Education 2016-10-31T13:41:55+11:00

Southern Harvest Education — a sub-committee of Southern Harvest Association — has now merged with Permaculture eXchange. The full program of workshops and training previously offered by Permaculture eXchange will now be offered by Southern Harvest Education.

SHA is a registered not-for-profit incorporated organisation delivering a range of benefits to those in food and farming related industries across the Australian Capital Region. Our passion is helping people establish sustainable agricultural systems (on many different scales) based on permaculture principles.

Permaculture eXchange has been a great forum to connect with other like-minded people through educational courses ranging from Introduction to Permaculture, Permaculture Design and on-farm practical specialist courses. The group bases its activities around productive urban gardens and working farms in the Australian Capital Region region, schools and community groups. The aim is to help others transition to a closer relationship with the land and the basis of food production and sustainability.

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Southern Harvest Education is now a provider of world-class education in sustainability, permaculture and regenerative agriculture systems. Based on the world-renowned courses initiated and taught by Bill Mollison, our courses and workshops offer unique and practical insights which provide you with the ability to create your own sustainable living systems.

On completing one of our courses, you’ll leave ready to put into action what you’ve learned in a practical way based on learned skills. This will enable you to design and implement sustainable systems for yourself, your family and community, whether in an urban or farming environment.

Courses are run across NSW and the ACT.

The aim is to bring together both urban, semi-rural and rural permaculture students, teachers and designers for the surrounding area with a focus on bringing education and information to people working in the field of sustainability utilising permaculture and holistic farming management practices.

A range of courses are run by the group, but all permaculture educators hold Permaculture Design Certificates and are active permaculture practitioners and designers in the region.

For any general enquiries about Southern Harvest Education, use the form below:

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John Champagne

PDC in 1991. Diploma in Permaculture Design (APT). SCPA President for 12 years. Co-orginator of the South Coast Field Days. Initiated South East Transition Towns. Designer, consultant and implemented permaculture projects for private properties, school gardens, community gardens and eco-villages. Original member and led the Design Team for the BEND Eco-Neighbourhood. Taught 30 PDCs in Australia and South East Asia. John’s own property, Brogo Permaculture Gardens is 20 years established and is under Organic Certification.

Colin McLean

Colin McLean

Colin McLean is the President of the Southern Harvest Association and Treasurer of Southern Harvest Education.

Colin’s Nunyara Farm has moved from being just “a beautiful view” for his wife Lea and himself through “what have we got ourselves into!” to a base for them to lead as self-sufficient a life as possible. It is now a challenging enterprise and promises to provide an exciting future in living on the land by applying as many principles as we they form Permaculture, Bio-dynamics, Natural Sequence Farming and many other disciplines encountered along the way.

Colin and Lea have recently launched Provisions Deli and Grocery in Braidwood.

Colin holds a Bachelor of Business Degree and completed his introduction to permaculture with John Champagne and his PDC with Geoff Lawton at Mulloon Creek in 2010.

Colin’s vision for Southern Harvest Education is for it to be a well regarded and respected source of education and encouragement for people of all walks to either discover or to absorb more practical knowledge and application about Permaculture and related disciplines.


Penny Kothe

Penny grew up on a farm in Tumbarumba, on the western side of the Snowy Mountains in NSW. She has lived and worked both on the land and in the city and on farms ranging from 10 to 10,000 acres and has been back on the land for the last 7 years.

Having seen and participated in the “conventional” side of farming, Penny chose to settle in Mulloon (between Bungendore and Braidwood) on 100 acres to develop a working permaculture farm with animal, vegetable, fruit, nut and tree systems. She manages Caroola Farm with her partner Paul.

With many prior years of experience in holistic management and permaculture from a practical level, Penny completed her PDC in 2012 with Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton. She has since completed a range of complimentary permaculture short courses including mushrooms, natural bee keeping, urban permaculture, forest gardens and organic market gardening. She has taught short courses on soils and small animals as well as Introduction to Permaculture and participated in facilitating a number of PDC courses.

Holistic management is a passion of Penny’s, integrating pasture and animal systems, as well as organic farming, in which she is currently completing a diploma and going through the process of having her farm certified with SCPA South East Producers.

Apart from formal education, Penny has a wealth of on-the-ground, day-to-day experience with the implementation and management of permaculture systems and is passionate about sharing her knowledge with others.


Dan Harris-Pascal

Dan has been working in permaculture, ecology and horticulture for the last 5 years and brings extensive skills and knowledge to any project. His background in horticulture and ecology means that he understands the functions of many different plants and the environments they grow in. More recently he has been designing and implementing forest garden systems using the design framework outlined by Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier in Edible Forest Gardens. He has designed and developed an excellent teaching program to enable students to understand the ecological principles that allow a forest to function and how to design a garden to encourage those processes to develop resilient, productive polycultures.

Dan has taught on Permaculture Design Certificates with Milkwood Permaculture and also with John Champagne and Phil Gall (Brogo Permaculture Gardens). He hopes to use his communication skills and experience to assist in the rapid uptake of forest gardens & food forests in home gardens, community gardens and small holdings to ensure resilient food production into the future.

Biography: Dan grew up in the Southern Tablelands in Australia and was introduced to gardening and permaculture principles by his neighbours at the age of 12. He followed this passion for plants and studied ecology and botany at the local university. He held various jobs running green houses and performing garden maintenance to help pay his way.

