Open Day (Sun October 11th), university programs in permaculture, fire planning, Aldinga Arts EcoVillage open for Sustainable House Day, International Permaculture Conference and more...
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Food Forest

Food Forest News: September 2015

Welcome to the Food Forest E-newsletter: it's about self reliance, new design tricks and good things that are happening in our community. If you received this newsletter you may well be subscribed… but if not, subscribe via our website.
Permaculture Design Certificate

Open day (Oct 11th) - Sustainable living secrets revealed

Our productive organic market garden, chicken tractor, solar-powered house, drought hardy orchards and straw-bale buildings will all be on show at The Food Forest's Spring Open Day on Sunday 11 Oct. The morning session concentrates on strawbale construction and sustainable building design (with specialist architect, builder and engineer) and the pm features permaculture tours of gardens and orchards. 

Visitors will also see the transformation of a stretch of the Gawler River that has been taken back from invasive plants like boxthorn and replaced with a locally indigenous ecosystem.

A full length movie about the creation of The Food Forest will be showing during the lunchbreak and in the afternoon.

Visitors will be able to purchase certified organic dried fruit, nuts, wine and plants as well as receiving advice from the Food Forest team.

The Strawbale Building Information session is from 10am sharp-1pm (cost $15) and Permaculture talks and inspections from 2pm sharp –5pm (cost $10). Visitors can also attend for the whole day and bring a picnic lunch (cost $20). There is no charge for children.

Short Courses

Intensive public workshops coming up include:

University programs in permaculture! 

If you've been to uni, you can now study Permaculture at Graduate level. 

It is clear that more and more participants in Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) courses already have degrees and are keen to study permaculture design in more depth so they can take their skills to a new level or in a fresh direction. So we have been working with the University of Central Queensland and permaculture co-originator David Holmgren to deliver the first fully accredited university program to the World. 

CQUniversity is a specialist provider to students in disparate locations, with sophisticated online facilities and strategic teaching locations where students can come together for intensive face-to-face learning blocks, so the permaculture programs will be available worldwide.

In 2016 a Graduate Certificate in Permaculture Design will be offered. In 2017 the plan is to also introduce the Graduate Diploma and Masters. Each program will be part-time for 1 year.

Program Coordinator Dr Keri Chiveralls and Senior Lecturer Lucy Legan will coordinate input from key permaculture designers and academics from a large range of disciplines.

A feature of the Grad Certificate is a 'residential'  to be held at one of the permaculture teaching sites which currently include The Food Forest and Kul Kul Farm at The Green School in Bali. Further sites will be sought during the upcoming International Permaculture Conference. The Grad Cert will thus also satisfy the requirements and the spirit of the World-recognised PDC.

Australian students can defer fees on FeeHELP and the University is offering a number of scholarships for International students.

The plan will create a new integrative professional role which draws multiple disciplines together to create sustainable designs and solutions as well as enabling graduates from any discipline to learn and use permaculture ethics and skills as an overlay in their profession and in their private lives.

For further information contact us or Keri Chiveralls for further information.

Graduate permaculturists

Well-known permaculturists Jake Bugden and James Ward will feature in the promotion of the new graduate programs as terrific examples of uni graduates who have studied permaculture and made a significant contribution to sustainable design and education as well as forging successful careers, doing what they believe in.

Jake graduated in Chemical Engineering but after a PDC created permaculture businesses aimed at saving energy and water for large organisations as well as helping to retrofit most of his street with sustainable families! He's served as President of the Wilderness Society and won the Young South Australian of the Year Environmental Award.

James qualified in Environmental Science, Civil Engineering and Hydrology before doing a PDC and has crafted a role at the University of SA as Director for Postgraduate Studies in Water, Engineering and Environmental Science. He has undertaken and encouraged research in urban food production, aquaponics and water conservation.

Climate backflip? 

Whilst we have had a chilly winter and some people are asking 'What happened to Global Warming?' the fact is that the World as a whole has had the warmest first 6 months of a year ever recorded, and we may be in for a hot summer as El Nino strengthens its grip.

Excellent resources explaining the big weather patterns driving our weather and long term predictions are available at the Bureau of Meteorology website.

(By the way, our nut and fruit trees have been delighted with the chill and are set for a big flowering).

Fire planning

In the wake of the biggest bushfire in the Adelaide Hills for many years, David Holmgren spoke at a Bushfire Resilience Forum in Gawler this year to introduce  permaculture planning for landscapes and homes to the region's landholders. The design of buildings, plantings, fencing and a personal plan of action were discussed. 

But it left many attendees thirsting for more help in terms of the practicalities of what they would do on their own property. The South Australian Country Fire Service has followed up with a series of workshops for 'Firey women' at The Food Forest. Actually writing personal fire plans, changing the landscapes around homes is under way. Your community may also seek information meetings and arrange workshops with the CFS via

Permaculture Design Certificate

Aldinga Arts EcoVillage opens for Sustainable House Day 

On Sunday September 13th, 10am-4pm, four households in the village will give tours showing and describing the individual features that make their homes sustainable.

There will be talks on the farm about the waste water treatment plant, the worm farm and the Village Green market garden.
The Arts Cooperative will be open for viewing works of art from village artists.
There will be food for sale at our Pop Up Cafe, including soups, cakes and hot beverages.

It will be a day of interest and learning about living a sustainable life! Everyone is welcome!

New Farmers market

Gawler will be home to a new farmers market in the next few months. The Adelaide Showground Farmers Market organisation will run the weekly event on Saturday mornings. Keep an eye on the ASFM website for details.

Big propagation season

We've had a big propagation season and are expecting good strike rates for figs and pomegranates. We also have stock of Icecream-fruit trees.

Loquats break the fruit drought

Things get pretty scarce in the orchard this time of the year, with lemons and um... lemons and not much else, unless you have loquats. Easy to grow but not very salt tolerant, they are originally from China and a wwoofer tells me that there they are poached in a light syrup to balance the acidity. The flowers have a lovely fragrance and the fruit is luscious and much sought-after by those who love tart food. I feel guilty saying it, but they are perfect with icecream! (and can be used for chutneys and jams).

International Permaculture Conference

The largest-ever gathering of permaculturists from around the World will happen in England from 8-16 Sept. Over a thousand people will be involved in the Conference in London and Convergence in Essex

Annemarie and Graham Brookman will be amongst the strong Aussie contingent presenting papers and workshops, and they have will be meeting many of their past wwoofers from many countries. An important step forward for permaculture will be the launch of the Postgraduate programs and the revitalisation of the Permaculture International Research Network.

Wine bonanza

The 2014 vintage is drinking well and our very low preservative levels have kept those allergic to sulphur happy, as well as those who like to drink a bottle over a few days without fear of the wine oxidising. With eight excellent certified organic wines to choose from and an insanely low price, how can you resist!

We sell the wines at the Adelaide Showground Farmers Market on alternate Sundays and are happy for you to pre-order and pick-up at the market, or we can arrange shipping.

Market dates

Upcoming markets that the Food forest will attend are on a fortnightly pattern from Sept 20.

Watering and mulching in Spring

The first few flowers are opening on our deciduous trees BUT the roots have been growing and using up soil-water for several weeks. Suddenly our trees need to be watered again, especially if you want good flowering and good crops. Check that the drippers are working and don't let the weeds suck the precious water and nutrients out of the ground; mow them and sheet mulch around your trees.

Hot weather on the way

Before we experience nasty hot days, think about shade and windbreak material. Permeable polypropylene windbreak fabric can reduce evaporation by up to 50% so if you have an exposed garden site, think about erecting a wind fence.
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