Tuesday, April 7, 2009
We've been working on creating a Permablitz network on the Sunshine Coast. Permablitz is a concept created by Adam and Dan and many, many others in Victoria, who are making an impressive impact on backyards in Victoria with this very successful model of turning lawns into lunch. The photos above are from the Victorian Permablitz website.
While many other groups do working bees and energy exchanges, the Vic Permablitz people have been bringing in a whole new audience to permaculture - something we really need to focusing on at the moment. No use preaching to the converted! Time to venture out into the mainstream and get them gardening and more self-reliant!
This is how it goes; They organise a 'blitz' in someone's backyard. Now this is NOT like those terrible TV 'blitzes' where they make over a garden and fill it with useless plants that aren't good for anything except composting (I even saw one the other day where they had an outdoor waterproof big screen TV! - I couldn't believe it). You won't find a white pebble or an agave in site at a Permablitz, instead you'll find fruit trees, broccoli, spinach, asian greens, globe artichokes, cabbages, beans, edible flowers, edible water plants, eggplants and herbs... you get the (edible) picture.
The Permablitz team visit the site beforehand and come up with some permaculture solutions that meet that particular person's needs. They then advertise the blitz and people can just come along - the owner organises all the resources needed and puts the word out about anything people can bring on the day. Everyone brings a plate of food (preferably local and organic) to share and the work begins under the friendly supervision of some Permaculture designers.
They often get a particular expert - eg a top tree pruner or a herb expert - in to do a workshop so the blitzer can learn even more about food.
They are going great guns in Vic and deserve a great big huge edible medal! Well done!
There aim is "... to make the suburbs edible enough such that should food become unaffordable, we don't even notice."
Oh, by the way, you need to go to three Permablitzes and be actively involved, then you get one at your place - they (and we) aren't a volunteer team of people who do your garden for you, you have to put energy into the system before you can take out - that's nature. There is no such thing as a free lunch, even if it's from your own garden.
While Permablitz is grounded in fun, play, sharing and informal learning, it's really playing a much, much deeper role at a very important time.
Permablitzes take food production right into backyards. This is crucial. While it's great to have community gardens and school gardens, people need to do this at home to back up the whole system. No point having 200,000 people nearby thinking they are all going to decend on your place or your community garden when the shit hits the fan.
They also make organic food accessible to all, not just those who can afford to buy it in the shops. Everyone has the right to fresh, healthy, chemical free food.
It allows people to move away from being dependent on industrial agricultural system and the multi-nationals who supply a lot of our food.
It brings food back to a local level, increases your appreciation of good food, reduces food miles and cuts carbon emissions in your household dramatically.
Teach people how to do it themselves, then encourage them to teach others and so on. A fantastic model for our present times.
Here in Eudlo we've done a few Permablitzes through Transition Town Eudlo. While the Vic people have the people, we have the acreage it seems. In our photos the people are pretty light on, but we've got plenty of room to play in!
So, here are a few photos of our Permablitzes.
Starting with [BELOW] discussing the plan of action BEFORE we start! Always a good idea!
[ABOVE: many hands make log move]
[ABOVE: keeping the kids amused and safe]
[ABOVE: by the end of the day, these new raised beds were planted out with vegies and salad greens - we used a no dig recipe to get them done in a day]
[ABOVE: learning how to plant out vetiver grass around the new water feature]
"Permablitz is a social enterprise committed to improving the sustainability of our cities and suburbs. We use a sustainable design system called permaculture to help communities move away from denial and depdendent consumerism to engagement and responsible production. Our core focus is helping people sustainabily grow food where they live, building healthy community in the process. Rather than depressing people with the bad news, we empower them with the good news - that the solutions are at hand - and get on with having fun rolling them out." Dan Palmer - Permablitz Vic.
If you are intrested in contributing toward the development of Permablitz Sunshine Coast, please get in touch I'm very keen to get this up and running here.
Transition Town Eudlo Coordinator