Archive for the ‘Permaculture design’ Category

For me, working with the Carrs Park community gardeners to plan and design their garden was one of the most fulfilling projects of 2008. Russ, my partner in crime on this project, has written an article on the official opening, which was attended by the Lord Mayor of Kogarah and held in their amazing new straw bale outdoor classroom! Very excited for everyone involved…

Read the article here


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LAST YEAR, Living Schools in partnership with Pacific Edge consulted for Kogarah Council on the development of:

  • policy directions on community gardening – production of a community gardener’s guide
  • a community consultation process to garner ideas from the municipality and recruit a core group of community gardeners
  • a two-day participatory design processes to develop concept plans for the proposed community garden.

A report on the consultation and participatory design process (‘Community Garden Development for Kogarah Council’) can be found here.

A recent visit to the site of the community garden disclosed that the project is moving ahead rapidly, with a number of shared community garden beds installed and gardeners and others engaged in constructing a strawbale outdoor classroom.

Those with an interest in such things can find a report (‘Collaboration, participation build something new on something old’) at http://pacific-edge.info.

A photo album of the construction can be viewed here

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In late 2008 Living Schools worked with Kogarah Council to initiate a community garden project on a local disused bowling green in Carrs Park.

Following initial promotion and community consultation regarding the concept an enthusiastic group had formed, eager to learn and to put their ideas to the test. Educators worked with the group, facilitating two full-day training session, the first focusing on strategic planning and group development and the second on site assessment and design.

Council’s landscape architect attended both sessions, listening closely to the ideas generated so that they could later be translated into a professional design. At the end of the process a strong group of about twenty people agreed on the date for their first independent planning meeting.

The top-down approach to community garden development is often cited as being problematic, probably due to the many examples where such an approach has failed because the community were never actually given ownership. This project suggests that with communication, respect and genuine shared ownership a community garden can indeed be successfully initiated from above. Council is now working collaboratively with the community group to make the garden a reality. We are eager to see how it progresses.

Living Schools have collated the work of the community group during the two training days to develop policy recommendations for council as well as a gardeners’ guide, gardeners’ agreement and initial action plan. These are available upon request to interested parties.

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Living Schools has recently partnered with the City of Sydney Council and the Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Networks to produce a guide for anyone interested in setting up a community garden in their area. The guide covers setup, management and maintenance, as well as some of the trickier aspects of social dynamics. Download the 80 page guide for free here

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Marrickville Council is holding a free Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) on your Property workshop on Saturday 3rd May 2008. You MUST book a place and light refreshments are provided. The workshop is being facilitated by David Knights from EDAW, a recognised expert in the WSUD field.

At the workshop, you will find out about:

  • Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) – what is it?
  • How you can apply WSUD on private residences
  • Options for different places and spaces around your home e.g. porous paving, wetlands, rain gardens, water sensitive landscaping, green roofs and walls
  • Rainwater tanks and greywater treatment systems.

If you wish, bring a sketch layout of your home to practice designing WSUD on your property.

For further details email: envuswim@marrickville.nsw.gov.au

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Living Schools will be presenting an Introduction to Permaculture Design course on 19th and 20th of April at the Raymond Terrace Community Garden. As per our philosophy of hands-on experiential learning the course will provide the opportunity to get your hands dirty learning about:

  • Site assessment, sector analysis, zoning, systems design
  • Soil fertility management (incl. composting master class)
  • Urban food production (backyards and balconies)
  • Integrated pest management and companion planting
  • Water cycle management (xeriscaping, grey-water reuse, WSUD and rainwater harvesting)
  • Energy efficient home retrofit
  • Practical solutions for sustainable living

The course fee of $150 covers all course materials, as well as lunches, morning and afternoon teas. Please contact us through the website at www.livingschools.com.au if you would like to attend.

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In February the Glebe Community Garden again hosted Living Schools, this time for a weekend Introduction to Permaculture Design. The course was hands-on with lots of activities, including planting habitat for native birds, sowing seed, setting up a household worm-farm and designing a passive solar home retrofit. Of course the best bit was the many passionate conversations and sharing of skills and knowledge amongst participants. As one person put it: “What a wonderful weekend. I’m looking at the world around me with new eyes!”





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