The annual London Permaculture Festival is a one day grassroots event that attracts around 700 people who come to learn about how the ethical design science of permaculture can offer sustainable, regenerative green solutions to different areas of modern life. Each year we host 20-plus workshops, delivered by experts in their field. These broadly cover, as illustrated by his Permaculture Design System Flower, what permaculture co-originator David Holmgren has identified as, ‘the key domains that require transformation to create a sustainable culture.’ (add the flower with creative commons)

In 2017 workshops included:

Growing food without a garden – the six secrets to success in container growing

Mark Ridsdill Smith

It’s possible to grow a LOT of salad, herbs, fruit and veg in containers in any small urban space (eg balcony, patio) that gets at least four hours sun (at home or at work). Enjoy your own delicious home grown, organic produce on your doorstep. This workshop will give you the essential knowledge to get started, grow successfully, and avoid the most common pitfalls.

Mark is founder of Vertical Veg which inspires and supports people who don’t have a garden to grow their own food. He runs a blog, workshops, online container growing courses and an online club for enthusiastic growers. He has written for the Guardian and been featured on BBC Gardeners Question Time.


Forest gardening in practice for homes, communities & enterprises

Tomas Remiarz

A forest garden is a place where nature and people meet halfway, between the canopy of trees and the soil underfoot. It doesn’t have to look like a forest – what’s important is that natural processes are allowed to unfold, to the benefit of plants, people and other creatures. The result is an edible ecosystem. For three decades experimental forest gardens have been planted in temperate cities and rural sites, in households, neighbourhoods, community gardens, parks, market gardens and plant nurseries.

Tomas Remiarz’ book, Forest Gardening in Practice, is the first in-depth review of the subject with many case studies, a discussion of lessons and a DIY guide for aspiring forest gardeners. Tomas has been involved in creating and maintaining forest gardens across the UK and Europe for nearly 20 years. During this talk Tomas will share some of the lessons from the four years of research that went into producing the book and look at the potential of forest gardens to transform urban landscapes. Tomas’ new book “Forest Gardening In Practice” is the first in-depth review of forest gardening with living, best practice examples. During this talk Tomas will share some of the lessons from the four years of research that went into producing the book and look at the potential of forest gardens to transform urban landscapes.


Permaculture & the Climate Opportunity

Maddy Harland

Permaculture is uniquely positioned as having powerful solutions for climate change. We can sequester carbon, restore ecosystems and create local economies whilst growing beautiful gardens and farms. Rather than despair lets cultivate hope. Maddy presents exciting opportunities and projects that are leading the way in the world and at our own back door.

Maddy is the editor and co-founder of Permaculture magazine and Permanent Publications who have over 50 permaculture-related books in print.


Living medicine: Self care with food and herbs

Alex Laird

Discover how to use food and herbs safely to boost your health and treat everyday ailments for yourself and your family. Home remedies are a pleasure to make and use – knowing how is the key! This wonderful workshop will help you understand the healing properties of plants and food:

  • how to make a simple breakfast and lunch to balance your sugar levels for consistent energy through the day, instead of the highs and lows we so often experience
  • how plants work to support the body and mind to boost our immunity and maintain health and wellbeing

Plus you’ll receive a handout of the principles and therapeutics of food and plants as medicine, tea-making and breakfast remedies

Alex is a practising medical herbalist and founder director of Living Medicine, a charity that reskills people in how to use food and herbs in everyday self care, exchanging knowledge between cultures. Living Medicine’s long-term vision is to co-create with the public Britain’s first global plant/food medicine garden as a beautiful national visitor centre linked to a web of community medicinal gardens. Alex set up and runs the herbal clinic in dermatology at Whipps Cross University Hospital, with BSc herbal medicine students observing. She also practises at The Haven breast cancer support centre and is a visiting university lecturer. She was a TV producer for 12 years, then as an aromatherapist ran clinics at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital and at centres for people with HIV and drug users.


