This month at PSN: Upcoming Festivals, Getting Up, and Plastic Free July.

News & Events
July 2016

Ready to greet the local community at Darvall Park Discovery Day. (Photo: Margaret Mossakowska)

As I have said many times, it is important to educate the public about permaculture.

We can do this in many ways – talk to friends and family, use social media platforms, and support PSN appearances at various festivals. One such festival took place in Darvall Park, Denistone, on 26th June. 

Darvall Park Discovery Day, a new festival organised by City of Ryde, was designed to inform people about environmental issues and bushcare activities and was aimed at the local community, including non-English speaking Asian residents. There were guided walks through the park, with interpreters available for Mandarin, Korean and Cantonese tours, activities for children, planting trees, barbecue set by a local Friends of Darvall Park (Bushcare) group and of course, stalls for various organisations.

The PSN stall was in a good company, between the Climate Change Action Group and Wildlife Sydney stands and we received many queries about growing food and permaculture. It was a very cold day, the coldest in 2016, but Cecilia, Diana and myself managed to keep warm. We hope we encouraged a few locals to come to PSN activities! 

There are three more festivals coming up where we have an opportunity to show our communities our permaculture solutions, and we would love to have lots of people to help – there is more information below.

Margaret Mossakowska, President

  Events: Trials & tribulations of
setting up a permaculture property
PSN Monthly Gathering

7pm Monday 18th July
Lindfield Community Centre

In October 2011, after many years of planning, PSN Members Les Mulder & Annette Owen-Mulder left Sydney to follow their rural permaculture dream in the Manning Valley.

Les & Annette have been members of PSN for about 8 years. They first became involved in setting up the Community Garden in Lane Cove, which was followed by an Introduction to Permaculture class conducted by Penny Pyett for all people involved in the garden. Later that year they did their Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) with Penny, Darren Doherty and John Champagne. They loved this and were really inspired to think seriously about where they were going with their lives.

In 2010-11, Annette headed up the PSN Living Skills team and Les headed up the Gardens team. But they still dreamed of moving to a bigger property away from the city...

They now live on 140 acres at Wherrol Flat, in the beautiful Manning Valley, 3 hours north of Sydney. They raise pigs and cattle for market and have involved themselves in several local food initiatives, while still learning their trade as permies, farmers and regenerative agrarians.

Join Les & Annette tomorrow evening to hear about their journey. Please join us for supper afterwards, provided by the Willoughby local group.

For a sneak preview of their story go to:

PNB Monthly: Divestment & Clean Energy Panel

7.15pm Thursday 28th July Warriewood

Make sure your money is invested ethically and learn practical examples of how to implement clean energy technologies in your own household.  

More here.

Living Skills Workshop: Soap-making

2-4pm, Saturday 23rd July

Learn how to make all-natural handmade soap out of olive oil and lye, with garden herbs and essential oils for nice fragrance. Members only.

Register here.

July Permabee: Chicken Run & Dumpy lesson

10am-1pm, Saturday 30th July Lindfield

Help finish the chicken run from last month's bee. Stick round for a lesson on using a 'dumpy' to help find your contours for digging swales from 2-5pm.

Register: P'bee & dumpy.

News & Other Bits

Our stall at Fagan Park Eco garden Open Day in September 2015 (Photo: Cat Dorey)

Festival Fun - Get Involved!

Being part of festivals is a great way to get to know other PSN members, meet other community groups, as well as for showing the public the wonders of permaculture. We need helpers at the following festivals.

Moocooboola Festival - Sunday 7th August

9.30am - 4.30pm in Boronia Park, Hunter's Hill

Held annually on the 1st Sunday of August, the Moocooboola Festival has grown to become a significant community event, attracting approximately 20,000 people throughout the day.

Boronia Park Ovals, situated in the heart of Hunters Hill, with its city views and bushland surrounds is a great location with easy access and plenty of parking. Over 200 hundred stalls participate in the day including food, health products, clothing, antiques, bric a brac, community and environmental information, displays, products and much more.

More on the festival here.

To help, please contact Diana Fletcher: 9888 6197

Permaculture Northern Beaches Spring Eco-Festival - Sunday 25th September

12:00 - 4:00pm at 1 Wilson Avenue, Ingleside

Please note that this event was postponed from June due to the extreme weather we experienced in the Northern Beaches. The date is yet to be confirmed.

Volunteers for this large event are needed to help with simple tasks such as helping on the welcome desk, promoting PNB/PSN, selling raffles, collecting donations, selling cakes etc.

For information, updates, and date confirmation, check here.

To help, please contact Matt Wilson: 0410 347 794

Granny Smith Festival - Saturday 15th October 2016

9am - 8.30 pm in Eastwood Town Centre

The annual Granny Smith Festival celebrates the life and legacy of one of our district’s most famous citizens, Maria Ann Smith - aka Granny Smith - who, back in 1868, ‘accidentally’ grew the first batch of little green apples that bear her name and are now grown all over the world. 

The Festival began in 1985 and is now regarded as one of Sydney’s largest street festivals, a true community carnival, full of colour and good old fashioned fun. It attracts over 80,000 people each year and is supported by local businesses, sporting and service organisations, schools and the wider community.

