How to

How To Host a Permaculture Event

The permaculture movement is attracting more interest than ever before in its 40-years plus history. As you create ecological sustainability in your home and garden, you might want to share your passion with your neighbours and the wider community. 

Hosting a permaculture event is the perfect way to share your values, connect with potential enthusiasts and teach more people about Permaculture.

You could host an event  at your property, community space or even organise a complex multi-day international convention, or anything in between. 

Read on and learn how to host a permaculture event. But first, here’s why we think you should host a permaculture event. 


Why you should host a permaculture event

Permaculture is very simply defined as the development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient. 

There are many reasons to organise a get-together and celebrate what you love. But the most crucial reason is to create awareness about the permaculture ethics: Earth Care, People Care, and Return of Surplus. 

Permaculture events can be extremely rewarding.  It all starts with an idea, then connecting with your community  to address the issues or needs not being met. The following steps will help you host a successful permaculture event. 


Have a clear intention for your event

Be clear about the intention and the scale of the event. What is the one thing you would like to achieve? 

Perhaps you want to promote permaculture ideals in your community. Or, maybe you want to recruit more members to your local permaculture groups or offer insights and educate your community through a seminar or workshop. A permaculture event can inspire people in your community to learn, get involved, and change behaviour.

Being clear about your intention helps define the events goals and influences the type and scale of the event to host. 


Settle on the type of event

There is a wide range of events you can host. From something as simple as a potluck event (a communal gathering where attendees bring a food plate to share) or seed swap to complex events like workshops, seminars and conferences.  Just remember to stay true to the permaculture ethics, share skills on sustainable living, build networks, and have fun!

Permaculture Yorkshire
Image by Permaculture Association (flickr) under CC BY-SA 2.0

Do your research

The biggest mistake you could make is to jump into the nitty-gritty of event planning before doing some research. Event hosting is a design process – you have to think about everything beforehand. 

Before you get the engines roaring, do some homework. Here are a few questions to help you get started in the research process.

  • Does the event make sense? Is it needed? Will the community members appreciate it? What are the benefits?
  • Have there been similar events previously in the same community? If not, you can look to other communities. 
  • Does it complement and build on previous similar events? Ensure your event does not compete. 


Figure out the event details

Now that you have a viable event and have done some background checks, you can plan the event details.


The attendees and invitation 

Who is this event for, and how will you make sure it is communicated so people will attend? 

Define your attendees’ persona profile. What are their characteristics and interests? What are their needs, reasons to attend (benefits), and reasons that could keep them from attending? 

It is also helpful to define your target attendee’s demographic profiles like age, gender, geographical location, and hobbies. 

Thereafter, you can devise a contact plan. Find out where to find your target attendees and the best ways to get in touch with them. Then you can craft suitable invitation messages. 


Creating the right atmosphere

Creating the right atmosphere begins with the name of the event and the invitation messages. What will you call the event? Are you focusing on or excluding some people (with or without realising it)? Take another look at your event name, invitation messages, and the faces of the target attendees. Make sure the event is representative of the diversity you would like to achieve. 

Be savvy about the presentations and event activities. Ensure they are clean, attractive, sensitive, substantiated, and inclusive. It will go a long way in making sure few people (or no one) feel they were being lectured or looked down on. Attendees should feel valued and free to participate. 


Craft a time plan for the day

What will happen during the permaculture event? Will you have ice-breakers, presentations, performances, resource exchange? How will the day run? Break down the day into manageable segments, develop a plan of how the event will start and end, and schedule each activity. 

Include all the talks, tours, tea or coffee breaks, informal networking sessions, and conclusions. 

You might not achieve everything you planned for on that day, but don’t fail to have a time plan. 

Think about the materials, facilities, and services needed. For example, where and when will you host the event, which services and equipment will you need? 

The venue

Do you have a venue in mind? What is its capacity? How will you control crowds and traffic? 

Consider setting up an online event registration so that you have better control of the number of attendees. 

Also, think about the venue accessibility and facilities available. Ensure it is accessible and meets the needs of your target attendees. As you’re hosting a permaculture event – and permaculture is all about sustainability and protecting the planet – ensuring you have efficient and sustainable waste management, enough garbage receptacles and proper recycling is key. 

Consider venues where attendees can visit alternative places if they need water or food – self-determination. 

Materials and equipment

Do you have sufficient and good-quality equipment to support the event? If the event requires a public address system, do you have good quality audio-visual equipment? It would be helpful to have a technical person help you here. 

Site security

Develop a security plan before the permaculture event.  How will you ensure the site, volunteers, visitors, and belongings are safe? How will you handle access control security for vendors, staff, and attendees?

Permaculture Event
Image by Marcus Johnstone (flickr) under CC BY-NC 2.0

Money matters

Project the costs, wastes, and surpluses of the event. Include all the obvious and not-so-obvious inputs in your budget and adjust accordingly.

Ensure your organising team, vendors and visitors have insurance coverage. Reach out to financial advisors and learn which insurance plan would be suitable. In some jurisdictions, insurance cover for an event is a legal requirement. 

Plan your post-event activities

At the tail end of the event activities, thank the people for attending and remind them to sign up and contact you. This way, they can always be in the loop and know about permaculture events you plan to host in the future. But don’t stop there. Plan to collect feedback after the event and what to do with the information. 


Finally, don’t do it alone

It would be almost counter culture to plan and host a permaculture event all by yourself. A tree stands out because of the firm roots and ecosystem supporting it. Therefore, work with a group. 

Think about the following as you consider the team:

  • Will the team members get paid, be volunteers, or will you have a blend? 
  • How will the volunteers be compensated for their time and energy?

Assign specific roles for your team, nurture and develop synergies, and come up with a memorable permaculture event.

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