Permablitz - Renovating our Suburbs

Permablitz (noun): An informal gathering involving a day on which a group of at least two people come together to achieve the following:

  • create or add to edible gardens where someone lives
  • share skills related to permaculture and sustainable living
  • build community networks
  • have fun

Permablitzes are free events, open to the public, with free workshops, shared food, where you get some exercise and have a wonderful time. To be defined as a permablitz each event must also be preceded by a permaculture design by a designer with a Permaculture Design Certificate. The network runs on reciprocity, and in order to qualify for a permablitz you usually need to come to some first, although there can be exceptions in this case.

The Permablitz Story

Permablitzes began in 2006 in Melbourne's outer eastern suburbs as a collaboration between Permaculture designer Dan Palmer and friends and a South American community group.  As of Mid 2011 over 100 permablitzes have been held in and around Melbourne, and others have been held in Sydney, Adelaide, Alice Springs, Darwin, Canberra, Tasmania, Bega, the Sunshine Coast, California, Montreal, Istanbul and Uganda.

Who comes to Permablitzes?

Anyone and everyone can come to a permablitz. Skill level and even physical capacity aren't problems at all. They especially welcome first time gardeners. Just come and contribute anyway you are able. People from many different backgrounds and from nine months to ninety in age turn up. Because everyone has to eat, and food gardening is relevant to almost everyone, so you're sure to meet interesting, friendly people of many stripes and persuasions at a permablitz.

What happens on the day of a Permablitz?

Every blitz is different. But you can expect to be welcomed with a cup of tea. There will be an intro circle in which the design for the day and the ideas behind it will be explained and then we'll get to work. There will be tasks like weeding, planting fruit trees, digging paths, making vegetable beds with no-dig methods or implementing grey water systems. You'll be shown what to do and be working with others, and there will be short workshops relating to the activities. There will probably be some other workshops on the day too.

The host will provide a shared lunch -- bring something if you would like to share, but you don't have to. By about four o'clock we'll break and thank everyone. By then, quite a transformation should have taken place! You'll hopefully go home brimming with ideas, having met lots of wonderful people, having had a taste of permaculture design and having been learning by doing.

How to get involved

Getting involved is easy. Sign up to the Melbourne Permablitz Newsletter to stay in the loop about upcoming blitzes and courses. (Put your email in the Permablitz newsletter box in the middle column of this website and click 'Subscribe'.)

Reciprocity & how to get Blitzed

If you come to three or so permablitzes we can help organise one at your house. That's right. The permablitz network is based on reciprocal volunteer support. Once you've been to a few we can help connect you to a volunteer or professional permaculture designer, help you plan your blitz, promote it, and co-ordinate it on the day. For free. Sweet deal, no? Once you've been to a couple and you're ready, see our Get Blitzed section.

Before and After: Stages to a Permablitz

Each permablitz is part of a longer process including a pre-blitz design visit or visits by permaculture designers, prior organisation of materials needed for the blitz, and after-the-blitz follow up visits to see how people are going with their new gardens.

Permaculture Design

To stay true to the concept, each permablitz must have the input of someone with a Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC), the most basic permaculture qualification.

What is permaculture? Permaculture is a design system which helps integrate people (and their needs, habits, skills, desires, money and time) and place (the physical limitations and potentials of a site such as a backyard) in ecologically harmonious systems providing a good portion of the needs of people living there (with things like water, vegetables, fruit, and eggs). Permaculture systems work more like natural systems such as forests than industrial agriculture, requiring no artificial inputs and producing no waste.

To learn more about permaculture see permaculture as defined in wikipedia.

Who co-ordinates the Permablitz Network?

The Melbourne permablitz network is currently entirely volunteer and informal. There is a Melbourne Permablitz Collective who amongst other things:

  • produce guides for designers, facilitators, hosts and new networks,
  • facilitate linking together potential hosts with potential designers and facilitators,
  • promote specific permablitzes and the permablitz concept in general,
  • maintain the website,
  • write newsletters,
  • co-ordinate the documenting of blitzes and sharing lessons learnt,
  • organise gatherings of designers for mutual education

Note that the Collective promotes but does not organise particular blitzes beyond providing resources and helping designers and hosts get together. The rest is done by the designers and hosts.