Permaculture visit for mentoring program

Permaculture was in the spotlight at a training day organised by the Yarram Yarram and South Gippsland Landcare Networks.

Fourteen people involved in the Networks’ Mentoring program visited Bob’s Garden Farm in Hiawatha on Saturday, 30th March to get an insight into permaculture.

The day included presentations by Mystee Unwin – a permaculture teacher, Bob Tatnell (the property owner) and West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority’s Regional Landcare Facilitator, Marnie Ellis.

“The training day looked at the differences between Landcare and permaculture,” said Scott Elliot, Yarram Yarram Landcare Network Coordinator.

“Participants were particularly interested in water systems, including dams, plowing/ripping techniques and ways to conserve water.

“Many of those who took part are at the start of their farming journey and own small properties of less than 30 acres. Some of them are hoping to establish niche industries on their properties, including duck meat, eggs, or fruit and vegetables.”

All three presenters brought their own personal experience to the presentations.

“Marnie runs her own property, Applebox Farm, according to permaculture principles, and obviously we were able to see Bob’s approach up close during the farm visit,” Scott said.

“Mystee’s presentation focused on her property near Rokewood and she went through the principles of constructing your own tiny house and super adobe structure.

“She also talked about establishing garden beds, using small animal systems to dig, fertilise and aerate soils, as well as explaining permaculture design techniques.”

Scott said there were plans to organise a bus trip later this year, to show participants in the mentoring program leading examples of Landcare in West Gippsland.

The first phase of the mentoring project was supported through funding from the Victorian Landcare Grants.

Phase two will be supported by the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority through funding from the Our Catchment Our Community program.

More information about Landcare programs in West Gippsland is available at

photo of permaculture training day
Mystee Unwin talked about permaculture principles during her presentation
photo of farm visit
A farm visit to Bob’s Garden Farm in Hiawatha was a chance for members of the Landcare Mentoring Program to find out more about Permaculture.
graphic illustration of permaculture zones
Mystee also discussed the way permaculture splits a farm into zones, as illustrated by this graphic.