Fair Harvest Permaculture Teachers with Rosemary Left to right Back row Jeff Nugent, Jema McCabe, Jodie Lane, Rosemary Morrow Front row Rod Hughes, Tamara Clements, Brenna Quinlan, Patrick Shannon

Fair Harvest Permaculture Teachers with Rosemary Left to right Back row Jeff Nugent, Jema McCabe, Jodie Lane, Rosemary Morrow

Front row Rod Hughes, Tamara Clements, Brenna Quinlan, Patrick Shannon

After hosting an amazing week of Permaculture Training I asked one of our teachers Rod Hughes to write about how this week influenced our two week live in Permaculture Design Course


Fair Harvest permaculture learning to grow 

I think it’s both the beauty and the challenge of permaculture thinking that it calls us always to read the land, be sensitive to context and creatively respond to change.

And this really was the challenge permaculture legend Rowe Morrow put to us at a teacher training course at Fair Harvest late last year.

I was lucky to be in a group of about 25 teachers who worked with Rowe and talented co-teachers Brenna Quinlan and Greta Carroll to develop and hone our skills over the week.

Rowe’s textbooks Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture and Earth User’s Guide to Teaching Permaculture for years have been my ‘go-to’ guides for years.

But her latest book Earth Restorer’s Guide to Permaculture was a great reminder of the role permaculture practitioners have in responding to the urgent issues facing planet Earth.

In the Guide’s Foreword, Dr Vandana Shiva notes that it’s a “…vital book for our times of climate change catastrophes, biodiversity loss, species extinction, and food and water scarcity.

“All these crises are rooted in human separation from nature and each other.”

But as Rowe says, permaculture offers the evidence of more than 40 years of field work to help respond to these issues.

The way I see it, permaculture can remain true to its roots but it’s such a powerful tool because part of its fabric is to adapt to context and changing issues.

Naturally, teachers at Fair Harvest often demonstrate approaches and techniques suited to the context of south-west Western Australia.

But it’s just as important that we place this learning in the context of global developments and challenges.

Just some of the thought-provoking questions posed by Rowe:

  • What bioregional alternatives can we offer to a system where global companies use public resources but are not part of society or our local communities?
  • What permaculture responses to lived experience of war and pandemic?
  • Can we offer new economic and financial models?
  • How do we embrace ancient and indigenous knowledges?


  • Ian Hackett teaching Reading the Landscape

I’ve met some folks along my permaculture journey who come to it wanting to learn to ‘grow heaps of veggies and be self-sufficient’.

Well, I guess that growing food and community-sufficiency are important parts of permaculture.

But I am also really interested in the role humans can play in caring for the environment for its intrinsic value. Of course, this means repairing the damage we have done.

Connecting and working with nature has always been an important part of the learning at Fair Harvest.

As Rowe says, permaculture has always prioritised relationships with nature.

But she also suggests that this has drifted in the last decades and needs to return to the first consideration: What is the impact on the environment?

Prompted by our experience of the teacher training course, we have already included a new Care of the oceans class fittingly held at the beautiful Margaret River mouth in Wooditchup Boodjar.

Students learning Care of the Ocean at the Margaret River River Mouth Wooditchup Boodjar

As the course continues to evolve, we will for example make sure topics such as water management highlight restoration opportunities in wetlands, streams and rivers.

I am sure that permaculture teaching at Fair Harvest will continue to adapt and to draw from the old, the new and from the wide range of our teaching team’s experience.

That diversity in the team of teachers that has made the two-week intensive PDC at Fair Harvest such a rich and varied learning experience – for both students and teachers.

We are just so grateful to Rowe Morrow for creating the Earth Restorer’s Guide and for giving our teachers the wonderful experience of deep learning.  The journey continues.


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