Why Aren’t You Blitzing?
It has been one hell of a couple of weeks. Our condolences to all who have suffered from the fires. With the devastating heat seemingly past, it seems time to rebuild and regrow for us all. There’s nothing that says new life like a seedling. Well maybe an actual golden phoenix would be better. But a carrot is plenty cool too…
Welcome to a permablitz newsletter, our first for 2009. With lots of amazing stuff in it. Like Permablitz: The Movie!, the Dawning Era of the Chook, a food swap at the Sustainable Living Festival, a call out for your experiences with the heat, wisdom from a handlebar moustache, plus of course upcoming blitzes, courses and much much more.
~~~ Upcoming Blitzes ~~~
Still time!! Leongatha Blitz.14-15 Feb. Our friend and mentor Rick Coleman from the Southern Cross Permaculture Institute in Leongatha was hit by a large tree branch and badly injured in a storm in Tasmania two weeks ago. To help him on the road to recovery we’re going to do a whole lot of jobs he shouldn’t do when he gets out of hospital, but probably will if we don’t do them first. Sorry for the late notice to those who haven’t been to the website lately. Teleport me…
North Dandenong Blitz (Blitz #60) Sunday 1 March. Everybody is welcome to Annie’s home in North Dandenong on March 1st to help prepare her front yard for food production. We’ll be planting a wind break, fruit trees and currants, and preparing a vegetable growing area. We’ll also be adding woodchip paths and some water catchment systems. Paul and Cam will run organic gardening workshops and we hope to make it a fun and informative day. More info…
Who can come? Anyone.
Want to get blitzed? We’d like to make it happen: [email protected]
~~~ Upcoming Courses ~~~
10 March – Beginners Guide To Compost And Worms @ Yarraville
22 March – Beginners Guide to Growing Your Own Food @ Yarraville
See: The Permablitz Calendar for more
Also our friends’ Port Philip Eco-centre courses
~~~ Permablitz at the Sustainable Living Festival – Food Swap! ~~~
We’ve got a stall and are doing some talks at the Sustainable Living Festival from next Friday – Sunday. Come on down and say ‘hello’. Or something more original if you prefer. We don’t mind! It would just be lovely to see you, permablitzers and newsletter subscribers.
AND if you’ve got any excess fresh produce or seedlings — please bring them down to swap, or to simply give away to the somewhat bemused public. Random acts of generosity have a way of unnerving people. Come and take part in the fun!
We’ll be along the river sharing a stall and garden with Southern Cross Permaculture Institute and maybe the afore mentioned injured Rick will even be there if he’s capable!
~~~ Permablitz: The Blockbuster! ~~~
Eat The Suburbs: Gardening for the End of the Oil Age, a film by Tanya Curnow, is now online after doing the global festival circuit. It has energy expert heavyweight Richard Heinberg in it, and was filmed at a permablitz in 2006. It took a while but is finally available online. It’s challenging and wonderfully inspiring rolled into one fibrous but sweet audio visual treat, the filmic equivalent of a marzipan coconut ball.
~~~ Heat ~~~
Gardeners, heed our call! We experienced an unprecedented three days in a row over 43 degrees then Melbourne’s hottest day on record with blistering wind. This represents an unparalleled learning opportunity. What were your gardening experiences? What died? What survived? What looked completely unfazed? What strategies did you employ?
We’d like to put together your experiences and ours into a recommendations document for future permablitz designers. Email: [email protected]
~~~ Fire in King Lake ~~~
We were very relieved to hear that the organisers of the King Lake permablitz last year, Daryl Taylor and Bela Beke and respective families all survived, although sadly Daryl lost his house. We hope that you and your loved ones are ok. There have been various proposals floating around about what the permablitz network might have to offer fire victims, and we’ll keep you posted. Several other permaculture properties seem to have been saved in part by conscious bush fire design. If you’d like to check out some permaculture approaches to bushfire design, perhaps try to track down a library or second hand copy of David Holmgren’s The Flywire House: A Case Study in Design Against Bushfire
~~~ Award! ~~~
The Greater Dandenong Edible Gardens Project (dandenong.permablitz.net) won a Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) Award for “Outstanding Achievement” in the category “Increased opportunities for participation”.
