Dr Caroline Smith – New Life Member

At the 2021 AGM, Permaculture Tasmania announced Dr Caroline Smith as one of this years new Life Members in recognition of her outstanding contribution to permaculture in Tasmania. Congratulations Caroline!

Dr Caroline Smith has been involved in permaculture since the 1980s as a teacher, writer and local activist. Caroline obtained her PDC in 1992. She completed her PhD thesis on personal empowerment through learning permaculture (2000). Caroline is Co-editor of book ‘Permaculture Pioneers’ with Kerry Dawborn (2011).

Caroline contributes her knowledge as a volunteer on the northwest coast with RESEED and Live Well Tasmania and is involved in community teaching of permaculture.
Caroline is well published and uses her influence as an educator in the university sector to push the boundaries in mainstream education.
Caroline has been involved in facilitating many permaculture related courses in Victoria and Tasmania. The Tasmanian courses and workshops have been through the RESEED Centre in Penguin, Gentle Footprints Permaculture PDC in Launceston, Community House Introduction to Permaculture in Scottsdale and Live Well Tasmania, where she also volunteers.

Caroline has taught about permaculture in UTAS Diploma of Sustainable Living and is currently involved in developing a proposal for a unit in permaculture in the Diploma.
Caroline has worked in the community and is involved in teaching, writing, community seed banks and CENTS. She is caring for her 2-acre property in Penguin growing food and increasing biodiversity. Caroline is also a wonderful mentor as a permaculture elder and encourages others to adopt permaculture as a lifestyle.

Read about our other amazing Life Members announced for 2021 here.

Tania Brookes – New Life Member

At the 2021 AGM, Permaculture Tasmania announced Tania Brookes as one of this years new Life Members in recognition of her outstanding contribution to permaculture in Tasmania. Congratulations Tania!

An inspirational indigenous Maori woman and Elder, Tania has been a very active permie for many years, based in Devonport. She is a highly effective community organiser, teacher and activist who always brings her indigenous worldview into her life’s work in NW Tasmania. She is a wonderful role model for a permaculture way of life, bringing the principles and ethics into all she does. Tania is a facilitator with Gentle Footprints Permaculture in Launceston and teaches Introduction to Permaculture courses and other permaculture workshops and other short courses through various community grassroots organisations in the northwest.

Tania is the Tasmanian convenor of the Community Exchange Network Tasmania (CENTs) and the national co Administrator for the Community Exchange System in Australia (CES).  Tania is passionate about community currencies and alternative economics incorporating community building and resilience and social permaculture.  Tania instigated the concept of Seed Banks for northwest Tasmania and with assistance from local volunteers established two Seed Banks/Libraries at Live Well Tasmania in Wynyard  and the RESEED Centre in Penguin.  She has worked on many permaculture related projects including a local seed saving network, CENTS trading days and was an initiator of the ongoing permaculture design for the Oldina Community Farm. Tania works on the “edge effect” teaching community organisations around sustainability initiatives.

Tania also has published and broadcast/podcast about the importance of permaculture.

Read about our other amazing Life Members announced for 2021 here.

Jo Dean – New Life Member

At the 2021 AGM, Permaculture Tasmania announced Jo Dean of Gentle Footprints Permaculture as one of this years new Life Members in recognition of her outstanding contribution to permaculture in Tasmania. Congratulations Jo!

Jo has been a committed and active permie for many years in the Launceston area and internationally. She successfully initiated Launceston PDCs where previously there had not been any PDCs in the north of the state run by local people.

Jo has: 
– been part of the teaching team for Introduction to Permaculture Courses at Launceston, Beaconsfield and Scottsdale.
– organized 2 Permaculture Design Courses at Northern Suburbs Community Centre and  conducted many skill share workshops at primary schools, High schools, TAFE, University and in Community since 2014.
– run Introduction to Permaculture Course with women’s groups and skill sharing workshops in villages in Fiji.
– mentored students at Launceston College to grow a hanging garden at school.
– mentored both men and women in the Afghan Hazara and Bhutanese community with gardening techniques and establishing a community garden.
–  won an award for community project with Northern Waste Management Tasmania – Swap not Shop

Jo is State Representative for Community Gardens Australia for Tasmania and actively supports Taveuni Empowerment of women support group online with their Permaculture journey.
She contributed permaculture design ideas to the Northern Transformation UTas Inveresk Precinct. Jo was also a Human Rights Award nominee for teaching Permaculture in Fiji and Launceston.

Read about our other amazing Life Members announced for 2021 here.

Heather Gaia Thorpe – New Life Member

At the 2021 AGM, Permaculture Tasmania announced Heather Gaia Thorpe is one of this years new Life Members in recognition of her outstanding contribution to permaculture in Tasmania. Congratulations Heather!

Heather has been teaching for decades all around Tasmania since the 1990s. She has aught 11 intros through Adult Ed/ U3A and Urban farming and even one at a TAFE Horticulture Course.

