Permaculture Designers Manual.
Bible of Sustainable Design. Each sentence is a book unto itself.
Northern New South Wales is where permaculture took root, with communities like Crystal Waters sprouting up to put into practice the theories and techniques espoused in the Good Book. We had the pleasure and honor to visit two other sites, both designed and managed by Permaculture Legends and Pioneers.
Djanbung Gardens is located in the town of Nimbin, New South Wales. Djanbung means platypus, and is the name given to the site by the local Bundjalung people. Though we never saw a platypus, this area is indeed perfect for the amphibious marsupials, as it is full of water and muddy ponds.
Djanbung is the home of the Permaculture College of Australia and the leading lady of PC, Robyn Francis. With her patient and able hands, along with the help of her many students, Djanbung has been converted from a once boggy site to a verdant farm with orchards, gardens, and giant bamboos towering overhead.
SWoBs attended the Djanbung annual Open Day themed “Simple Steps to a Better Tomorrow”, for a series of short workshops on everything from BioChar, community development, bamboo construction, compost tea, and last but not least the incredible work in the Amazon by Nicola Peel. SWoBs also had the pleasure of giving a short demonstration of our work, including our video “Plastic Seas”.
Just over the hill to the east lies another inspiring example of sustainable design on the ground- The Permaculture Research Institute of Australia. Started by Geoff Lawton in the late 1990’s, the farm known as Zaytuna is over 60 acres of rolling hills now dotted with ponds and swales, harvesting every drop of rainwater falling on the site.
SWoBs Founding Director Loren Luyendyk attended a 5 day Teachers Training Course held on site, along with other interns participating in a 10-week program. In between and before classes students had a chance to tour the site and see experimental permaculture techniques, including a rocket stove powered hot shower!
Zaytuna is a veritable encyclopedia of earthworks. Swales catch rainwater and channel it into many ponds, which connect in series to become its own watershed. Ponds are stocked with fish, including perch and bass. Native eels make their way into the artificially natural system, and bamboo and fruit trees are planted along the edges to take advantage of the moisture and microclimate.
This area is perfect for permaculture. Plenty of rain and fertile soils make the region possibly the most productive and diverse climate, supporting a range of crops from apples to mangos. Plus there is heaps of surf. Pretty much heaven…
SWoBs have returned to NZ for another stint, to tour more permaculture sites and catch a few more waves. Stay tuned for round 2. Hope you had a great International Surfing Day!