A CONVERGENCE TO REMEMBER Visual impressions of Australasian permaculture Convergence 14, Canberra, April 2018

Australasian Permaculture Convergences are held in different locations every second year. APC14, the 2018 convergence, was organised by a crew from the ACT and the NSW South Coast.
The organiseing crew.

Preceded by the ACT Permaculture Festival at Canberra City Farm that attracted an estimated 4000 people on a cold, blustery, overcast autumn day, the four day, mid-April 2018 permaculture convergence was held at the Greenhills Centre in Cotter, on the outskirts of Canberra. It was followed by tours, workshops and courses elsewhere in South East NSW.

The main building at the Greentrees Centre was the venue for convergence sessions and workshops. It was also the dining hall.

40 years

It was fitting that APC14 was held in 2018 because 40 years ago, in 1978, a book called Permaculture One was published, a book that launched the permaculture design system.

The work of Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in Tasmania, Permaculture One articulated ideas the two had been discussing for some time. It was the first substantial description of permaculture and opened the gates of participation to the design system's first batch of early adopters. From there the design system spread, first within Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand, then to other peoples in other lands. Today, permaculture has spread worldwide.

APC14 represented the diversity that is 40 years of evolution for the permaculture design system in Australia.

There was no chance of being bored at APC14. The sessions and workshops were varied and interesting. They spanned the full gamut in which the permaculture design system is implemented: landuse design, urban systems, farming, urban food production, social permaculture, international development, publishing and more.

Welcome to country

Local Aboriginal elder, Uncle Wally (left), welcomed APC14 participants to the land his people have occupied for tens of thousands of years. Here he is with Aboriginal agricultural researcher, Bruce Pascoe.

Uncle Wally and Bruce Pascoe.

The presenters

Bruce Pascoe, an Aboriginal man who is also trialing native grasses as grains. Bruce presented new archeological evidence demonstrating that, rather than being solely hunter gatherers, Australian Aborigines developed a type of agriculture that was not recognised as such until his book, Dark Emu, was published recently. His was evidence that is reshaping our understanding of the human history of our continent.
Farmer, Charles Massey, presented the convergence with his new approach to farming and regenerative landuse.
Bruce Pascoe and Charles Massey gave a rural flavour to the convergence. David Holmgren added an urban flavour explored in his 2018 book, Retrosuburbia (2017; Melliodora Publishing, Victoria).
Miriam Issa, a Melbourne resident originally from the Sudan, discussed her approach to social permaculture in working with immigrants.
Rosemary Morrow from the Blue Mountains of NSW told the story of her work in refugee camps in the Middle East.
Permaculture co-inventor, David Holmgren, spoke about his new book, Retrosuburbia, and how the suburbs could become productive, humane places.

The people

A group photo of attendees at Australasian permaculture convergences is a tradition, however it is seldom possible to get together everyone attending.

APC14 group photo.

The host

Costa Georgiardis hosted the convergence.

Costs hosts ABC TV's Gardening Australia and is a champion of permaculture ideas and projects.

Costa Georgiardis wearting a Tshirt appopriate for the occasion.

The workshops

Workshops. There were so many there was no chance of attending more than the select few.

That is a comment heard at every convergence. APC14 was no different. There was so much on offer.

The workshop on permaculture as a global social movement, and the Permaculture CoLab initiative building a global presence for the design system, was important to permaculture's future.
Adelaide permaculture educator and international development worker, Lachlan Mackenzie, spoke about Permaculture CoLab's IPEN initiative — the International Permaculture Educators' Network.
Kevin Cox and Scottie Foster led a workshop on the New Economy Network Australia and their solar energy co-op startup in Canberra.
Scotty Foster recorded sessions for radio 2XX Canberra and for publishing on Soundcloud.
Ego Lemos works with local permaculture development agency, Permatil, in Timor Leste. He is known to Australian permaculture practitioners through his appearances at convergences.
Ego Lemos and Lachlan Mackenzie co-authored the Tropical Permaculture Guidebook. Their workshop at APC14 signified the near-completion of the work.
Guy Stewart works as a renewable energy consultant with Rainbow Power Company in Nimbin, northern NSW. His Permaculture Power Plan offers a new way for the national permaculture association, Permaculture Australia, to formulate policy and advocate for renewable energy systems.

The awards

The convergence inaugurated the annual PIP permaculture magazine awards for projects and individuals.

PIP magazine publisher, Robyn Rosenfeld, presents the award.
With her daughter looking on, PIP publisher, Robyn Rosenfeld, presents Aaron Sorensen, a permaculture designer from NSW's Illawarra region who has done much to take permaculture into schools, with the first-ever Permie of the Year award.
New people were elected to the Permaculture Elders group for 25 or more years of contribution to permaculture.
Good food is so important to a convivial event, and that conviviality was obvious come breakfast, lunch and dinner. Most of the food was sourced from within 250km of Canberra. The kitchen and catering crew deserve a BIG THANKS for feeding us so well.

