Update on the Byron Bay Shire Permaculture Challenge

by Phoebe Lines, BOS (Being Of Service) Team for the Permaculture Challenge


The Byron Permaculture Challenge gang creates a No-Dig
garden for the young people at the Byron Youth House

Our apparently disaffected Byron Shire youth, it would seem, are in fact a hotbed of movers and shakers, changing the world one Permablitz at a time!

This November the Mullumbimby Community Garden launched The Permaculture Challenge, a program designed to inspire and empower a new generation of young people to reconnect with the power of nature and the shared vision of our sustainable future.

Over the past few weeks two teams of brilliant young leaders from Mullumbimby High, Shearwater and Byron High have been getting their hands deep in the earth and putting their heads and hearts together to shake up some world changing ideas and practices.

Beginning with a three-day wilderness immersion, our Shire’s teens were challenged to connect with the power of Mother Nature and engage in a compelling journey in an environment which would daunt any adult, but which inspired these young people to form a close knit ‘family’ and greet each day’s challenges with enthusiasm and inspiration.

The second phase of The Challenge focuses on learning the principles of sustainability design, i.e. permaculture, in a hands-on environment designed to develop initiative, collaborative decision making and teamwork capability, while working towards a Statement of Attainment covering units from the Certificate II in Permaculture.

The project is now building to a fever pitch as the teams move into the last phase of The Challenge: the permablitz. Each group is working in close partnership with a community organisation towards the transformation of two high-profile community sites in a permablitz designed to not only utilise the group’s newly learned skills, but serve as a permanent community reminder of the power of youth learning in action and provide ongoing nourishing, organic, healthy food for the community.


The Mullumbimby Permaculture Challenge team in the classroom at the MCG

The Mullumbimby Permaculture Challenge Team have been based at the Mullumbimby Community Gardens and are currently undertaking the incredible transformation of an empty block of land on Shara Boulevard in North Ocean Shores, into the Ocean Shores Community Gardens. The Byron Permaculture Challenge Team have been based at the Byron Youth Activity Centre and will be spending the next week transforming this central hub of youth culture and services into an inspiring example of sustainability. The Byron Bay Team are already planning their own youth-led projects together as a “family”, focussing on local community issues such as keeping the local farmers’ markets locally run. “The Byron Bay Team plans to continue with our learning and plan other new and great things for the community” said Acacia, a Byron Permaculture Challenge Team Member.

The message for our community here is incontrovertibly and unequivocally clear: with the right support, a pro-active, creative and engaged youth culture can emerge in our shire, and in the rest of our world too, and it’s time we stood up as a community to support them!

The Permaculture Challenge is doing just that, by encouraging and nurturing this emergence with the brilliant program they have designed for the young people of our shire. Not only is the Challenge helping to create a new generation of keen environmentalists and food growers in one of the fastest growing industries in the country, but it supports the development of each of these young people into a whole, and centred human being, building the vision of our sustainable future through the strength of our community and inter-generational relationships.

The Permaculture Challenge participants’ Graduation Celebration starts at 6.30pm at the Civic Hall Mullumbimby on Thursday December 15th. The team members would like to invite our community along to celebrate their amazing achievements and their vision for a sustainable future! Come along, find out what’s in the hearts and minds of our contemporary teenagers – our future.

For more information on The Permaculture Challenge, visit www.permaculturechallenge.org, and look out for future projects from The Permaculture Challenge and the Mullumbimby Community Gardens focussed on our sustainable community.

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One thought on “Update on the Byron Bay Shire Permaculture Challenge

  1. Fantastic. Great to see everyone getting involved. I look forward to seeing the results on my next visit. Best wishes, Helen

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