Saturday, October 2, 2010

APC 10 Highlights - Enchanting Permaculture

Costumed for a fresh green APC 10.

Its like a dream that so soon after returning to Japan, I flew off again for a week in Cairns. My mission was to hang out with the hero's of Permaculture at APC 10, sharing Cecilia-flavoured PermaCulture with my friends and colleagues.

In true Edge Garden fashion I will just list my personal micro-highlights, the things that occoured at the edges, while the great speakers did their thing. 'How' this APC turned out is the truest indication of 'What' was said anyway. Get the little things right, and the big things take care of themselves.

Highlight #1
Interpretive Bushdancing at the Closing party.

Bush dancing usually makes me run fast in the opposite direction - I've no talent for submitting to micro-management. But Interpretative Permaculture bush dancing will make you laugh so hard that is hurts. Thank-you Sam from Pitchfork designs, Central Victoria
And thank-you Costa for being our adorable MC - you cultivated one great show, and made us all stars.

Gorgeous guy from Costa's Gardening Odyssey

Highlight #2
Compost Showers
The best things in life are free - you just have to work out how to make them turn up on your doorstep.
When I had my Permaculture share house, I did so much unneeded plotting for the fantasy outdoor shower, when all I had to do was link it to my compost heap. How obvious, how elegant, how cool. I will definitly do this, maybe Here in Japan.

Tip: The hottest showers are while the hottest speakers have everyone else captive in the hall. Just Google them later or get the APC 10 DVD.

Hoses coil around inside the heap,
absorbing the heat of decomposing compost

Highlight 3
Daryl Hanna the movie star
Daryl Hanna, a Freshly-hatched Permaculture Designer

She gave a fun, lively keynote speech full of affection for the broken-down, wonky parts of ourselves and our world.

I'm so looking forward to seeing what this practical, love-fueled lady does with her freshly-earned Permaculture Design Certificate, back at the ranch and beyond.

Highlight #4
Giving my "Inner Permaculture' presentation - three whole times.

It took me a decade to make, it looks great, and I inspire myself every time I give it.
Thank-you for the lovely feedback, its what really keeps me going xx

Highlight #5
Going on Bruce Zell's tour
It was booked out, but a gorgeous guy gave up his seat, and I got to meet the creators of 4 home-made tropical paradise gardens, and eat like I was in heaven.

Botanical Ark is a private botanical garden, and one families attempt to save the rainforests, which might one day save us. They won back yard of the year award, without even knowing what it was, as they have no television.

September is off-season for diversty of harvest, explains Alan

Susan Carle greeting us elegantly, as is her way,
with a native fruit smoothie.

Goldfish Surveillance team from
Bruce Zell's Contraption-rich Back garden

Highlight #5
Escaping from Bruce Zell's tour (there are two sides to everything)
Feeling fresh after a stolen swim.

There was one visit that just didn't suit me. If I had Gumboots for the mud, a parasol for the tropical sun, and a tropical fruit farm in need of inspiration, I might have stayed.
Complaining was off the menu - Permies don't complain, they Design, forage, and solve.

I ended up swishing around alone in a mossy-banked stream, marveling that heavenly spots are often one minute away, waiting to be had. I got back to the bus in good time and good spirits.

Highlight #6
Robyn Clayfield's Haystack leaping
Robyn showed us photos of last year's students jumping from the hay bale, as they publicly committed to jumping into things they didn't yet know how to do - starting gardens, creating festivals, Permaculture adventures galore.
She then hauled us out into the garden, defying time restraints, to commit to doing great things. There could not have been a better use of 20 minutes out of these 4 days. My jump was to find a publisher for a mainstream book on my Permaculture.
How on earth will I do this?

You can DIY - find a high place, a big aspiration, and put it out to the universe. Tell me too, maybe we can do something together.

Highlight #7
Nametag discovery
It was a nametag-free event.
I didn't like this, but the side effect was valuable discovery: When introducing yourself to strangers, the Last thing you say is your name.
People don't know until After you have finished your spiel if they need to ( or want to) remember who you are. To withold your name till the end builds suspense, (try it) and its a thoughtful way to keep their minds free for things and people the really need to know.
As with 'Plant a tree where it will grow', only tell people things they need to know, when they need to know it.
Yet another trick to keep the world Clutter-free.

