It's not easy to coherently write about all the mind flutterings that overtook me during the Convergence. I was regularly scribbling good ideas in my notebook as they came to mind. One idea, however, kept coming back to me, in the form of a permaculture principle, "Use edges and value the marginal". The people that I was most drawn to were working on the edges of permaculture, following their passions and integrating permaculture into the things that got them bouncing out of bed in the morning. From Cecilia Macaulay's balcony gardening and share house permaculture, to April Sampson-Kelly's online Permaculture Design Courses to the Garden at the End of the World, I got most inspiration from those people working through different media, in far-off places, or finding their own niche within the movement.
One of the major issues leading up to and during APC10 was the call for a national representative permaculture body for Australia. Robina McCurdy, Robin Clayfield and Rowe Morrow, some of the best facilitators I know of, ran a participatory workshop to develop a needs analysis for the nation. The results are posted here. I came away from the Convergence, disappointed that there wasn't more of this. At APC9 in Sydney in 2008, there was ample opportunity to participate in workshops. Rowe Morrow's Water Workshop had hundreds of people brainstorming solutions for water issues for a number of types of human settlements, including small towns, cities, country/urban fringe, drylands, etc. In all, at APC10, I spent too much time sitting on my backside watching powerpoints, a common problem with conferences, but from a permaculture convergence I expected more. The first opportunity I had to participate in a presentation saw me bouncing off the walls. I made a personal commitment that next convergence I will only attend if I also present a workshop.
|APC9 Water workshop: Source unknown|
Lastly, one of the most exciting features of a Permaculture convergence is the tour that inevitably follows. The APC10 post-convergence tour took us through dry savannah of Mareeba and back to the tropical paradise of the Atherton Tablelands. So many things I haven't seen before, eggplant trees, green ant highways and creative approaches to cracking coconuts (see below right).