi
Autumn has arrived and that means it's time to go mushroom picking!

This is our third year now that we, Permaculture North, head off to Oberon to pick Saffron Caps and Slippery Jacks, and then cook up our mushrooms for lunch.

I have been picking mushrooms for many years and these ones are easily identified. They are also recommended from the state forests.

There will be two scheduled trips this year, one in April and one in May. At this point we are looking at the 14th April and the 12th May.

We meet at Blackheath at 9am at Govetts Leap Rd, by the cafe that looks like an old cinema attached to the car park around the corner from the pub.

Small knife, fork, water, drinks (wine if you wish), and something to put the mushies in (e.g bucket, basket or green shopping bags). Be warned that we do pick a lot so don’t bring something too small.

Please wear good shoes and warm clothes

There is no number limit or any fee. It's absolutely FREE!


This event is free for PSN members.

Be sure to provide your mobile phone number as Peter will need the numbers when we are in convoy so no one gets left behind!

If you are not logged in, you will need to enter your email address and password. If you don't remember your password click 'forgot password' and you will be sent an email to help you log in.

If you'd like to join our community and take part in this event, please join here

Peter Pezzolesi is the Permaculture North Sydney Local Group Coordinator
PH 0412 817 605

Permaculture North Sydney meets 2pm on the 2nd Saturday Feb-Dec
at The Coal Loader, Balls Head Rd, Waverton

Advocacy Report - Barry Hadaway
Permaculture Courses at Ryde TAFE
Our 2011 President, Andrea Pape, wrote to the Director Ryde College shortly before our December Meeting asking that the college review a decision to scrap Permaculture courses in 2012. Andrea’s letter was accompanied by a petition signed by 121 PSN members.

A second letter was delivered to Ryde College on 20 February 2012 accompanied again by our petition signed by a further 17 people including 14 from the Permaculture Research Institute.
If no response is received soon we will be taking the matter to the Minister for Education.

NSW Planning Review and Retro-Fitting the Suburbs for Sustainability
In the February Newsletter I outlined the thrust of PSN’s submission to the Review of the NSW Planning System. The submission was strongly based on the 3 ethics of Permaculture and presented a picture of what a sustainable Sydney might look like. Much of this vision is rooted in the great potential of urban Permaculture and the concept of re-localisation. Fantastic examples of urban Permaculture, featuring PSN members own gardens, were shown in Geoff Lawton’s film on urban Permaculture at our February meeting.

As with many of our major submissions I shared this one with like minded organisations such as the Sydney food Fairness Alliance and others in the Permaculture community. Favourable feedback has been received from John Champagne, Ian Lillington and David Holmgren. Our submission may be view on the PSN Noticeboard.

PSN members might note that David Holmgren wrote a paper titled “Retrofitting the Suburbs for Sustainability” that was published in CSIRO Sustainability Network Update No.49. This paper describes how traditional suburban blocks and streets can be retrofitted to achieve a large measure of sustainability that is not possible with high density development. David recently updated this material and it is now available as a presentation at
If anyone would like a copy of David’s original article please let me know and I can provide a PDF copy.

The point is that Advocacy is not just writing letters or talking to politicians. We can all be ‘advocates for Permaculture’ and for sustainable living simply by DOING – by practising Permaculture and by creating our own little piece of sustainable Sydney as an example to others.

Changes in the 2012 PSN Management Committee & Position Holders
Behind every great community organisation is an extremely busy Management Committee!

Each of the team members are in the process of writing up a short bio of themselves which will be made available on the PSN website before the end of the month.

There have been some changes in the Management Committee and position holders since the AGM and election took place in mid December 2011.

Introducing and welcoming back to the Management Committee:

