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
Plasticwise
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.

Partial PDC Scholarship available…

Partial Scholarships available to support your permaculture journey.
Up to two partial scholarships of $200 each are available for this upcoming part time Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course in Launceston commencing 13 Feb 2021. 
Available to current financial members (excluding committee and their immediate family). 

To apply, tell us in 2-3 paragraphs why you are a suitable scholarship applicant, and how you will use your new  PDC skills to benefit the community. 

Applications close Tuesday 26 Jan. 
Good luck!

Waste Not Produce

Growing from an idea raised at a local permaculture group event, members Robyn and Andrew started Waste Not Produce.
Waste Not Produce is a stall at the (then) weekly Margate Market selling excess produce from their own and other local gardens. Robyn and ANdrew donate their time and all proceeds from sales go to small local organisations, and so much good food is saved from going to waste in the process.

When their first venue at Margate Market stopped running Robyn and Andrew looked for new options to sell from. It didn’t take long and they continue spend a day harvesting or collecting from donors each week and another to set up and sell from their latest location the following day.

“Gardeners are happy that any excess garden produce will be used and locals love to get fresh produce, particularly if they don’t garden themselves. And community organisations are benefiting from the cash. It’s simple, and lovely. We enjoy it, and have met so many amazing people. We consider ourselves very fortunate to be able to do this.”

Recently Robyn shared this update:

“I’ve been collating the funds raised by Waste Not Produce/Waste Not Books, raffle and sausage sizzle over the last three markets at Woodbridge Hall and I’m very happy to report that we have donated a total of $1,966.90 to the Woodbridge School Association!
This has been a combined effort, with so many people giving garden produce, time, donations, providing moral support, buying produce and leaving the change…. many thanks to all concerned, up and down our beautiful Channel AND further afield.

We will be taking some fresh produce over to Mez at the Cygnet Community Hub this Friday 4th December to donate to local charities there, so if you have any garden surplus that you’d like to donate for that purpose, please let us know beforehand.
We will also be at the CYGNET CHRISTMAS GARDEN MARKET at THE CANNERY on SATURDAY 12th DECEMBER from 5pm. All funds raised at this market go to the ‘Community Refugee Sponsorship Initiative’ – providing comprehensive support to refugees wishing to move to the Huon Valley.

Please contact us if you have garden surplus to contribute to this market. The more we have, the more we sell and the more we donate.
Robyn Payne ph 0400 998037 and Andrew Geddes ph 0419 484010
Email – robyn.miles58@gmail.com
‘Waste Not Produce’”

Local Community Digs “Beginning Food Gardening” Workshops

By Alexia Thomson & Karen Hewitt

2020 has been a year of surprises – including a global gardening boom as COVID-19 made visible the fragility of our food supply systems. Many have turned to growing food to provide for our families, reduce our food miles and to boost mental health after far too many online meetings.

But what about those who have little or no topsoil, destructive pets, are renting or less mobile? Raised beds are a great option to make food gardening more accessible, and in order to promote them and begin fostering food security in the region, Transition Tamar (in conjunction with the West Tamar Council and in partnership with Tamar NRM) held two free workshops at the end of October and mid-November down at Windsor Community Gardens in Riverside to demonstrate the process of building raised beds and which easy-care seedlings participants could start their food-growing journey with.

Transition Tamar are part of the global Transition Network and a local group of Permaculture Tasmania, and only began organising early this year to work towards increasing community awareness and resilience in the face of climate change, biodiversity loss and the problems that are associated with them.

The community group will eventually have four showcase teaching beds down at the Windsor Community Gardens – the new beds (collaboratively designed, built and filled in conjunction with the West Tamar Council), are an affordable model for the home gardener to reproduce, whilst also complementing the design of existing pre-fabricated beds onsite.

These first two workshops looked at some of the many value-for-money and simple sleeper-bed designs, what soil mix to fill beds with and which easy-to-grow foods a beginner food gardener was pretty much guaranteed success with. Along with how to take care of plants going forward, the workshops were designed to be “one-stop shops“ to support householders starting on reaping the many benefits of growing their favourite foods and savouring the sweet taste of home-grown gardening success.

Early in the New Year, workshops demonstrating Wicking Bed construction and gardening for the summer months will run, to hopefully be followed up in Autumn with some preserving and/or mushroom growing workshops.

You can follow Transition Tamar’s Facebook page to be kept up to date with all their events, as they begin to realise their Vision for “Launceston and the Tamar Valley region to become a connected & resilient community through sustainable living, localised food production, circular economy and regenerative development.

