E-News - NOVEMBER 2020
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After the Annual General Meeting back in September Permaculture West has both new and not as new Board Members.

Committee members for 2020-2021 are:

If you would like to join the committee as a member for Local Groups or a general member, please get in touch!


Victoria Park Community Garden 

By Natalie Ong

History and philosophy

Our story began in 2008 when local residents in the Town of Victoria Park formed the community garden to grow food and educate the community on sustainable gardening. 

Model and approach

Our model is based on the West Leederville Community Garden, combining privately leased and communal allotments with communal food growing spaces including the orchard and berry patch.We occupy a gated compound in Read Park, on a peppercorn lease with the Town of Victoria Park.


We are an incorporated association, led by an elected management committee, in compliance with the Associations Incorporation Act 2015.

Sustainable gardening 

While we do not formally adopt permaculture principles, we promote natural, chemical-free gardening methods and use a closed-loop composting and waste management system, producing compost, vermicompost and weed tea.

Education and engagement

We consider gardening to be one of life's journeys, with our motto being "Come Grow With Us". Having inclusive values, we embrace diversity, catering to members of all ages, backgrounds and levels of experience.Our induction program is complemented by educational workshops on various topics which include gardening for beginners, worm farming, composting, seed-saving, fruit tree pruning, foraging for edible weeds and home fermentation and pickling.We encourage socialising and cross-sharing of knowledge between members with regular busy bees, social events and a members' forum on social media (Facebook group).Members of the public are welcome at our workshop events.We are grateful to the WA Apiarists Society (WAAS) who took over the Vic Park Honey hives in the sump adjacent to the garden. Their bees work very hard to help with pollination to help give us bountiful harvests!


During COVID-19 restrictions this year, we kept the garden going while complying with government COVID-safe guidelines. Although our events calendar and group gatherings were temporarily suspended, a skeleton crew of volunteers ensured minimum operations were maintained, with a streamlined waste management and composting system put in place.Very importantly, we engaged the local council to ensure support for our continued operation with COVID-safe rules, and made a case for access to the garden by members to be maintained, on the basis that the garden provided mental health benefits as well as food security for our members and their families during a difficult time.
Nyoongar country spans from Leeman in the northwest to beyond Cape Arid in the southeast, in the southwest of Australia. The Nyoongar calendar includes six seasons.

Kambarang - Season of Birth

Second spring: October-November

Transformational time of year
Flowers abound

The lifestyle for the Nyoongar communities during Kambarang

During the Kambarang season, we see an abundance of colours and flowers exploding all around us. The yellows of many of the Acacias continue to abound, along with some of the Banksias and many other smaller delicate flowering plants including the Kangaroo Paw and Orchids. Also during this time the Balgas will also start to flower, especially if they've been burnt in the past year or closely shaved.

One of the most striking displays of flowers to be seen during this season will be the "Mooja", or Australian Christmas Tree (Nuytsia). The bright orang/yellow flowers serve to signal the heat is on its way.

For the animals, October is also the most likely time of the year that you'll encounter a snake as the reptiles start to awaken from their hibernation and look to make the most of the warm to assist them in getting enough energy to look for food. It's also a time that many young families of birds will be singing out for their parents to feed them. Koolbardies (Magpies) will also be out protecting their nests and their babies.

Many things are undergoing transformation with the warm change in the weather.

Longer dry periods accompany a definite warming trend.

For more information click here

Image above: Balga Tree Photo Source

Principle 11: Use edges & value the marginal

“Don’t think you are on the right track just because it’s a well-beaten path”

The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.

The icon of the sun coming over the horizon with a river in the foreground shows us a world composed of edges. The proverb “don’t think you are on the right track just because its a well-beaten path” reminds us that the most popular is not necessarily the best approach.

Transforming the urban edge

The urban environment is full of edges, each with it’s own unique potential for transformation. This drawing shares some ideas for how to make productive use of a front yard in Tokyo. Espaliered fruit trees, container compost and garden beds, balcony gardens, vines to take advantage of roof space, a small water tank with potting bench above, propagating area, bike stand, herb gardens, vegetable beds and a ‘gift station’ for sharing excess produce, used books and crockery.

