Geoff Lawton teaching at PRI Sunshine Coast

PRI Master Plan sites

We just finished another PDC here at Maungaraeeda. Everyone was very happy with the course, the food, the people and the experience! (see student feedback page) We had a big surprise for the students in our course, when Geoff Lawton came here and taught the first two days. Geoff, Nadia and the gorgeous Latifah kindly came to Maungaraeeda to lend their support to our growing organisation, as we are a PRI Master Plan site. Continue reading

Private garden greywater system in Vanuatu

Permaculture course in Vanuatu

Tom has come back from Vanuatu with lots of photos and stories to tell! He taught a class of 10 local students, who took the Permaculture Design information back to their villages and projects, to put it into place there. Reports have come back from Vanuatu since the course, that most students are doing great and have started to implement their Permaculture knowledge!

Continue reading

The Permaculture kitchen garden is getting new plants.

Permaculture Life Skills Internships

Permaculture Life Skills Internships

Level demonstration

Interns will learn all aspects of living and working on a permaculture farm and will learn methods and design applicable to everyday farm situations. They will be fully involved in all farm activities.

There will be no “lecture room” experiences in the internship because all learning will be accompanied by practical experience (learning whilst doing), but it is probably a good idea to carry a notebook and pen around with you! Subjects will be dealt with in more depth in the 10 week Internship than in the 5 week Internship.

10 week Internship curriculum, subject to change:

Week 1: Introduction to farm practices and routines
This is an orientation week so interns get a feel for the flow on the farm and the routines that are so important, particularly in relation to the farm animals. Interns will be responsible for their own hot water and compost toilets, and they will learn about personal responsibility and housekeeping, to name but a few.

Week 2: Permaculture Knowledge and Know-How with Tom Kendall
This is a theoretical questions and answers week, to ensure all interns have a good grounding in Permaculture Knowledge. Any gaps in knowledge will be addressed in a theoretical and possibly hands on approach for full integration of knowledge. This week is specifically for interns, no outside students are taken.

Week 3: Farm practices and routines
Weeks 3, 5, 7 and 10 will contain, but not be limited to the following subjects:

  • propagation
  • seed saving
  • seedlings
  • planting
  • composting & soil improvement
  • self reliance skills (eg homesteading skills such as cheese and yoghurt making, food preservation etc; bush mechanics, resource saving and salvage, wood chopping, chain sawing etc)
  • worm farms
  • animal care and routines
  • food forestry
  • fencing methods
  • Water Management
  • Zone 1 Gardening
  • Plant Species
  • Food Preparation and Nutrition
  • Non-fossil fuel energy systems
  • Harvesting and preparing food for storage

Week 4: Specialist course: Earthworks with Tom Kendall
Dams, swales and other earthworks are discussed. Contour, conveyancing and tools for design are discussed and shown. The students will be taken through the planning and design of a swale and/or dam and the earthworks (digging of the swale and/or dam) will be done in that week. After earthworks are completed, soil repair will be discussed and undertaken.

Week 5: Farm practices and routines
See week 3

Week 6: Specialist course: Sustainable Soils Management with Paul Taylor
We are very excited to have Paul Taylor, the main teacher of our ‘How to Make Your Own Natural Fertilizer’ biological soil science course here to teach the Sustainable Soils Management course. He is the managing director of Trust Nature Pty Ltd and has been working as a recognized educator and sustainable design consultant for the past 30 years. Paul has Australian Federal Government FarmReady approval as an educator, is a recognized Permaculture Teacher and organic soil management specialist and has completed his Certificate IV in Education, Training and Assessment. One of his specialist areas of education and training is organic and biological gardening and farming. This includes making Bio-Vital™ regenerative compost from farm and community waste, designed to regenerate degraded land and help communities to ‘grow food for free’. Please see http://permaculture.org.au/2012/06/21/background-on-our-how-to-make-your-own-natural-fertiliser-soil-science-course/ for more information.

Week 7: Farm practices and routines
See week 3

Week 8: Specialist course: Sustainable Building Methods with Tom Kendall
Students will learn different building methods to work with locally available materials. Possible included materials are local rock, secondhand or local timbers, sand, clay and possible other materials in the future. Methods of design are discussed as to purpose of the building and how it is sited. Also effects on the surrounding land is discussed and methods of relieving possible issues, eg drainage.

Week 9: Specialist course:  Urban Permaculture with Anne Gibson and Tom Kendall  
This course will focus on implementing Permaculture principles in a variety of urban contexts including balcony and high rise gardens; courtyards and compact suburban blocks; community and allotment gardens; rental properties; and nature strip verge gardens. It covers the many challenges of growing in these urban spaces and practical solutions to design high yield, low cost/low energy/minimal maintenance edible landscapes.

Participants will learn about a variety of ways to grow food both inside the home and outdoors to take advantage of different micro climates; container gardening including portable options; solutions for those with special needs; vertical structures to maximise space including herb spirals; sprouting and seed raising; designing out problems; plant and seed selection; container challenged crops;  recycling nutrients indoors and out; watering, fertilising and maintenance; sourcing local materials economically; potting and seed raising mixes; small scale propagation techniques; mini compost systems; how to plant for a continual harvest; intensive growing methods; growing fruit trees in small spaces; self-reliance, reusing materials and making your own supplies.

