It’s a movement: Permablitz the Gong

Rebecca Mayhew, Sheryl Wiffen, Kristy Newton, and Jacqui Besgrove in a permaculture garden. Picture: DAVE TEASEFirst there was Backyard Blitz and now there’s Permablitz.
Nanjing Night Net

Without the need for prime-time TV coverage, a group of Wollongong people have banded together to form Permablitz the Gong, a volunteer movement spreading across the country after the first group was formed in Melbourne in 2006.

Permablitz the Gong was born on May 6 this year, coinciding with National Permaculture Day.

A Permablitz is a sustainable garden makeover in which a group of people create or add to gardens and nature strips, turning lawns into highly nutritious, edible landscapes and showing permaculture in action.

Participants are also finding Permablitz gatherings an excellent way to socialise with like-minded gardeners.

A group of participants recently returned to the West Wollongong home of Sheryl Wiffen to see how her backyard had grown since a Permablitz makeover three months ago.

Permablitz the Gong’s Jacqui Besgrove, Kristy Newton, Rebecca Mayhew and Wiffen look out across the nutritious backyard which includes bananas, paw-paws, tangillos, mangoes, a vegetable patch, a chook house and compost heap.

Wiffen explains she has always dreamed of having a “food forest” after being inspired while travelling overseas four years ago. “I just started planting fruit trees, but it’s isolating if you’re a gardener and the rest of the family isn’t.”

A group of about 30 people, including the four women, turned the garden around in just one day. Weeds were removed, no-dig veggie patches were established, and a chicken house, frog pond and compost bays were built.

“The day was a showcase of social permaculture at its best with everyone sharing skills related to permaculture and sustainable living and building community networks,” Besgrove says.

Permablitzes are free and open to everyone regardless of skill level and people can come and help for an hour or the day.

Newton enjoyed the benefits of a Permablitz at her garden earlier this month, saying the family now made much better use of the space.

“Growing food makes you really aware of growing things in season,” Newton says.

The social benefits were also obvious. “There were people in my street I’d never met before who came and helped,” she says.

Besgrove adds that Permablitz helped spread the word to eat locally and nutritiously. Members also buy their seedlings from the Friday Crown St mall markets and bring plants and cuttings to each others’ gardens.

Permablitzes are held every three months, with the next makeover in Mangerton in November. To attend, or for information about Permablitz the Gong email [email protected]南京夜网

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