Creating Perma Chats Groups and Permablitzes
Updated: Jun 21, 2019
What - This is a group of permaculture enthusiasts and people who want to learn more about the topic, who come to together to talk about their interests in a casual way.
Why – Admittedly, permaculture is hard to get your head around. It takes a good deal of energy to explain it all the time and sometimes we just want to chat freely in a group of people who really get what we are talking about. Some people don’t have folks in their life who share this interest and we thought, why not make this more than a get together, let’s make it a community building exercise.
When – We meet once a month on a consistent date. This works for how much free time people seem to have. You can do whatever makes sense for you.
How – Two friends came up with the idea and we send out reminder emails and create some loosely structured activities or topics to discuss. We tried to meet in restaurants to support local businesses but we didn’t know how many people would come each time and we also needed space for kids to move around. We have switched to meeting at a local non-profit building with some backyard space available as well.
We try to remember that people come with all levels of knowledge, so explain terminology and don’t assume that no explanation is needed. We also don’t charge any member fees. You could ask for a small donation to put towards activities if you wanted, like a toonie drop. If doing workshops together, you can come up with equitable ways to share the cost of supplies.
We are aiming to have a “permablitz” or work party at someone’s house roughly once a month. In March we did some finishing work on a four-season greenhouse and wrapped up with a lovely potluck. We carpool to these events as we have a lot of rural members. Next month we will get garden beds started, have a look at a well-established orchard and do a plant swap, topping it all off with some great food at the end. 1:00 – 4:30/ 5:00 seems to work well.
Some thoughts on permablitz’s
· It would be nice to have people come to the group a few times before hosting a permablitz, just to make the work equitable.
· We will try to attend each other’s events as much as we can, but realize not everyone can make every event.
· It is ideal to have some educational component to the work and of course, we need to be safe.
· The host is responsible for coordinating the group by having a solid project plan, meal planning and getting tools to the site. For a larger group, a potluck is the most practical, but the host can help coordinate meals, sort out allergies and do the dishes!
· Events should be kid friendly.
· If someone in the group has mobility challenges, back problems, etc., then it would be good to plan a few types of activities so that no one is left out. Again, be safe and don’t make work too strenuous.
· This is a fair amount of information online, so you can look at different models to see what works for your group.
If you want to start a Perma Chats group, but it feels a bit daunting, just reach out and I can walk you through the process by phone, or perhaps I can even come to the first meeting (if you are in New Brunswick). This has been a super rewarding experience and it is worth every bit of effort. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.