Elspeth Brock

International Permaculture Volunteer Opportunity in Uganda

For all those seeking international adventure and to share their knowledge with those who really need it, the Australian Red Cross is looking for a volunteer to fill the position of Permaculture Officer in Uganda. The role is to help subsistence farmers to establish a sustainable, organic and community-owned food supply using permaculture techniques. Ligingi is a small and beautiful village community in eastern Uganda. The Lingingi Community Learning Centre […]

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Putting Down Roots – Improving Asylum Seeker Food Security at the Grass Roots Level

Earlier this year I came across a very inspiring program being piloted by the Australian Red Cross called ‘Putting Down Roots’. It teaches organic gardening to newly arrived asylum seekers in Melbourne, Australia. Many asylum seekers experience food insecurity from a lack of funds, as in Australia they are often not permitted to work while their case is being processed, and there may also be a lack of access to […]

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The Tale of a Local Community Network (Melbourne, Australia)

I attended the Community Gardens Conference in Canberra in 2010. Myles Bremner, CEO of Garden Organic, Europe’s main organic gardening organization, was speaking about how surprised he was that in Australia there was no unified network of Community Gardens. In fact in Australia no one even knows exactly how many there are. This highlighted for me the importance of building local networks to improve the credibility of local food growing […]

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Bee Friendly – a Planting Guide for European Honeybees and Australian Native Pollinators

Bee Friendly Planting Guide (8mb PDF) I just came across an excellent new resource for beekeepers. It is published by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and entitled Bee Friendly — a planting guide for European honey bees and Australian native pollinators. It contains over 300 pages of information on bee forage plants for Australia, for urban open space, private gardens and farms with a climate specific plant selection. […]

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Beginning Permaculture – Ideas for Renters

So you’re renting and think why bother working on the garden when you’ll only have to leave. In my experience it’s always worthwhile. For one you may end up staying longer than you think, and much can be done in a short time for not much money. When it is time to move on I always think of my gardens as charity for the next person and for the earth […]

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Plant Families – Patterns in Nature

Climbing bean flowers have only one axis of symmetry A practical thing botany teaches is too look at similarities and differences or patterns in plants. When growing vegetables you start to see resemblances between the plants and it can be useful to develop some general knowledge about how plant families are classified. I have found this knowledge particularly useful for:

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Incorporating Disability Access and Therapeutic Spaces in Permaculture Design

Ilma Lever Gardens garden designed for wheelchair access When working in various gardens for community usage I found we often needed to consider access for gardeners of a range of abilities without compromising the overall function of the design. I want to outline some things I have found useful to make spaces disability-friendly whilst also maintaining the permaculture principles of multiple use values and productive landscapes. Access issues you may […]

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Mulberry Gardens Food Forest

Original asphalt It began with a large area of asphalt and a dream of expanding our community garden. Mulberry Gardens is in Glenroy, Melbourne, Australia and operates entirely as a communal space. All members share in the upkeep and harvest the produce — which is mostly shared amongst attendees at the Saturday morning communal sessions. The number of fast food and alcohol shops vastly outweighs fresh food outlets in the […]

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Permaculture and Traditional Land Use in Morocco 2010

Editor’s Note: Elspeth Brock makes a great post-course update on the Tribal Networks Morocco project experience. Wheat, almonds and wild flowers I felt in some way instantly at home in Morocco. Ait Attab in the high Atlas has a similar climate to inland south-eastern Australia, orange-purple soil, masses of erosion, the hot burning sun, and a wide blue sky. Running wild are the ancestors of many plants familiar from English […]

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