Permaculture Sydney North this month: Intro to Permaculture Course starting 10th October. Limited places, book soon. Lots more...
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News & Events

September 2015
Welcome to spring!

First of all, I'm sorry for the lack of a newsletter last month. I was away for work on a small Pacific Island for almost three weeks so couldn't quite manage it!

Which brings me to the next point
it's almost the end of the year, which means we are coming up to our December Annual General Meeting. We need all members to start thinking about how you can all help keep this PSN tree growing. The current Management Committee (MC) is too small, and most of us are over-committed on many other things, and most have been away traveling this year for extended periods. We urgently need more help!

As well as the key roles of President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer, there are many other roles people can take in organising stalls at fairs, organising permabees, writing the newsletter, promoting PSN in social media, maintaining the website, taking minutes at meetings, organising speaker events, building relationships with councils, and more. You don't even have to take on a specific role
just join the MC, help us spread the workload, and make decisions about what events to organise and how to spend membership fees in the best way.

Shawn, our Garden Team leader, will be our Returning Officer who is responsible for collecting nomination forms for joining the MC, and announcing the new team at the AGM. The nomination form will be on the website soon. If you have any questions, please ask any of the current team or email us at:

Enjoy September's news
especially the lovely piece on weeds by Lyn Dundas!

Cat Dorey, Newsletter Editor

- Upcoming Events -

PSN Monthly Gathering: Aquaculture: Problem or solution?

7pm Monday 21st September, Lindfield

Aquaculture is often described as 'the solution' to our growing human populations and declining fish stocks. But is it really?

Dr Cat Dorey, a specialist in seafood issues working for Greenpeace, will take us through the problems facing aquaculture, and some of the solutions being developed to make aquaculture a truly sustainable and healthy source of food.

For more details click here.

PNB Monthly Gathering: Sustainable Homes Expert Panel Q&A

7.15pm Thursday 24th September, Nelson Heather Community Centre, Warriewood

This month PNB welcomes two leading sustainable housing experts, Architect Jo Gilles and Sustainable Building Designer Dick Clarke to our expert panel. 

These eminent practitioners in the field of solar and ecological home design will share their inspiration and insights on creating sustainable homes and working in harmony with nature.

All welcome.  Free to members;  Guests by donation $5

For more details click here.

Workshop: How to Make Household Products from Beeswax

2–4 pm Saturday 17th October, Waverton

There’s more to beeswax than candlemaking!

This wonderful natural product has been used for millenia as a sealant, a waterproofing agent and for its preserving qualities. It has a place in the modern household, particularly if you want to avoid chemicals in your pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. 

We will learn how to waterproof pieces of cotton or linen to make safe food wraps, mix a leather shoe treatment, and create furniture polish.

For more details and to book your place click here.

PSN October Gathering: Disease-proofing ourselves with versatile, easy to grow garden foods

7pm Monday 21st October, Lindfield

PSN member Ann Taylor has a passion for educating people about the connection between food and health, and in helping people to change to a diet and lifestyle that can bring bring more energy, vitality and happiness.

Ann will combine her nutritional knowledge and permaculture experience to talk to us about some versatile and easy-to-grow vegetables, like yacon and styrian pumpkins, that have great health benefits.

For more details click here.

PSN October Permabee

9am–4 pm Sunday 25th October, Thornleigh

The Garden Team heads to Bronwyn's garden in Thornleigh for October's Permabee!

The main project for the day will be building the zone 1 raised bed (3 or 4 bricks high) and preparing a no-dig bed preparation inside it. 

Please join us for a fun day sharing skills and helping a fellow member.

For more details and to register click here.

But wait – there's more!

Check out our events listings on our PSN and PNB websites. There are other events already listed for later in October, and more will be added as we finalise the details:

Permaculture Sydney North

Permaculture Northern Beaches
 - News & Fun Stuff -

Diego Bonetto, The Weedy Man, inspires new respect for weeds

“What would the world be, once bereft

of wet and wildness? Let them be left,

O let them be left, wildness and wet:

Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.”   

– Gerard Manley Hopkins  


About 15–20 people gathered at Fullers Park, West Chatswood, for an Urban weed-foraging workshop on 15th August with Diego Bonetto.

