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Permaculture Co-founder Honored at Milestone Event

David Holmgren, co-originator of the concept of permaculture design, has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate from CQUniversity. The award was presented during the school’s launch of a new Graduate Diploma in Permaculture Design, on 19 April at The Joinery in Adelaide.

Early last year, late permaculture co-founder Bill Mollison was recognized in a similar manner – with the receipt of an Honorary Doctorate from CQUniversity by South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill, at the launch of the Graduate Certificate program early in 2016. The award was accepted on Mollison’s behalf by Geoff Lawton, with PRI.

Holmgren and Mollison worked together to publish Permaculture One, which was released in 1978 and introduced the world to the concepts behind permaculture design. The book has inspired countless permaculture educators, designers, and consultants, who continue to expand and improve on the initial concepts presented in Holmgren and Mollison’s works.

“I see this CQU course breaking new ground in the spread and diversification of permaculture education, as part of a long, slow third wave of permaculture design, activism, and education that is building, not just in Australia, but right around the world,” Holmgren said.

Following a speech by Stephanie Key, State MP for Ashford, Holmgren’s newest book was introduced. RetroSurburbia, published by Melliodora, explores the ways our residential landscapes have changed – making them “fit for purpose” to accommodate future energy descent around the world. With the collapsing prices of Australian exports, increasing extreme weather events, and geopolitical crises on the rise, Holmgren’s book addresses some of the concerns homeowners are facing about the future of their children and grandchildren.

“The incremental and ongoing retrofit of the built, biological and behavioural domains of the household is recognized by many as the best bet to weather the storms of uncertain times and contribute to a better future for the next generations,” Holmgren said of his book. “RetroSuburbia … (shows) how ordinary Australians can downshift and retrofit their houses, gardens, and lifestyles to be much more sustainable and resilient – to survive and thrive.”

Guests at the event were also able to enjoy a showcase highlighting the Graduate Certificate in Permaculture Design program’s first year through presentations of “capstone projects.” These projects allow students at CQUniversity to take the knowledge they’ve learned through the program and apply to a specific idea.

The projects included a wide variety of subject material, including traditional permaculture designs for conventional food production, contemporary permaculture education projects, and concepts like the “perma-psychology” project, which encourages the application of the ethics and principles of permaculture to other disciplines.

Start-up businesses based on permaculture design concepts were also represented in these projects. CQUniversity students proposed a sustainable and regenerative pet memorial service called “Companion Planting,” and a mobile food van, “The Food Print Experience,” that provides nutritious permaculture food as well as educational workshop opportunities.

“The first year of the Permaculture course has been a remarkable success thanks to our amazing students, staff, superstar guest lecturers, industry partners, and broader community support,” said Dr. Keri Chiveralls, discipline leader for the courses. “We look forward to the program growing and thriving in 2017.”

The Permaculture Research Insitute

PRI Zaytuna Farm functions as a model farm (in development) and permaculture training facility. Geoff and Nadia Lawton, world-renowned permaculture educators and consultants, lead the project. Much of Geoff and Nadia’s time over the last few years has been spent away from the Institute, consulting and helping set up projects in diverse locales around the world. Seeing the worldwide demand for knowledgeable permaculture consultants and teachers increase exponentially, as fuel and fertiliser prices skyrocket and the effects of climate change, soil depletion and water shortages begin to hit hard, priority and focus is now shifting back to the Institute, where growing the training program will increase the output of quality teachers to help fill the growing need for them.

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