Educating Canberra – Courses for 2013

Canberra, Australia’s capital, has been lacking access to permaculture education. Whilst the surrounding areas of Bungendore, Braidwood, Bredbo, Murrumbateman and Yass show some great examples of permaculture applications, and Permablitz ACT exists as a growing and active group, a group of independent permaculture specialists have now set up Permaculture eXchange to address the need for more formal permaculture education in the Canberra Region.

Four of Geoff and Nadia Lawton’s past students have come together to spearhead the project: Nick Huggins, Colin McLean, Penny Kothe, and Dan Harris-Pascal.

Permaculture eXchange is an incorporated association formed to fill a gap in sustainability information and permaculture education in the South East Highlands Bio-region through the provision of information and education to support sustainability initiatives across the region.

Our first course for 2013 will coincide with International Permaculture Day and will be a 2 day Introduction to Permaculture course held at the Australian National Botanic Gardens on 4 and 5 May 2013. This will be followed by a part-time 72 hour Permaculture Design Certificate course at Lanyon Homestead from 8 June through to 14 July (weekends only) and a full-time 72 hour Permaculture Design Certificate course from 20 October to 2 November.

“Our Spring 2012 Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course was very popular, with 18 students coming from many areas in Canberra and Queanbeyan as well as more far afield places such as Cooma and Jindabyne”, Says Nick Huggins, Chairman of Permaculture eXchange.

Last year the group offered two scholarship positions on the course, one of these taken up by Fred Rinaldi from the Bredbo Land Care Group. If you would like to participate and don’t have the funds to contribute, scholarship positions are now open.

Drawing together local knowledge from both urban and rural systems, Nick Huggins will lead the teaching, along with guest lecturers on topics such as soil, composting and forest gardens. Students are invited to bring details of their own sites or potential sites to consider during the course.

“We are committed to delivering world-class, innovative and practical courses to people in the Canberra and South Eastern Highlands bioregion — from Canberra to Yass and Wagga Wagga to the Coastal Hinterland in order to help us all move toward a more sustainable future no matter whether we live in the city or rural areas”, says Huggins.

Huggins adds: "With increasing consumer demand for sustainable living systems, Permaculture eXchange aims to improve education in this area and ultimately assist in bringing like-minded people together."

Market research is the driving force behind this project with preliminary studies identifying the top three concerns of Canberra consumers as being: ‘improving water collection and reducing consumption’ , ‘minimising the inefficient use of energy’ and ‘consuming product that is sustainably farmed’. Looking to the twelve months ahead, the greatest challenges the research identified were ‘returning organic matter to the soil’ and ‘growing more of their own herbs, vegetables and fruit’.

To apply for scholarship positions, please go to

Upcoming Courses:

Introduction to Permaculture
Date: 4 and 5 May 2013
Location: Australian National Botanic Gardens, Acton, ACT
Price: Early Bird $355, Standard Price $395

Winter part-time PDC
Dates: 8 and 9 June, 15 and 16 June, 22 and 23 June, 29 and 30 June, 6 and 7 July, 13 and 14 July
Location: Lanyon Homestead, Tharwa
Price: Early Bird $1650, Standard Price $1950

Spring Full-time PDC
Date: 20 Oct to 2 November 2013
Location: Lanyon Homestead, Tharwa
Price: Early Bird $1650, Standard Price $1950

About Permaculture eXchange Inc.

Permaculture eXchange is a non-profit education and information network with a focus on sustainable living systems in the ACT and South East NSW bio-region. The aim is to bring together both urban, semi-rural and rural permaculture students, teachers and designers for the surrounding area.

Permaculture eXchange will bring education and information to people working in the field of sustainability utilising permaculture and holistic farming management practices.

With properties in the Canberra region totalling almost 500 acres (including Jacmarall Farm near Tarago, Caroola Farm at Mulloon and Nunyara Farm near Braidwood) the Permaculture eXchange was formed by a group of experienced farmers, teachers and practitioners, headed up by Nicholas ‘Nick’ Huggins as Chairman.

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