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The concept of permaculture was originally devised in Australia thirty years ago. The terms polyculture, organic and environmentally sustainable, all strong components of permaculture, were words used to describe ‘sustainable gardening’ in this research.

David Holmgren (2006) explains that commonly, permaculture refers to “consciously designed landscapes which mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature, while yielding an abundance of food, fibre and energy for provision of local needs “ , but emphasises a more purposive definition to be: “the use of systems thinking and design principles that provide the organising framework for implementing the above vision.”

David Holmgren, “speaking for the first time publicly” on issues raised by the Food Gardeners Alliance, also offered invaluable overviews of permaculture’s role, seeing it as “holistic integration of how we live”. Organisers of Permaculture Melbourne, as the umbrella organisation for local groups across Melbourne, also offered insightful contributions, as did members of Permablitz.

This research tried to ascertain the influence of permaculture on self sufficiency gardening, and found that it was significant. From the findings of this research, permaculture is strongly visible on the landscape of self sufficient gardening in Melbourne. Adam from Permablitz explained that they “emphasise community-sufficiency as much as self-sufficiency.”

From Permaculture Melbourne, Petra Kahle, gave a helpful explanation, sharing that:

“Self sufficiency is done all on your own and permaculture is done together. We encourage each other to be self sufficient. You get a lot of skills that are being lost. It is also about healthy soils, healthy food and healthy person. It is hard to grow food on your own, but I would certainly support Australia being self-sufficient.”


Organics came up in responses more commonly than permaculture, as a significant influence for both self sufficiency gardening and sustainable gardening. The community were seen by many research contributors to want to grow their own organic food. The organic industry appears to be bringing more awareness to home gardens, while community gardens are as a general role, organic, with chemical products banned.


Bioregionalism and relocalisation are also on the increase, even if more in action than name. New networks and projects could be placed under either or both terms, and they suggest movement to return to or connect back communities under more natural, local watersheds and landscapes. Thayer (2003, p.37) signified that “the bioregion has emerged as a potent conceptual idea simply because people are now intensely trying to see overall pattern and purpose in life once again.”

There is evidence of a new wave of bioregional networks, on top of established networks such as the Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network , the Biological Farmer’s Association and Seed Saver networks. The previous section explored new initiatives.

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