As the permaculture movement marches forward into the sustainable future, there appears to be a growing collective insight shared by permaculturalists world-wide; information is the new global currency. In response to a growing demand and an increasingly urgent need for education and information, strategies and techniques we can use to create a sustainable future are invaluable. And there are many who feel that they can’t be spread quickly enough. Sensing a call to action, some permaculturalists with access to land and resources have begun to see the value in the propagation of a truly sustainable crop: students. One of those permaculture designers is Peter Brecknock.
Peter, an architect by Profession, is hard at work developing Allyn River Permaculture, an education/demonstration site in Allynbrook, NSW. Fellow designer Nick Huggins and I, having just finished the 10 week internship at Zaytuna Farm, set out down the Australian East Coast and planned a stop here at Allynbrook before heading to Wagga Wagga to install a permaculture home garden and orchard. After an amazing and information dense two and a half months at Zaytuna, Nick and I were eager to help out and put our newfound knowledge to work. On Peter’s 17.5 acres he’s capitalized on the land’s diverse features and continues to bring it to abundant production with several hundred meters of swales, dams, diverse food forest, native forest corridors, and small animal systems including chickens and guinea fowl (and the best eggs I’ve had in years).
In the days we were on site, Nick and I helped plant out native forest trees on contour, build zone 2 veggie beds, and maintained sheet mulch on some of the orchard swales. What we’ve seen here is a site with a potential for true abundance, and a teacher who’s on the way to setting up a truly valuable education site. “I’m interested in bringing people out of the classroom and showing how to put these techniques to use in a practical way” says Peter. “So many people don’t know what to do once they’ve taken a PDC or an intro course. I hope to provide an outdoor classroom that teaches practical water harvesting, and a demonstration of a large amount of diversity on a small site.”
Having been a student of Bill Mollison and a co-teacher with Geoff Lawton, clearly Peter is prepared to cultivate a crop of his own students. We wish him luck with that and applaud his endeavour to create another patch on the quilt that is Permaculture in Australia. At the moment, Peter has put a call out to wwoofers as he continues to develop his small site. Visit www.allynriverpermaculture.com.au to contact Peter for more information about his site and his courses.