Highlight #8
David Holmgren's Whole-life Permaculture

Gems of his Skyped-in presentation include:

"Create no waste, including human energy, right down to how small you need to chop vegetables. Don't waste sound energy - think before you speak".

and on the Second ethic:

"Care for the Earth contains a bit too much hubris, if you are thinking of the whole planet. But if you just consider the earth under your feet, the soil, (your contribution will be valuable)." (My Paraphrase)

He acknowledged the work Beautiful diaries of Michele Margolis do in delivering attractive PC to the mainstream - I always thought so.
The best bit was the fond pat on his wife Su's hand when she strolled in to say goodnight.

Highlight # 9
Geoff Lawton, ceaselessly frontier-crossing

This weekend he turned up with two presents for the permaculture world:

The Appetizer: A freshly-made skillfully-animated video on the miraculous world soils - how weeds bless damaged soil with their healing functions was the highlight for me.

The Main course: A preview of a Facebook-like Database to showcase what Permies all over the world are doing.
This is BIG.
We can no longer get away with just holding Good and Correct Opinions.
We will now have to practice what we preach, and we will have all these colleagues and resources at our fingertips to connect with and make our ideas real.
Geoff, you are such a John Wayne.

Highlight #10
Volunteers create Miracles - and we are all volunteers
The Organizers of APC 10 are a tiny little outback group, less than two years old, called Permaculture Cairns. They could not possibly have the resources to round up 350 of Australia's Movers and Shakers, and made us happy for 4 whole days.
Yet that is what they did.

I may never know how the miracle got pulled off. Of course there are the months of hard, capable work from Anne and Gorgie, but what fueled that? Choosing the enchanted Steiner school setting might have done it, sweetening each moment.

There was something strangely amazing about the volunteers:
They fixed our problems.
Every time.
They stayed positive and in action, and I think it caught on, so that a critical mass of the attendees decided 'this is My APC', because wherever I went with a problem or a whinge, there was someone who swiftly, creatively conquered it.

Ceci Whine -"I want more audience"
Vollie Fix - "No worries, here's an extra room, here are texta's and paper for a sign - do it again"

C W - "I'll die if I don't get hot tea"
V F - "No worries, here's the equipment"

C W - "Someone else will die if I can't find a non-snoring camp spot"
V F - "No worries, lets pick up your tent and take it for a walk."

Cartoon by April Sampson Kelly, who is actually my friend.
Lending, mending, fetching and improvising. Harry and Robina and Glen and Annie and Sarah-Jane and April and The Techies and was kind of endless.

Volunteers Bruce Zell and Sarah Jane

I'm sure that APC Presenters said in words what Permaculture is and can be, about creating 'ecologies' of useful connections, creating value from whats lying around, staying positive, productive and in action.
APC 10 as an 'organism' said it wordlessly, through our attitutude and actions. We are our own proof that Permaculture makes life great.

The next APC 11 in New Zealand, 2012. We could find out who is organizing it, find out what they cannot do that we can, and make it brilliant.

Ferocious Permaculture

For the official highlights and illustrious guests please go to the APC 10 Website
More photos and stories on Cecilia's Facebook.

Ro Morrow inspires me.


Kallika said... always

pitchfork design said...

Hi Cecilia. That interpretive bushdancing micro-manager is me! Sam from Central Victoria. Thankyou for the appreciation, it warms my heart. Facilitating wild dance experiences might just be my new thing! And thanks for the reminder of all those great moments from APC10. I am at and Come say hello.

lizet frijters said...

That's one great article, Cecilia! I thank you again for the special presentation you did for the volunteers. Very inspiring!

Cecilia Macaulay (Tess) said...

Sam, I am...happy to be found by you, and then to see your pioneering website.
Im really, really looking forward to your work on creative literacy. Send me first drafts of everything.