The popularity of permaculture is growing in the Bay – thanks to a voluntary group spreading its roots region-wide.
PermaBlitz BOP held its first event in August 2012 – and after eight permablitzes in Katikati – is spreading its interest further into the region. “We believe there is a growing number of people interested in permaculture and we think there’s a large community of lifestyle block owners and gardening enthusiasts that want to try and garden more organically,” says Hugo Verhagen, who created the group with Trish Waugh and Sue Peachey. “All three of us had lost interest in mainstream landscaping, due to environmental impacts we were having on peoples properties, and the costs of unsustainable materials such as concrete. We were keen on developing a means to landscape property in a sustainable way.” PermaBlitz BOP, a non-profit network, now serves to connect people and get permaculture designs undertaken at Bay properties. A PermaBlitz begins when a potential host signals interest in an event at their property. They work with a volunteer or professional permaculture designers to design the garden. Hosts provide catering for the day and fund the costs of materials and design, if any.

Trish and Sue coach volunteers via workshops, showing techniques including growing from seed, composting, keeping chickens, understanding soil and companion planting. Katikati Motel owner Kate Pfennig hosted permablitzes at her motel twice last year, seeing a 5m by 5m courtyard transformed into a garden for guests, where they help themselves to fresh fruit, vegetable and herbs. “It’s fabulous, it’s a great community building event,” says Kate. The motels overgrown swimming pool was replaced with raised beds, which hold a chicken coop over the top.

“When we finish harvesting the beds, we put the chicken coop on and use the hen’s eggs for our guest’s breakfasts.”
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