These are the abstracts for presentation at APC13. They are listed under the themes.

Topics and schedules will be subject to change so before making decisions based on content or timing please check with us for our latest.

Abstracts for APC13


The Garden of Earthly Delights: Permeating Adelaide's Parklands. Keri Chiveralls, Elisha Vlaholias-West, Tessa Benveniste and Drew Dawson. (45 minutes).

In 2015 a team from the Appleton Institute at CQUniversity won the national ‘Big Idea’ Competition for their proposal for a permaculture garden and social enterprise in Adelaide’s Southern Parklands. This presentation will report on the origins and development of this project, as well as progress to date, and future opportunities. We are seeking feedback and advice on the collaborative design process for the garden and associated social enterprise, as well as on the design itself. We also welcome opportunities for further engagement and collaboration.


Permaculture Propaganda. April Sampson-Kelly. (45 minutes).

Permaculture is different to any other ethical ecological movement in that it focuses on design. Permaculture stops moaning and supplies solutions. The use of design cleverly aims to integrate a miriad of bio-regionally effective strategies, techniques and methods. No two good permaculture designs will look the same but they will all have an emphasis on an adaptable design. The design principles mimic nature as the template for true sustainability. But it would be much easier if permaculture offered off-the-shelf products for this consumer-driven age.

But how on earth can we sell this complex design idea to mainstream? April will lead us through a witty and insightful world of 'art' to launch permaculture further into mainstream. She uses memes, cartoons, photos and diagrams to help demystify the complex nature of lifestyle design, by educating young mothers to reach the next generation before the demanding consumerism values kick in.

You don't have to be an artist to see the value of memes, artwork or join the growth in anti-consumerism. This presentation encourages you get actively political, work with artists, capture your observations and share your dreams.


Practical Ways of using Alexander’s Pattern Language to Create Permaculture Houses and Gardens that ‘Live’. Terry Love. (45 minutes).

The presentation will demonstrate practical methods of using the Pattern Language book to enhance Permaculture designs. Alexander’s focus is designing to make spaces, buildings and environments feel alive.

The session will cover:

  1. The structure of individual patterns across a scale from nation to flowerbed as a language.
  2. The use of patterns to help design environments and buildings to fulfil and resolve deep human needs.
  3. The use of lower level patterns to contribute to repair of higher scale problems.
  4. Practical design methods using the pattern language in designing buildings and gardens.
  5. Using Pattern Language in communities.
  6. Practical ways of using Pattern Language to support Permaculture Design.
  7. Teaching Pattern Language.

The session will comprise a presentation and a practical design exercise in small groups.


Terra Perma - How We Teach Design Methodologies and How do You? Charles Otway. (45 mins).

Assuming we are all grounded in Permaculture this will be an interactive skill share session of how different educators teach Permaculture Design Methodologies. Zones, Sectors, and Elements will always be the core methodologies but how do you teach these to new students, and what other ways of thinking about universal ecological design are there. Charles will do a rapid fire Terra Perma design example and then open to a group discussion and documentation of how others cover and teach these critical design methods.


Using the Regrarian Platform for Rural Design. Byron Joel and Charles Otway. (45 minutes).

A brief overview of the Regrarian Platform for rural scale system design. As design methodologies are to permaculture, the Regrarian platform is to Holistic Management and Farm Design.

Byron and Charles are two of the West’s progressive young thinkers in this field, starting their journey from the theory and design to the onsite construction. The Regrarian Platform is a new evolving design system, championed by Darren Doherty, clearly articulating the pathways to Permanent (and Profitable) Agriculture. Join us for a robust discussion of the potential for this design system to help us with permaculture on the larger scale.


A Better Approach to Design: Placemaking as the Starting Point of Public Place Permaculture Planning. Fiona Campbell. (90 minutes).

We will look at how the Randwick Sustainability Hub was designed and built using permaculture methodology, placemaking and Thematic Interpretation. Small group activities will explore and apply some of the techniques as they relate to a project of your own.

Our example, Randwick Sustainability Hub, is a new approach to public place design that combines public park, passive and active recreation, basic science education programs for pre-and-primary schools as well as workshops and courses for the local community, PermaBee garden volunteers program, and the Eco Heroes Club for five to eleven year olds.

The Hub features: community centre buildings retrofitted for energy and water efficiency, a classroom built using a large portion of reused/repurposed materials, the Permaculture Interpretive Garden, water harvesting and storage, photovoltaic array and wind turbine, reedbed-type public toilet, foragers trail, edible and native landscaping including wild foods, habitat trail for the school's science program, beehives managed by Sydney Bee Club, an environment park of remnant Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub.


A Geisha Named Bill - Permaculture and Japanese culture for Designing a Human-friendly Home Life. Cecilia Macaulay. (90 minutes)

Be surprised and delighted by this presentation, which shows Permaculture, and your future, and the inspiration they brought to the more spectacular of our heroes, the charismatic poet-biologist, Bill Mollison.

This presentation will examine Zen-isms, Mollisonisms, and some frequently-misunderstood design principles to see how we can start making a home culture that creates a culture worth sustaining.

I have always said that the highest use of Permaculture in the Westernised world is how we set up the social design of our households. Shareable household design can be a first choice for a great life, free us up financially, and equips us socially to go live our mission, supported and strong in spirit.

