This month at PSN: Preparing for International Permaculture Day; A Food Forest film night; The annual Wild Mushroom Hunt; and more.

News & Events
April 2017

One good thing about all the rain - mushrooms! Don't miss our wild mushroom hunt!

What will YOU be doing on International Permaculture Day (IPD)? This annual event is the biggest event on the permaculture calendar and we’d like as many people as possible to be involved. It’s time to spread the word beyond our permaculture boundaries!

There will be many venues open on Sunday 7th May so put the date in your diary and don’t miss out. Here are some ways you can be involved:

  • Visit some of the Open Garden events.
  • Let all your friends and neighbours know - invite them to visit an open garden with you.
  • If you are on social media, put a link to the IPD website and tag people you know who may be interested:
  • Contact your local radio station or newspapers to promote the event.
  • Download some fliers from the IPD website resources page, fill in details and ask for them to be displayed at your local library, place of worship, club, community noticeboard, shopping centre - anywhere you think people might be interested.

Last, but not least, VOLUNTEER! Just 2 hours on the day will go a long way to help the people who work tirelessly to open their place for others to visit. And it’s yet another wonderful opportunity to connect with fellow permies on the day. There's more information about PSN's IPD events below and on our website.

As I write, half of the advertised IPD events in Australia are in Sydney, but keep checking as events are updated until close to the day.

Cecilia Bird, President

  Events: Film Night
PSN Monthly Gathering

Film: Design for Life - The Food Forest Story

7pm Monday 17th April
Lindfield Community Centre

This inspiring documentary tells the story of a young couple who set out to perfect an abundant, sustainable way of living. Using permaculture design they turned a dusty paddock into an idyllic home, profitable farm and vibrant teaching centre.

Annemarie and Graham Brookman's quest for the principles of sustainable living took them to 40 countries, until they encountered permaculture, a design system for sustainable living created by David Holmgren and Bill Mollison. It was everything they needed for a bold experiment, giving them a set of principles and techniques with which to plan their lives and a small farm to assess this new way of living.

The film traces the physical and economic challenges they overcame: lack of capital, smallness of scale, droughts, floods and the loneliness of the pathfinder, to become one of the World's iconic permaculture properties and one of Australia's most awarded organic farms, The Food Forest.

Note: There will be a MiniEd event on Guilds, Companion Planting & Pest Management before the film, and graduates of the recent Introduction to Permaculture course will be presented with their certificates.

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. Please join us for supper after the film.

Ryde group: Compost tea workshop
1-4pm, Sat 8th April
North Ryde

A hands-on workshop to make 20L of an actively aerated compost tea, perfect for winter crops.

Register here.

Living Skills Workshop: Wild Mushroom Hunt
9am - 3pm, Sat 29th April
Beyond Blackheath

Join Peter Pez for a day in a forest gathering abundant mushrooms - thanks to all the rain!

Register here.

PNB May Gathering: Holly Davis, wholefoods chef
7.15pm, Thur 27th April

An evening with local author, wholefoods chef, and Iku Wholefoods co-founder Holly Davis.

More here.

News & Other Bits

Big plans for PSN on International Permaculture Day!

This year we have events in multiple locations, and we need volunteers to help at all of them. We also have not one, but TWO permabees in April to help prepare the Open Garden events.

Check out the options below and block out some time in your April calendar to roll up your sleeves and give a hand. Please contact Margaret to help at Moss House and Mandy to help at Permapatch (details below).

Moss House
If you have never been to Margaret's & Chris's abundant and beautiful garden, famously known as Moss House, you are in for a treat!

Address: 14 Burmah Road, Denistone

Permabee: 10am - 4pm, 30th April
Please register for the permabee as usual on the PSN website.

IPD Open Day: 10am - 4pm, 7th May

There are garden tours, talks and workshops throughout the day. For the full programme, see the event on the IPD website.

Permapatch and Repair Cafe

Permapatch was once an ugly old carpark transformed by the local permaculture community into a bountiful community garden. Members have also set up a regular Repair Cafe in the church hall on the 1st two Sundays of each month.

Address: Uniting Church, Cnr Mowbray & Pacific Hwy, Lane Cove/Chatswood

Permabee: 10am - 5pm, 22nd April

Please register for the permabee as usual on the PSN website.

IPD Open Day: 10.30 am - 4 pm
There's a Crop Swap event at 11am, and the Repair Cafe opens at 1pm. For full details see the event on the IPD website.

Permaculture Northern Beaches area
The Beaches crew will be busy with three garden tours, as well as running stalls and workshops at Pittwater Wine & Food Fair. For more details keep an eye out on their website as events are posted here.

Western Sydney and more
If you still want more, our friend Nev Sweeney from Permaculture Sydney West will open his garden in St Clair. Check it out here.

