June 4, 2012
International Permaculture Day in the East—2012
IT was quite a little social scene, sitting in the tiny garden at Barrett House, soaking up the late Autumn sun, talking and biting into the snack food below the Sydney Food Connect banner.
The event was International Permaculture Day and over in the Eastern Suburbs there was the opportunity to join the mob of children and parents busy planting vegetables, banana and pawpaw in the Barrett House footpath garden. That had only recently been ridded of its infestation of bland, ornamental agapanthus, which has now been replaced with coriander and capsicum, beetroot and basil, lettuce and leeks all established amid the mulch on the Day.
Inside Barrett House—the water and energy efficient technology and design demonstration building that is used as meeting place by local community groups—there was the permaculture garden and building clinic with landscape architect Steve Batley (Sydney Organic Gardens) and architect, Terry Bail (Archology). Also there was the Permaculture Sydney East, Alternative Technology Association and Transition Bondi.
The venue shifted to the Randwick Sustainability Hub on Munda Street (which is the location of a Food Connect Sydney City Cousin) in the afternoon. Here, Leesa Burton, a permaculture graduate who specialises in children's education, was kept very busy with a clutch of kids engaged in painting flags and other stuff. Sydney LETS (Local Exchange and Trading System, a cashless community trading system) was there as was Climate Action Sydney Eastern Suburbs, WIRES and, again, the Alternative Technology Association. There were also tours of the energy and water efficiency refit of the community centre building and of the PIG—the Permaculture Interpretive Garden. Tired of touring and looking, people sat in groups of friends and acquaintances to listen to live acoustic music.
This is just what the Randwick Sustainability Hub was designed for. The PIG is something new in urban planning—a combined city park and education facility of which we are likely to see more of as the population of the metropolis grows and brings new demands on urban public land. It signals the end of single-use public open space and its replacement with something more imaginative and innovative.
International Permaculture Day is now in its third year. It's a sign that permaculture, as a community-based approach to sustainable urbanism, has come into its own time.
Words and photos by Russ Grayson
Find out more about International Permaculture Day here...