May 8 - 14 2016: Issue 262

Permaculture Northern Beaches


Want to know where your food is coming from? Do you like to enrich the earth as much as benefit from it?

This local organisation has many ways to support you in such an excellent endeavour - our thanks to PNB's Committee member Fiona Moloney for her wonderful help in putting this insight together.

When and Why was Permaculture Northern Beaches formed?
PNB was set up 9 years ago, it is a not for profit group born out of Permaculture North mainly because interest in sustainability, the environment and food sovereignty was growing along the beaches, and we have been growing ever since. We attract a wide variety of people, those new to gardening, people who are passionate about the environment, those who want to employ chemical free practices as well as experts in gardening as well as those who want to learn how to do things a little bit differently, learn new things, and meet new people.

What is Permaculture ?

Permaculture, the bringing together of the two words ‘permanent + agriculture’ is a term coined by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren.

Permaculture is a design system for creating sustainable human environments.  A major focus is the sustainable and harmonious use of resources for safe food production. 

Permaculture recognises that everything we do has some impact on the environment and on other people. To avoid harm to the environment and to people, all Permaculture actions are consistent with three Ethics:
• Care for the Earth - provision for all life systems to continue
• Care for People - provision for all people to access those resources necessary to their existence
• Fair Share – set sustainable limits to Population and Consumption and redistribute surplus resources to further the first two Ethics

It is based on 12 practical and integrated design principals and methods modelled on the natural world and these principles can be applied to both urban and rural environments making them perfect for the Northern Beaches and suburban living conditions.

We aim to: Educate, connect, influence and inspire, we strive to support, protect and most of all to make a difference - now isn’t that cool! 

What permaculturists are doing is the most important activity that any group is doing on the planet. We don’t know what a truly sustainable future is going to be like, but we do need options, we need people experimenting in all kinds of ways, and permaculturists are one of the critical groups that are doing that.” — Dr David Suzuki, world renowned geneticist, environmental scientist and activist

Our members  have access to over 50 free workshops and educational events a year, including permabees, living skills workshops, Seedsavers workshops and guest speaker events.  We teach a huge range of skills in self reliance, permaculture design, teaching and community development - and we have a lot of fun doing it! 

Our primary purpose is to share knowledge, resources, hands-on experience and friendship with a growing community of like-minded individuals who care about the production of safe food and the practice of sustainability. Sharing, swapping, selling: seeds, produce, food and equipment, living skills

PNB is committed to the principle and practice of ecological sustainability.  We aim to achieve this through educating ourselves and others by sharing experience, knowledge and practical skills. Our guiding ethics are ‘Earth care, people care, fair share’.

How much is membership and what would somebody joining gain?

Annual Membership for Individuals is $30 and for a Household is $36
Regular visits (Permatours) to members’ and other open-gardens 
Participation in reciprocal Permabees (permaculture working bees where we get together and complete a permaculture project in a day - many hands make light work!) in members’ gardens 
Access to expert speakers and interesting/educational events/ films at monthly meetings 
Participation in Living Skills workshops and how to make the best cleaning products ever with out the nasty chemicals 
Information about a broad range of courses that we host throughout the year 
Ongoing opportunities to increase knowledge and skills e.g access to our seed saving and sharing group, keeping native bee and hives, turning your pool into a pond for urban wildlife, how to save energy and water!  
The opportunity to participate in and contribute to the activities of our group and take action locally through projects, education and advocacy 
At our monthly events we share, sell and swap, seeds, produce, food and equipment where we also host a fun swap and share table to exchange surplus or unwanted goods  
Access to our online forum, a great place to ask questions and learn new sustainability stuff 
And of course there is plenty of opportunity for networking and making friendships with like-minded people 

The teaching activities - what does this involve?

We have broad range of workshops that members can attend on living skills where you will learn  everything from how to make your own soaps, cleaning products, and skin care products, to composting, bee keeping, making habitats for urban wildlife, growing healing herbs, foraging for edible weeds, sustainable property practices, making worm juice and compost tea, how to make organic fertiliser, how to build a no dig garden, keeping cooks and small space gardening.
Courses on Permaculture Design, with a first level entry course called ‘Introduction to Permaculture’ later in the year and in 2017 ‘The Permaculture Design Course’

We are also very proud of having some of the most amazing inspirational speakers imaginable on the subject of sustainability, environment and food production. 
We  have a range of fact sheets and useful practical information on our website.

The Permatours - what are these about ?

