These were the workshops in 2014

There were a wide range of workshops at the London Permaculture Festival 2014. Here are the details for each workshop.

Big Picture Permaculture – Inspirational projects near and far!

Maddy Harland

From rainforest restoration, to regenerative agriculture, locking up carbon and building the soil, plus perennial vegetables and other interesting tasty edibles, Maddy Harland, editor of Permaculture magazine, shares stories and insights into the big picture of Permaculture around the world. Permaculture MagazinePermanent Publications

Music and culture of the Baka, rainforest people of Central Africa

Su Hart

Music is the binding force for the Baka, who live in extended groups in the rainforests of Cameroon. Their listening skills, awareness and knowledge of the natural world from this unbroken ancient culture are remarkable. They are said to be the first humans to sing and cure illness and arguement with song, they sing to enchant animals, bring luck in the hunt, to soothe babies and unite the group but mostly have great musical fun! Come and join in playfully, learn new singing techniques or begin to sing for the first time in ages, all welcome!

Introduction to Permaculture

Shamaila Akram

A brief interactive introduction to permaculture.

10 edible perennials to float your boat

Paul Barney

10 edible perennial plants that are not commonly grown but should be! Origins, culture, propagation and harvest of some unusual edible perennials.

Paul Barney runs Edulis Nursery that specializes in unusual edible plants. It was originally set up to grow permaculture plants in the early 90s. The nursery has broadened its range these days and grows thousands of varieties of plants.

Listening to the Other: The Fertile Ground of Social Diversity

Muzammal Hussain and Shumaisa Khan

In developing strength through our diversity, whatever our colour, gender, histories, and religions, it can be helpful to appreciate the ways in which we are all the same. Yet, by staying only within the comfort zone of our similarities, might we be missing out on the richness that arises from appreciating the reality of our differences? This workshop is based on the belief that we can each tap into more courage, compassion and skill, enabling us to step beyond our comfort zone to reach out to ‘the other’, helping our relationships and communities to become more conscious, more authentic and consequently more resilient.

Permaculture in Pots

Juliet Kemp

Get started with a permaculture container garden! We’ll look at applying permaculture principles to growing in pots, take a look at some crops which work particularly well in pots, and think about planning your own space. By the end you’ll know what to do next to get growing.

Let’s design a Garden City

James Piers Taylor

Government, opposition parties and entrepreneurs are proposing that Britain build new Garden Cities to meet national housing needs. Permaculturalists have been active in the retrofitting and adaptation of existing urban infrastructure but how would we design and garden (modify the environment to cultivate) a city?

Introduction to Permaculture Design

 Michel Thill

After visiting and living in eco-communities and ecovillages in various countries, studying Permaculture Design and social structures, I am living in South London, working on community and garden projects and teaching Permaculture. I am passionate about eco-social design to rebuild social cohesion and bring about ecological renewal in our changing world.

 Lacto-Fermenting with a Permaculture Twist

Annie Levy

Lacto-Fermentating with a Permaculture Twist will present some of the ways the fermenting is an especially important and fun skill. In a brief hour, Annie will first introduce concepts and reasons for learning. Then she’ll offer for tasting some delicious samples she’s brought, many of which people are unfamiliar with despite increasing interest. Next, there will be a talking demonstration, then open up the room for questions. The hour will pass quickly indeed.

How to create a genuinely self watering container garden (the easy way)

Mark Ridsdill Smith

In this workshop you’ll learn

  • how to make containers with water reservoirs, the easy way. These will make your watering easier and solve the overwatering problem.
  • how to make a genuinely self-watering container garden, the easy way. This will save you hours watering – and enable you to go away for weekends, even weeks and let your container garden water itself. No batteries, timers or outside taps needed!

I’ll also share my early experiments in self watering systems, involving hole saws and plumbing bits – but the focus will be on easy solutions that anyone can make with a few simple tools and a small budget.

Permaculture in Cuba… and some lessons for the International Permaculture Convergence in London 2015

Andy Goldring

Andy attended last year’s international permaculture convergence (IPC) in Cuba and visited some incredible projects. He will report back on how permaculture is being used in Cuba, giving examples such as the world’s only permaculture car wash, ‘organiponicos’ and some beautiful home gardens. We will also look at the discussion held at the IPC and how this is going to feed into the next global event to be held in London September 2015.