I will share a glimpse of my own excellent Permaculture adventure-story and provide a preview of my life-changing two day workshop, on how we can use Permaculture principles inside our homes, communication and thinking. You will leave this session ready to transform your kitchen sink into a textbook of permaculture's most powerful design principles.



Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse – Building Environmental Resiliency in Youth and Teenagers. Mel Woods. (45 minutes).

Resiliency is the ability to adapt and bounce back following a disaster or challenge, and in our current situation there is a real need to prepare and adapt for environmental change. How do we engage our communities to commit to the cause, when the problem can seem too big to solve, and the challenge of moving from ideas to action is too great?

This presentation will discuss some strategies for involving teenagers and youth in environmental sustainability, and give hands-on solutions to help build resiliency and passion in this future generation of environmental leaders. While there has been a fantastic push in recent years towards sustainability within schools, the focus, however, has been primarily on younger children and primary schools. How do we persuade the next generation, our teenagers, to jump out of their IPhones and into the garden? 


Permaculture Design for Bioregional Food Resilience. Robina McCurdy. (45 minutes).

Robina shows how permaculture design processes and community development methods, when applied to food resilience at a bioregional-scale, can create a thriving local food economy.  She will share a range of inspiring initiatives happening in New Zealand, from heirloom seed banks to public food forest plantings.  Profiled is the collaboration between gardeners, farmers, grass-roots groups and local authorities aimed at generating a diverse, dynamic and prosperous community food culture - the ultimate food security in these uncertain times. 

Permaculturalists often design an individual property for sustainable landuse and optimal food production, but here we are creating a multi-faceted design for a whole bioregion, as if it were a undivided landmass of geographic features and social systems, functioning as one huge, diverse and abundant food basket.  This planning perspective with its array of practical outcomes, is vital in these turbulent times of climate extremes, natural disasters, social unrest, corporate control and economic vulnerability. 

Seed Sovereignty. Robina McCurdy. (45 minutes).

A ‘round-table’ discussion of the issues surrounding seed sovereignty. This would include the implications of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), strengthening seed exchanges based on global biomes, the impacts of climate extremes on seed selection and breeding, minimising genetically modified crops in Australia, and how we are undertaking seed growing, saving and protection in our own local areas.


Using Permaculture Principles to Design and Build for a Resilient Future in Business. Araluen Hagan. (45 minutes).

Essentially by design, business structure, and material choice, we are building resilience into our business model. By attracting different types of people to our business, we can be more resilient. At the same time everyone who visits our business will learn something about life cycle of products as well as how to adopt some of our practices (sourcing local produce, growing food, reducing waste, etc.) at home to enable them to become more resilient. There will be people coming to drink, socialise, relax, eat, attend workshops, and there will be those who have heard about our waste-free and efficient building and gardens. 

14K Brewery has been designed and built with the environment and maximum efficiency in mind.  The brewery is being built on a 25ac bush block in Chittering. It has views of the city, and is surrounded by natural vegetation.

The building will be highly energy efficient using innovative building materials and technologies, and the fit out of the building will be from reused, repurposed or recycled products as far as possible. It will be powered by solar panels and will be off grid, with boilers for the brewing process being gas fired.  All water for the brewery will be collected in rain water tanks, and will be supplemented with bore water as required, to obtain the correct hardness for the beer. Grey and black water will be treated as health regulations allow and the treated water will be used to irrigate trees and gardens.

All waste products from the brewing process as well as from the kitchen will be traced and, rather than going to landfill, will be utilised or recycled in different ways.


Best Practice

Regen Australia - The Future of Regenerative Culture in Australia. Byron Joel. (45 minutes).

There is an elephant in the room with respects to modern Australians and their relationship to the land. This is well beyond due for a focussed, protracted discussion. The Regen Australis project is designed solely for this purpose, and the project centres around a website which hosts a podcast. The podcast is dedicated to exploring these themes with numerous guests appropriate to the many and varied issues at hand. It asks one Principle Question central to remedying one Principle Premise.

Principle Premise: Modern, contemporary Australian culture is acutely maladjusted to the ecologically realities of the Australian continent and thus is in an increasingly dangerous and fragile position.

Principle Question: In response to our Principal Premise we ask the Principal Question: “How do we best develop a regenerative culture in Australia particularly within the context of climate change and energy decline?”

This presentation will cover the Keys of the Regen Australis project:

  • Key Premises – A set of observations we hold to be foundational.
  • Key Motivations – Why we feel this dialogue is necessary.
  • Key Intentions – What we hope to achieve with the R.A project.
  • Key Questions – Further study to answer the Principle Question.
  • Key Studies - To make appropriate design decisions we need a thorough understanding  of our context. Ecological, Agricultural and Cultural.
  • Key Parameters – The major challenges to modern Australia thriving.

Once we have a thorough understanding of the situation we can look for guiding principles and appropriate models that we might use to inform our process of developing regenerative culture in Australia. These include: General Sustainabilty/Regen studies; Traditional Aboriginal knowledge and practices; Climatic analogues; Bioregional administration; and Incentivised education and application of regenerative eco-agriculture

Building Regenerative Farms for Perpetuity - Southampton Homestead: The Farm of 500 Years. Jeff Pow, Michelle McManus and Byron Joel. (45 minutes).

