This month at PSN: We welcome in our new 2017 Management Committee, go 'off-grid', brew fermented drinks, and learn about the oldest food on earth.

News & Events
February 2017

2017 MC. L-R: Shawn Buchan (Gardens), Nita Lo (Secretary), Peter Pezzolesi (Seed Saving), Sue Patterson (Vice President), Margaret Mossakowska (Living Skills), Cecilia Bird (President), Bridie Carr & Mandy Stubbs (Events & Shows), Diana Fletcher (Local Groups). Absent: Ian Watson (Treasurer), Diana Watson (Education)

It with great honour that I greet you as President of PSN for 2017. My thanks go to the outgoing management committee (MC) who have worked hard to provide interesting and varied events throughout the year. I am looking forward to working with the new team.

This year I would like to connect with more members of PSN and to encourage greater participation in events, including volunteering to help at events. For example: you could arrive at 6:30pm for our Lindfield meetings and help set up the chairs; or join a group of, say, four volunteers to recommend how to run the Swap, Share and Sell table at meetings and to take turns to co-ordinate at meetings. What you volunteer for is only limited by your imagination, so let us know what you are prepared to do. It would be great if each member made a contribution of some sort at least once a year.

During January members of the MC have been working towards another year of great events. Diana Watson and the Education Team are about half way through presenting an Introduction to Permaculture Course and have completed the planning for a joint venture to present the Permaculture Design Certificate in Autumn. Diana Fletcher has been working on Local Group events which are all set for the year. The Garden Team will bring you permabees through out the year. Do you want one at your place? Too scary? How about a mini-bee? Contact Shawn Buchan if you are interested. Margaret Mossakowska already has bookings for her first interesting Living Skills workshop, and Sue Patterson (Vice President) has been involved in co-ordinating the events and committing them to a calendar ready for publication.

Sue and I are booking events for the monthly gatherings in Lindfield. We shall be publicising these with sufficient time to book them in your diary; set a reminder so you don’t miss out - the 3rd Monday of each month. Come and see the young, passionate, "off-the-grid" Mike Haydon speak this month (more below)!

Other events yet to be finalised include: John Champagne (Permie guru), crop swapping, wicking beds, beneficial insects, Christmas in July, growing veggies, social design, community gardens, swales, and banana circles.

New for this year: On odd months we shall be suggesting a focus for swapping items. We are finalising dates for the following categories: clothes and shoes; plants, seedlings, cuttings and pots; kitchenware; books, CDs and DVDs; and crop swap (and, no, you don’t have to have a crop - we will give alternatives for you to be involved).

I’m looking forward to a great year!

Cecilia Bird, PSN President 2017

  Events: Monthly PSN event title
PSN Monthly Gathering:
Going 'off-grid' with Mike Haydon

7pm Monday 20th Feb
Lindfield Community Centre

Are you thinking about installing a solar system? Do you want to power a caravan or take your home off-grid? Or are you wondering what to do now the money's gone from the government's incentive scheme? Mike Haydon can help you!

Mike's home in Seven Hills is what many Permies dream off
. 'Urban Tilba' has renewable energy systems including solar power, battery storage and wind turbines; rain water harvesting systems; recycling water systems; food production systems; and a whole range of other integrated systems that demonstrate how you can create a closed-loop system on a city property.

Learning about all the different solar panels and batteries can be confusing and so is knowing what is best for you and your situation. Mike will tell us all about:

  • Sizing your load. What does this even mean?
  • Understanding how your appliances work and selecting the right products for your lifestyle. Did you know that you can't use a toaster and a kettle at the same time on a Tesla Powerwall?
  • Knowing which solar panels are right for you and your situation. Did you know that solar panels lose performance when the ambient temperature is higher than 16 degrees C?
  • Battery technology. No, not all batteries are the same!
  • Hands-on installation of a system.

You can check out and subscribe to Mike's YouTube channel prior to the talk to get a better understanding and take a sneek peek at his home on his website here.