There's loads more events appearing on the IPD website every day. Get inspired:

Margaret Mossakowska, Moss House

Mandy Stubbs, Permapatch

Books like to be shared - check your shelves for those that are ready to find new homes!

Swap your books, CDs and DVDs - Monday 15th May

This year we are having a special themed swap event every two months at our monthly Lindfield gatherings (see the story below on our Crop Swap last month). For our May gathering in Lindfield we are doing a book, music and film swap. Why not do a little decluttering and make space for something new?

You are welcome to bring them to the April meeting - we can store items in the Lindfield office until May.

Did you know we have a tool library?

PSN has a growing number of garden tools which are available for members to borrow. Resources include spades, shovels, forks, a level, and an electric drill to name a few.

Inquiries and bookings can be made via the Garden team email, with collection and drop off at either Gladesville after 5pm, or at the end of the monthly permabee.

All items borrowed need to be returned in time for the following permabee.

Shawn Buchan, Gardens Team

Reduction in PSN Annual Membership Fees

Good news! From 1st April the annual fee for single members will be reduced from $30 to $25. For members aged under 30, the annual fee is just $10 individual, and $20 for a family membership if all members are under 30.

Ian Watson, Treasurer

Our Introduction to Permaculture graduates at Moss House during the course.

Education team news

Introduction to Permaculture Course: Certificate Presentation
We hope you will be at the April Lindfield gathering to congratulate the graduate students from the recent Introduction to Permaculture Course as they receive their certificates. This will be an opportunity to see their excellent assignments, and talk to the new graduates and presenters about the course. (A big thanks to Diana & Diana and all the course teachers for running such a great course - from all of us at PSN!)

Guilds, Companion Planting, Pest Management - A wider perspective
Before the film at the April Lindfield gathering, there will be a short education session - known as a MiniEd. We will take a wider perspective on guilds and expand our understanding of companions and friends in our gardens. Creating the best environment for our plants and animals is the goal of all permies.

Come and learn more about this fascinating subject or share details of your guilds or experiences of helpful elements in nature. Please send us details of your favourite guild, if you wish us to include it in the discussion.

Diana Watson & Diana Evans, Education Team

Crop Swap Sydney's Founder at PSN

At last month’s Lindfield meeting I had the great pleasure of talking to PSN members about a personal endeavour called Crop Swap Sydney.

This is a grass roots initiative that facilitates the sharing of excess produce, plants or seeds anytime, and often instantly. Members employ simple barter principles which have been modernized by the existing social infrastructure of Facebook. 

initiative also works to provide free workshops, tastings or talks to its 12,000 person audience of which approximately 3,000 are active swappers.

My talk detailed the initial idea, its evolution, some of the weird and wonderful items that have been exchanged, and its permaculture basis.

Following this presentation a Crop Swap was held, and what bounty graced the tables! There were quite a few items at this swap that I have not seen offered before, some of which had the best labelling and descriptions I have ever seen!

Some of the items that were swapped on the night included:

  • Fermented drinks: jun, keffir
  • Herbs & spices: feverfew, lemon grass, bay, curry, chilly, fruit salad herb, lemon myrtle, salt bush, brahmi
  • Fruit & vegetables: sweet potato, pumpkin, lilly pilli, water spinach, kale, apples, zuchini
  • Plants & cuttings: Mexican marigolds, brassica seedlings, rose geranium cuttings, Spanish moss (photo right), chamomile plant
  • Foraged goodies: foraged guava paste & jam, saffron milkcap mushrooms
  • Useful things: wood ash, coffee grounds, egg cartons, chains for hanging baskets

Thanks for having me. The homegrown, homemade supper at the close of the evening was an inspiration! I hope that you continue to swap, grow, and cook using each other's produce in the future.

For more information about Crop Swap Sydney visit our website here.

Laurie Green, Founder of Crop Swap Sydney

  Photo Story: A garden transformed

At last month's permabee, Nita Lo got a chance to put her new-found knowledge from the recent Introduction to Permaculture Course into practice and see her permaculture garden design become a reality. Witness the transformation...

This patch of Nita's garden looked a little unloved and weedy back in June 2016!

By March 2017 the garden was taking shape, but Nita needed some extra help.

Nita had a vision, a lot of cardboard, and some Permabee wizards to work their magic - Shawn (team leader), Sue, Stephanie, Wendy, Sarah, Hanson, Fam, Caroline, Nathan, and James.

The raised garden began to take shape with a fancy curved brick edging.

Layers of cardboard and mulch were to smother the weeds and help to recondition the soil.

Meanwhile in another part of the garden, some grave digging and body disposal was going on...

Sorry, I meant swale digging and weed disposal!

A final view from above shows a the full transformation.

A big thanks to the Permabee team from Nita!

There are more photos our Facebook page and Members Facebook page.

Words by Cat Dorey (Editor), photos from Sue & Nita.

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.