Something Big To Crow About – Discounts Celebrate Moodle

We Now Have A Moodle For You

Soon after the internet fizzed into being, our permaculture project was born.  Now we have grown a big Moodle to help our students stay connected.

When we started out in 1993, our mission was to nurture online permaculture students. We wanted to give them a new way to learn from the comfort of their home.  Pioneering adaptable time frames, a space to ask questions as they go and freedom to participate with exams was fun and creative.  As you may know, ours was the first Permaculture school online with one of the first permaculture webpages.

Bill Mollison and April Sampson-Kelly

What kept us going was the incredible standards of our graduates. We developed graduates who have become permaculture leaders, educating many others and playing key roles in social permaculture activities. We are proud of our graduates and the new Moodle is designed to keep them engaged and support their post-graduate work.

Still Smiling

Student focused learning is a fun way to teach. It has enabled us to reach people in remote places. As a result, the teaching journey is still engaging. With the new moodle we have kept this creativity and flexibility but added better tracking services.

What You Can’t Get Online – is Skill to Design 

Design is a skill that requires more than knowledge. Designing is a holistic thinking practice. Amazingly, the sum of all the parts is actually greater than the bits. Creating a personalised design takes skill, not just information. We aim work to develop student skills in designing, as well as the vital knowledge on how it the pieces work.

Tada! Here’s Our Limited 10% Discount  For You

To celebrate our new Moodle, we now are offering a special deal of 10% off.  Ends July 10th. Our new Moodle gives you a speedy way to upload your files, get the design learning completed and do the quiz to check the efficiency of your first design. Keith Mikkelson of Palawan in the Philippines, uploaded his work, completed the design check process, got personalised feedback on the design and was awarded his certificate swiftly. His feedback was great. “the process was clear and smooth”.  There is also the bonus of staying supported s a graduate.

You can design an ethical, healthy lifestyle to help build a truly sustainable culture.

We research, share, and teach permaculture online. Thanks for supporting us.


Mulit-Functional Permaculture

multi-functional people in permaculture

Being Multi-functional

Permaculture design promotes things that are multi-functional rather than things that have only one use.  A medium-sized sharp knife can be used for a wide range of tasks indoors: even be used for circus acts. Whereas fish knife is only designed for fish. And, even then, the fish-knife requires skill and patience. Without this specialist skill we could get cold fish with hidden little bones.

A building can be masterfully designed to be multi-functional. It can shelter us in many ways. As a result, we can have natural light to illuminate many activities. We can be protected from wild-fire. The roof can collect water and shed debris. The internal walls can store heat to be released at night. The shape of the building can also serve as a wind break. An internal courtyard can provide a welcome shady retreat.

  • On the other hand, a poorly designed building requires artificial lighting during the day. A sick building can make us ill from poor air circulation and we are less likely to be productive or enjoy life.

Multi-functional People

multi-functional people in permacultureWe live in an era where workers are expected to have high levels of expertise in order to compete. Contrast this with a permaculture lifestyle where we explore new ideas. Growing food at home, connecting with others, learning from elders and reconnecting with nature helps us develop a range of skills that are productive and rewarding.

Multifunctional Plants

Here are some tropical trees with multi-function. This information was provided by our recent graduate, Keith Mikkelson. He has uses permaculture design to boost production at an orphanage in Thailand. 
1) Moringa Moringa oleifera,
  • Nutritious leaves
  • Seeds edible –  the horseradish tree
  • Seeds filter water
  • Fast growing shade cover/erosion control
  • Goats and rabbits feed on leaves
2) Madre de cacao Gliricidia sepium
  • Fodder crop for our hogs, goats and chicken
  • Living fence-grows from cuttings and used to form fence
  • High N for compost
  • Used for contour planting
  • Biomass for mulch
3) Ipil Ipil
  • Leucaena leucocephala
  • High N for compost
  • Used for erosion control on contours
  • Biomass for mulch
  • Leaves made into meal for high protein by weight feed
4) Neem Azadirachta indica
  • Shade
  • Leaves repel weevle in rice
  • Leaves prevent termites in books
  • Fuel for cooking, charcoal and wood
  • Grows vigorous after pruning
  • Berries are good fertilizer
  • Village pharmacy
  • Medicinal oil
  • De-worming medicine
 5) Bamboo [technically a grass]
  • Solid fuel and charcoal
  • Decorative woodwork
  • Furniture
  • Shade
  • Contour erosion control
  • Edible shoots.
  • Leaves for goats and geese.
  • Tea for humans high in silica. This tea can also aid hair growth.
  • Building material

Enjoy our new moodle Elearning program today. 

We research, share, and teach permaculture online. Thanks for supporting us.

Twilight Permaculture – Retiring Not Downhill

Happy 40th Birthday Permaculture

40 years ago the first permaculture book was published.  The design concepts by Mollison and Holmgren first appeared with Permaculture One. This humble beginning grew to influence many grass roots practices. Now is a good time to glean some of the wisdom from our elders.

