A day to celebrate a global social movement
International Permaculture Day came early to Randwick this year so that it could link with the energy and ideas coming from the Australasian Permaculture Convergence that concluded in Canberra a couple days before, and with the other events showcasing the permaculture design system around the world.
At the Hub, International Permaculture Day featured:
- tours of the site led by permaculture-trained architect, Terry Bail from Archology, who designed the retrofit of the community centre, the garden shed, BBQ area, Wayfinding sign, the reedbed water recycling toilet and classroom-on-the-commons and who teaches at the Hub
- tours of the gardens and landscaping led by landscape architect/permaculture educator, Steve Batley from Sydney Organic Gardens who designed the landscaping and who teaches at the Hub
- a LETS trading event and talk organised by Annette Loudon from Community Exchange Systems; LETS (Local Exchange and Trading Systems) is a cashless, community-based trading system
- workshops on beekeeping by native bee expert, Elke Haege; there are five native social beehives on site, the purpose being to reintroduce Trigona species to the urbanscape, to pollinate flowers, fruit and vegetables in the gardens and to produce a small amount of honey; the solitary native bee motels to reintroduce bees such as the blue banded and resin bees; the hives are maintained by Sydney Bee Club
- workshops with Oliver Brown, who for a year conducted a life-experiment of living off what he could grow in his home garden, in Randwick Community Organic Garden, from what he could obtain from neighbours and crop swaps, from what he could harvest from the rockshelves of the Eastern Suburbs coast, fish from the sea and by what he could hunt; Oliver leads wild food walks on the Eastern Suburbs coast.
The Hub — community education in a regional park
Randwick Sustainability Hub is open to the public. Its features include:
The Permaculture Interpretive Garden demonstrating take-home ideas to visitors, small-scale intensive vegetable and culinary herb production for Eastern suburbs residents; the Hub serves as training venue for the long-running, seven-session Organic Gardening course.
The Food Forest that serves the seven-session Forest Gardening course offered as a follow-on to the Organic Gardening course, and that shows ideas for people wanting to grow fruit and nut trees at home or in their community garden.
Randwick Community Centre, a building retrofitted for energy and water efficiency and used to demonstrate ideas for resilient living in the Living Smart course
The Habitat Trail landscaped as wildlife habitat for birds, frogs, lizards and other creatures and for use by the schools excursion program in ecology. It forms the Zone 5 in a permaculture system.
As it grows, the Wild Food Trail will demonstrate native and local plants suited to wild harvesting such as midyim berry, wombat berry, apple dumpling, davidson plum, native tamarind, macadamia, lemon myrtle, lomandra, acacia and warrigal greens.
The classroom-on-the-commons, designed by Terry Bail and built largely of reused building materials; the classroom houses the Organic Gardening, Permaculture Orchard and Living Smart courses as well as workshops.
A public toilet modeled on the natural wetland (what is called 'biomimicry', permaculture being nature-assisted design); human and kitchen wastes are processed through reedbeds and then through untraviolet light sterilisation before flowing to the garden as irrigation-quality water.
The schools excursion program includes solar energy, water, seeds and ecology.
Workshops that educate people in strategies for resilient living they can adopt in their lives, such as renovating, low toxic cleaning, decluttering your home and life using permaculture principles, home and community garden food production, food preserving, aquaponics, small space gardening, beekeeping of both native and honey bees.
The Community Leadership course trains people to assume a leadership role in the community and organisations. The courses include introduction to leadership and behaviour change, group facilitation, decision making with groups, effective communication and video production.
The Eco Heroes Club for 5-11 year olds meets monthly and provides fun and skilling-up for children and their parents and carers who attend. The Club makes use of the classroom-on-the-commons and other facilities at the Randwick Sustainability Hub.
The PermaBee program was started to help in maintaining the Permaculture Interpretive Garden and to provide gardening education and social contact for local people. Meeting Fridays, PermaBees are a relaxed social opportunity and led by qualified horticulturists.
In 2018, Australian Conservation Volunteers used the Permaculture Interpetive Garden for its Green Gym program to provide outdoor exercise for aged people.
Utilising recycled brick paving and reused hardwood in its construction, the role of the Meeting Place is to provide seating and a pleasant place for relaxing, for waiting for workshops and events and meeting with friends. As vines grow to cover the pergola and as the trees grow it will become a shady place during the warm months; included in the design are a wayfinding noticboard directing people to different parts of the Hub. The structure and its immediate space provide an unimpeded link and easy access between the community centre building with the open space of Munda Street Reserve beyond.