Permaculture Cairns takes off
Permaculture Cairns is a recently formed permaculture group, located in the wet tropics region of Far North Queensland, Australia. Cairns has a Tropical climate, with generally hot and humid summers and milder drier winters. The cyclone season is normally confined to between December and April and the average annual rainfall is 1992mm. Nowhere else on earth do two World Heritage listed sites sit side by side –With the education of Permaculture at its core, the aim of the group is to spread permaculture throughout Cairns and the Far North, and give demonstrative examples of permaculture at work in such a unique and challenging environment. The Great Barrier Reef and Australia’s Tropical Rainforests. Both are in severe danger of being lost forever, in part due to the unconscious urban design for an ever-increasing populous and destructive agricultural practice.
Since being formed in July, a great deal of interest has been shown and the number of members (all ages) on our forum site has rapidly grown to its current level of 42. The group has been successful in attracting new members, particularly through its participation in two notable local festivals: the annual “Empower Energy Festival” and “Envirofiesta”, a community event, this year attended by more than 5000 people, that showcases the natural and cultural diversity of the region.
At both festivals the group conducted various permaculture workshops and held practical demonstrations of raised bed garden construction, compost making, compost tea brewing, worm farming and a guinea pig tractor system. At Envirofiesta, an information stall was set up which included a Permaculture design model for a typical local suburban block, which generated a lot of interest and conversation.
Since then, the group has held numerous Permaculture Education Training (PET) days, where members share their time and energy to help other members develop their own permaculture gardens. Workshops are also part of the groups’ monthly schedule of events. Recently, in liaison with the local organic community garden at Machans Beach, the group was invited to run a banana circle workshop.
The success of the day has encouraged the community garden to seek further involvement with Permaculture Cairns, and discussion is underway to redesign the entire garden along permaculture principles. The garden is located in the grounds of the Machans Beach State Primary School. With the current involvement of Machans Beach students, there is a huge potential to transfer similar projects and principles to other schools in the area.
With the long-term viability of the group being imperative and legal considerations of its members in mind, an application to become an incorporated association was recently lodged. The group will soon be able to receive funding and hopefully taken more seriously within the community. The group has already been fortunate to receive support in the form of $1200 “seed money” from the NSDA (Network for Sustainable and Diversified Agriculture), a regional organization that net works various groups involved in sustainable agricultural and environmental practices. With our rapidly growing community support and resources, we are well on our way to making a real difference from the grassroots up. Stay tuned, as there’s a lot more to come…
Permaculture Cairns holds monthly open to the public meetings, every 3rd Monday of the month except January.
If you would like more information about Permaculture Cairns and its activities, please contact its President, Kym Kruse via Email: [email protected] or Mb: 0407 243 298
Visit their forum for details of events at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/permaculture-cairns/