Glint in Wizened Eye

Self reliant eldersPermaculture is bubbling with inspired individuals who prefer to spend time refining their little inventions rather than go out to protest in mass rallies. These folk are essentially optimistic, they enjoy developing alternatives. What unites permaculture designers is their ability to design and their pioneering spirit. Permaculture design is a patient art. And the rewards include surprising insights and meaningful connections.

Been There, Done That

Occasionally there’s a chance to see elders proudly demonstrate their unique contributions.  For 40 years these unique individuals have been passionately building the permaculture test-models.

Yes, there is bound to be a pile of flops and discards, but there are many gems of great work.  Their fledgling design projects integrating solar energy, rocket-stoves, rain-gardens, composting toilets, worm-farms, rain-water tanks, mulch and yoghurt or Kombucha have become household realities.

Judith Collins of EarthKeepers, Companion Planting Author
Judith Collins of EarthKeepers, Companion Plants Author

After 40 years some of these glorious pioneers may have slowed down. Some, such as the eternal optimist, Bill Mollison has returned to mother nature. The younger, David Holmgren has now matured into co-operative living.
Holmgren and his partner, Sue, have cleverly downsized the personal space and expanded their options by sharing the rewards and ongoing physical work of their productive home site.

Some of the permaculture-designed pioneering communities, like Malaney, have now installed their own graveyards.

The beauty of permaculture design lies in its ability to adapt and respond to change. How do these elders adapt in their twilight years?


We can all list the things that we want to retire FROM, but did you know it is vital for our physical and mental health to know what we are retiring TO?

Permaculture, even in our twilight years, offers decades enriched with meaningful employment.  “Permaculture gives us a toolkit for moving from a culture of fear and scarcity to one of love and abundance” Toby Hemenway

Passing on know how

Janet Millington defined her twilight period as her personal energy descent period. She pioneered wicking beds with integrated worm-farms to intensify food production and waste management close to the kitchen door without any back strain. She and Carolyn Nuttall built a rich legacy of school permaculture programs.

Environmentalist and longtime host of CBC’s The Nature of Things David Suzuki, at the age of 79, writes that “‘it’s time to admit you’re an elder and start getting on with doing what elders should be doing, which is speaking out’”.  David Suzuki talks about living in his twilight years. In fact, every elder in our community has a wealth of experience directly relevant to our community and our unique bio-region.

Take Stock

Permaculture designers around the planet are busy.  They are the type of people who would rather do stuff rather than talk about it. For them, there isn’t a lot of time to talk about it because they feel a strong sense of urgency to get on and build a better culture. They want to show it can be done.

But herein lies the challenge. In order to demonstrate a happy alternative to consumerism, we all need to talk about it. At least, sometimes.

If you are one of the lucky ones who can join us at a Permaculture Convergences enjoy the rare chance to sit and listen. Grab and elder and quiz them about their failures.  Invest time to travel about to see what the pioneers have put into practice and how they have designed their twilight lifestyle.

Soon we are leading a grand Permaculture Tour. Come and join us in this one-off  opportunity.

Solar Still Waiting

Soaring Heat In the Kitchen, Abundant Solar Outside

Home-grown bananas in solar baker

Temperatures reached a record 47c/116F in Sydney, Australia in January.  But the second shock was the spike in cost of gas and electricity. The sun burns bright overhead while people turn on the air-conditioning in their kitchen.  Despite the impressive range of affordable solar cook-tops and ovens, few people use solar ovens. What is really holding this technology back?

Super Solar Ovens

Worlds largest solar cooker feeds 20 thousand people per day.

Cheap as Chips

Solar Ovens are dirt cheap. Well, almost. They are as cheap as straw (for insulation), two panes of glass and a a sturdy box. They are popular in countries such as India because they are clean and free to run.  You don’t need a chimney, fossil fuels or cow dung to fuel it. A Solar oven wastes nothing – the slow cook version does not waste a single drop of water or spice.  The nutrients and flavours are sealed in.

Our first solar oven cost more in shipping than in the actual price. Seems we were ‘first wave’ solar-cookers in our shady village. (It seems were both first and last wave too).  We paid about $250 18 years ago – at that price each meal cooked has cost less than 5 cents. If you are off-grid, this technology can pay back in just a few uses.

We now have a handful of different versions including the dangerous parabolic which burnt a hole in a wooden planter [photo below], a lightweight portable and the tubular baker. But I still prefer the old faithful that has survived being caught in the rain and filled up with water.

Solar ovens are durable, free to run, simple to make and easy to use and repair.
Best of all solar cooked food is flavoursome and nutritious.

Our Cultural Addiction to Piped Energy


Whilst ever we depend on a switch and convenient appliances, we are dependent on large scale innovation. If we step outside to try new technologies in the raw we get the chance to fuel our creative side.

The more powerful versions of this technology are rough, hot and glaring. But here is a great opportunity for the modern celebrity chefs and entrepreneurs to cook up a brighter future for everyone.