A permatour is a guided tour of a permaculture garden, and shows the many ways permaculture can work in practice. Often it is a tour of member's garden, or a series of gardens, or it could be a visit to an organic farm. 
Here we learn tips and techniques from other members, see what worked and what didn't, and get inspired with new ideas and ways of designing your garden space for maximum productivity. It's also a great way to make new friends of course.

You also have a great range of events each year - what are the areas of focus here - please share a few samples

We have some really awesome events in the next few months, all
 are always packed with useful and empowering information! Later this month on National Sorry Day we have John Newton discussing the oldest foods on earth found right here in Australia.  Last year was the first time that we held our Eco Festival in Ingleside and it was massively successful,  every one had such good fun, and our second festival is at the beginning of June this year.  It all about inclusion, sharing knowledge, being part of something that can make a real difference, this is a great opportunity to bring the kids along and share in a family learning and fun day out experience. We have a permabee the day before, this is when we get together to help out at and participating in something of benefit for many.  

At the end of June we have a movie and soup night, time for soup and a share table and learn all about food waste, this is a problem, and raising these issues is something we like to highlight, everyone learns something new. Last month we had a panel discussing the state of our oceans, most people were shocked with the information, and everyone vowed to do something to make a difference, this is the key, we can all do small things that make a massive difference, this is what’s so inspiring when like minded people come together, we feel empowered. 

Dates and topics for those coming up are listed below. For more detailed information people can check these on our - and everyone is welcome members and non-members.

Thursday 26th May - “The oldest foods on earth” by John Newton - Sorry Day
Saturday 4th June - Permabee (Working Bee) for Eco Festival
Sunday 5th June - Eco Festival - World Environment Day
Thursday 23rd June - “Just Eat It" Food Waste Doco - Movie and Soup Night
Thursday July 28th - Disinvestment and Practical Clean Energy Q&A
Sunday July 31st - Eco-Friendly Chemical-Free Household Products - Living Skills Workshop
Saturday October 29th and Sunday October 30th - Introduction to Permaculture Certificate Course

Thursday 26th May - “The oldest foods on earth” by John Newton - Sorry Day
Please join us in welcoming John Newton for an 'Author Talk & Open Discussion' and the launch of his new book on Thursday May 26th - National Sorry Day

"This is a book about Australian food. Not the food that European Australians cooked from ingredients they brought with them, but the unique flora and fauna that nourished the Aboriginal peoples of this land for over 50,000 years. It was to try and understand why 
European Australians have almost entirely rejected these foods for over 200 years that I wrote this book.

We celebrate cultural and culinary diversity, yet shun the foods that grew here before settlers arrived. We love ‘superfoods’ from remote, exotic locations, yet reject those that grow in our own land. We say we revere sustainable local produce, yet ignore Australian
native plants and animals that are better for the land than those from Europe.

But the tide is turning. European Australians are beginning to accept and love the flavours of our own foods, everything from kangaroo to quandongs, from fresh muntries to the latest addition, the magpie goose.

And working with and learning from indigenous Australians, new and sustainable industries growing these foods are taking root around the country. This is a food book that will change the way you look at Australia."
John Newton writes: Fact, Fiction, Food and Opinion -

Where: Nelson Heather Community Centre, Banksia Room, 5 Jacksons Road, Warriewood, NSW, 2102
What Time: 7:15pm to 9:00pm

Saturday 4th June - Permabee (Working Bee) for Eco Festival
Help prepare the permaculture field and land for our second annual Eco Festival.  
Be part of a real community spirit in the lead up to our big day on Sunday the 5th June.  
Enjoy working in a pesticide free area with community allotments. All welcome!
Where: 1 Wilson Avenue, Ingleside, NSW, 2101

Sunday 5th June - Eco Festival - World Environment Day 
Join in on ‘Permaculture Northern Beaches’ second annual Eco Festival and participate in a global celebration with your local community.
World Environment Day is celebrated every year, on the 5th of June, to raise global awareness to take positive environmental action to protect nature and the planet.
This year, join in on 'Permaculture Northern Beaches' second annual ECO FESTIVAL. Enjoy live music, interesting workshops, information stands, stalls, food, kids activities and heaps of organic fun, all on a permaculture field on Sydneys Northern Beaches.
Lots more information coming soon!
Where: 1 Wilson Avenue, Ingleside, NSW, 2101
What time: 12:00pm to 4:00pm Sunday 5th June
Any inquiries on having a stall, playing music, holding a workshop or being involved please

Filmmakers and food lovers Jen and Grant dive into the issue of food waste from farm, through retail, all the way to the back of their own fridge. After catching a glimpse of the billions of dollars of good food that is tossed each year in North America, they pledge to quit grocery shopping and survive only on discarded food. What they find is truly shocking.
Where: Banksia Room, Nelson Heather Community Centre, 5 Jacksons Road, Warriewood. 2102
What time: 7:15pm to 9:00pm
Entry by donation:  $10 for non-members and $8 for members.  
Hot soup and bread, teas, and coffee available on the night. 

