Posts Tagged ‘permaculture’

Robyn Francis is an inspiring and skilled educator, passionate about empowering people to solve problems in a practical and creative way, regenerate their environments, build resilient communities and create abundance while caring for the earth. Based on the earthcare ethics and ecological principles permaculture can be readily applied and adapted to specific cultures and climates.

Robyn Francis has been developing and delivering permaculture training throughout Australia and internationally since 1984, and is regarded as one of permaculture’s leading and most experienced educators and practitioners. She has taught hundreds of courses including the classic PDC, advanced and specialist courses for professional development, as well as fulltime Accredited Permaculture Training (APT) Certificate III, IV and Diploma. Many highly respected permaculture teachers and presenters have undertaken training with Robyn Francis including Rosemary Morrow, Geoff Lawton, Costa Georgiadis, Morag Gambol, Darren Dougherty, John Champagne and Steve Cran.

Robyn Francis is the founder and principal of Permaculture College Australia, developing curricula and programs, and senior trainer-assessor for the APT Certificate IV and Diploma program at Djanbung Gardens.  Her annual schedule includes limited periods for travelling to teach intensive courses elsewhere in Australia and overseas.

Overseas work has involved teaching PDCs, advanced courses, teacher training, professional development and consultation in Bali, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, New Zealand, USA, Cuba, Germany and France, many of which have involved working with translators.


Curricula development

Francis develops her own curricula including the PDC curriculum (based on the original PDC guidelines by Bill Mollison); Advanced Design Skills; Creative Community Facilitation, Social Permaculture Masterclass; Permaculture Aid and Development Work; Permaculture Teacher Training; Edible Landscape Design; Sustainable Settlements and Ecovillage Design; Growing Abundance for Food Security; plus numerous short courses and workshops. Curricula and course content is being continuously improved and updated with the latest research and developments in earth sciences, social ecology, permaculture and sustainability practices.


Educational materials

Francis develops her own educational materials and resources including course handbooks, interactive course activities and games, creative and inspiring powerpoint presentations and other student support materials.  The Robyn Francis PDC  handbooks has been translated into Mandarin, French, and is currently being translated into Czech.

For courses with Robyn Francis in at Djanbung Gardens please check out the Permaculture College Australia website:  PDCs  •  Advanced Courses & Professional Development  •  Accredited Permaculture Training  •  Short Courses and Workshops

Recent and upcoming overseas engagements


China: October 1-15 in Shenzhen, PDC, translated into Mandarin


China: October 2013, PDC, translated into Mandarin

Cuba: November 2013, Keynote presentation IPC11, International Permaculture Conference, Havana


New Zealand: April 11-15 Keynote presentation at APC11 Australiasian Permaculture Convergence

TAIWAN: June 2012, PDC with Robyn Francis & Earthpassengers team (translated into Mandarin)

GERMANY: August 2-4, 2012, Keynote speaker at EuPC European Permaculture Convergence

FRANCE: August 7-22, 2012: PDC with Robyn Francis, bi-lingual (English with French translation)

FRANCE: August 25-26, 2012: Social Permaculture Masterclass

BALI: November 2012, PDC with Robyn Francis (translated into Indonesian)

North America Tour 2009 Itinerary

May 30-June 14: PDC – Permaculture Design Course (with Penny Livingston, Darren Doherty & guests Starhawk, Jon Young and James Stark)
Regenerative Design Institute, Bolinas, CA, USA
June 17-Jul 3 Cuba-Australia Permaculture Exchange: CAPE Meetings with Foundation for Nature & Humanity, Havana, Cuba, appraisal of post-hurricane recovery, needs and ongoing support.
Jul 5-8 Advanced Design Skills – Beyond the PDC
Regenerative Design Institute, Bolinas, CA, USA
Jul 11-24 PDC – Permaculture Design Course (with Kat Steele & Warren Brush)
Quail Springs, CA, USA
Jul 27 – Aug 6 Cultural Diversity/Sustainable Aid Course
Facilitating Resilient Community Development in Areas of Need, Permaculture for 2/3rds World, Indigenous and Culturally Diverse Communities
Quail Springs, CA, USA
Aug 8 Presentation: One-Earth Footprint – Learning from Cuba’s Experience
Discover the key factors enabling Cuba to survive collapse, live within its ecological footprint, and how this relates to Permaculture & Transition design.
Santa Barbara Permaculture Network, Santa Barbara CA, USA
Aug 8-22 Tour North-west USA contact:

Robyn Francis Consulting Services:

International Permaculture Design & Consulting Services

At the cutting edge of international design, consulting and training services for sustainable developments, Robyn Francis brings a wealth of professional experience in sustainable systems planning and design accumulated over 25 years. Visionary and intensely practical, Robyn Francis has a unique capacity to cut through to the core issues and essence of a project and in collaboration with clients and professional teams, facilitate achievable outcomes and design strategies for regenerative developments which meet ecological, social, cultural and economic objectives.

Key Consulting Services:

 Strategic Planning

planning, design and development principles and guidelines for integrated interdisciplinary approach to meet best practice ESD principles adapted to specific site, nature of development, catchment and cultural context

Master Planning

working with and facilitating interdisciplinary teams  to optimise integrated ecological and social planning approach to project concepts, themes and relative location of land use systems, infrastructure, soft and hard landscape parameters within strategic planning framework

Concept Planning

develop concepts for development design components, elements and staging within context of strategic and master planning framework including functional parameters and directives for detail design and construction plans

Detail Design

supervise and review development of detail designs for public and private landscapes, implementation guidelines and strategies

Community Resource Management and Governance

input into and review of resident by-laws regarding community land and landscape management under Community Title, Strata Title and Rural Land Sharing Communities (MO) frameworks, community governance and decision-making processes and protocols


creative design and planning process facilitation for interdisciplinary team work (e.g. strategic & master planning), community consultation processes and community participatory design. Participatory facilitation processes include Imagineering the Future, Cultural Mapping, Affinity Matrix, Speak-Out Forums, Pattern Quest and Parallel Thinking.