Diego is passionate about weeds (and wildness), and he was generous in sharing his knowledge, experience and weed stories with us. He acknowledged the experience and knowledge of all indigenous peoples and of our own ancestors, who, a couple of generations ago, would have had their own stories about weed plants. 

In a very small space we found about 15 different kinds of weeds, most edible, many medicinal, and all teaching us about the complexity and inter-relatedness of everything in nature (including ourselves). Weeds colonise for a reason and can teach us about the type of soil they grow in, the plants they choose to grow with, or the insects they attract.

Diego encouraged us to get familiar with a few particular weeds, particularly those in our own garden; to get to know their smells, their sounds, where they grow, what time of year they appear or flower. He called this the 'embodiment of knowledge.' We must create our own stories, he said, and then share them with others.

I was moved at his respectful handling of the weeds he dug up, as he expressed gratitude to the plant for its life and gift to us. Interspersed with tasting, touching, stories, and questions were Diego’s weed-foraging guidelines, such as respectful harvesting, eating seasonally, and following the energy of the plant. After this hands-on workshop, I could identify most of the weeds in my yard and many around the neighbourhood. And I felt more confident about using them, too. No amount of reading about weeds had achieved this understanding and knowledge.

This workshop actually transformed the way I view weeds. I walked home to Gordon from West Chatswood, and the weeds flourishing beside the road became 'presences'– I now knew their names, and something about them. They were no longer lumped together under the label 'weed'. The ground at my feet became something rich, diverse, beautiful, meaningful, related, and above all, alive. Thank you Diego for opening my eyes.

Lyn Dundas, PSN member

Pest-fest with Ku-ring-gai Local Group

The Ku-ring-gai group was delighted to welcome many so visitors from other groups for our pest-fest afternoon. Diana Evans gave a most informative and well-illustrated presentation showing examples of some of the pests and diseases that many of us notice in our gardens at some time or another. We also had the opportunity to see examples of pest control and management in Diana’s garden.

Thank you to all those who came bearing leaves with deficiencies and other worthy examples of problems which cause frustration – you gave the group a great opportunity to discuss experiences and share remedies and solutions.

It was a fabulous afternoon with a great feast!

Diana Watson, Education Team Leader

Do you need pond liner or bird netting?

Our garden team is considering a bulk purchase of pond liner for ponds and wicking beds, and netting for excluding possums and birds.  The reduced bulk cost would be split between members.    

Firestone EDPM Pond liner is $10 per square meter + GST:

Heavy Birdnet 63gsm, is $0.65 per square meter + GST and freight:

Don't forget: PSN members can always seek assistance from the Garden Team to install these products as part of a Permabee.

Please let Shawn know if you are interested.

Shawn Buchan, Garden Team Leader

PSN Introduction to Permaculture Course

Saturday mornings from 10th October to 5th December 2015

The course will concentrate on permaculture in a home garden. You will learn how to apply the permaculture principles to your home garden design which can be a suburban backyard, balcony, rooftop, courtyard, planter boxes in a sunny part of your house or apartment, or pots on a window ledge. You will learn how to analyse and document the features that affect your choices and how to overcome the challenges that each garden brings.

By the end of the course you will have learned how to design a permaculture garden and choose the best plants and animals that will suit your situation. However, most important of all, you will learn how to nurture your soil, that magical medium that recycles so much “waste” and offers us so much in return.

The course will cost $250 and will include a copy of the textbook for the course, Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison.

To bookings for the Intro Course please visit the events section on the PSN website or click here.

Diana Watson, Education Team Leader

Small Grants for PSN Members!

Do you have an idea for a permaculture project? We are looking for projects that will showcase Permaculture to our communities or provide a valuable learning opportunity for other PSN members, either through a permabee in a private or community garden, or as part of our education courses.

We have small grants of between $500 and $2000 available to local PSN groups and individual members.

If you have an idea, have a chat with one of the Management Committee or email your idea to us. If it sounds good, we can let you know how to apply with a full proposal.

Management Committee

This newsletter needs you!

As well as regular events, we need photos, news, reports from events, and ideas for the Fun Stuff section.

We also have a blog on our website that is sadly underused at the moment!

We usually send out the newsletter in the second Monday of the month, but you can send items & ideas to me at anytime.

Cat Dorey, Communications Team Leader

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