Illustration by Paul Kearsley from the Urban Permaculture Guide 始まる新しい生き方

Rural re-settlers

With the sacred Aboriginal mountain of Mumbulla in the background, the Bega Valley is at the edge of adaptive change. The Champagne family are among many people in the area who have made the change from city consumers to rural producers. While the agricultural production is initially small, the production systems are usually regenerative and often innovative. These smallholder settlers have had a big impact on the social capital and social structures of the area.

Photographed at Brogo Permaculture Gardens in Australia by David Arnold

(Sourced Information & Photograph) 

Nomadic living in a harsh environment

Kochi nomads are on the move from the Musakhail district of northeast Pakistan towards their summer destination in the uplands of Afghanistan. Gaddai camels are the mainstay of pastoralism in this region for both transport and food. They have the ability to travel long distances and are resistant to extremes in temperature and disease. Lactating for much longer periods than sheep and goats, and better convertors than cows, make them ideal for the harsh climates.

Photography by Dr. Abdul Raziq

content source

The New Economy Network Australia
Perth Hub Un-Convention

The Naval Store, Fremantle
Saturday 21 November, 10AM-4PM
During Global Entrepreneurship Week 2020 Nov 16th - 22nd

An event un-convened by NENA Perth Hub - The Gateway to New Economy Network Australia (NENA) in conjunction with KommunitiEnkel Collective and Galactic Cooperative.

The event will take place in The Naval Store in Fremantle and offer presentations, exhibitors, display stands and demonstrations by people and organisations working to build a new economy, focused on ecological health & social and economic justice.

There will also be food trucks and drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic)

AND... The 2020 New Economy Network Australia Annual Conference“New Economy—Work in Progress” held online on the same weekend, will be LIVE streamed into the un-convention during the day, and we will be LIVE streamed back to say hello from WA.

Exhibitor and presenter topics

  • Arts and Culture
  • Circular Economy
  • Cities and Urban Communities
  • Community Wealth Building
  • Cooperatives
  • Democracy and Governance
  • Doughnut Economics
  • Education
  • Energy
  • First Nations Economics
  • Food
  • Health
  • Housing
  • Inner Dimensions and Healthy Cultures
  • Just Transitions
  • Law Reform and Legal Services
  • Localisation
  • Money and Local Currencies
  • Rural and Regional Economies

Get Tickets HERE

Fair Harvest Festival of Forgotten Skills

Sunday November 29th 2020

We are excited to invite you to the 𝑭𝒆𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒗𝒂𝒍 𝒐𝒇 𝑭𝒐𝒓𝒈𝒐𝒕𝒕𝒆𝒏 𝑺𝒌𝒊𝒍𝒍𝒔 at Fair Harvest which is part of Live Local Month.
Over 30 people from within our South West community will be sharing their skills throughout the day, in a diverse range of ways.
From interactive workshops and activities to talks and live demonstrations, there will be something for everyone – including the little ones.
This festival is an opportunity to come together as community and learn about the ways of living that have existed for long before our time, but that are still so valuable.
𝑬𝒗𝒆𝒏𝒕 𝑫𝒆𝒕𝒂𝒊𝒍𝒔:
𝐃𝐚𝐭𝐞: 29th November
𝐓𝐢𝐦𝐞: 11am – 6pm.
𝐋𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐌𝐮𝐬𝐢𝐜 ALL day.
𝐋𝐨𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐅𝐨𝐨𝐝.
𝐓𝐢𝐜𝐤𝐞𝐭𝐬: $20 adults, $10 Concession, $5 kids.
Purchase tickets via the link above or cash on the day.
Waste free event.
𝐁𝐘𝐎 utensils + drinks for community sundowner.
𝑾𝒉𝒐 / 𝑾𝒉𝒂𝒕’𝒔 𝒊𝒏𝒗𝒐𝒍𝒗𝒆𝒅:
• Spinning and Weaving
• Facilitated Play + Connection Activities
• Reading our Country
• Tea Drinking
• Pottery
• Upcycling Clothing
• Drawing and Art classes using natural materials.
• Bee Keeping
• Sustainable Homes / Earthship Building
• Basket Weaving
• Spiritual wisdom; including Pule, Ancient birthing methods and breathwork.
• Scything
• Stitching + mending
• Voice and Singing
• Basket making using Weeds
• Sock Darning
• Rag Rugs
• Story Telling
• Making Knitting Needles
• Gardening + Permaculture Q+A.
• Cooking
• Owl Friendly MR
• Community Banking
• Herbalism
• Water divining and Dousing
• MR Historical Society
+ more…..
Are you running a course or training program related to Permaculture in the coming months ahead?  Email Tamara at by the 15th day of the month to be included in our next issue.