Growing on the Marginal

At the end of November we joined Lisa on the foothills of kunanyi, nipaluna, on muwinina country (South Hobart). It was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about productive use of marginal spaces.There was so much to take in and here are just a few favourite elements of the visit.

Lisa welcomed us and recapped the known history of the land they are currently stewarding. She recalled the amount of advice received against settling in their location because it is a steep. south facing block that for two months of the year barely gets any sun on much of the garden area.
Clearly, Lisa and her partner Ant love a challenge and by gosh they have they risen to it!

The three main aims of Lisa and Ant’s design are: 1. Creating a haven for them, their friends and family 2. Building greater self resilience and 3. Providing improved habitat for wildlife.

Located on the sunniest part of the block, the house was originally from the North West Coast. The previous owners had it cut in half for transport and then reunited it on site in South Hobart. The roof is now home to solar panels that make the most of all the sun it receives year round.
(The practice of relocating houses is much more common on the mainland than Tasmania. Heather has previously written about her family’s house relocation here.)

Worm farms and weed fertiliser production occurs beside a pomegranate tree in a space that was once devoted to a clothesline and since removed.
And their washing? It is dried in the carport area, inside the house on raised lines or, if needed, our intrepid mountain dwellers strategically use a clothes drier during the daylight hours so it will be powered by their solar.

Fertilisers that were brewed in an old fermenting barrel decanted into empty gin bottles.
The beauty of a figgery – both the word and the realisation of a fig mini orchard on the patio.
Looking back down towards the house, citrus trees have been planted in this protected, sun catching pocket of space.

The margins beside the stairs up the slope are also home to scented herbs, flowers, shrubs and vines. Lisa keeps some of their gifts in her pocket when leaving home as their scent provides a bit of a nature boost during longer days working in an office or less delightful smelling places.

Throughout the walk and talk Lisa chatted to us about
– Gardens for wildlife
– Food forests
– Gardening in raised beds and how to keep them hydrated
(read more about the ollas in Helen’s linked post below)
– Top bar bee keeping
– Using green houses to extend your growing season
– Incorporating quail and chickens into your system
– Utilising our “waste” and that of others to nourish our soil

A berry protected sanctuary to obtain a yield.

Lisa explained that when they first moved here, there were many canes of one kind of delicious raspberry. These produced fruit for two months of the year. By changing things up and diversifying raspberry varieties, their berry harvest period has been effectively extended to 6 months. Of course there’s also the added interest to their dessert bowls!

Quail playground.

Lisa’s Zone Two includes a food forest and their happy chickens and quails.

Many leafy greens like kales, mizuna, mustards etc have made themselves comfy in the food forest. They self sow themselves there and this frees up more space in the annual beds for other veggies.

For specific shade tolerant vegetables and tips on growing them this post covers lots of what Lisa chatted about throughout the tour. I’ll add mention of Lisa’s tamarillo trees (not to be confused with tomatillo) and her chillean guava shrubs (ugni molinae) as food forest options that that can do very well in part shade and even less sun.

No get together is complete without a catch up cuppa, chat and the sharing of surplus which the group enjoyed before heading home with full arms, heads and hearts!

Massive thankyou to Lisa for organising and hosting a wonderful visit to her permie patch! You can read another perpective on this visit from PT member Helen here.

Community Climate Expo Day

Permaculture Tasmania (PT) was one of several informational stall holders at the Clarence Climate Action Community Expo on Saturday 17 Nov.
The event, that brought together around 100 people, was a first for Clarence and judging by the number of positive responses and lingering attendees, it won’t be the last.

After a pretty special Acknowledgment of Country from Janice and Jamie from Seedmob, the engaging lineup of speakers were informative and diverse in topic.

Alternative economies was the PT stall theme for the day. Katie and Gemma from the Eastern Shore/Hobart Local Group chatted to folks about different opportunities available in communities to share resources, skills and time for getting things done – without depending solely on dollars for everything.

There was no shortage of examples:
Community Exchange Network Tasmania (CENTs)
Repair Cafes Hobart Repair Cafe
Tool Libraries &
Libraries of other things Hey Fritz
Seed Banks Cygnet Seed Library
Produce & Surplus swapmeets / Crop Swaps
Work Exchanges ~ wwoofing / help-xing

Gifting
~ Little Free Pantries/Produce Stalls
~ Buy Nothing Groups  or Good Karma Groups  
~ Street or Little Libraries

Thanks to the Rotary Club of Bellerive for lending us a Little Library for our display props!

PT would love to hear of local Tasmanian examples of alternative economies you have seen or participated in that help build individual and community resilience where you live or work.

Tag us on Facebook, drop us a line – or even better a pic and a line, so we can share the inspiration with our members!