President Monique Unger Previously Shows Team Leader in 2011.
Vice President Monika Ball Monika has also taken on the role of editor of our fabulous PSN Permibytes newsletter. Welcome Monika.
Treasurer Roman Ciurpita An experienced community group committee member from the Lane Cove Local Group. Welcome on Board Roman.
Secretary Stephanie Robertson A valuable member on both the Gardening and Shows Teams last year. Welcome Stephanie!
Advocacy TL Barry Hadaway Most people already know Barry as he’s been the Advocacy TL for a number of years now. Welcome back again Barry.
Comms TL Tom Davis Tom was also a valued member on the Shows Team last year. Welcome to your new role on the MC Tom.
Education TL vacant This role is currently being considered. Hopefully we can announce that the position has been filled by the next edition of Permibytes.
Fundraising TL vacant If anyone is interested in being considered for the role, please email
Garden TL Deborah Alderton Deb has been a driving force on the Garden and Shows Teams for a number of years now.Welcome to the MC Deb.
Living Skills TL Barbara Clark Many people will know Barbara as she was the Living Skills TL for the last half of 2011 and has run many workshops herself. Barbara was also the Willoughby Local Group Coordinator for much of 2011. Welcome back onto the MC Barbara.
Shows TL Rolf Cambridge Rolf was the 2011 Fundraising Team Leader and we welcome him back to the MC in this new role.
Local Group Coordinator Andrea Pape Andrea has been our fabulous president for the last two years. Welcome back on the committee Andrea.

We also welcome the following people who will be supporting the MC throughout the year.

Assistant Secretary & Public Officer Helen Smith A member of the Lane Cove local group and has already been of invaluable assistance this year.
Membership Secretary Ian Watson Ian has been the Membership Secretary for a number of years and would now like to hand the role on to some else. He’s happy to mentor them whilst they are learning the ropes. If anyone is interested, please email and we can tell you more about what’s involved.
Meeter & greeter at monthly meetings Kay Phelan Kay has kindly offered to do this from Feb – April. Normally this would be part of the Membership Secretary’s role.
Garden Team 2IC Anthony Andrist A keen gardener and bee keeper, we welcome Anthony’s knowledge, energy, and support on the Garden Team
Living Skills 2IC Peter Pezzolesi Needs no introduction… Affectionately known as Pez, Peter has been the North Sydney Local Group Coordinator since 2010, he’s the fabulous chef that runs the mushroom picking (and eating) adventures in the mountains in April, and he’s been heavily involved in Living Skills for quite a while now too.
Permibytes (newsletter) Editor Monika Ball And 2012 PSN Vice President. Multi skilled woman!
Permashop Coordinator Libby Crichton Welcome back Libby. Thanks for your support in this role.
Permashop Helpers Judy Morris & Jill Fisher Welcome back ladies, your continued efforts are still much appreciated.
Perma-library Coordinator Diana Evans Welcome back Di, continue the great work.

And, of course our committed Local Group Coordinators, who remain the same as in 2011.

Hornsby Cecilia Bird
Ku-ring-gai Peter Wright
Lane Cove Mandy Stubbs
Pittwater / Warringah / Manly Cameron Little
North Sydney Peter Pezzolesi
Ryde / Hunters Hill Diana Fletcher
Willoughby vacant Anyone interested? Please contact

Resignations of earlier 2012 PSN Management Committee

For numerous reasons, we have had seven (and a half) resignations from the Management Committee this year. The resignations are, in chronological order:

Education TL
Peter Salvisberg
Email dated 9/02/2012
Fundraising TL
Julie Salvisberg
Email dated 9/02/2012
Garden TL
Anthony Andrist
Email dated 20/02/2012
Anthony remains the Gardening Team’s 2nd in charge
Vice President
Doug Taylor
Announced by Doug Taylor at Feb monthly mtg 20/02/2012. Confirmed by email 21/02/2012
Living Skills TL
Peter Pezzolesi
Announced by Doug Taylor at Feb monthly mtg 20/02/2012. Confirmed by email 27/02/2012
Peter remains the Living Skills Team’s 2nd in charge
Local Group Coordinator
Penny Pyett
Announced by Doug Taylor at Feb monthly mtg 20/02/2012. Confirmed by email 29/02/2012
Kay Phelan
Phone call and email dated 29/02/2012 (resignation effective of 7/03/2012)
Kay is helping out with the Membership Secretary role until April.
Shows TL
Andrea Pape
In writing Wed 6/03/2012.
Andrea is remaining on the MC in the role of Local Groups Coordinator

Positions Vacant
We’d like to give all members the opportunity to help out and get involved in PSN activities, both as participants, position holders, team members and as casual helpers. We invite anyone interested in taking on the following roles to contact us at

Membership Secretary. Anyone who’s come to a monthly meeting at Lindfield Hall will probably know Ian Watson at the front desk. He’s the current PSN secretary but would like to mentor someone to take over from him. Kay Phelan and Rolf Cambridge will be helping him out for a while on the front desk, but the Membership Secretary has a few other behind the scenes responsibilities to carry out to. This position is not a role on the Management Committee.

