What…Alpine Permablitz aim is to help increase community self-reliance through fun, affordable, knowledge-sharing workshops and garden events.
What Are Permablitzes?
A permablitz is basically a permaculture-inspired backyard makeover where people come together to share knowledge and skills about organic food production in their gardens while building community and having fun.
The basic idea is that by converting disused lawns or garden space into organic food producing gardens, folks will find some independence from industrial agriculture and the shipping of food back and forth across the world. At the same time, it makes normally expensive organic eating accessible to more people.
The whole permablitz movement started with a group called Codemo (Community Development and Multicultural Organisation) a local community group composed primarily of South American immigrants. A self-confessed permaculture geek named Dan Palmer (of VeryEdibleGardens) started hanging out with the Codemo crew and after hearing him rave about the wonders of permaculture and the joys of having a backyard full of practically free organic veggies, and going round to see the amazing and beautiful permaculture system Dan and his housemates, Cat and Adrian, had created in their infamous Thomas Street backyard, some of them expressed interest in growing food in their own backyards.
The first permaculture backyard makeover was held around 9 years ago in Dandenong at the home of Vilma from El Salvador. And permablitzes have been spreading all around Melbourne and beyond ever since.
Who comes to Permablitzes?
Anyone and everyone can come to a permablitz. Skill level and even physical capacity aren’t problems at all. We especially welcome first time gardeners. Just come and contribute anyway you are able. People from many different backgrounds and ages 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 and swales, making vegetable beds with traditional or no-dig methods. You’ll be shown what to do and be working with others, and there will be short workshops relating to the activities.
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.
Reciprocity & how to get blitzed
If you come to two 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, to 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 you can ask us about getting your place blitzed.
How many permablitzes should I come to first?Usually we say you need to come to two-three permablitzes before you qualify. This helps you know what to expect, get some ideas for your garden, develop some skills and show us that you mean business. There is some leeway however, especially if you contribute to the community in other ways or there may be social or physical restrictions which have made it hard for you to attend in the past. So don’t be afraid to ask!
What is the process?The stages to a permablitz are:
- you send us your brief
- we hook you up with permaculture practitioners (volunteer where possible, or they will provide you with a quote for services based on the size of your space/yard/block), and together you come up with a design
- the designer gives you a list of materials to prepare
- you work with the facilitator/designer to prepare a plan for the day
- we blitz!