How can we help the International Permaculture Convergence next year be the best, biggest and most diverse permaculture gathering ever

Alan Thornton

The world of permaculture is coming to London next year. Up to 1000 permaculture practioners will be flocking to the International Permaculture Conference & Convergence our city is hosting in September. This is an amazing an opportunity for our local networks to be enriched by the passion and expertise from our global movement. But we need lots of people to help make it amazing – starting today!

International Permaculture Convergence

 Seeds of Fashion – Growing a London garment

Zoë Burt and Kate Poland

Nurturing a love of nature and wanting to critique our fashion industry, Zoë asked her local Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses if they would be interested in allowing an experiment with growing textile fibres – which they were very supportive of. Flax was the most successful crop in the first year. Collaborating from other volunteer gardeners, spinners, documentary filmmakers and an expert passamenterie weaver – a couture garland was produced and shown in exhibition at The South London Botanical Institute with funding from Timberland with an Earthkeeper Grant. The idea behind the project is to get people back in touch with where their clothes come from and debate textile provenance and clothes miles. This year several sites including community gardens, estates, schools and The London College of Fashion and Morley College are all participating with help from Kate Poland at Cordwainers Garden to grow flax and co-design and create a London Garment.

 Introduction to Permaculture

Randy Mayers

During my Presentation I would cover the basics of Permaculture. The building blocks of for conscious design and living in harmony with the planet and all its’ inhabitants. I will touch in ethical and ecological principles, some design tools and some ways to get started on your very own Permaculture journey.

The Railway Garden – designing a city allotment project

Graham Burnett

During 2013 I have been involved in creating a raised bed garden using recycled wooden pallets in partnership with The Railway Hotel, Southend on Sea. The idea came from discussions at the beginning of 2013 with the pub manager, Dave Dulake, who was keen to see the previously derelict pub garden used by the local community. All the construction materials used were donated free of charge by local businesses and the work was carried out either by their service users, or by regular customers from the pub who were pleased to volunteer their time and skills. A fund-raising benefit gig paid for the soil for the allotment beds and has also helped to raise the profile of the project within the local community. We are now growing fresh organic vegetables and herbs that are used by the cooking and life skills groups to prepare tasty and nutritious meals. This has many benefits, including learning horticultural and cooking skills, positive involvement and participation in the wider community, and promoting healthy living activities and food connections. In July 2013 we were pleased to be included as a part of Southend Borough Council’s entry for the annual East Anglia in Bloom awards, and we have also won a prestigious STARS award from Southend Borough Council for our Community Cohesion work!

Permaculture on a farm scale

Aranya The talk will introduce a number of different approaches to creating a more sustainable agriculture pioneered by a number of farmers from around the world. Methods shared will include Holistic Planned Grazing, Keyline, Biofertilisers and Soil Chromatography, a DIY method that can help us to monitor the life in our soils. The talk will have things of interest to gardeners and smallholders as well as anyone who eats food that was grown on a farm (in other words, most of us!).

How your permaculture project could become a LAND Centre

Alan Thornton

LAND Learners are projects that are working towards showing off permaculture to the world. LAND stands for Learning And Network Demonstration. LAND Centres get more profile, visitors, volunteers and course participants. This workshop will explain how being a LAND Learner can help your project develop your permaculture design, become a LAND Centre and flourish.

 Positive Solutions in the Ecuadorean Amazon

How can mushrooms clean up toxic waste?

Nicola Peel

Due to the massive oil spills in the Amazon we created a team to work on bioremediation (the use of bacteria, fungi and plants to remediate contaminated soil and water) Nicola has worked in the Ecuadorean Amazon since 2000 as a filmmaker, environmentalist and coordinator of numerous environmental projects. Bringing awareness of the David v Goliath Texaco trial and importance of Yasuni World Biosphere Reserve Nicola believes this is information we all need to have.

Community Food Grower’s Network Open Meeting

CFGN will be introducing the intent and activities of the network and have an open space to discuss the progress of member and other groups who are dedicated to growing food sustainably in urban and peri-urban spaces. There will be space to discuss the issues facing community food growing groups and possible ways forward in actions and campaigns.

