The All Ireland Permaculture Gathering is about bringing people and ideas together who share a common interest in sustainable and ethical methods to building a better world.
First held in Co. Wicklow in 2011 between 200 & 300 people have attended the gathering each year since. It is a weekend camp in a private location to support the development of Permaculture in Ireland & Northern Ireland by providing an opportunity to network, celebrate and learn together. It is not a passive event laid on by others, but rather an active participatory gathering which is co-created by a year team and camp attendees. People come and host talks and workshops, share skills and information and participate in this dynamic community event. The gathering steering group formed from past gathering members works to give continuity from year to year. Hosting Info (link) gives more details on organizational structure.
The Gathering – how does it work?
The Permaculture Gathering is a self-organising event over a weekend (Friday-Sunday) around July-August of each year with a host group and many working groups working together to create the space. It is self-financing, no drugs or alcohol will be allowed on site. It should be set up as a very family friendly event.
Everyone gets to come together and:
- Learn celebrate and create
- Exchange skills and knowledge
- Share time, food, experiences and stories
- Exchange seeds and plants
- Meet people with shared interests and passions
- Be introduced to Permaculture
- Apply Permaculture principles
- See what is possible!
At the Gathering there should be a welcoming meeting round the first afternoon/evening where everybody sees each other and organizes the schedule for the coming days: people will present what they would like to do: there will be talks, workshops, demonstrations, discussions, meditations, kids activities, music circles, yoga, etc., whatever people have to offer. It is an active participatory gathering meaning that everybody can be involved in whatever they want to do. The proposed activities are then gathered on a big timetable sheet and a time and venue is designated. Furthermore everybody participates in the working of the gathering with different groups being formed to make sure the different areas work smoothly: compost toilet, kitchen, lights, firewood, welcome team, facilitation, etc. In former gatherings there was a goodbye meeting round on the Sunday to share experiences, make announcements, talk about the future and simply celebrate the lovely outcome of the gathering.
Camping at the event is allowed at the designated camping zones. The gathering is free from drugs, alcohol and pets making it a very easy going, family friendly event. It is important that children be under the care of a responsible adult throughout the event. Generally the gathering isn’t a loud event however we do state that there be no loud noise after 10pm as respect to others and the local community.
Energy and Waste
The use of electricity should be kept to an absolute minimum. The whole gathering intends not to leave any waste (produce no waste and if then bring it home with you; compost will be on site), recycle materials and resources and work under the permaculture principles: earth care, people care, fair share.
People should be encouraged to bring their own food and food for sharing since there will be a communal kitchen on site for communal meals. Ideally a garden space will be set up on the site in spring and a lot of the food for the gathering will be grown on site
Yearly organisation, schedules and working groups
- Steering Group: is an open group made up of previous attendees who volunteer to help bring continuity to the process from year to year.
- Year Team: is the group who will be working with the host during the setting up and taking down of event.
- Host: is the person/s who’s property is suitable and available for the event.
- Local people/Community/Volunteers: are the general public who are interested in helping and learning through out the event.
- Gathering Attendees: are all the people who will be attending the weekend gathering.
Tickets for the event cost £30 or £15 concession. One day tickets are available for £10. Each year there is a “seed money” available before the event (from last years event). The income depends on the number of people attending and the cost of expenses. Whatever money is left over will be used for seed money for next years gathering and will be held in an account of the Permaculture Gathering. The idea is to recycle and cycle as many things as possible and spend as little as possible organising and during the gathering.
Everybody works and helps voluntarily and for free.
Stalls and other possible stands on the site shouldn’t be taking any money, it is a money free zone where exchange (of skills, knowledge, etc.) is the preferred method.
Expenses to be covered:
- Insurance costs (€300-450)
- Transport costs for material (diesel/petrol)
- Transport costs for structures (up to €50 contributions each IF NEEDED)
- Material (timber, straw bales, pipes, fixings, nails, etc.), NOT for tools or equipment
- Budget for some bulk food (max. €250; things like bulk porridge oats, lentils, rice, oils, etc.)
- PR/ Media (domain for website, posters, etc.)
- Keeping receipts and detailed accounts is essential
Experiences from previous gatherings
What we found were essential venues/places during the gathering:
- Diversity of structures/spaces (we found one big tent (to hold everybody), a roofed kitchen area, the welcome tent, 3-4 yurts/tipies and one big marquee or tent are sufficient together with some outdoor spaces)
- First Aid Space
- Fire pit firewood needed
- Kitchen with various sinks, water access, various gas burners or rocket stoves, big pots
- 2 Compost Toilets plus urinals and access to water for hygiene cover material such as sawdust or straw needed
- Welcome Tent with a welcoming atmosphere, central information/map on boards, long term and daily information
- Set up Team (establishing the garden, compost toilets, rainwater harvesting, structures)
- Take down Team (responsible for the taking down and clearing of the event)
- Welcome Tent Team
- Kitchen Team (a cook for the communal meal(s))
- PR- advertise the event and the beforehand hold workshops (using the website www.permaculture.ie) ; inform people to bring whatever they want to share of their own garden produce or things they have in abundance (wood chip, sawdust for the toilets, firewood, etc); inform to bring cutlery, plate and own cup
- First Aid Team
- Facilitation/Process Team