Southampton Homestead (founded c.1855) is a colonial-era farm on the banks of the Blackwood River, 250kms South of Perth. Pinus radiata plantations established in the 1970’s were cleared in 2006 as Jeff purchased the 120-acre property. The small valley pastures, underpinned by rich alluvial loam soils, missed the chemical fertiliser/pesticide/herbicide revolutions of post-World War II agriculture, setting them up for biologically based agricultural practices.  With the re-establishment of a diverse, perennial-dominant grass system, a Salatin-style operation involving multiple livestock species and rotational grazing using Holistic Management was commenced in 2012. With the total destruction of the farm in the 2013 fires, opportunity was taken to rebuild the farm infrastructure and implement the Regrarians Framework and to bring the “terms of trade back on to the farm”.

A breeding flock (Sommerlad Heirloom chickens) now provide eggs, hatched through incubation, grown on pasture, harvested in the on-farm micro-abattoir and then provided directly to the community through social media and other channels. This makes the enterprise one of the only vertically integrated pastured chicken operations of this scale in Australia, and has led to extensive coverage in the national and local media at each step of its implementation. Southampton Homestead currently produces over 10,000 pasture-raised meat chickens and ducks on 80 acres of productive pasture. It does this with 6 employees in total, and also offers a three month farm residency program to teach others the perpetuity model, which addresses the issue of sustainability and succession facing many farm enterprises in Western societies. The second initiative involves the transition of arboreal vegetation from native eucalypt dominance and move to deciduous Oak savannah and bio-diverse perennial grasslands. These practices build resilience and “forgiveness” in the biological and landscape systems, improving drought resistance, providing “free” forage for multiple species of livestock, and fire diversion through the use of this foliage.


Planting Seeds of Hope in the Occupied Territories. Murad Al Kufash. (45 minutes).

The presentation will be a description of Marda Permaculture Farm in Palestine and information about its establishment, location, vision, mission and goals. It will include the history of the farm since its establishment as an NGO and its achievements to date. Problems and challenges that the Farm and Village face from surrounding Israeli settlements, make resilience a need for farmers. Organic farming, natural building, education and training, clean energy, recycling and other sustainable ways of living are important to face the harsh conditions Palestinians face daily due to occupation and scarcity of resources. And, as the first permaculture model farm in Palestine applying the principles of sustainability as much as possible, the farm is considered a unique example of resistance and independency.


An Ecological Approach for Urban Management: Innovation using Permacultural Thinking. Alexis Anderson. (45 minutes).

It may seem almost obvious to most permaculturalists that Permaculture principles and techniques can be applied across the urban landscape to assist with the long list of social and environmental management issues that urban land and population managers face. Gradually we are seeing a number of strategies that are ecologically inspired being applied as management techniques.

Moving beyond individual techniques, taking a systems view of cities, and applying ecosystem management principles to the energy flows, resources, landscape and fauna (people included!) has been made before but is still struggling to become the way things are done. 

This presentation will highlight some of the recent trends and innovations in urban management, identify where great opportunities still remain, and consider where some of the barriers to further change exist and how to get past these hurdles. It will also discuss how permaculture education can play a role in inspiring our urban managers to tackle landscape, resource, social and economic challenges.


The Australian Farmland Conservancy. Don Woodcock. (45 minutes).

Agriculture in Australia and overseas has suffered from industrialisation by implementing economies of scale, doing more with less and applying more inputs to maintain a yield. In this process the soil has been destroyed, reduced to its mineral constituents; almost lifeless. The communities that used to support agriculture are getting smaller; as farmers employ more machines to do peoples work.

The Australian Farmland Conservancy (AFC) has a vision to create multi-generational farms that provide income and yield whilst regenerating the soil and environment. Multigenerational farms require families with the desire, belief and ability to become land stewards. Families regrow communities and thus ACF must train and nurture a new generation of farmers to develop independent profitable businesses on it's land. By diversifying products, locations and people, The Australian Farmland Conservancy will mitigate risk and help build Australia's agricultural future.

The AFC aims to raise $100 million from ethical investors to purchase >100,000 hectares of farm land to establish and maintain profitable farm production using agro-ecological and permaculture methods. This land will be leased to young permaculturalist and regenerative farmers to run their own businesses with the support and knowledge of the AFC. The Australian Farmland Conservancy is looking for like-minded people to come on board and develop the concept further.


The Integration of Animal Systems with Food Crops. Beck Lowe. (45 minutes).

The presentation will cover:

  • A very quick overview of the history of animal domestication, highlighting the fact that plant and animal agriculture developed simultaneously in many places around the globe. The current separation of animal production from cropping systems is relatively new.
  • The importance of utilising animals not just in terms of the resources that they can provide – such as meat – but also the services: preparing soil for planting, concentrating and spreading nutrients, controlling plant and animal pests, recycling waste and providing labour.
  • The holistic use of animals will be highlighted. Clever permaculture design creates win-win-win situations: animals are able to undertake their natural behaviours and lead happy lives; other elements in the system benefit from the animals’ actions; and less work and inputs from humans are required.