Free for members, suggested donation of $5 for guests.

Doors open at 6:30 pm - a good time to check out our members' library, and check out the Swap, Sell & Share table. Please join us for supper after the main speaker.

Living Skills: Fermented & Cultured Drinks
2-4pm, Sat 18th Feb
Eastwood/Denistone area

Kombucha, jun, kefir, & kvass - learn to make your own healthy fermented fruit & milk drinks.

Register here.

PNB Gathering: Oldest Foods on Earth
7.15pm, Thur 23rd Feb

Author John Newton talks about food that may help to reconcile us with the land & its first inhabitants.

More here.

Permabee: Keyhole garden & insect hotels
9.30am - 4pm, Sun 4th Mar
Middle Cove

We will help Nita build a keyhole garden with recycled bricks, and build bee & bug hotels.

Register here.
News, Courses, & More

Part of the site for the PDC students' assignment.

Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) - 20th March to 1st April

Registration is now available for the PDC 2017 which is being run in collaboration between PSN and Permaculture Northern Beaches. Great news: the early-bird discount has been extended to 14th February!

Sharing the knowledge
A PDC course forms a significant part of the passing on of the Permaculture knowledge and is based on the Permaculture Designers’ Manual written by Bill Mollison in 1981. John Champagne will be our guide and mentor on this course, supported by Aaron Sorensen and other contributors.

Whilst terms such as Peak Oil, sustainability, and environmentally friendly have been used more commonly in recent years, and have become part of our everyday vocabulary, permaculture emphasises the integration and balance of systems and problem solving in a unique way.

Assignment: The permaculture plan
During the course, students will learn the skills to evaluate a site or system and produce an integrated plan for the development of a permaculture property. This is a challenging and rewarding experience and will add to your permaculture portfolio.

The site that you will be working on (see the photo above) has many of the features that you will need to address in your future as a permie on large and small properties. You will need to consider the ever-present and increasingly important threat of fire, how to protect your crops from local protected wildlife, and where to place your dams for water harvesting and fire protection.

The rewards
It is hard to over-estimate the rewards of completing this course. Not only will you be able to demonstrate your understanding of permaculture, but you will be able to produce your plan and report as evidence of your learning and skills. As an added bonus, you will have a new group of permie friends who have slaved with you over a hot plan, refining ideas and solving problems!

You will need to have completed an Introduction to Permaculture course or equivalent. The current group of Intro students will be well place to participate. Fortunately, you will have a last chance to take part in an Intro Course run by PNB. Check out their course here.

Subsidy and registration
This a subsidised course for PSN members only (Members of PNB are also members of PSN). Please come and join us at this high-quality, bargain-priced Permaculture Design Course.

More information & registration here.

Diana Watson, Education Team Leader 

The students (and some teachers) of our Summer 2016-2017 Introduction to Permaculture course

News from the Introduction Course

The current Introduction to Permaculture course is half way through and both the presenters and the students have really enjoying visiting permie properties and learning about solving problems in real life using the Permaculture principles.

We hope that some of the students will join us for next year’s Permaculture Design Certificate and that you will be on our next course!

Diana Watson, Education Team Leader

  Help make this newsletter great again!

A regular series on the joy of your favourite little pollinators?

What would you like to see here?

Over the last few years we've had news from PSN events, photo galleries from member's garden projects & events, recipes, news from the Permie family around the world, and more.

What do you want to see? A regular series on a particular topic? What can you help with? Please send your ideas and submissions to me! You don't have to be a good writer - I can edit and polish. And we always need good photos.

This year we aim to get the newsletter out in the 1st week of each month, so the deadline for each issue is the last Sunday of the previous month, but don't leave it until the last minute - you can send me stories and ideas anytime!

Cat Dorey, Newsletter Editor

MISSED SOMETHING? There are many more upcoming events listed on our PSN and PNB websites and lots more on our Facebook group page. Sign up for the Northern Beaches newsletter here.