This month at PSN: Crop Swap Sydney comes to PSN; make your own luscious all-natural moisturising cream; Permapatch faces its biggest challenge yet.

News & Events
March 2017

Join our workshop to learn to make moisturisers from your own garden ingredients.

As we March on into 2017, I'm thrilled by the upcoming special event for our monthly Lindfield gathering, particularly as it comes under the banner of social permaculture which is of particular interest to me.

We shall be doing our very own Crop Swap as part of a greater focus on swapping and recycling that the PSN Management Committee has decided to emphasise this year. As well as a talk from the delightful Laurie Green we shall be swapping! You can read all about the event below - we hope to see you, and any spare produce you have, on the night.

Starting a conversation: Permaculture has something for everyone (and everyone has something for Permaculture!) How does this represent your outlook? Which of these areas of interest are reflected in your life?
  • A campaigner for global change
  • Local connection with fellow permies
  • Leading an individual permie life

How do you express these? Here are a few thoughts.

  • Challenging big businesses, attending rallies, signing petitions
  • Attending sustainability and PSN events
  • Making conscious decisions about consumption and your way of life

All of the above are important contributions to a more sustainable lifestyle.

Here’s a related article on "Conscious Consumerism" that may challenge your thoughts. You may have heard it on ABC radio too.

It's great to hear all these issues being discussed by PSN members. Feel free to join the PSN conversation here on our PSN Group Facebook page. There's a lot going going on there! 

Cecilia Bird, President

  Events: Crop Swap Sydney
PSN Monthly Gathering:

Crop Swap -  Talk & Event with Laurie Green

7pm Monday 20th March
Lindfield Community Centre

Laurie Green, founder of Crop Swap Sydney, has a great story to tell about the evolution of Crop Swap, some of the weird and wonderful items that have been exchanged, and its involvement with permaculture. Following this we will have our own Crop Swap event.

Crop Swap Sydney is a grass roots initiative based on simple bartering principles, but one that has been modernized by the existing social infrastructure of Facebook.

Crop Swap Sydney connects local growers, provides free workshops, tastings and talks, and allows the sharing of excess produce, plants or seeds anytime, and often instantly.

For our own Crop Swap event there are some basic guidelines. At the point of swapping, participants will set out their own produce and then take some items in exchange in what is essentially a self-monitoring system. However, if you bring high energy items you might hope to take home some equally high energy items.

This is an exchange rather than a giveaway system. If you would like to participate but do not have produce you may have excess seeds (in date and labelled), clean pots, homemade biscuits (in small portions), kombucha scoby... only limited by your imagination really.

As we approach the event, you might start telling us what you have on offer by posting on our PSN Facebook page here.

As usual, please join us for supper afterwards.

Free for members, $5 for guests.Doors open at 6:30pm - a good time to check out our members' library & catch up with other PSN members. 

Hornsby Group Gathering: Compost tea brewing demonstration
2-4.30pm, Sat 11th March
Pennant Hills

Learn about the value of making compost teas for your garden and watch a demonstration.

Register here.

Living Skills Workshop: Fragrant Herbal Extracts for Soap & Cream Making
2-4pm, Sat 18th March

Make a natural moisturising cream from comfrey, chamomile, and calendula in beeswax and almond oil.

Register here.

PNB March Gathering: Ecological Restoration with Mia Dalby-Ball
7.15pm, Thur 23rd March

Mia Dalby-Ball shares her experiences of restoring a range of Sydney's diverse ecological habitats. 

More here.

News & Other Bits

The new Repair Cafe banner brings smiles to the faces of Mandy, Wendy, Wendy and Diana.

Repair Cafe Sewing Success Stories

First, Repair Cafe sends PSN a huge thank you for the new banner we donated as a thank you for running a special Repair event for us at our monthly Lindfield gathering in November last year.

Second, a reminder that the next Cafe is on the 12th March. Please do come along! Nothing to repair? I bet most of you have (or have thrown out!) a bag, back-pack, or cooler bag with a broken zipper, torn handle or ripped seam. Don't throw it away - here are some recent sewing success stories to inspire you.

From volunteer Sarah: "One repair I really liked was patching a cooler bag. So many of these things probably end up in landfill so it was great to be able to put a patch over a rip in the bag and to repair the zip seam so we managed to prolong its life for another year or two."

From volunteer Tracy: "Daisy’s backpack had come apart at the seams at the top. Since it was nylon I could use a lighter to stop the lining fraying further and then stitch it back in place."

From visitor Daisy: "Thank you so much for what you did for my backpack today.It was amazing - as good as new - despite your proclamation that it was rough!I am so happy with the job and am very grateful."