The presentation will give some examples of well-designed integrated animal systems with a range of animal species, providing participants with inspiration, and a richer understanding of some possible elements of permaculture food production.


Tools and Techniques

Seed Bombs and Gas Masks. Mel Woods. (45 minutes).

Following on from the presentation of examining ways to build environmental resiliency in youth, I have a fun, hands-on workshop where we teach people how to make a variety of zombie themed eco-products.

Seed bombs allow a discussion of food preparation and the sources of our food. Where does it come from? How does it grow? We make food bombs, flower bombs and native flower bombs.

We will also teach people how to make home-made gas masks out of common items such as a coke bottle. This allows a discussion of air quality and pollution. These workshops are always lots of fun and are a good way to engage people in sustainability.


Fermentation as a Connective Web Workshop. Gillian Kozicki. (45 minutes).

Many modern societies have lost the skills of fermentation and correspondingly have become less resilient in their health and communities. This workshop will highlight how we can connect to our own well-being, build community, connect to our heritage and ensure the future health of our children by reconnecting the life in our soils to the life in our guts. Using permaculture principles as applied to nutritious food, adventure and creativity, it is possible build diversity and resilience through fermentation!

Workshop participants will:

  • Recognise fermentation as a connective tool in creating the world we want. They will be shown the connectivity of fermentation through soils, food and health.
  • Gain an understanding of the social implications of fermentation on culture, community and a sense of abundance through simple examples of fermented foods and drinks.


Journal Workshop. Carole Gorby. (90 minutes).

People Care is one of the Permaculture Ethics, but attention is not often paid to the internal non-physical workings of the individual.

Journaling is a method to access levels deeper than conscious thought, helping to promote improved self-awareness, reduce mental stress and can also tap into intuition to come up with creative solutions to problems

A Journal Workshop is NOT creative writing, but it is about allowing your inner self a voice that can be surprising and remarkably helpful, even life-changing at times. While journaling can be done alone, there is a special atmosphere when in a group of doing private work in company. Confidentiality and respect for all is vital, so ideally there would be few interruptions through the session.



Mapping the International Permaculture Movement: People, Politics and Impacts. Dr Ben Habib. (45 minutes).

The transnational permaculture network has been described as a both a “community of practice” and a “movement”, and often akin to a social movement. The extensive literature on social movements has converged on five key facilitating conditions that give rise to and shape social movements: (1) mobilising grievances, (2) contextual conditions, (3) participation in the movement, (4) dynamics of the movement, and (5) consequences and outcomes of the movement. 

In this participatory presentation I will explore facilitating condition #3: participation in the movement. Survey data acquired by the Permaculture’s Next Big Step project, suggests that while the permaculture movement has spread successfully across the globe, its core remains white, middle class in English-speaking countries.  The data also highlighted the different goals and needs of permaculture practitioners in developed and developing countries.  I will explore and solicit suggestions for increasing the diversity of the permaculture movement across geographic, ethnic, class, and gender boundaries, and explore avenues for resource and information sharing internationally to build permaculture capacity in places that need it.

This presentation also explores the relationship between grassroots agro-ecological initiatives, environmental movements and international climate change politics. It also makes a contribution to the Permaculture’s Next Big Step community of practice.


What Can Permaculture Learn from Behaviour Change Science. Alexis Anderson. (45 minutes).

Getting other people into Permaculture can be a difficult thing. But why? Personal experience tells me that getting a permaculture system started can be hard work, expensive, riddled with failures and doesn’t impress your better half for the first few years.  There are many reasons why people wouldn’t start in the first place, or why they would get disheartened and give up after starting.

The learnings over the past 20 years of environmental behaviour change initiatives can help us to understand the barriers that exist to people getting started with permaculture or sustainable living systems, and help us strategise how to overcome those barriers.

Behaviour is situated in a web of technology, infrastructure, institutions, norms and social structures, personal psychology, hopes and fears, dreams and capabilities.

To lead change effectively we need to understand how we can pull on these different levers to reduce barriers to change and build emergent systems rather than expecting miracle transformations.


Taking Facilitation to the Next Level Together. Annaliese Hordern and Guy Stewart. (45 minutes).

Co-facilitation done well can be fun, rewarding, productive (takes the burden away) and has a multitude of benefits for enhancing student leaning, while keeping the "must knows" of the teaching - on track. In this session Annaliese and Guy will share their passion for co-facilitation; how it began, the satisfying enjoyment they discovered and their stellar tips for successful co-facilitation.


Engaging the Mainstream: Learnings from the Transition Town Movement. Peter Langlands (45 minutes)

The Transition Town movement has exploded around the world since its inception over a decade ago. The movement aims to build resilience through cultivating community and re-localisation. Transition Towns have always had strong affiliations with Permaculture, with co-founder Rob Hopkins describing it as a Trojan Horse for Permaculture.

In this presentation Peter will share his experience of co-founding Transition Town Guildford (, the longest running Transition Town group in Perth. He’ll share how they work and what they’ve done over the years, including key things they’ve found to be effective. He’ll also share how the movement has grown in Perth from a couple of groups to ten in the last three years, leading to the formation of the Perth Transition Hub.



Telling Our Stories: Citizen Journalism in Permaculture. Russ Grayson. (45 minutes).