Interested in disinvestment from unsustainable industries and ethical placement of your money?  Hear from our expert panel in an interactive Q&A.  Pick up practical advice for your own home. Watch this space guest speakers announced soon.
Where: Nelson Heather Community Centre, Banksia Room, 5 Jacksons Road, Warriewood, NSW, 2102
What Time: 7:15pm to 9:00pm
Entry by donation:  $10 for non-members and $8 for members
Organised by: Permaculture Northern Beaches Fair Share team

Did you know that we are exposed to more toxic and hazardous chemicals from using common household cleaning products inside our homes than anywhere else? These incredibly harmful chemicals are causing many illnesses for us and our families and create tons of toxic waste which is disposed into our environment. 

In the past 40 years, at least 70,000 new chemicals have been released into the environment through cleaning and industrial products, with a US study revealing that its participants carried an average of 43% of these chemicals in their body.
Want to make sustainable, eco friendly, safe and low cost cleaning products for you home? 

At this workshop we will make washing powder, fabric softener, cleaning sprays and creams, toilet cleaner, air fresheners, liquid hand soaps, veggie wash and more while boosting your immune system at the same time!
Where: Kimbriki EcoHouse, Kimbriki Rd, Ingleside
What Time: 10am to 1pm
Entry by donation: minimum $15 recommended
Bookings essential contact:

Saturday October 29th and Sunday October 30th - INTRODUCTION TO PERMACULTURE CERTIFICATE COURSE
This two day intensive course covers topics from gardening, sustainable housing, soil,  site analysis, permaculture design, and zoning.    
It is a great overview of what permaculture is so as to enable you to take the next steps to incorporate this into your life.  You will receive an Introduction to Permaculture certificate and a copy of Bill Mollison's book " Introduction to Permaculture."  

The course will be at Kimbriki Eco House and Garden at Ingleside, this allows for practical exercises in the garden. The Eco Garden has an established permaculture garden, native bee hive, aquaponics, compost toilets, straw bale/hempcrete and recycled buildings.

Teachers include:  Peter Rutherford senior ecologist at Kimbriki and Michelle (Elle) Sheather ecologist, qualified permaculture teacher, and coordinator PNB. Special guest teacher to be announced.  
Please note this is the only ITP course for the remainder of 2016.
When: October 29th and 30th
Where: Kimbriki Eco House and Garden, Ingleside, just off Mona Vale Road
What Time: 9:30am to 4:30pm both days. 
To book contact: 
Cost:  $290 for members, $330 for non-members, concessions available.
Early bird:  $260 

How do people get involved with these - as members or as stall holders - what is the difference between these two?

We host and arrange many events throughout the year - members and non-members can attend our events throughout the year either at our Warriewood monthly meets or any of our gardening tours or festival events. If you are interested in hosting a stall at our Eco-Festival  on the 5th of June get in touch with Matt on
Is there anything for younger people and children?

Always, children are key to this changing planet, if we can get the message through at a young age that they are responsibe for their immediate environment can you imagine the difference it would make in their years ahead, their decisions would be so much more considerate of the impact we each have, their foot print so to speak. Check out our Kids Fact Sheet on our website - we think it’s really important that people know about where their food comes from from an early age, a simple way is to grow a small garden with them, allow them to get their hands into the soil and learn how nature works beautiful and perfectly well to produce delicious food, there is nothing nicer than the taste of your own home grown foods and children are often the first to spot this. At our stalls we also have points of play with children where we encourage them to investigate the native stingless bee and learn how to grow seeds into giant sunflowers as two examples. 

What are NBP favourite places in Pittwater and why?

Well of course we just love the community gardens, we love when people come together and eat together, how good is it to just eat as you learn, chat and have fun! We also love hanging out at Kimbrikii and at our monthly meet ups which are now held in the Nelson Heather Centre, in Warriewood. We also really enjoy when one of our members opens up their garden asking for support, that’s when we hold what we call a ‘Permabee’ a place where volunteers come together to help and learn, as you can image a great deal of work can happen in a short time when many hands are involved, it’s the old way, and some might say the best way, it’s a great way to just break away for the day to day and get your hands, knees and face dirty!

What is Permaculture Northern Beaches Motto or creed? 

Earth Care. People Care. Fair Share.