Permaculture, Sociocracy and Changing the World!

Andy Goldring

Permaculture has been driven forward by pioneers and is now in at least 130 countries! There is no central coordination of activity. We are now moving into a new phase of collaboration between our many networks. The Permaculture Collaborative Laboratory (CoLab) is being developed to make it easier to work together. The CoLab includes a number of elements including online working and sociocratic decision making. This workshop will show how the emerging framework can be applied at many levels, making it easier for us to work together regionally, in England, Britain, Europe and across the world.

Andy Goldring is Chief Executive of the Permaculture Association and one of the people behind the development of the Permaculture CoLab.


OLIO: Join the digital food sharing revolution

Ben Cullen
Did you know, households in the UK bin more than £13 billion of edible food every year, costing families £700 per year!
We’ve all done it. We buy food we don’t have time to cook. We forget about leftovers in the back of the fridge. Conservative and arbitrary use-by dates encourage the senseless culling of our fridge contents. It doesn’t have to be this way.
We should be sharing food with each other, not the bin!
Ben Cullen will showing us how we can curb our wasteful ways with his food sharing app OLIO, while also connecting with our neighbours, tackling hunger and social isolation, and building a sense a community in the process – all with a click of a button.
Food waste is one of the biggest problems facing mankind today. You can make a difference – it’s time to join the food sharing revolution!

Ben Cullen is the Community + Content Marketing Manager at OLIO – The Food Sharing Revolution. He is a passionate food waste fighter and has worked in the area of food, sustainability and marketing for a number of years. At OLIO, he is responsible for developing content, launching + driving anti-waste campaigns and looking after their 11,000-strong OLIO volunteer programme.

Natural Dyes for Textiles

Mary Spyrou

My work focuses on culturally diverse textile traditions, craftsmanship and skills passed down the generations, whose histories date back thousands of years.
My mother who was born in Cyprus taught me how to sew, knit and crochet from a very young age, and shared her stories of natural dyes, weaving and making your dowry, which was part of a girls everyday life when she was growing up.
I work in a variety of educational settings, including schools, colleges, community groups and museums. I teach felt making, embroidery, applique, resist dyeing including batik, weaving, natural dyeing and up cycling materials.
I have exhibited my textile works both in the UK and Germany, and have works in a number of collections, including the Embroiderers Guild.


Composting for urban gardeners

Sue Amos

An introduction to the whys and wherefores of good composting. How to do it, and what you’ll need, you’ll leave knowing enough to manage your own heap, bin, bokashi bins, and much more.

Sue Amos has been gardening in London for 25 years on a wide range of gardens, community gardens allotments and other projects.


Permaculture Livelihoods

Michel Thill

Permaculture is concerned with our most basic human needs, from clean water and healthy food to companionship and belonging, purpose and self-actualisation. A Permaculture Livelihood is so much more than a job that pays the bills. In this short workshop we’ll be exploring what your Permaculture Livelihood could look like?

Michel is based in London where he is running a permaculture project, called Social Landscapes, exploring predominantly permaculture and urban regeneration. In this work he engages the community in learning about permaculture and recreating a village identity. He is actively involved in other local groups such as the Open Orchard Project, planting fruit trees in public spaces and Transition Town Brixton.


Making permakids green, organic and fearless

Cecilia Litvinoff, Pamela Adams & Nomalanga

For anyone working and living with children. A workshop looking at how to engage children in permaculture, through schools, gardens, balconies and attitudes…

Introduction to Permaculture

Randy Mayers

During his presentation Randy will cover the basics of Permaculture: the building blocks for conscious design and living in harmony with the planet, and all its’ inhabitants. He will touch on ethical and ecological principles, some design tools and some ways to get started on your very own Permaculture journey.