Media Coordinator. We haven’t yet worked this out sufficiently, but we’re certainly interested in hearing from anyone that has skills in photography, videoing, putting together YouTube clips, optimising social media channels. This person would be part of the Communications team but is not a role on the Management Committee directly.

Willoughby Local Group Coordinator. At the moment, Willoughby local group isn’t as vibrant as it could be, and we don’t have a coordinator for the group any more. If anyone is from the Willoughby Council Area and would like to have a go at getting involved, please get in touch. You don’t have to have done this sort of thing before. In fact this year, the Management Committee is going to be investing a lot of energy into resourcing and mentoring our Local Group Coordinators to help them make their groups strong and influential within their local community, if they’re not already of course.

Fundraising Team Leader. This is a role on the Management Committee, and the name is pretty self explanatory. PSN needs money to be able to run great programs, courses, tours and events. Membership fees do not cover all our costs, so we need to apply for grants and use other creative fundraising ideas to keep our group financially healthy. Can you help? Position description is available.

Education Team Leader. I can’t tell you for sure, but we might already have someone for this role. But in case that doesn’t come through, let us know if you’re interested in working with our existing education team who already has plenty of ideas and energy to roll with, and representing the team on the Management Committee.

Just asking… Did you know that you, our members, are PSN’s most valuable resources? We know that some of you are worth your weight in gold, but what about all those people who we don’t know so well? Some people have family commitments, or difficulty in getting to meetings, or for whatever reason, we don’t see them or hear from them that often.

If you feel that you would like to get involved but don’t know exactly how, why don’t you let us know, and we can see how we can work that in with what’s going on?

Thank you
This month we have some more people to recognise and thank for their wonderful commitment and contributions to PSN

Penny Pyett was the PSN President between 2006 and 2008, and throughout that time, and since then, has been actively involved in the Advocacy, Education, Fundraising and Shows teams.

Penny was the innovator behind establishing the Local Groups in PSN’s structure, and has been the Local Groups Coordinator for a number of years.

Penny’s commitment, ambition and input of countless hours of her time and energy, has been instrumental in growing a small community group into a well known and respected organisation of over 450 members.

Penny was a driving force in the hugely successful APC9 and, to add to her achievements, the mastermind behind the development of National Permaculture Day, which this year is being celebrated internationally on 6th May!

Penny is well known and respected as an inspiring teacher with a huge amount of knowledge which she shares generously. We wish her well with her new business established in 2011.

Doug Taylor drove the development of the Karonga partnership with PSN and obtained Commonwealth funding of $50k for set up of an urban permaculture site which is progressing beautifully. As well as greatly benefiting the children that attend Karonga School, the partnership Karonga is serving as a great site for PSN Permabees (next one 18th March!) and Living Skills events in the school kitchen. Doug has been the PSN Vice President since 2009. During this time, Doug has also quietly and efficiently organised the guest speakers for our regional meetings in the Lindfield Hall for PSN members to enjoy.

Andrea Pape has been the PSN President for 2010 and 2011, and the Garden Team Leader for the two years prior to that. Andrea has done a great job in getting our new Facebook Group page and new PSN website up and running, as well as establishing a PSN PayPal account (no small feat). The new website allows people to register and renew memberships and register for events online, thus significantly reducing the administrative burden on volunteers behind the scenes. For this achievement alone, there are many grateful individuals. We now look forward to Andrea’s input to the team as Local Groups Coordinator.

Kay Phelan has been a key organiser of the very successful PSN tours over the last couple of years. PSN Tours allow PSN members to visit Permaculture properties in NSW that they may not otherwise get to experience. Kay’s energy, initiative and commitment has also been very much appreciated over the last few months in her role as PSN secretary.

Andrew Morris was the 2011 PSN Photographer. He did a great job in filming the Cecelia McCauley talk at Lindfield Hall, and was also very diligent in attending, photographically and documenting a number of Permablitzes and other PSN events last year. Thank you Andrew for your contribution of time, effort and skills to PSN.

Welcome new PSN members.
A big welcome to our new members from:
Ku-Ring-Gai - Deb C and Louise F
Lane Cove - Sam P
Warringah - Laura L, Caroline R, Paul R, Andrew B and Jeanette B
Other - Reesa R

For details on local group monthly meetings please refer to the noticeboard or email your local group coordinator. Contact details are on the website.

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