Go Paul, Kim and Cam and everyone else who have been keeping it real in Greater Dandenong!
~~~ Resilience? Just Blitz It ~~~
Here’s some more official recognition of the work of your good selves and the permablitz network: permablitz used as an example of ‘resilience building’ in the Environmental Sustainability Commissioner’s State of the Environment Report.
Box LW2 – Permablitz; community innovation for sustainable urban food production www.permablitz.net
Permablitz, based on the idea of ‘Backyard Blitz’ is a reciprocal volunteer network that retrofits areas of participants’ backyard for food production. During a ‘blitz’, volunteers spend a day sharing skills (workshops on edible plants, pruning fruit trees, reducing household energy use, companion planting, propagation, preserving and fermented foods). After a volunteer has attended a few blitzes, organisers assist with designing his or her garden and coordinating a blitz. Designs are based on permaculture, a design system that provides for human needs with minimal effort while improving the local environment.
Permablitz contributes to urban resilience by improving wellbeing through physical exercise, healthy organic food and creating community networks of gardeners. Distributed organic production mitigates environmental impact and vulnerability to food shortage by minimising resources used to grow, package and transport produce. ‘The ultimate aim of Permablitz’, says organiser Dan Palmer, ‘is to make the suburbs edible enough such that as food costs rise, we don’t even notice’. Melbourne recently celebrated its 50th Permablitz since the network was established in 2006 with projects supported by the Dandenong Development Board and the Planning Minister.
Full report: <http://www.ces.vic.gov.au/
CES/wcmn301.nsf/childdocs/- FCB9B8E076BEBA07CA2574F1000403 58- E19B7405977F2A4ECA2574F1001F15 AC?open>
~~~ The New Era of Chook ~~~
This ‘eggsciting’ article from the Guardian. (If you think the quality of these newsletters have been dropping, take that piece of ovarian wordplay.)
Fresh eggs, finances and fun: families flock to keep hens
Urban henkeeping is on the rise, fuelled by the economic downturn and pressure on family budgets
~~~ Growing Your Own report ~~~
A newish research project by RMIT’s Daniel Moss asks the pertinent question “What influences the Melbourne community’s ability to garden for self-sufficiency in a sustainable manner?” and has it’s own website:
Start here: http://growingourown.
~~~ HDS – Thank Ye ~~~
Big thanks to Holmgren Design Services, who donated several books to the permablitz network last year!
David Holmgren and his family have been inspirations, teachers and friends to many of us. They have a new Relocalisation DVD out, and an upcoming Permaculture Principles DVD and Future Scenarios book due out soon. And if you haven’t read Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability, it’s a dense and broad reaching tome, launching permaculture thinking into the 21st century. Transition Network originator Rob Hopkins called it “the most important book of the last 15 years.”
~~~ Transition Network ~~~
Speaking of the Transition Network, our mate Asha Bee who coined the term ‘permablitz’ and stars in the afore mentioned Eat The Suburbs film is currently residing in Totnes, UK writing the Transition Cities Primer — which promises to be a significant and influencial book. I’ve said before that if permablitz is a chicken nugget of sustainability, the Transition Network is the full meat and three veg. Transition Initiatives are whole-region grass roots planning initiatives for dealing with peak oil and climate change in positive, community enhancing ways.
This weekend you can spend a whole weekend with international Transition trainers, see: http://transitiontowns.org/
Or there’s an info session this Wednesday night
Where: 60L Green Building, Leicester Street Carlton
Email: [email protected] for more info and registrations.
~~~ The Moustache Speaks ~~~
Our mate Kev was in the Age late last year with his and the local community’s wonderfully well maintained and productive garden on state land in Northcote. (Kev asked your newsletter writer to buy him a copy of The Age because he didn’t want to be seen getting it; because, quote: “I’m a Herald Sun man”):
~~~ Melbourne Times ~~~
Permablitz made the front page of the Melbourne Times this week with the headline “Pure Blitz” and great photos inside from Rachel and Brent’s place in Eltham (blitz #40) and Kaz Preston’s place. Check your mailbox.
Thanks for reading another permablitz newsletter. Hope to see you at a blitz. 🙂
Adam @ Permablitz Decentral