Randy first came across Permaculture in 2008. He found the subject full of common sense ideas that immediately inspired him to apply the principles in his own life. After completing the 72 hour Design Course in 2010, he went on to help design and implement land-base Permaculture projects. He also co-founded the May Project Gardens in south London, a community garden scheme dedicated to bringing low impact and sustainable living to an urban audience. Eager to spread the knowledge and experiences he had gained, he then participated in a week-long Training of Teachers course facilitated by some of the Permaculture Associations’ finest tutors. Randy is currently on the path to obtaining his Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design under the mentorship of Aranya, Permaculture teacher and author of Permaculture Design: A step by step guide. He has been a resident at Landmatters Co-operative Permaculture Project since November 2014 where he is currently involved in developing the community food gardens whilst setting up educational programmes in Permaculture and sustainable living.

Business as a living system inspired by natural patterns

Kevin Mascarenhas

The world of business is changing and fast. How can the design framework of permaculture challenge business to be a force for good? Can the ethics of permaculture influence and encourage companies to operate to a purpose that respects people and contributes to a better society. Join me for an exploration into these enquiries. 

Kevin Mascarenhas is a designer, facilitator and coach. He is the founder of Natural Flow Consultancy, working internationally with organisations, communities and individuals. Kevin’s is passionate about bringing to life regenerative community living, designing business as a living system and empowering change makers through the art of coaching. 

Introduction to Permaculture Design

Chloe Anthony

Chloe Anthony is a permaculture tutor and practitioner, working with Brighton Permaculture Trust, offering introduction courses in Mid-Sussex and a diploma tutor, Chloe lives in Sussex on a smallholding and is passionate about design, edible and forest gardens, building community and sustainable organisations.


Introduction to Permaculture

Nat Mady

Nat will give an overview of permaculture, its key design tools and some practical applications. The workshop will be lively and thought-provoking and should give you plenty of ideas for your garden, your balcony or even your lifestyle!

Nat is co-director of Cordwainers Grow, a Hackney based social enterprise that focuses on environmental education by bringing people together through creat”ive learning experiences. She is also founder of Hackney Herbal and is part of Permablitz London. She has an MSc in Environment and Sustainable Development from UCL where her research focused on Agroecology and resilience in farming systems in Central America.


Tyre Furniture Skills


We will be running a workshop teaching basic skills to make tyre furniture and selling one off pieces of furniture made from recycled tyres and salvaged wood. In January 2017 we ran a tyre furniture training project in The Gambia , west Africa providing skills and tools to 27 Gambians in tyre furniture making. Having worked in Gambia previously we developed the tyre furniture specifically as a skill for people in sub-Saharan Africa, as a way to combat deforestation and tyre burning by using wasted tyres to build much needed furniture. The great benefits of making furniture with tyres is that approximately 50 million tyres are thrown away annually and only 2% are recycled in western countries. A massive percentage are dumped in landfill and also exported to African countries and other countries such as china . In Africa, European second hand tyres are used till they are completely worn and then burned to remove the wires inside. The environmental problems of toxic fumes emitted through burning and the tyres being dumped in the sea or in landfill can be avoided by using the material for other uses. Also allowing water and rotting fruit to collect in the tyres allows mosquitoes to breed freely which causes the spread of malaria. Another great benefit of using tyre furniture is that termites don’t eat rubber.

Sociocracy – the age of consent

Les Moore

Sociocracy is a whole system approach to governance, inclusive decision making, and the ongoing evaluation and improvement of an organisation or project. Sociocracy seeks excellence through continual improvement and decisions based on consent and not the will of the majority. There is an ongoing process focused on defining aims and measuring results. There is a learning curve but individuals and  groups can catch on quickly. This workshop will explore the connections between Permaculture and Sociocracy together with a gentle introduction to its guiding principles.


Building with Straw Bales

Mary Rawlinson

This talk will introduce you to building with straw bales, describing the building methods, the advantages of using straw and how this method of building could provide affordable houses for the future. Finally, there will be an invitation to get involved and learn through the School of Natural Building.

What's happening outside at the festival
New to Permaculture - find out more at the Festival
Stalls market