More on the festival here

To help, please contact Diana Fletcher: 9888 6197

Diana's chickens get a new fence at the June Permabee. (Photos: Sue Patterson)

The June Permabee at Lindfield

The 26th June was warm and sunny and a wonderful group of 15 PSN workers gathered to create a better frog pond in my front yard and a chicken run in the back yard. This was a mighty effort as the chicken house had to be shifted, trees pruned, post holes dug, and a complex set of ready-made cage fencing adapted to fit the yard.

Great progress was made although the chicken run is yet to be finished. This will happen on the morning of Saturday 30th July with a celebratory lunch to follow. In the afternoon we will hold the previously cancelled workshop on finding contours with a dumpy-level (see Events above.)

Diana Evans, happy owner of an almost complete chicken run

Diana Evans inspires voters to Get Up, get active, and call for positive change. (Photo: Diana Watson)

Can Advocacy be considered Education? We think so!

GetUp and Do Something
Now that I have your attention, I would like you to join us in thinking about a better way of getting the attention of members of the public. In these troubled times there are many messages that are important for us to share about change we want to see, for example: Take Action on Climate Change, Improve Education Funding (TAFE, schools and universities), Stop Selling Our Valuable Agricultural Land to Foreign Interests, Stop Deforestation, Stop the Use of Toxic Herbicides and Pesticides, Stop Coal Seam Gas Exploration, and many more that you could name. Whilst you have them in your mind, please write them down, just quick notes with no priorities.

Photos with MPs and other Worthies
It is not difficult for PSN to get the ear of the movers and shakers, but it is all too easy for these powerful people, MPs, councillors, and business leaders to listen to us, mutter words of encouragement and support, send us off with a metaphorical pat on the head, and then totally ignore us.

Even when they pose for photographs with us, they smile in the knowledge that when we post these photos, we are giving and sharing tacit approval for their brand as a good listener. I find the photo I have of me, with my PSN t-shirt on and the MP smiling, quite chilling.

How to Catch People’s Attention
A person could dress up like a Telly Tubby with black overcoat, Ugg Boots, and badge on a hat, or make a GetUp coat for a person’s dog. It does not matter as long as we get the attention of those whom we wish to educate and influence.

GetUp - the Organisation
As you will know, GetUp is not a political party but an organisation that champions the issues that are identified as important by its members - over 1 million people.

GetUp gives its members, and others, the opportunity to stand together and make our views known to our political leaders.

Many of you will have signed petitions that have been distributed by GetUp and used the option that they provided to contact your State or Federal MP with a simple message, or one that you could expand to include points of importance to yourself.

What GetUp Volunteers did before the election and on Polling Day
By telephoning voters in Bass and other electorates, letter box dropping, producing advisory how to vote cards, taking a bus load of volunteers to the Macquarie Electorate, GetUp volunteers changed the votes of enough people to affect the result of the election in many electorates and empowered people to make their vote count.

A Successful Future will include Negotiation and Collaboration
At the GetUp post-election debrief, it was wonderful to see their organisation performing that most important part of any project which is the project review. After discussions, ideas for future projects and campaigns were put up on a board on the ubiquitous Post-It notes. We were most encouraged to hear NSW State issues being included. These issues will all be discussed with a professional facilitator and used as the basis for future campaigns. GetUp also circulated an expression of interest form for people to complete which I am happy to share.

Worst outcome
We have seen what has happened in Britain because the electorate did not understand the truth about the real issues behind the Brexit decision. Using this as an obvious example, we do not have much time to use our influence to bring about changes of attitude on many issues.

Invitation to discuss and chat
This is an invitation to discuss whether it would be worth joining in some of the GetUp activities and campaigns for the benefit of Permaculture and its members. What do you think?  Please come and talk to Diana Evans or Diana Watson at next Monday’s meeting.

Diana Watson, Joint Education Team Leader and GetUp supporter

Lots to learn from "Plastic Free July"

Plastic Free July aims to raise awareness of the problems and amount of single-use disposable plastic in our lives and challenges people to do something about it.

Most of us at PSN are already making an effort to reduce our use of plastic, but making a real commitment to refuse single use plastic for Plastic Free July is a real eye-opener, even for plastic haters like me. Forgetting my Keep-Cup one day and water bottle the next was not a great start! No take-away coffee for me...

We may be half-way through July, but it's not to late to get involved.
You can sign up for a day, a week or the whole month and try to refuse ALL single-use plastic or try the TOP 4: plastic bags, water bottles, takeaway coffee cups and straws.

The website has a amazing number of ideas and solutions for going plastic free.

Check out the tool box for solutions to going plastic free in the home, garden, and when shopping and travelling.

The Hall of Shame is frightening. My personal pet-hates are the little soya fish containers that end up on beaches, and individually plastic wrapped fruit and vegetables when they already come in a natural protective coating known as peal!

Cat Dorey, newsletter editor and hater of single-use plastic

MISSED SOMETHING? There are many more upcoming events listed on our website and lots more news & fun things on our Facebook group page. Sign up for the Northern Beaches newsletter here.