Moving beyond burning! A close look at Biomass.

Duncan Law

The majority of the new renewable energy coming on stream that we fought so hard for is not wind, solar, tidal, but foreign forests burned in giant power stations at ~38% efficiency releasing more carbon than the coal it replaces. The talk will expose the dangers and ask how permaculture can take a lead in moving beyond burning. Discussion will throw up some answers we hope.

Introduction to Permaculture

Ruth Robinson

In this very short introduction to Permaculture, I aim to cover:

  • what does Permaculture mean? (including possible definitions, short history and Permaculture people)
  • the Ethics (how to do it)
  • how Permaculture helps us (the principles and some egs of Permaculture in practice)

plus where you can get more info.

Urban Forest Gardening

Kevin Mascarenhas

In this workshop we will explore natural systems and permaculture principles to understand how to create our own forest garden designs in the urban context of London. I will be drawing on my experience in the tropics and the temperate climates.

Could your project offer accredited training?

Jo Homan

What if you started running training courses at your project? And how about making that training accredited? Jo Homan from Edible Landscapes London explains how they made it happen, including writing a brand new course called ‘Creating a Forest Garden’.

Gentle Beekeeping – The Sunhive Way

Peter Brown
Natural Beekeeping Trust

Beekeeping today is an activity beset with many problems.To have any hope of “helping the bees” we need to consider beekeeping (and life as a whole) in radically new ways, The sunhive represents a major gesture of giving something to the Bee that accords with the innate needs of the creature. Peter will talk about his quest to live in harmony with bees, and the beauty of having bees in his life.

Natural Beekeeping Trust

Aquaponics and Tilapia in my garage

Richard Tatam

Crystal Palace Transition Town: Sustainability and Local Food : How Far Can You Go?

Joe Duggan, Karen Jones and Laura Marchant-Short

What we do: an overview of the wide variety of active projects in Crystal Palace Transition Town
How we do it: Do-ocracy and the Power of Just Doing Stuff
How we keep doing it: sustaining sustainable work
Two case studies: Crystal Palace Food Market and Crystal Palace Patchwork Farm ( A network of community growing spaces and residential gardens)
What next? How far can we go?

Building with Bales

Eileen Sutherland

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.

HH-2 composting for Compost Toilets, Waste Management, Food Production and Health

Richard Higgins, Well End LAND project

Richard Higgins has developed and expanded the work of Sir Albert Howard, the Grandfather of Organic Farming today. He is introducing this into Permaculture today as it is an ancient science that has been forgotten since the earliest recordings of use by the ancient Chinese.
Most recently Richard has received backing from Clear Village group who want the system in Lime Wharf; government backing for trademarking and the International distribution of HH-2. He also has backing from The Prince’s Environmental Trust for Kenya and backing from The Gurkha Trust for India and South Africa.

In the workshop I will introduce the concept of HH-2 and how the work of Howard is recognised by the Prince’s Environmental Trust.
I will cover the history of how I unfolded this technology and how successful the working and presenting of it has been at different venues and how the major NGO’s accept that their biggest problems are the abuse of sanitation and health of populations.
I will involve audience participation in naming the problems that they may have in their own situation regarding waste management, health and food production.


Susannah Hall

A permablitz is typically about creating or developing a community or household edible, wildlife-friendly garden, according to a permaculture design. Come and find out more about Permablitzing: how you can have a permablitz for your garden and what happens when you join a permablitz.

Using permaculture to create meaningful livelihoods


Over the past year Organiclea has been developing pathways for progression and employment for our beneficiaries. Kate and Darren, two long standing volunteers, will share how a paid work placement with Organiclea enabled to them to create work for themselves and help others to find meaningful livelihoods.


Emily Matthews

A 30 minute yoga practice to stretch, lengthen, restore & relax!

Emily is an experienced yoga teacher who has studied and practiced various styles. She takes her traditional training and blends it with a contemporary twist, using creative flowing sequences and teaching intuitively to the energy of the class.
Emily believes in enjoying your time on the yoga mat. From there you can discover the physical possibilities but more so how the subtle changes that occur through yoga practice opens your heart to spiritual growth and the endless opportunities reconnect to yourself and others, animals, nature and the planet.


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