A great swirl of faces

Known for his work in international development and with Permaculture Melbourne, John McKenzie is a familiar face at convergences.
Cecilia Macauley is an artist and permaculture design consultant specialising in the design of domestic space. She uses the principles of permaculture design to educate people in how to declutter their homes and their lives.
Rosemary Morrow, international development worker and permaculture educator from the Blue Mountains of NSW.
Veteran permaculture educator and community worker, Robina McCurdy, calls Aotearoa-New Zealand home. Seen here with Morag Gamble (right), a permaculture educator from Crystal Waters Ecovllage in south-east Queensland, Robina is a familiar face to the Australian permaculture network thanks to the frequent courses she offers here.
Another veteran of permaculture in Australia is Victoria-based Graeme George. Greame has done much in co-operation with other educators in his region to develop a curricula for permaculture design courses.
Guy Stewart shows leadership in the Australian permaculture network through his work in food security and renewable energy in northern NSW. Guy co-teaches the permaculture design course at Robyn Francis' Permaculture College Australia in Nimbin.
John Champagne is a permaculture educator and small-scale farmer on the far-south coast of NSW. He is one of the team that organised APC14.
From upper right clockwise: NSW Central Coast permaculture educator, Kerrie Anderson looks on as Cecilia Macauley speaks. Francis Lang, with partner Jeff Michaels set up the heritage plant and seed company, Green Harvest, in Maleny, south east Queensland. Wendy Marchand is a member of the Permaculture Australia board of directors from Geelong, southern Victoria. Cecilia Macauley videoing at a session of APC14. Ben Habib, from Melbourne, is researching permaculture as a global social movement. Robin Clayfield is a resident of Crystal Waters Ecovillage in Queensland who focuses on education for social permaculture. Beck Lowe is a rural landholder in Victoria who was one of the team that produced David Holmgren's book, Retrosuburbia.
Ian Lillington from Central Victoria is well known in permaculture circles. Member of a team of educators offering permaculture design courses in his region, Ian wrote the book The Holistic Life — Sustainability Through Permaculture (2007; Axiom Publishing, South Australia).
Los Bastian publishes the online solutions-oriented news service, The Big Fix, and co-teaches permaculture courses with fellow Blue Mountains permaculture educator, Rosemary Morrow.
Retired architect, Phil Gaul, is a permaculture elder from the NSW South Coast.
Dan Palmer is one of permaculture's deep thinkers whose website, Making Permaculture Stronger (http://makingpermaculturestronger.net), focuses on the design process.
Costa Georgiardis has a laugh with Richard Telford, who manages the Permaculture Principles website and online bookstore.
Clockwise from top: Rosemary Morrow. Rosemary Morrow. Kerie Chiveralls posting mindmaps during a workshop. Convivial conversation was a feature of meals together. David Holmgren. David Holmgren. From northern NSW, Annaliese Horden and Guy Stewart.
To enact permaculture's third ethic of share what's spare, a hat was passed around during the session with Timor Leste permaculture development worker, Ego Lemos. The money raised goes towards his work in Timor Leste and publication of the Tropical Permaculture Guidebook.
Morag Gamble produces an online video series about applying permaculture around the home. Here, she interviews Ego Lemos. Richard Telford on camera.
Colin Endean from South Australia looks studious in the top photo. In the centre image we see Lachlan Mackenzie. The lower image is Erin Young who teaches the decision making process, sociocracy.


Conviviality is the not-so-secret ingredient of any permaculture gathering.

Fortunately, it was in good supply at APC14.

Thanks to the Graham and Anne-Marie Brookman at The Food Forest at Gawler, South Australia, for this fine vintage. Thanks to Lachlan Mackenzie for transporting it all the way to APC14 in Canberra.
The coffee and wine caravan provided the wherewithal for conviviality at APC14.
A tasty basket lunch eaten outside was supplied by the culinary crew in the kitchen.
Regenerative farmer, Charles Massey, addresses the convergence.
Rosemary Morrow leads a discussion.

Documenting APC14

Brenna Quinlan documented APC14 in graphic form.

Read Brenna's story and see her documentation of APC14 here: https://pacific-edge.info/2018/05/9114/

Brenna Quinlan, graphic documenter.
Permaculture: 40 years on.
APC14: A fine celebration of all that is good about our design system.
Permaculture Australia elected a new board of directors at APC14.


Brenna Quinlan, graphic illustrator: https://pacific-edge.info/2018/05/9114/

APC 14: Impressions & next steps: https://spark.adobe.com/page/FAIt93DcLL21M/


👣Russ Grayson — journalist, photojournalist, wanderer

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Russ Grayson


Photos and story by Russ Grayson — https://pacific-edge.info

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