There’s always a lot going on at our Randwick Community Centre and our PermaBee’s volunteer program is one of our most popular. Permabee volunteer days have been held each Friday for years now, and this year, due to increasing interest and inquiries we’re organising additional events on the first Sunday of every month. These monthly Sundays also coincide with our Eco Heroes club, which is a popular activity for 6 to 11 year olds and their parents.
Our PermaBee program consists of two parts, the first from 9am to lunchtime (approx. 12:30pm), involves a range of planting, preparing and maintaining garden areas plus some additional work depending on the season. The second part of the day after lunch involves the volunteers gleaning new skills from a number of specialists engaged by Council covering propagating local seed, growing herbs, learning about the native plants and animals and even looking after our native bees (we have both native and honey bee hives in our gardens). Permabee volunteers come along for the whole day but are welcome to stay as long as they can. Lunch is often provided using the seasonal herbs and veggies growing in the permaculture garden.
What is permaculture?
Permaculture has a long history and is defined broadly as working with nature to create harmonious and flourishing sustainable gardens. Key ideas include using natural design principles to reduce maintenance and allow natural flows of energy, sun, water and wind to sustain the garden areas and support the ecosystem services that come from insects, bees, lizards and other small animals thriving around the garden i.e. no chemicals.
Randwick’s Permabees program empowers individuals to join a group of like-minded people at the same time as putting into practice the principles and skills they learn in the workshops.
Our first Sunday session!
Last Sunday, a new group of enthusiastic volunteers joined as Permabees. Their first afternoon session found them learning about the permaculture principles governing the design and construction of our various award-winning trails, raised garden beds and orchard area.
“Anybody can come along and join our Permabeess” explains Julian Lee, Council’s Sustainability Education Officer, “you don’t need to be an expert or have a green thumb”, he said.
Many Permabee volunteers over the years have joined or gone on to other local groups or sustainability projects they have come up with themselves. “What we’re really interested in is providing a supportive, learning environment for anyone of any age”, said Julian Lee.
How do you join?
Anybody with an interest in sustainable living is welcome to come along for a day or an ongoing basis. Visit the Permabee section on Council’s website to see how you can be involved or just pop along. PermaBee sessions are held every Friday or the first Sunday of the month.