Our permaculture projects are all well and good but they can benefit many more people if we write, photograph, video and blog about them, and publish it. This is a session for those of us who want to tell our stories accurately and adequately so as to inform and motivate our readers.

We will explore different approaches to blogging, some of the ethics that set us apart from the tabloids and some of the journalistic practices that will position us as reliable and credible bloggers. Permaculture organisations often have good news to put out there, so we will briefly explore how to structure a media release.

This session will include some practical work. Participants will receive a printed take-away.



How to Grow the Oldest Food on Earth. Brooke Sparkles Murphy. (45 minutes).

This presentation is an insight into the cultivation practices of indigenous people designed to dispel the culturally accepted view that aboriginal people where purely hunter gatherers. It is also an insight into global plant development and how people and plants have evolved with the Earth, what the means for us and our current agricultural system and also the applications and implications it may have on a future agricultural model.

The presentation covers the how and why of growing indigenous foods, propagation techniques that are currently being explored, the recent research on the importance of indigenous food globally, the untapped nutrient profiles, and the medicinal value of some indigenous plants that is only just being uncovered by science.


Permaculture Research Workshop. Beck Lowe, Jacqui van Heerden and Kym Blechynden. (90 minutes).

This will be a participatory workshop to explore the potential for more permaculture research in Australia. We will look at what is happening internationally (e.g. at recent IPCs, the Permaculture International Research Network PIRN) and hear from people involved in permaculture research in Australia. We will discuss, in general terms, the types of research that might be useful (e.g. controlled experiments; formal measurement and documentation, action research), and some of the resources available, in particular PIRN’s Permaculture Research Handbook.

The group will then be asked to contribute to the following questions through smaller group discussions:

  • What would be the benefits of doing more formal research in permaculture in Australia?
  • Is there an interest in forming an Australian Permaculture Research Group?
  • If so, how would it work? Subgroup of PA; associated with PIRN; independent, loose network etc.?
  • How can we start measuring permaculture? What are the parameters we can assess?
  • How might we distribute any information gained?
  • Are there any particular areas of permaculture research interest common to members of the group that might form the basis of a sub-group and/or collaboration?

By the end of the session we should have come to some group decisions on whether the formation of a group or network focused on Australian permaculture research is a viable option at this stage, and if so what form it will have, and who will be involved in what capacity. Either way, participants should also have gained valuable information, new contacts and general food for thought on permaculture research.


Wild Apple Forests of Kazakhstan. Beck Lowe. (45 minutes).

Many of the plants we know and love in permaculture originated in Central Asia – in particular the apple. In 2015 we travelled to Kazakhstan to see these apples, and their associated species, in their original habitat. This presentation will look briefly at the origins and spread of the domestic apple, and will share some photos and stories from our journey to Kazakhstan, focusing on the wild apple trees, other fruit-bearing species and understory plants, as well as some other aspects of Kazakhstan that would be of interest to permaculturalists.




How Green is Your Eco-Village. Miles Durand. (45 minutes).

Ecovillage developments are happening in many parts of the world, with a network of Ecovillages under the GEN organisation. Ecovillages take many forms and range in size and population, so what defines an Ecovillage?

This presentation starts by trying to define the greenness in the ecological, ethical and economic sense. There seems to be connection in the public mind that Ecovillages must have connection with nature, ecology and the environment. The economics and the non-physical factors of human habitation appear to be less connected with Ecovillages.

Next, Miles will look at Ecovillages from a permaculture design perspective and his experience of living in intentional communities and Ecovillages. The permaculture design ethics of care of the earth, care of the people, the reduction in consumption and population limitations to carrying capacity. The philosophy and practice of permaculture design can play an important part determining how green the Ecovillage is.

We need to start the much needed conversation to regress the damage done to plant the earth and its peoples. The design of, and living in, intentional communities such as Ecovillages is one way to achieve this most worthy goal. Let the conversation begin.


Permaculture, Pollution and People Power. Dick Copeman. (45 minutes).

In June 2014, Northey Street City Farm, a large permaculture community garden in Brisbane, was effectively shut down overnight by Brisbane City Council because of pollution of the farm’s soil by asbestos and lead.

This presentation will outline the response of the farm community to this sudden closure and the steps taken to ensure the eventual re-opening of the farm eleven months later. It will particularly focus on the use of people power to show the Council how much the community valued the farm, and on the actions taken by the farm staff and volunteers in re-building the farm’s gardens so that safe growing of clean produce could resume.

The presentation will finish with a discussion of soil pollution in urban environments and appropriate permaculture responses to it.


Village Scale Permaculture Design at Witchcliffe. Mike Hulme and Wayne Prangnell. (45 minutes).

With a vision to demonstrate a new model for sustainable residential development embracing 21st century technology combined with traditional village values, Witchcliffe Ecovillage has been designed with Permaculture at its core. The presenters will provide an overview of the Witchcliffe Ecovillage near Margaret River in Western Australia’s South-West, along with insights into designing a fully integrated village that generates its own power, manages its own water resources, grows its own food, promotes local building materials and creates job opportunities for its residents.

The presentation will discuss the village layout, energy, water, food, buildings design and community management and how they have been incorporated to create an exciting and sustainable village design.