Week 10: Farm practices and routines, final questions
See week 3

5 week Internship curriculum, subject to change:

Week 1: Introduction to farm practices and routines
This is an orientation week so interns get a feel for the flow on the farm and the routines that are so important, particularly in relation to the farm animals. Interns will be responsible for their own hot water and compost toilets, and they will learn about personal responsibility and housekeeping, to name but a few.
Weeks 1 and 5 will contain, but not be limited to the following subjects:

  • seedlings
  • planting
  • composting & soil improvement
  • worm farms
  • animal care and routines
  • water management
  • zone 1 gardening

Week 2: Specialist course: Earthworks with Tom Kendall
Dams, swales and other earthworks are discussed. Contour, conveyancing and tools for design are discussed and shown. The students will be taken through the planning and design of a swale and/or dam and the earthworks (digging of the swale and/or dam) will be done in that week. After earthworks are completed, soil repair will be discussed and undertaken.

Week 3: Specialist course: Sustainable Soils Management with Paul Taylor
We are very excited to have Paul Taylor, the main teacher of our ‘How to Make Your Own Natural Fertilizer’ biological soil science course here to teach the Sustainable Soils Management course. He is the managing director of Trust Nature Pty Ltd and has been working as a recognized educator and sustainable design consultant for the past 30 years. Paul has Australian Federal Government FarmReady approval as an educator, is a recognized Permaculture Teacher and organic soil management specialist and has completed his Certificate IV in Education, Training and Assessment. One of his specialist areas of education and training is organic and biological gardening and farming. This includes making Bio-Vital™ regenerative compost from farm and community waste, designed to regenerate degraded land and help communities to ‘grow food for free’. Please see http://permaculture.org.au/2012/06/21/background-on-our-how-to-make-your-own-natural-fertiliser-soil-science-course/ for more information.

Week 4: Specialist course: Sustainable Building Methods with Tom Kendall
Students will learn different building methods to work with locally available materials. Possible included materials are local rock, secondhand or local timbers, sand, clay and possible other materials in the future. Methods of design are discussed as to purpose of the building and how it is sited. Also effects on the surrounding land is discussed and methods of relieving possible issues, eg drainage.

Week 5: Farm practices and routines, final questions
See week 1

Please note that Interns must have a Permaculture Design Certificate.

Specialist courses are open to non-interns. People just doing a specialist course do not need a PDC. 

Camping (tent) accommodation is included in the course fee, please byo tent and camping gear (bedding etc). Should you not wish to stay in a tent, we can offer limited cabin accommodation at $30 per night or backpacker style shared accommodation at $10 per night (you will need to supply bedding). Bathroom facilities are shared. All meals on course days are included, 3 meals per day plus morning and afternoon tea. The weekends are days off, and students will need to cater for themselves on those days. Wholesome take-away food packs are also available for those days from our caterer, at an extra cost.

Directions to get to the Permaculture Research Institute Sunshine Coast: Take the Bruce Highway towards Gympie from the South or toward Brisbane from the North. Take the Pomona Kin Kin turnoff. Follow the road, turn right at the T-intersection. Take the road through Pomona town, straight through the roundabout, over the railway line, then turn left at the T-Intersection. Follow that road to Kin Kin. Turn left to go into Kin Kin and past the pub. Follow that road for about 3 kms, Golden Gully Road is on your left (a dirt road). “Maungaraeeda”  is 930 metres down that road on your left. Click here for Google map.

Internships are capped at 5 Interns!

Course hours: as per farm hours: 6am – 6pm daily, weekends are free. Breaks for meals and morning/afternoon tea.

Course price: $4750 inc. all meals, $475 non-refundable but transferable deposit upon booking. Full amount due 3 weeks prior to start date.

We only take small groups of interns to maximise the individual learning experience, so book now to secure your spot!

Bookings Essential! Please book by emailing info (at) permaculturesunshinecoast.org (replace (at) with @ in the email) or book now online through PRI Australia by following the links below.

BOOK ONLINE for 10 week Internship 8 July – 13 September 2013:
(bookings are taken by PRI Australia in a new browser tab)
Book and pay deposit $475
Book and pay full amount $4750
CAPPED AT 5 INTERNS!
Flooding events are becoming more frequent

Prepared for disaster

Our road floods on both sides of our property.

Our road floods on both sides of our property.

Disaster is a word that strikes fear into most people. We usually believe disaster is out of our control. The actual happening of the disaster may be out of our control, but how we deal with it and how we come out the other end, is fully in our control. Last weekend we had a major rain event here, from an ex-tropical cyclone swooping through the region. Wind pushed trees over and there was major flooding in this and other areas. We were flooded in for 2 days.  Continue reading

Best wishes!!

We wish you all a wonderful festive season!

Best wishes!!

Best wishes!!

The Permaculture Research Institute Sunshine Coast will be closed from Wednesday 19 December until Thursday 3 January. Please email us on info [at] permaculture sunshinecoast.org for enquiries or bookings during this time.

Our New Year’s resolution for 2013 is to share our Permaculture Demonstration site with as many people who want to learn as possible. To share our knowledge and to provide people with solutions rather than problems. To embrace and respect people’s differences, and to work with them to find their talents and passions. To grow more food and to cook and prepare more food from the garden for the students on the property. To enjoy and be thankful for every minute of life given to us. To surround ourselves with music, joy and happiness.

We wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and a fantastic 2013!