Pachamama Design Workshop

Tonielle Christensen Blog, Education & Culture

Pachamama Design Workshop

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Tonielle Christensen

Tonielle is a designer focused on improving the wellbeing of people and landscapes to generate abundance and efficiency.


A wonderful day was enjoyed by all when we set into full swing to co-create a design for the Pachamama House! Local Cairns and Tablelands participants and woofers from afar as Japan, France, Italy and the UK came together to crEATe a space to learn about the Permaculture fundamentals and collaborate on 'seeding the vision' to design an efficient and edible landscape for this 5 acre sloped property.

With the ethics and principles of Permaculture discovered and expanded upon throughout the morning, we gained an understanding of the thought processes brought into the rethinking of sustainable systems. We connected them to many aspects of landscape and beyond...through social and financial systems too. Discussions about strategies, tools and processes to implement a design that respect the limitations and opportunities of the site concluded the morning session. With all this brought to attention and noted for further research, each participant was provided with notes and a consultation report to take away from the day and utilise later.

The afternoon session got everyone into the mindset of reading the landscape in order to gain insight to the zoning (energy use) and reflection of the sector analysis. After a lengthy walk (because their was so much to see!), the observation process made it more clear of what is, and led to thought provoking visions of what could be. The group collaborated in a 'seeding the vision' mind map to bring to light; the needs and wants for the design, and then linked the connections of each element in the 'nourishing the vision' session to assist with the relative location or importance of integrating it.

Finally, with much discussion and noted observations, the group put pen to paper and began the design which incorporated:

-  Swales on contour to slow down and absorb the monsoonal rains and provide alternative pathways and garden beds with mixed perennials; to prevent erosion of the sloped land and reduce traffic on the existing wet path.

- Locations for future Woofer accommodation sites were planned with access and designated around existing fruit trees aiming for non-visiable nooks

- A space for ceremony, outdoor workshops and central fire was chosen near the 'rainbow dreaming sanctuary' which is the base camp for Woofers

- Composting systems

- Pathways

- Compost toilets and hot shower zone

- Kitchen garden to supply produce for woofers (will need to be enclosed to protect from bush turkeys and other animals) Key hole/Mandala beds suit the flat ground

- Banana Circle and wet crop catchment from showers/kitchen

- White Sage production for ceremony ( will need to be planted into very well drained raised pots or wicking bed systems during the dry/winter season for annual production

- Further research into other medicinal herbs for production needs to be done to see if they can be cultivated and grown for market

- Tropical rhizomes plantings

- Pizza oven (plenty of clay on site so dig from specific zones where water storage is required)

- Nursery

The objective is to be as earth based as possible, meaning no machinery and completely organic for a new earth sanctuary. The design needs to work within the means of people power and budget. Ultimately, it needs to be safe and comfortable so as to be suitable for a nursing mother and toddlers so this thought must be considered as the landscape develops. The land is rented and therefore, any additions need not be permanent but at the same time safe and comfortable for woofers/visitors (peak 10).

Further workshops are being developed including:

-Composting (worm farms from bathtubs, caged and Bokashi systems) and swale (surveying and implementing)

- Cob/pizza oven (made from earth bags and onsite clay

- Plant identification and natural building tent decks from bamboo

+ more...

If you feel that you would like to share your skills to implement any of the listed elements above, or would like to be part of the learning team engaged in these projects - please contact us!

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