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Permablitz (noun): An informal gathering involving a day on which a group of at least two people come together to achieve the following:
Permablitzes are free events, open to the public, with free workshops, shared food, where you get some exercise and have a wonderful time. To be defined as a permablitz each event must also be preceded by a permaculture design by a designer with a Permaculture Design Certificate. The network runs on reciprocity, and in order to qualify for a permablitz you usually need to come to some first, although there can be exceptions in this case. We'll explain more about all these ideas below.
Permablitzes began in 2006 in Melbourne's outer eastern suburbs as a collaboration between Permaculture designer Dan Palmer and friends and a South American community group. Rather than retell the story we suggest you check out Asha Bee's article and Katherine Kizilos' excellent article for The Age newspaper. As of Mid 2011 over 100 permablitzes have been held in and around Melbourne, and others have been held in Sydney, Adelaide, Alice Springs, Darwin, Canberra, Tasmania, Bega, the Sunshine Coast, California, Montreal, Istanbul and Uganda.
Anyone and everyone can come to a permablitz. Skill level and even physical capacity aren't problems at all. We especially welcome first time gardeners. Just come and contribute anyway you are able. People from many different backgrounds and from nine months to ninety in age turn up. Because everyone has to eat, and food gardening is relevant to almost everyone, so you're sure to meet interesting, friendly people of many stripes and persuasions at a permablitz.
Every blitz is different. But you can expect to be welcomed with a cup of tea. There will be an intro circle in which the design for the day and the ideas behind it will be explained and then we'll get to work. There will be tasks like weeding, planting fruit trees, digging paths and swales, making vegetable beds with no-dig methods or implementing greywater systems. You'll be shown what to do and be working with others, and there will be short workshops relating to the activities. There will probably be some other workshops on the day too.
The host will provide a shared lunch -- bring something if you would like to share, but you don't have to. By about four o'clock we'll break and thank everyone. By then, quite a transformation should have taken place! You'll hopefully go home brimming with ideas, having met lots of wonderful people, having had a taste of permaculture design and having been learning by doing.
Getting involved is easy. Sign up to the Melbourne Permablitz Newsletter to stay in the loop about upcoming blitzes and courses. (Put your email in the Permablitz newsletter box in the middle column of this website and click 'Subscribe'.) Or just come back here regularly and look out for upcoming blitzes on the calendar.
You'll get dates and addresses, and then you can just show up, or RSVP where asked. Generally it's good if you can bring some gardening tools, and if you like, some food to share. The host may put out some extra requests for things like newspaper or excess seedlings if you happen to have any to bring along. But it's fine just to bring yourself too.
If you come to three or so permablitzes we can help organise one at your house. That's right. The permablitz network is based on reciprocal volunteer support. Once you've been to a few we can help connect you to a volunteer or professional permaculture designer, help you plan your blitz, promote it, and co-ordinate it on the day. For free. Sweet deal, no? Once you've been to a couple and you're ready, see our Get Blitzed section.
Each permablitz is part of a longer process including a pre-blitz design visit or visits by permaculture designers, prior organisation of materials needed for the blitz, and after-the-blitz follow up visits to see how people are going with their new gardens.
To stay true to the concept, each permablitz must have the input of someone with a Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC), the most basic permaculture qualification.
What is permaculture? Permaculture is a design system which helps integrate people (and their needs, habits, skills, desires, money and time) and place (the physical limitations and potentials of a site such as a backyard) in ecologically harmonious systems providing a good portion of the needs of people living there (with things like water, vegetables, fruit, and eggs). Permaculture systems work more like natural systems such as forests than industrial agriculture, requiring no artificial inputs and producing no waste.
To learn more about permaculture see permaculture as defined in wikipedia.
The Melbourne permablitz network is currently entirely volunteer and informal. There is a Melbourne Permablitz Collective who amongst other things:
Note that the Collective promotes but does not organise particular blitzes beyond providing resources and helping designers and hosts get together. The rest is done by the designers and hosts.
The Collective are involved in the back-end admin because it's actually generally fun, we're learning all the time, doing something which we believe in, and meeting wonderful people along the way. Past and present coordinators and members of the Collective have had names like Dan, Nelson, Paul, Jessie, Cam, Clarisse, Kim, Trav, MC Feecee, Neil, Steve, Adam, Asha, Katherine, Kat, Angela, Seila, Charlie, Martin and Thomas.
Beyond the Collective, there is the Melbourne Permablitz Designers Guild, which as of June 2011, has around 150 graduates of Permaculture Design Certificates from around Melbourne. The "Guild" exists as a pool of volunteer designers for permablitzes; people wanting real world experience. It also sometimes meets for educational purposes. If you have a PDC and would like to join the mailing list, we'd love you to join: click here.
Beyond that there's a newsletter mailing list of over 3000 people around Melbourne and many others who aren't on the mailing list who have volunteered their time on permablitzes. You can sign up for the newsletter on the home page.
Although Permablitz is all volunteer in Melbourne, some of us are also professional permaculture designers and teachers. (Check out the Permaculture Design Consultants page to find us.)
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