Dig through your cupboards and garage and find something that needs some of our loving care. If you really haven’t got anything,just drop in for some inspiration, a fair trade organic cappuccino or a cup of tea, and be tempted by some home made snacks. And if you haven't seen it yet, visit the magnificent Permapatch Community Garden next door before it's too late... More about this below!

When: 1pm to 3pm, 1st and 2nd weeks of every month
: Chatswood South Uniting Church Hall, corner Mowbray Road & Pacific Hwy

Cost: Our volunteers work for
free, but donations are welcome.

Check out the new Repair Cafe website full of great stories and photos.

Wendy Dwyer
94204884 or 0410280912

Testing soil samples with Stephanie.

Another batch of talented Permies brewed!

Our recent Introduction to Permaculture Course concluded with the students’ presentations of their assignments to the group. These were a delight to watch and there was a great deal of interaction with the whole group. Feedback from the practice-runs the previous week had been incorporated and had encouraged the students to seek input from and discuss their ideas with each other.

The standard is really high again and it is amazing how much detail was included in the reports. The students have learned a huge amount in a short time, and we look forward to working on their gardens when they get started on the joyful task of implementing their plans.

Can we look forward to seeing YOU at the next Intro course?

Diana Watson, Education Team

Help needed at our Monthly Meetings in Lindfield

I know a 7pm meeting start is challenging for some people whereas others can arrive by 6:30pm. If you are one of the early arrivers please consider helping to set out the chairs so the MC can make final preparations with the speaker.

Could you help set up the audio-visual equipment? Alternatively, it would be great to have a pot of tea made (I can show you the knack with the boiler for making it work effectively!) and some of the supper set out so everyone can start with a light refreshment. Just turn up early and offer to lend a hand!

Cecilia Bird, President

Special: Permapatch under threat

Ten years ago: Permapatch is born!

As Joni Mitchell might have sung if she had known about this:

They paved Permapatch
And put up a unit block
Made it into concrete hell, a disgrace

And a stinging hot spot.
Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till its gone?

Well, we knew, but that hasn't made any difference!

Yes, the Lane Cove community garden, known as Permapatch, has been sold to developers, to have ten years of hard work, Permaculture, love, sustainability, and local food concreted over.

The dream was started more than ten years ago by the Lane Cove Permaculture Sydney North local group. We felt very lucky to find a site at a church, did a permaculture community garden design course, built a herb spiral and compost bins, and we were on our way, though our garden still looked a lot like a muddy tennis court.

We signed a twenty-five-year agreement with the church, and put our hearts and souls and thousands of hours of work into making it the best and only totally volunteer-run Permaculture community garden in Sydney. We begged, borrowed and ‘stole’ the bricks, the tools, the pots, the chook shed, and the plants.

A thriving, interested, learning community developed, who tended it and ate from it for the next 10 years. The garden includes an aquaponics system, chickens, bees, worm farms, compost bins and heaps, rain tanks, solar, the beautifully painted Permavan (see photo above), keyhole beds, succession planting, companion planting, integrated pest management, and crop rotation.

Ten years later: a thriving community garden

Last year the church announced it was going to sell the land to developers and broke our agreement and our hearts. Now we have until next January to get another home. There is a possible option of Artarmon bowling club, a very good site, but no guarantees at present. We are hoping to go there, though the work to accomplish that will be enormous.

The Repair Cafe Sydney North has also been meeting twice monthly at the site and has become a great supporter and an affiliate of Permapatch, attracting many more visitors and doing valuable teaching work regarding reusing and recycling. They are hoping to move to the Artarmon site with Permapatch. Come along and have a great cappuccino, wonderful homemade food, and hear how to repair a loved object. Before they too become homeless.

Your chance to see Permapatch
Please visit Permapatch on International Permaculture Day 7th May and see our great permaculture community garden before it’s too late! We are open from 10.30 am, with tours, problem and solution sessions, tea, coffee, and cake. We are till in planning mode but will probably have plants for sale.
We are also hoping to have a Crop Swap, where you bring produce from your garden, or a homemade item, and everyone takes home something somebody else has brought.

From 1 pm is the Repair Café in the hall, so bring along items requiring assistance to fix too. Wendy makes the best cappuccino in town and an array of gluten free, sugar free and ‘normal’ foods - home made, home grown. And there is a re-use table for free stuff. All for the price of a donation!

More details nearer the time, or phone Mandy.

Mandy Stubbs, PSN Events Co-team leader & Permapatch member
Phone: 9436 2891

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.