The Witchcliffe Ecovillage is being developed as a strata title development, providing a legal framework for ownership of both private housing and enterprise lots and community owed assets such as community gardens, roads, microgrids, water infrastructure, hedgerows and conservation areas.

More information can be found at and construction is scheduled to commence in 2017.


Sociocracy I: An Exploration. Erin Young. (45 minutes).

Achieving our dreams and visions for a world that cares for earth, people, spirit and fair share of abundance and resources requires dynamic and effective organisation. This form of organisation is designed with transparency, effectiveness and equal-value, governed by a resilience resembling nature’s inherently sophisticated feedback loops, and provides connection, trust and fulfilment.

Sociocracy is a social technology for the governance and facilitation of these groups and organisations. Based on circle process, the methodology allows a clarity of group purpose on macro and micro levels, bringing together all elements of the system through a balanced “power-with” autonomy. Sociocracy allows for both flat-structure at the appropriate level and a hierarchy of focus. Each person is invited to become a leader in their domain of influence, collaboratively deciding on operational policy in semi-autonomous self-organising groups in order to achieve the organisational mission.

As the first of three Sociocracy presentations at APC13, this session will provide participants with an interactive introduction of this transformative governance methodology. Explore the parallels and application of permaculture principles and ethics through Sociocracy’s agile approach for facilitating effective whole-systems organisation.


Sociocracy II - A Taster. Gina Price. (45 minutes).

Sociocracy is a decision-making and governance method. Sociocracy is also a design system, like permaculture, based on a set of principles. The principles are built around two requirements; that members of a group/organisation are both equivalent and aligned in their purpose. Sociocracy offers a set of tools to allow these requirements to be met, bringing self-organisation and allowing the group/organisation to achieve its purpose in an optimum way. The results are meetings which engage and build trust, and organisations that realise their aspirations.

In this second of three sessions on Sociocracy you will experience some of these tools in action. Get a taste of decision-making by consent, appreciate the value of seeking out objections, and see how transparency and inclusiveness are built into the methodology. Learn several easy-to-implement strategies to engage people and build trust in meetings.


Sociocracy III: A Case Study. Gina Price, Lyndall Parris and Dave Burrows. (45 minutes).

The development of Narara Ecovillage on the central coast of NSW has been informed and guided by the principles of Sociocracy, since 2008. They have evolved from a group of individuals sharing the dream of living in community, (the Sydney Coastal Ecovillage Incorporated Association), to establishing the Narara Ecovillage Co-operative which owns and is developing a 64 hectare site at Narara for 300 plus people of all ages. Narara ecovillage has attracted world-class talent and is set to become a leading demonstration of environmentally, socially and economically sustainable living.

The Narara Ecovillage community has developed a high level of governance literacy and awareness by investing in education and training. They are building in-house expertise and offer evening training as part of their induction of new members. The principles of Sociocracy underlie meeting process, committee structure, the alignment of working groups and communication across the project. Transparent and inclusive decision-making results, and meetings have purpose and follow a clear process.

In this third of three Sociocracy presentations you will hear about Sociocracy in action at Narara Ecovillage. In particular you can learn what is working well, what are the challenges and how they are using Sociocracy through the ecovillage development process.


The Tree of Life and Other People-based Design Maps. Liz Nicholas. (45 minutes).

The ways in which we design with, and for, the people in a system can make every difference to the systems we co-create. The process of working with people through the stages of design can help or hinder the resilience and fertility of these systems – from households to communities, organisations and enterprises.

Strengths-based approaches, from the fields of community and organisational development, offer a wealth of frameworks and practices to nurture the evolution of social permaculture. These approaches share a whole-systems worldview with permaculture, and are rich in learnings relating to how people can build capacity and embed learning, creativity, and momentum into every aspect of the design and implementation process.

These approaches can contribute a range of practical techniques in building individual and collective capacity for dealing with challenges and effecting positive change. Through the process of identifying and mobilising individual and collective gifts, including skills, assets, passions, and connections, they engender a sense of shared purpose and enable 'wiser action' based on the collective intelligence of a system.

This session offers an introduction to some aspects of strengths-based community practice, including practices from the fields of Narrative Community Practice, Asset Based Community Development, and Art of Hosting.  It offers stories and practical techniques that can enliven and nurture our social permaculture journeys, and enrich and strengthen land-based design and implementation processes. 



Regenerating Urban Deserts with Community and School Gardens. Charles Otway. (45 minutes)

There is a beautiful fit between Permaculture and Community and School gardens. These places, where people care and common cause and ecological reconnection are key, are a guaranteed home for Permies in a false wealth western urban society. No need to head overseas to feel needed, you are needed here and should be working hard to support and initiate these community hubs in our overly populated urban spaces. Charles will present a short workshop and Q&A on empowering you to start the ball rolling to create more of these spaces. What to expect, what gardens for what communities, how to show the support of the community, creating resilient expectations, managing small committees, and bringing the council onboard. Get that garden flourishing with permaculture rootstock.


Growing a Community and a Garden. Kath Moller. (45 minutes)

Duncraig Edible Garden (DEG) is a Community Garden based on Permaculture principles. It is sited on public land in the forecourt at the entrance to Duncraig Library in the City of Joondalup.