Today, as a retiree Heather still contributes her skills and knowledge to the community through practical workshops. Heather has a passion for upcycled clothing and is involved in many projects and programs in the northwest as a volunteer. Heather taught Fabric Mask Making using skills gained during her Teacher of Fashion Tafe Training and personally made 4000 masks. Studying Textile Science during the Course gave her the skills to design a mask with high protection.

Heather has and continues to be involved in:
-Teaching permaculture related workshops such as gardening, compost etc.
-Seed Savers network in the northwest, ssaving seed and helping to maintain the community seed banks in the northwest.
-Repair Cafe – runs a monthly Repair Cafe at RESEED Centre in Penguin
-Sewing Workshops – teaching upcycling clothing, cloth pads and nappies
-Permaculture Tasmania North West Facebook group co-moderator helping to share information with permies and those looking to learn
Heather previously helped run Urban Farming a statewide network for sharing seed.

Heather grew up on a farm and was introduced to a homesteading/ permaculture life as a young child which she has carried through to her adult years. When she first read a PC book her comment was “So there’s a name for this”.

She consistently displays her altruistic approach to sharing knowledge and skills and is a strong community advocate.

Read about our other amazing Life Members announced for 2021 here.

Announcing ‘Reading Landscape with David Holmgren’ Partnership

Permaculture Tasmania is both proud and excited to announce we are a major production partner for the upcoming documentary, Reading Landscape with David Holmgren. You can find out more about the project at its dedicated website.

As a result of this partnership, members of Permaculture Tasmania will have access to

– Many hours of extended footage, including full interviews and site tours.
– Stills and other production material.
– The full version of the film itself, once it is complete.

All of these will be available in the members area at permaculturetasmania.com

We also have the honour of hosting the first public screening of the film here in Tasmania. Hobart location and date TBA (the film is still in post-production) but will be in the 2021/22 summer: Some time from November to January. We will, of course, keep you updated when we get precise details.

And coming up next month, we will have a live Q&A with David Holmgren and the filmmakers on Saturday July 10th at 7pm, delivers via Zoom. You can find the link to join at the Reading Landscapes page in the members area. (You need to be logged in to see it.) The replay will be made available after the event. And if you can’t make it but would like to ask a question, simply email PT and we will ask it for you on the call.

Thanks to everyone who helped pull this together. And a special thanks to Dan Palmer from Making Permaculture Stronger!

Permaculture Tasmania 2021 AGM: Save The Date

This year’s AGM will be graciously hosted by The Village at Triabunna. Find out more about this amazing facility at their website:

The date for the meeting will be Saturday, September 11th, beginning at 10:30am. Due to ongoing capacity restrictions, in-person numbers will be limited, and tickets must be purchased in advance at the AGM page in the members area of the website. (You need to be logged in.)

Tickets are $10 and include a locally catered lunch.

As always, there will be additional activities, tours and discussions included on the day, the details of which will follow shortly. But we wanted to get this message out to members as a ‘Save The Date’ because the 11th falls during the Great Eastern Wine Week so there are plenty of other activities to help you make a full weekend of it! (There will be PT members participating in some events on the Friday evening and the Sunday and we will stay in touch on this, too.

On the Saturday afternoon, Marcus Ragnus has offered to give Permaculture Tasmania attendees a private tour of the amazing, nearby Spring Bay Mill project.

This will be a horticultural tour of the market gardens, bee hive, commercial worm farm, nursery and native rehabilitation areas of the 43 hectare site. (It was once the world’ largest wood chip mill!) This event will carry an additional cost, but if you are interested, you can specify when buying your AGM ticket.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Land Share Opportunity

Image source: Lisa Cawthen

1/2 acre of land at Elizabeth Town in northern lutruwita / Tasmania is being offered for a good use to permie minded folks.

The following details have been provided by the current stewards:
– The land is adjacent to [their] home in Elizabeth Town.
– It is about 1/2 acre in size and on a slope (not significant)
– There are a number of outcrops of large partially buried boulders
– It is fenced on all sides but only wallaby fenced on two sides
– It is a cleared block, but some weeds are there
– If our home block is any comparison the soil is fabulous
– Access can be gained through our home entry

An MOU would be agreed on between both parties.

Please email any interest/enquiries to permaculturetasmania@gmail.com. All expressions of interest or enquires will be forwarded to the family offering this opportunity.

Open Day for Earth’s Future (& how to do more with less).

Built in the 1830s, Cleburne Historic Homestead is registered with the National Estate and the National Trust. It sits on four acres of mumirmina land in Risdon, and is considered a jewel of historic architecture. This was the venue for a recent Open Day for the Future.

After attending a Community Climate Expo in 2020, the current stewards of the land at Cleburne were inspired to hold an event that shared with others their appreciation of the past and deep concern for all our children’s future.