Professional Development and Education Services

Innovative approaches to integrated design, Francis provides Professional Development seminars and workshops for developers, consulting teams, design professionals, project managers on integrated ecological design, pattern systems, social ecology in the physical landscape, inter-disciplinary team building and creative problem solving processes.

This link is an ABC National Radio Flashmovie, part of the Re-imagining Utopia program series in 2002.

Jarlanbah – An interview with Robyn Francis

Permaculture educator Robyn Francis talks about her approach to the design of Jarlanbah, a 43 lot eco-village which was the first rural residential Community Title development in NSW.

A series of Eco-villages in the making

Declan Kennedy, founding director of Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) reflects on his visit to Djanbung Gardens and Jarlanbah

Djanbung Gardens Permaculture Centre near Nimbin is a living example of celebrating abundance. It demonstrates caring for the earth and for people both in its original design and its ways of integrating design into its everyday implementation. Sharing with others through its shop and through its parallel non-profit educational organization: ERDA is a joy to see and experience.

The guided tours are inspiring, informative and highly educational, as Robyn Francis weaves her way through what at first seems to be a haphazard scheme. It is then that the visitor sees the necessity of site analysis and observation before design and the way relative placement has been put into practice. The permaculture principles of Multiple Elements for Each Function and Multiple Functions for Each Element are evident at every turn.

Using biological resources both for building and for mimicking natural succession encourages beneficial relationship between building and plants, people and plants – and people and buildings. These relationships maximize the whole. They are augmented by many example of appropriate technology which are so numerous on the site that they cannot be listed here,

It is obvious that each element is placed to support its neighbor, as Robyn explains, and that this can reduce external inputs as well as reducing work. But the real experience is the beauty of the place, with its high variety of trees, schrubs, vegetables, fruits and mulches. Animals such as geece and chickens are in small areas near the plants that feed them. Ponds flow from one to the other as part of the aqua-culture design that brings new light as one steps through the various patches and sun-traps. These ponds also give the beholder a marvelous example of edge effect , of recycling energies and nutrients and, of course, are a part of the overall water management on the site.

This edible landscape which was designed by Robyn Francis in 1994 is based on the principle of Permaculture but goes far beyond that – introducing elements that create a truly beautiful and spiritual
atmosphere where she can celebrate her favorite Celtic rituals with her friends and students.

Robyn teaches many Permaculture design courses each year both in these gardens and in other places in Australia and abroad. She has one emphasis that also supports one of her main hobbies – herbs and
spices supporting her gourmet cooking. These feasts can be experienced by her family and friends but also by guests as she runs a café, runs spezial events and banquets on request and preserves organic conserves for sale in the small shop. A more direct link between producer and consumer is hardly possible to find.

Her place is fifteen minutes walk from the town of Nimbin, sandwitched between this now well-known alternative lifestyle and the already implemented 33 acres Jarlanbah Community that borders her
property to the south – which she, by the way, designed in 1992. People started to move on to their permaculture plots, houses and gardens in 1994. 43 residential lots are grouped much closer together
than is usual in this region and this density allows thereby more social interaction between community residents and a huge area for communal uses and for wildlife, as well.

These neighbors did not only have the example of Djanbung Gardens – but could take advantage of Robyn’s ability to match the present legal standards to highly visionary social systems that are being
slowly experimented with by many other intentional communities. Robyn has stayed in close connection to the Global Eco-village Network, of which I am the founding Chairman. These two projects: Djanbung
Gardens and Jarlanbah Community, will be connected up by two further new eco-village developments adjacent and opposite Djanbung Gardens – which when finished may be quite a unique example of a marriage between the old and the new eco-settlement – and making of the transition to a Permaculture Town.



Declan Kennedy


Initiating and developing community gardens, transition towns and community sustainability programs is a people-oriented process that requires not only organisational skills but a diverse ‘tool kit’ for inclusive community facilitation. Permaculture College Australia specialises in training community facilitators as effective agents of change.

The community garden movement is taking off in NSW with a growing number of initiatives throughout the Sydney metropolis, regional cities and rural towns. The NSW north coast region has projects at various stages of planning and implementation in Lismore, Mullumbimby, Ballina and Coffs Harbour to name a few. While most community gardens and farms start as grassroots community initiatives, in the past many have struggled to gain support from local government – this is beginning to change.

Local government and planners are now starting realise the potential of community gardens and farms as a valuable and viable use of public land and are actively supporting community initiatives in this area. These projects are seen as an important way to build resilience into our communities, for skills sharing, food security and bringing people together for meaningful recreation and conviviality. An indicator of this shift is the recent announcement of the CITY OF SYDNEY in March 2010 to adopt “a policy on community gardening that offers the potential for collaboration with community-based and other food-oriented organisations as well as community gardens.” (see article: Innovative policy on community gardening adopted by City of Sydney)

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Discover earthfriendly living and design, training for a career in sustainability with world-class staff and facilities at Djanbung Gardens in the lush subtropics of NSW Australia.

Created by Jack Heimsoth.
Music 'Butterflies and Pretty Things' by Robyn Francis.

Contact Me

74 Cecil St Nimbin
(300m past Showground)
less than 1km from Nimbin's main street

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