'Turn water scarcity into abundance'

"Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, 3rd Edition" is the best-selling, award-winning guide on how to conceptualize, design, and implement life-enhancing water-, sun-, wind-, and shade-harvesting systems for your home, landscape, and community. This book enables you to assess your on-site resources, gives you a diverse array of strategies to maximize their potential, and empowers you with guiding principles to create an integrated, multi-functional plan specific to your site and needs.

Clearly written with more than 290 illustrations, this full-color edition helps bring your site to life, reduce your cost of living, endow yourself and your community with skills of self-reliance and cooperation, and create living air conditioners of vegetation growing beauty, food, and wildlife habitat. Stories of people who are successfully welcoming rain into their life and landscape will invite you to do the same.

To learn more watch the Permaculture Masterclass, Geoff's newest 4-part documentary-style film, here:
Forests are ecosystems with a diversity of plants, animals, and fungi. They were designed by nature to have perfect balance. A food forest is a version of this in which the different, balanced components produce food. When we understand how nature creates its ecosystem, we can model that with productive species to produce food sustainably, with minimum inputs for maximum outputs.

Forests have layers. At the top is the (1) canopy layer followed by (2) understory trees, (3) bushes and shrubs, and down to (4) herbaceous layers. Under the ground, there are (5) root yields, and at the surface, there are (6) groundcovers. There are also vertical layers of (7) climbers. These layers work to occupy all the space. In designing a food forest, we use those layers to work for our benefit.

For designed food forests, the plants change from climate to climate. In the subtropics, tamarillo functions as an understory, and also within this layer are productive trees, such as feijoa, guava, and citrus. Taro, coco yam, and cassava are root yields. There are also large herbs, like bananas. The food forest would also include large support species—ice cream bean, tipuana tipu, casuarina—that support the forest by cycling nutrients, as well as understory support trees, a la acacia, leucaena, cassia, and albizzia. Most of these support species will eventually give way to large, productive species: rose apples, mulberries, jackfruit, bunya pine, pecan, and mango.

The system remains very stable when all the layers are occupied. We can plant foods by cultivating the support species at the same time as the fruit trees, then managing the support species to shelter and boost the productive species. Or, we can start just support species, but we shouldn’t start with just the productive species because it would require lots of inputs and hard work to keep them healthy. Support species can be up to 95% of the mass in the early years, and most of them will be nitrogen-fixing species. We speed their life cycle up by managing the support species, pruning when there is more rainfall than evaporation. Over time, less mass will be from support species and more from productive plants until, ultimately, the forest is 95% productive species. This is how we stack in time as well as space. So, we are manipulating the way a forest grows, particularly speeding it up, to work in our favor. We can pollard nitrogen-fixing legumes to allow sun in during rainier times and, then, through regrowth, supply shades in drier times. We can eventually cut these legumes lower and lower to yield their space to productive species. Finally, we can cut them to ground level and remove them altogether.

This is how we more rapidly feed the soil with a fallen forest. We can also use animals to help in the process. Larger grazing animals can graze to clear areas until we put in our small plants. Chickens and ducks can come through and prepare the ground. With established trees, chicken and ducks can return to clean the area up and speed the cycle of low-lying plants. We just have to keep an eye on the system and work the animals to a planned improvement in productivity. Food forest work as a living ecosystem, both diverse and stable. The production of soil is constant and fertility constantly growing. The production is nonstop. The system will actually replicate itself over time. This type of garden can make us the most beneficial animal on the planet, all while supplying our own needs. Music Credits: Song: "Emotional Documentary" | Artist: Melodex | Licensed by AudioHive Song: "Deeper" | Artist: Chris Coleman | Licensed by Musicbed #permaculture #foodforest #forestgarden