Permaculture Tasmania (PT) was one of many groups that filled the verandah. Each stall sharing information for making informed choices, finding strategies and learning practical skills to respond to the climate emergency.

PT chatted to visitors about stacking functions (Mollison’s Principle 2) which is also at the core of Integrate rather than segregate (Holmgren’s Principle 8).

To take greater action on climate change in Australia (and all developed countries), reducing consumption is a no brainer. Doing more with less is a fundamental permaculture principle and a choice everyone can make within their own context. Choosing the “right” inputs and using them wisely – with care for people, the planet, and fair share prioritised; is good permaculture design / living.

[Switching to first person here to give examples. Editors/grammar sticklers, please look away now and take a couple of deep breaths to ease the transition 😉 ]

Image source

Because garden examples demonstrate permaculture principles in action so well, we had borage seedlings on show. Borage stacks functions like a boss and you can read more about that here.

But what does function stacking look like beyond the garden? Simply, when adding to our homes or days, we choose things or arrange tasks (inputs) that provide multiple benefits as a result (outputs).

Leaving the house is a commonly offered example: Listing a number of errands to knock over while out and making a habit of bunching them into one “run” saves time – and money, if driving. So when I go the community garden to water I also function stack with pulling weeds, listening to favourite podcasts, and having time by myself if no one else is around. But having left the house, this will also be the time I pick up books on hold at the nearby library, collect spent coffee grounds from the café next block over. And on my way home I can drop off or hunt for (or both) items at the op shop/tip shop or swing by the local grocer if I need anything.

Another: When I walk my dog, I’m not just making her day. Life at home is calmer with a tuckered out doggo.
I can pick up lemons from a neighbour and again will sometimes listen to podcasts if walking the streets. Regular neighborhood walks with Betsy has flagged foraging opportunities while she takes her time sniffing a pole. Or I spot new plants in season that might be useful for my studies or garden. And when we walk in the bush reserves I get to listen for birds, spot wildlife, pick up litter, and enjoy being surrounded by the the bush. Plus exercise too. One task – multiple benefits.

An example of things: When looking for a rolling pin last year I asked friends what they liked about theirs. My favourite response described a rolling pin (shaped somewhere between a french and a pastry rolling pin) that was also great for using one end to compact cabbage and veg into vessels for fermenting. It was made from a beautiful Tasmanian hardwood which was pleasing to look at and lovely to handle. I think it may also have served as an effective walnut cracker. Always the goal is to find more ways to do more with less.

Getting better at stacking functions in everyday actions and choices can deliver a multitude of benefits. One of those benefits includes reducing the resource consuming habits and clutter of over consumption.

A big thanks to PT member and volunteer Serena King, for buddying up on the PT stall ensuring we could have a full day presence at this event. The Open Day for the Future was a sold out event and despite terrible weather still had almost 300 attendees come through. Congratulations to Grey XR for organising and managing the day so well. We were in good climate minded company with representatives from a number of other climate organisations:

Australian Conservation Foundation
Australian Electric Vehicle Association
Australian Youth Climate Coalition
Clarence Climate Action
Climate Resilience Network
Good Car Company
Grassroots Action Network Tasmania
I Want Energy
Sea Shepherd Tasmania
The Greens
Quaker Earthcare Witness
XR Youth
XR Regenerative Culture
XR Letters to Grandchildren
XR Grey

Let’s talk about borage.

Image source. Contributor: Katie Kristensen.

There are so many reasons to love borage and one of those is that borage stacks functions like a boss.
Its ornamental blue starflower is pretty to look at and its cloak of spiky hairs reminds me why it is good to have some boundaries. Borage is a self seeding annual, hardy, drought tolerant and low maintenance plant; it saves you coin because you can generally find it for free in your friends ór neighbours’ gardens. And once you have one plant in your life you will have subsequent plants for as long as you want them. Forever sounds good.

Use borage as:

  • soil improver
  • living soil protector and water retainer
  • weed suppressor
  • insectary – native, european, and bumble bees love it for food and shelter
    Read more about these uses here.

Known for nutrient mining, invite borage into your garden as a:

  • nutrient rich mulch candidate
  • compost party queen

Borage is regularly touted anecdotally as a:

  • pest deterrent reducing leaf eating caterpillars and tomato hornworm
  • companion plant – increasing resistance to pests and disease especially for tomatoes, strawberries and cucurbits.

And of course there’s the uses for your body, including heart and mind:

  • edible flowers and young leaves. Find suggestions for your belly here.
  • drinkable as tea: To 1/4 lightly packed cup of fresh gently crushed borage leaves, pour 1 cup boiled water, steep for 3- 5 minutes and add honey/lime/lemon to flavour your courage.
  • medicinable too with a multitude of uses covered here.

Finally, when you decide you have too much of it – and that time always comes – it is easy to pull up for uses mentioned above. Just remember to use gloves when handling mature plants or it’ll deliver a boundary reminder in no uncertain terms.