Australian Permaculture Convergence 2023 Report

by Anne Warman

The Australian Permaculture Convergence (APC) had not been held in South Australia for around 30 years. In recent times the community there has flourished, and hosting the convergence provided an opportunity to show this to the rest of the Australian permaculture community.

Held at Mount Barker, located in the Adelaide Hills, the local Waldorf School provided a perfect venue for the convergence – the weather was beautiful all weekend, not a drop of rain in sight, and a fire-pit provided a welcome space to take off the chill in the evenings.

Starting strong with a Friday opening night festival featuring headliners Formidable Vegetable Sound System and Hannah Moloney, things just got better from there.

Where else can you go and spend three days drinking chai with Costa Georgiardis, chatting with co-founder of permaculture David Holmgren, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Toad Dell and Guy Ritani from PermaQueer and illustrator Brenna Quinlan, and taking in the wisdom of elders like Rowe Morrow and Geoff Tonkin?

The opening address was followed by a welcome to Peramangk country and smoking ceremony by David Booth and his two sons.

Drawing on feedback from previous APCs, plenty of time was given between sessions for networking and making new friends and connections. 

Catering was generous and delicious and provided by the Footprint Experience, a well known Adelaide based cafe that specialises in zero waste, paying it forward and sourcing produce from local permaculture businesses and farms – many of whom were also attending the convergence.

The chai tent provided delicious chai throughout, run by the team from Wollongong, as well as a place to hang out and hatch ideas and plans of action.

Ego Lemos and Charlie McGee provided musical entertainment, and Jasper Simmons provided creative outlets with icebreaking activities, sharing circles and ‘cultural compost’ improv sessions. 

Talk sessions and workshops ranged from urban farming to empowering refugees to education to practical sessions like growing a green roof and hacks to get things done as single woman, through to wider perspectives like climate resilience, caring for country, growing community, politics, economics and how to envisage the ecotopian or solarpunk future. 

As well as the scheduled sessions, attendees were invited to offer short skill and idea sharing sessions, such as making origami mushrooms from mushroom bags, a BYO mending circle and the basics of basket weaving.

There were some touching moments in the Permaculture Awards, including recognition for our WA elder Geoff Tonkin, who was asked to finish off the award ceremony with a speech, which is not usually the done thing!

It wouldn’t be APC without finishing with two things – jumping for intentions, and the famous APC quiz night! This year’s quiz featured a talent show style panel starring Costa and Rowe Morrow, plus a colourful line up of characters presenting the questions and taking slightly questionable scoring. Much fun was had by all!

Being a volunteer throughout the convergence showed what an enormous amount of work is involved. What a great job the Permaculture SA organising committee did, showing the strengths of the permaculture community at self organising and coming together to work as a team. 

Attendees came away feeling inspired and ready to take new ideas and positive energy back to their local communities. Which just proves the point, if you want to feel better about the world and the future of the earth, spend some time around permies.

Leave a Reply