SCYTHING: The Benefits of Doing Things the Hard, Slow Way

Author Sol Hanna, Witchcliffe, WA

In November last year, I did something very stupid by the standards of contemporary social norms: I chose to do something the slow, hard way. I chose to cut an acre of grass with an old fashioned scythe. The experience ended up teaching me more than I expected and gave me an appreciation for doing things the hard, slow way. Our culture has become obsessed with speed and efficiency, along with flawless uniformity to such a great extent that to even suggest that things should be otherwise is to hint at madness or join plain stupidity. I can see the benefits of speed and efficiency, but I can see the downside of such an emphasis. When such an emphasis becomes and obsession (as it has!), it causes us to completely miss out on the alternate perspectives, and the many benefits that can accrue from doing things the hard, slow way.

On reasons NOT to do things the hard, slow way

Western culture’s obsession with doing things with speed, accuracy and efficiency is not unwarranted, and that perception arose in my mind whilst cutting the grass with a scythe. The scythe method of cutting grass is, in my experience slower and physically harder, despite the impression that may be given by social media.

Furthermore, I found my new Austrian scythe to not be well suited to Australian conditions. I think scything must have developed in homogenous fields of grass (e.g. wheat, barley, oats), whereas my field of grass was heterogenous including different types of grass and also several types of weeds. It was capable of slashing these varied types of grasses, but each one had a different degree of resistance to the blade, which made each stroke different in terms of how far it would cut. Also, despite the initial appearance of the ground being flat, I discovered that in fact the ground was slightly lumpy. A field that has been cultivated for crops is often deliberately made flat by those who farm it. But the ground I was on had only been used for grazing cattle, and was compacted clay that was uneven. Finally, I discovered that whilst most grass would be cut down in any one stroke, some blades of grass would simply bend and not be cut. This was worst in areas that were the least dense with grass. Even a fast stroke would only cause the grass to bend sideways, and then pop straight back up.

The Austrian scythe turned out to not be well suited to these conditions. It could do the work, but it was going to take a long time, and the result was going to leave a few isolated strands of grass standing after I had completed each section. According to my original perception of this matter, the scythe had been a failure and a waste of money. Doubt arose for a moment: maybe I should just give up and let the contractor with a tractor do it. We had already booked a contractor to come slash the grass with a tractor and special equipment. Why bother persisting with such a stupid, pointless waste of time?

Austrian Scythe allows you to cut the grass without the noise, high maintenance and requirement for fuel and oil.

The many benefits of scything the grass doing things the hard, slow way

Upon reflection, scything the grass was not only achieving my original goal, but was going beyond that and teaching me new things.

Originally, I wanted a simple method of cutting the grass that would allow me to get exercise. I had used a brush cutter previously and found the process annoying. Firstly there was the process of putting it together and ensuring the plastic cutting twine was the right length (the latter part being something that had to be done repeatedly when slashing a large area of grass). Carrying it around was heavy after a time, even whilst wearing the shoulder straps, and it was obnoxiously noisy, even when wearing ear protection. Slashing grass with a scythe was simple. It took less than a minute to sharpen the blade and then I was on to the job. The job was quiet, and the rhythmic motion was relaxing. And I really did get a good physical work out. I found the task was particularly good for the abdominal muscles. I think when all these fitness junkies find out about how great scything is for the abs that they’ll all be throwing away their lawn mowers in favour of an old-fashioned scythe! Which is a funny notion, thinking of all the fitness junkies in their yoga pants and gym sneakers outside cutting grass with a scythe, but it does point to a silly thing that Westerners do: we spend money on any number of labour saving devices which make us more sedentary, and therefore prone to lifestyle-related chronic diseases (like diabetes and heart disease). Then those who decide to get fit pay even more money for a gym membership so they can get fit! Looked at this way, scything the grass no longer seems so stupid. Here was a way to not only achieve a set goal (slashing the grass), but to get fresh air and fitness in the process.