Making a community garden happen is just gardening together in a public place, right? Workshops might include how to improve the soil, helping people to understand water harvesting and how to make compost, seed saving and pruning fruit trees. There would be some beds for communal use, and a number of others each tended by a smaller group of members. What obstacles would there be? What could help things go smoothly? Let's start by building a pizza oven!

Vision and passion are wonderful things, but there are a few more practical considerations to be taken into account too. We have focussed on education, and not just of those who come to learn about gardening. City officials may need help to understand a mindset which trusts and does not fence, and Councillors and residents familiar with decorative landscaping in public places may need help to understand that food gardens can be different.

This is a story of the establishment of DEG and the process of educating and encouraging the administrative employees and councillors toward a more community oriented and less risk averse-based mindset. Establishing a community garden involves many factors. Among these are passion, patience, clear communication both within the group and with the council, and most importantly of all, the establishment of community!


Breaking Down the Silos - Building a Stronger Community Food Movement. Fiona Campbell and Russ Grayson. (45 minutes).

Who's who in the community food movement and how do we break down the silos that separate us? That's what we will discuss in this workshop. There are many organisations in the community food movement but too little communication between them, too little co-operation.

We have learned that we need this co-operation so we can act together to head-off threats. And we can use that same communication and co-operation to complement what we each do. Doing that makes us stronger and firms a place for us in Australia's food system. Instead of the silos that separate us, let's build bridges. Instead of going it alone, let's go together.



Permaculture in Higher Education: CQUniversity’s Permaculture Program. Dr Keri Chiveralls, Graham Brookman and David Holmgren. (90 minutes).

In 2016 the world’s first Graduate Certificate in Permaculture Design at CQUniversity was launched. This presentation will discuss the design, development and evolution of the program to date, along with lessons that have been learnt through the delivery of the program so far, and future plans for the permaculture program at CQUniversity. CQUniversity is planning to offer a Graduate Diploma in Permaculture from 2017 with plans for a Master’s degree to follow in 2018.  This presentation and subsequent workshop will seek feedback on the design and development of these programs as well as how the programs can be effectively integrated with existing permaculture education and research platforms and initiatives to further support and strengthen the permaculture movement.

Revolutionising Education through Teaching Permaculture Creatively. Robin Clayfield. (90 minutes).

Have you ever been to sleep in a lecture or PowerPoint presentation or gone home totally overwhelmed by way to much auditory information? Maybe later you've not been able to remember things or found yourself unmotivated or confused.

This workshop will explore Robin's 'Dynamic Groups, Dynamic Learning' methodology, which is a heart centred, Permaculture-inspired methodology for effective learning and group work that reflects the essence of Social Permaculture.

When we teach Permaculture in a creative way and 'facilitate learning' rather than lecture or play the 'expert' we empower every person in the room and we inspire a group of leaders and change agents who are more able to powerfully and confidently contribute to positive change in our world. We also empower our groups and organisations to work better together and achieve their purpose, thus having more impact on the things we're working to change.

Come and be inspired by Robin's many ideas and tools for teaching, facilitating and leading groups. Also come and help Robin celebrate that the 'Manual for Teaching Permaculture Creatively' that she and Skye wrote and then published in 1995 is now 21 years old. Yeah!


The Activist's Guide to EcoArt - How To Communicate Permaculture To Mainstream. April Sampson-Kelly. (45 minutes).

The essence of Permaculture is design. To understand Permaculture requires us to value the complex issue of engagement, willingness and determination of the design. Mollison wrote: “A Permaculture Design is like a bicycle - it adapts with the needs of the user”. So, that makes a permaculture design tricky to implement off the shelf. It makes the consumer responsible. It becomes very hard to sell with the current model of spoon-fed consumption.

There is nothing else on the market as complex and as personable as Permaculture. So, how do we present this valuable design resource for mainstream adoption?  Let's help people step out of the current trends of consumption by 'one cart load at a time'.  Here is a presentation to help us inspire and stimulate design thinking.


The New Edge of Permaculture: From the Elders. Annaliese Hordern. (45 minutes).

Gaiacraft is a planetary collective of Permaculture teachers and plant people facilitating cultural transformation and ecological outreach education.

This year our Permaculture Pilgrimage took our team to the UK and Greece, where we documented the inspirational and “edgy” life work of Starhawk, Rosemary Morrow, Robin Clayfield, Looby Macnamara and Robina McCurdy.

In this multimedia interactive presentation: a selection of Gaiacraft filmed interviews will be screened, featuring these Permaculture elders. 

Following this we will explore 7 ways permaculture thinks differently about the world and how this relates to decisions we are all making in our lives.

We also look at how we can bring the new edge of Permaculture into our communities as we become the next generation of planetary earth stewards.


Permaculture Your School: Transform Your Town. Robina McCurdy. (45 minutes).

Based on her work in Aotearoa/NZ, Brazil and South Africa, Robina will give an outline of how she works with Permaculture in schools, including how she facilitates the permaculture design process with different age groupings of children, from imagination to concept design to whole school grounds edible landscape implementation. She will talk about some of the proven benefits of permaculture, gardening and nature connection for children’s motivation, academic achievement, health and wellbeing.  

