The story so far

Tamara left Bunyip in April 2009 seeking what she needed to know for her permaculture future. She spent 9 months at her Aunt Catherine's farm in Arid South Australia, then 9 months at Bill and Lisa Mollison's farm in Tasmania. Now she's off on more adventures starting Moonrise School of Permaculture and teaching Permaculture Design Courses in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges near Melbourne. Ducky is there for the journey...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The pilgrimage begins!

Hello beautiful people!!!!

Today is day 2 of our teacher trainings here at Zayunta farm with Geoff Lawton, and we blog this morning as we spent last night looking at videos of ourselves presenting to the class for one minute, critiquing ourselves and allowing feedback from our class mates. What I thought would be unpleasant turned out to be a fun and positive experience sharing with our new future teachers. This is our group having lunch :)

The class we have joined is mainly interns for the 10 week program they run here. I have to say we have all gelled together really nicely - I think the one minute presentation of a topic we're passionate about being filmed brought us together in a caring and supportive environment. So of course I introduced the wonderful Ducky - who else am I so passionate about? My critique - I need to make proper eye contact, not just scan the room!

So arriving here on sunday, after nearly missing my flight out of melbourne (thanks mum for getting me there!) and then traveling by taxi - who got stuck on a driveway drain as he was reversing out of the place we asked directions from - we put up our tents, met lots of new people and had dinner at the local tavern. And then an early night - the sun goes down early here - 8pm - which was good as I was ready to hit the sack at 7.30! 

Day one started early with a meeting at 7.30am for the new people, while the interns went about their morning tasks of looking after animals and doing some gardening and their projects. Wellington boots are essential for all morning work here - the condensation is thick every night as we are so close to the sea.

In the morning we covered the types of students we're likely to have and some of the personality types were likely, which was confronting as I could find myself in that list.

There were a couple of highlights of the day - the first one was to Chile - a desert location 2400 above sea level and the driest place on earth - Geoff did a live cross to the PDC being taught there and answered lots of questions they had. He also did some teaching - there are specific pages in the designers manual that are applicable to the desert - permaculture 2 has good desert stuff too. We did a skype call so we could see each other - I've put a pic above of the students - fuzzy but it was a great connection.

The second highlight was the milk and cream straight from the cows here. Real fresh cream on our scones - and it appears I'm not allergic to real, raw milk like I am to the commercial stuff.

Real cream on our scones!!!!!! And me enjoying those scones!!!!!!

The final highlight was for Delvin and I to hang out with Nadia, Geoff and Latifa - their baby girl at the end of the day, catching up with our lives. Latifa is a gorgeous girl - she had been so sick last year but now she is almost walking and a happier baby I have never met. What an amazing first day!

We even bugged Geoff for a pic :)


  1. Can't wait to hear more about your pilgrimage experiences. I'd love to be there. It's going to be another one of those wonderful journey's I suspect.

    Kind Regards

  2. Sounds great Tamara. Your having Rad adventures.

  3. The PRI is always a wonderful journey. It is the big let down at the end of it when you realize you have spent an outrageous $2200 for a piece of paper that is not worth the ink it is written on and listened to war stories for 5 of the 12 days. Excuse me for being cynical but I am in a position to know. I loved my time at the PRI but came to the point after the course when I was made aware that I was not a "teacher" a "qualified" anything. In fact, the one thing it did give me was the incentive to actually go out and learn something about plants, design and gardening. As one previous intern stated, if you watch all the available videos on permaculture (I believe Permaculture Gold Coast has a brilliant library) and go wwoofing at some good sites like Milkwood and Purple Bear you will be a much more qualified permaculturist

  4. I've been doing permaculture for over 5 years and I thought the site was great. The milk and the meat were from the farm. The mob at Milkwood are my peers and I spent 9 months wwoofing with Bill Mollison last year. You can't learn everything in 2 weeks. That is why teacher registration as a PRI teacher requires at least 2 years experience in the field and a range of other things. You can teach permaculture once you have a PDC but it is unwise to do so until we are fully versed in it. In addition, there is accredited permaculture training which you can teach once you have a cert 4 in training and assessment (which I have) as well as have the qualification you are teaching up to - which I am working on. This pilgrimage is about learning from many teachers, see what they have to offer and to take what we can back to our own communities.