In addition to the fitness, going slowly and mindfully over the land helped me to observe it closely and understand it better. I could see the unevenness of the compacted clay-like soil and the many different species of grass. I understood the prevailing winds and the gentle sloping to the east where the rain would run-off to. All of this was helping me to read the landscape which will be useful when my wife and I begin growing our garden. So often in Australia (and no doubt in other Western countries) there is zero regard for place when it comes to establishing buildings and gardens. As a consequence stupid decisions are made in relation to things like the direction of the sun, so buildings are made that are too hot or too cold and require more air conditioning, which further wastes resources. Gardens are planted with no thought of sunlight, but also natural patterns of drainage, which means more irrigation is required. The art of gardening has been lost for most modern people which I find deeply saddening, as it brings so many benefits beyond the plants themselves (especially in regards to physical and mental health). As I started out on this new gardening adventure on this old piece of land, I felt healthy and at ease, and I could see many creative possibilities as a I slowly made my way through the grass.

However, there was still the problem that the result wasn’t as neat as cutting with a mechanised tool. Strands of grass were left behind all over the place. Surely this was a sign of failure? Then it occurred to me that this was perhaps an ideal outcome. I was cutting the grass in the first place because of requirements to do with fire prevention in my local area. But I wanted the grass to grow again the next year, and for that some seeds would need to fall on the ground to grow next season’s grass. And here it was standing in sparse strands in front of me.

Finally, I found the whole process of being away from the computer and away from people, doing a simple task in the open air away from building was really relaxing. My initial doubts (stemming from my original cultural conditioning) gave way to fresh perspective where I could see multiple, interconnected benefits of doing this task the hard, slow way.

So slow down, relax, and observe the world around you

There’s a place for doing things with speed and efficiency. But in our society which has become obsessed with speed and efficiency we’ve begun to take the approach regardless of the cost, even when that cost is our physical and mental well-being. Furthermore, we’re losing the tendency – even the ability – to do things slowly: to observe, to learn from a place and time, and to develop wisdom. And it’s these qualities that are amongst the qualities most in need in our human world today.

Do you want to start a new Permaculture Group?

Remember if you create a new Permaculture Group or Community Garden we would LOVE to hear from you and keep our records up to date together with provide you with opportunities like insurance and the like for your events just by being members of Permaculture West - plus we give 50% of your membership funds back to you to purchase necessary equipment to get you going.  So reach out! 

Crowdfunding for Pip Magazine on Pozible


To go to four issues Pip needs a little bit of money upfront to cover the extra production costs. Once we are up and publishing four issues they will be able to cover these costs but they will need some help with the first issue. Their website will get upgraded and digital distribution channels will be created to deliver more content with a better user experience across all of their platforms.

Pip has come a long way since 2014, but the concept, its goals and ethics remain the same – to inspire audiences to live more sustainably through informative and inspirational content.
expand to four issues in 2021.Pip magazine started with a crowdfunding campaign on Pozible in 2014 and what began as a biannual seven years ago, grew to three issues three years later and now they are ready to

To do this Pip will need to:

  • employ more staff to help manage the production processes

  • create a larger base of expert contributors who will ensure Pip presents relevant and well-researched content across all of its platforms

  • invest in technology that will move Pip forward in the ever-evolving digital space.

Pip Media is underpinned by the permaculture ethics of earth care, people care and fair share. These ethics are implemented across everything they do, from the way they produce the magazine, to the sharing of profits, through to the way the business is managed.

If you believe in Pip’s vision and want to be part of a movement that inspires real and positive change for a more sustainable future, then jump on board.

The crowdfunding campaign is live until the end of the month and we would love your support!


Issue #18 is out now 
Just use the discount code PCWEST10 and claim your discount now
Permaculture West Connecting Permaculture Based Farms with Prospective Employees 

Do you own and operate a Permaculture based farm or Organic or Biodynamic Farm in Western Australia?  Are you looking to connect with upskilled and passionate Permaculture enthusiasts with the opportunity for work?  or farm-stay work opportunities in exchange for meals and accomodation?  Permaculture West want to connect you in 2020!

Send us an email to and provide us with a short summary on what you are looking for either employees or employment and we will do our best to assist you and feature you in our next eNews, Facebook and Website. 

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