She will conclude with some tips for engaging local businesses and the wider community in working with a school to transform their grounds into abundant food gardens and nature havens. This presentation includes the 3-minute trailer for the ‘Growing Schools’ video series which Robina recently produced.


What Curriculum Should We Teach? Ross Mars. (90 minutes).

This workshop will enable discussion about the course content of PDC’s, Introduction Courses and other permaculture related courses. Ross will briefly outline the new accredited courses now embedded in the Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation Training package. He will also discuss how the PDC curriculum has changed from its inception to current thinking. However, this workshop is primarily participant-orientated and contributions from everyone are welcome. Graeme George and Beck Lowe (core members of the Permaculture Educators Group) will also be a part of the discussion which will, no doubt, be on-going but some positive outcomes should be achieved.


Let's Promote Our Good Work Through International Permaculture Day. Fiona Campbell and Russ Grayson. (45 minutes).

Seven years down the road, International Permaculture Day (IPD) has grown from a national into an international event. Now that it has momentum, it's time to keep it going by bringing on board people willing to make it happen.

Let's meet and talk about how we can promote IPD in our state and locally. Let's promote the good work that people are doing to make a better society. 

Let's explore the benefits to the permaculture movement of having an IPD and how we can take advantage of it to highlight what we are doing.


Future Possibilities

So, You Thinking of Moving to Tasmania? Susan Hartley. (45 minutes).

Some four years ago my husband and I bought a farm in North-west Tasmania near the township of Wynyard, a pretty, seaside fishing port with a population of about 3500, mostly older people, in a bid to enjoy a cooler retirement than we could expect in Perth, WA. We found that many other climate refugees from WA, and elsewhere, have made similar decisions to move here. There is an increasing trend of all age groups moving down to the "little" island in a bid to find a better lifestyle in a changing climate that is affordable? But is it really a wise choice?

What are the pluses, where to buy and for what reasons, what are the pitfalls we wish we had avoided, what concession do city people need to make to fit in and enjoy life in a vastly different social scene? Are there resources that can help you make a wise decision and avoid expensive mistakes?

These are a few of the questions, with maybe some of the answers, we have discovered on our journey living here. This is to be an interactive session with lots of discussion and sharing of your own experiences too.


Ethical Money Management for People, Businesses and Oganisations. A practical update to the ethical investing section of the PDC. Paul Meleng and Terry Love. (45 minutes).

This session will be fast-paced and engaging. Notes and internet links will be provided for later reference so you can focus on the big picture and enjoy the interaction in the session rather than bog down in technical detail. Ethical Investment (in a broad sense, not just in public investments) is part of any Permaculture Design Course and has a chapter in the Permaculture Designers Manual.

Much has been learned since the Manual was written. The scale of public ethical investments has gone from a few million dollars to billions and the whole financial services landscape has been re-regulated in Australia and overseas. While the core principles remain, the practical ways of application for personal and community finances have changed and we will summarise, update and discuss.

Some core principles for money management will be covered for personal finance, small business, voluntary organisations and co-ops. Ideas for local secure funding and some recent trends will be touched on.

It is not expected for you to have any current financial expertise to benefit from the session, and you should leave the session with the tools to locate and judge legitimate sources of information and spot scams and unacceptable risks.

Teachers of PDC courses should leave with good tools to make this section of the PDC current and with integrity.

PDC Graduate Development Sessions - Post PDC Blues. Led by Charles Otway and Harry Wykman. (45 minutes each session)

The facilitators will lead a brainstorming discussion and documentation of the combine wisdom and ideas of the participants of these individual sessions for sharing with other APC13 attendees.

  1. Permaculture-based Incomes - Managing Diversification and other issues.
  2. Permaculture Design Services - How do we make it work as an income stream.
  3. Working with the Enemy - Applying the sustainability (and other trendy topic) paintbrush so that we can be paid to Permaculture educate the mainstream.



Ask the Teachers. An open-forum double session where you can ask any of the Advanced Teachers any questions about their work, philosophy, course content, opinion or anything else. Panel comprising David Holmgren, Graham Bell, Robin Clayfield, Robina McCurdy and Ross Mars. (90 minutes)


What You Eat Matters: Nutrition meets Permaculture. Kath Moller. (45 minutes).

How much do you think about what you eat? Do you eat to feed just your body, or do you also consider your gut biome?

A surprising number of Permaculture concepts for the garden also apply to human nutrition. There are many similarities between feeding our soil and feeding ourselves. Nutrition determines the building blocks available for growth, maintenance and repair in both garden and body. What we eat matters. When we feel ill, or our plants develop funny coloured leaves, it is easy to be micro-focussed in trying to fix the problem. We may supplement with trace elements, but miss the bigger picture of nourishing the gut microbiome or the soil microbes with more comprehensive nutritional input. Macronutrients matter!

What we choose to plant, to eat, and the timing of our food inputs affects physical and mental health in many subtle and some not-so-subtle ways. They also have a significant feedback effect on our physical, economic and political environment. But if we only address how each individual eats, without also looking at the bigger picture, and the world keeps farming the way it does, we all have a problem.

Come with Kath on an introductory exploration and leave knowing more about how, what and when you eat can help or hinder your own and everyone's resilience. Enrol in the post APC13 courses to enjoy some of her cooking.