Confessions of a poor minutes secretary – an update from the last 2 OCPG meetings

With apologies to all members of the OCPG group and other randomly interested parties for the lack of formal minutes, this blog post summaries the discussions held during the last two OCPG meetings. Our last two meetings have been at a couple of local properties, starting off at Top of the Otways (between Apollo Bay and Barramunga on the edge of the Great Otway National Park) and then moving on to Tony Webber’s on the Great Ocean Road (and also right on the National Park). We covered very similar ground at both meetings and so here is a summary.

Food swaps and barter markets

It’s a tricky thing, getting people involved. On the one hand, when you’ve got a great idea like Permaculture, you wants to be able to sell it. The flip side is that outside the “inner circle” itechnical ideas, practices and terminology can be off putting. Nobody wants to be made to feel dumb by being slapped about the face with others’ knowledge. A food swap / barter market seems like a good way to bring people together around a social event that is still firmly grounded in permaculture principals and we know that this has been a very successful engagement tool for many groups. The OCPG has done this before so it’s really just a matter of resurrecting an old idea. This time the idea also has a new partner in the form of Otway Health and Community Services who are running a schmick food security program. It ‘d be really great to get the local Community Garden involved too and drive a bit of traffic and interest towards that facility.

Otways burning man

Continuing in the largely social vein, the OCPG are still working towards a burning man for winter solstice 2014. People like to burn things, right? How can that not work?

Garden design workshop

So that’s the more lightweight, social stuff covered. We’re also working towards some more technical events, the first of which will be on the 23rd of November when 2 of our OCPG PDC graduates will be running a workshop to help participants understand basic permaculture design principles and test out design ideas for a productive food garden. The event will be hosted on a local property where the enthusiasm for a permaculture garden is high, but the implementation remains… rudimentary!


It’s sort of a boring word, but governance issues remain something of a focus of attention. Largely this is due to the fact that our umbrella group, Permaculture Melbourne, is examining its Rules of Association. This may impact on representation models and other issues for local groups. We are thankful to the new President of Permaculture Melbourne, Warwick Allen Bone, for coming down to Tony’s Place last weekend and letting us know where things are at. Running committees and associations can be a hard gig and we’re grateful for all who take the time to undertake what is often a thankless task. Looking forward to hearing more.

Why join?

If you missed the last two meetings then you missed the chance to see two beautiful properties and meet some great people. Last weekend the weather finally cleared and was kind to the volunteers who turned up to work on the Little Otways Earthship at Tony’s place. The picture above surely proves that there can be no finer views in the Otways.

Second, there were kids there. Some of them were literally kids in the form of 6 baby goats who melted everyone’s hearts and provided entertainment to the human kids who came along. Children help make community, the more there are the more they entertain themselves. So bring ’em along!