News

How a teacher used permaculture to overcome adversity

DOWN TO EARTH: Award-winning permaculturalist Dan Deighton explains the gardening movement permaculture.
DOWN TO EARTH: Award-winning permaculturalist Dan Deighton explains the gardening movement permaculture. Amber Macpherson

PERMACULTURE - in the past few years, everyone would have heard about it, but how many of us actually know what it is, or what it means?

"Permaculture really means permanent culture - so how can we live permanently as a society?" Pinbarren permaculture expert and teacher Dan Deighton explains.

"Often it comes up as gardening but it can cover everything.

"You can use permaculture in medicine, or renewable energies, harvesting energy that's going to last permanently."

A bit of a Google confirms this: permaculture is usually defined as the act of working with nature, such as plants and animals, in harmony to produce a sustainable future.

Its principles encourage learning how to utilise ecosystems to have minimal impact on natural environments - if humans disappear, nature will take over the permacultured area with little need to adapt.

We're standing in a beautiful property in Pinbarren that falls gently in to a valley. The afternoon sun has dipped behind the hills, casting a long cooling shadow.

Dan is going through the beginning of a permaculture garden design class, teaching the group how to identify different elements that can affect how a garden grows.

Things like slope, wind direction, aspect, shadows and reflected light all come in to play, and it's getting technical - familiar high school maths equations keep popping up, and I'm feeling a little intimidated.

"What they're learning is similar to the first year of landscape gardening architecture at university," Dan said.

"They've got a format they work through and tick things off."

With an established program and a healthy number of students happy to drive a little off the beaten track to find the property, you would think the class has been running for years.

Only a few months ago, Dan had to face an ultimatum - keep the classes going, or shut it all down.

 

Originally, the classes ran out the back of That Place in Pomona, a trendy little restaurant and microbrewery on a property in Pomona's town centre.

When That Place in Pomona closed down, Dan was heartbroken - he'd created a strong community of like-minded people that cared for the future of the earth.

"I didn't want to leave there, but to stay would have been really difficult," Dan said.

"The way we responded was to be creative rather than give up and fold.

"What came out of it is that we're here, we've adapted. When things ended in town, we didn't lose anything. That was the most surprising thing.

"The gardening program, it wasn't the end. It was actually the beginning. All the lessons we learnt we took away with us."

Dan reassessed the situation and drew on a philosophy of permaculture to move forward.

"The last principle of permaculture is to creatively use and respond to change," Dan said.

"The symbol of permaculture is a butterfly, so its transformation and metamorphosis is about adapting."

One of the class members, Georgia Bailey, offered her out of town property to continue the classes, and away they went.

"He'd put in a year's work (at That Place in Pomona). He'd made it all happen," Georgia said.

"As much as I knew he was hurting, we said 'you can do it'. A lot happened, but it helped you to get here."

Dan said he wasn't ready to give up on the happiness that grows from the permaculture classes.

"The enjoyment comes from being well and being together," Dan said.

"We could all be at home gardening, but there's something that happens when we're all together.

"The main thing for me is the people products - the friendships, the community, facing challenges together. You're with your friends."

Dan has general garden classes every Monday 4pm-5.30pm and Tuesday Mornings 7am-8.30am.

Upcoming workshops:

Creating a No Dig Garden - 22 April 

Establishing a Productive Garden - 13-14 May 

Design and Plan Your Permaculture Garden - 17-18 June

Visit facebook.com/welcometothebighouse.com.au and www.welcometothebighouse.com.au for more information and how to sign up for permaculture classes.

Topics:  dan deighton farming nature noosa permaculture pinbarren


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Never too young or old-er to be champs

COMMUNITY CHAMPIONS: Outstanding first aiders Lilly Tindal (back) and Lara Porter with club mates Joseph Goulding and Tim Moody.

Noosa Heads lifesavers hailed as community inspirations

Call to remove 'killer' nets

TANGLED UP: This sub-adult bottle nose dolphin was killed in shark nets off Noosa's Main Beach on Wednesday.

Local upset by shark net toll

Who took the chair?

Irene and Steve Jesienowski at the location of the now-departed seat

Residents find view seat missing

Local Partners

Noosa being taken for a ride with high fuel prices

A Noosa councillor is fed up with Noosa continuously being taken for a ride by petrol providers and has made an official complaint to the ACCC.

Bundy mum blogging to get families offline

FAMILY FUN: Deonie Crowther is holding family craft sessions at the Windmill Cafe in Bargara.

Crafty projects a hit with parents and children

Take luxury food, wine tour around Toowoomba

FOODIE CULTURE: Emily Moon (left) and Cheryse Bliesner with the Hummer used for Toowoomba's Luxury Food and Wine Tour.

It is designed to highlight the best produce the region has to offer

Country music stars coming to Ipswich

Ipswich will get it's country on when The Country Superstars Tribute Show hits town on Friday, June 30 at Brothers Leagues Club.

A UNIQUE tribute show will bring a bit of country into the city.

Wonder Woman sequel underway

IT’S MADE $US573 million at the box office so far, so it’s no surprise plans are already underway for a Wonder Woman sequel.

MasterChef: Fish fry feast too much for Ipswich cook

Willowbank native Nicole Stevenson has been eliminated from MasterChef.

NICOLE Stevenson narrowly misses out on MasterChef's Top 10.

Thor on holiday: Chris Hemsworth is here!

If you didn't know who he was - you'd think he was a local

Nintendo set to release the Super NES Classic Edition

Nintendo is releasing a miniature version of their Super NES console

Brad and Sienna spotted ‘holding hands’

Brad Pitt has been spotted at Glastonbury.

ACTORS were seen together at the Glastonbury festival.

Big Brother winner Reggie Bird could end up homeless

BACK in 2003 she won the third season of Big Brother Australia, pocketing $250,000 for her win — but Reggie Bird’s life has been far from easy since then.

The reality star makes a heartbreaking confession

Schapelle Corby's Bali boyfriend 'lonely' now she's free

“I really hope we can see each other again in the future."

Island caretaker has weeks to live, abandons paradise

St Bees managing director Phil Webb, has been struck with illness and it has prompted the sale of the island.

His health has deteriorated in the past couple of months

Prime CBD site sold as laneway culture progresses

The Longs building Ruthven Street has been purchased by a group of investors to be renovated into a series of shops/eateries.  June 2017

How investors and council plan to transform the Toowoomba CBD

Gateway opens to $3b Coast mega estate

VISION: An artist's impression of the Palmview development 'Harmony' and its linear park.

New road provides link from the past to the future

Major German supermarket set to open in southeast Queensland

German supermarket giant Kaufland is understood to have approached southeast Queensland councils about a possible distribution centre, which would kickstart the establishment of new supermarkets.

Supermarket giant Kaufland has its eyes firmly on Queensland.

Confident first half year for commercial property

SIGNS OF CONFIDENCE: A mixed-use site at 139 Eumundi Rd, Noosaville, was one of the outstanding results achieved in the year.

Sunshine Coast market showing strong signs for next five years

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!