Following graduation, he worked for the Ecosystem Dynamics Group at the Research School of Biology working on frost tolerance in snow gums and salt tolerance in Mangroves. He has held a position with this group since 2008 working intermittently on different projects. Dan loves working in the field in the unique ecosystems of Australia working on natural ecological systems.

In 2008, Dan was accepted as a horticulture intern at the National Tropical Botanic Garden in Kaua’i, Hawaii, which focused on tropical horticulture and ethnobotany. He has always been fascinated by the connections between people and plants and the program gave him the opportunity to study and practice Polynesian plant use and production systems for food, fiber and medicines. Two of the garden’s sites contained traditional Hawaiian Ahu’puaha production systems which traditionally produced timber, taro and farmed fish with a Lo’i system.


David Spicer

David’s approach to design comes from his proven practicality, having over 15 years experience in permaculture design and education working and teaching with Bill Mollison at the Permaculture Institute Tasmania, and Geoff Lawton managing director of the Permaculture Research Institute Australia, Zaytuna farm. David worked as farm manager of the renowned Tagari Farm in northern NSW. Teaching and designing nationally and internationally, working in 5 states of Australia, Morocco, Jordan and Palestine in many different climate zones.

Click here for more about David Spicer

Specialist Teachers


Bronwyn Richards

Bronwyn is from Wynlen House Slow Food Farm. Since moving to Braidwood in 2002 she has established an organic four season, slow food farm (cool climate) selling produce and raising farm animals (vegetables and meat) all year to consumers and local restaurants. She also has a strong interest in, organic, sustainable and local food using agricultural systems that have environmental, economic and social outcomes.

Wynlen House produce is grown using organic and permaculture principles plus lots of loving care, in a small market garden. The focus is on growing food to be consumed locally, caring where your food comes from; how and where it is grown; and how it is processed, prepared and shared. This is simple honest food of the highest quality. It is food with soul and we believe you can taste the difference.


Martin Royds

Martin has re-defined his own meaning of success on the land. During the 1982 drought, he watched in horror as tonnes of topsoil blew off hillsides and coated fences. Gully erosion was rampant, and when the rains eventually did come, any remaining topsoil and organic matter was stripped and washed away.

Over the years since, Martin has turned his property around, battling advocates of traditional methods and regulatory constraints to create an agricultural enterprise example – and gaining well-earned recognition in the process.

Holistic management has helped deliver a property that is still able to fatten cattle during drought periods when neighbours are unable to run stock. Diversification has also enabled the maintenance of cash flow through other industries such as harvesting native grass seed, truffles, garlic and yabbies.

Martin has won or been nominated for a range of awards, including winning the award for “Carbon Cocky for East of the Divide” in 2007. He is tireless in his thirst for gaining and sharing knowledge, attending or presenting at conferences and seminars across the country and
maintaining membership with a number of organisations and committees.

Martin believes that there is a real divide between the farm and non-farm communities and a lack of understanding of the role of each in our present society. He wants to set an example for those in towns and cities that farmers can produce nutrient rich food economically whilst also improving the environmental aspects of the landscape. His story is one of success on many levels – social, financial and environmental.

Student Teachers


Michael Bell

Michael has a grounding in biology, but fell into a thoroughly enjoyable IT career which borders on close to 25 years. He’s starting to look at moving from IT into something different as the passion for IT work has started to wane.

He was introduced to permaculture through one of the monthly Canberra Organic Growers Society (COGS) meetings in Canberra and ended up attending the Spring 2012 PDC in Canberra where he got involved with a great group of people and came away with renewed sense of enthusiasm and vigour.

While in the process of gradually re-skilling himself, he’s been spending some time playing with compost piles, slowing down water flow during heavy storms and eyeing off his yet to be built aquaponics setup in the garden shed.

1991 – Post Grad Dip in Computer Studies
1987 – Bachelor’s Degree in Biology

Courses and Workshops
2013 – Holistic Management with George Gundry, Illawarra TAFE, Goulburn Campus
2012 – Earthworks Course at Bredbo
2012 – Spring PDC at Lanyon, Canberra

Community and Volunteer Work
2012 – COGS role expanding to Treasurer
2012 – Committee member with COGS in an Assistant Treasurer role

Student questions – no matter how odd the question, I always learnt from it. For me establishing the network that I had been searching for was fantastic. I look forward to being able to attend future practical sessions. Access to the datadump – it was very generous of you guys to provide that info that sometime one can spend hours/days looking for, so thank you for that. Show & tell was great.
How much I was drawn into it and couldn’t wait to get started and have all this working for me. Also, discussions within the group and learning things from others also doing the course.
Jessie Szarkun
The interactive nature of the course. The opportunity for all participants to ask questions and the willingness of the lecturers to allow frank discussion and give honest and open advice. Equally the quality of information the lecturers were able to give and the breadth of experience they were able to communicate.
Virginia Anne Lyon
The whole course content was an inspiring view, a doorway into a world – of being effectively involved, living in harmonious and prosperous relationship with it, that I new existed but did not know where, just yet. Favourite part… one of the things I really appreciated is the different way that the presenters see things, yet come back to the same or similar outcome, which gave more diversity and really made it so I had to make up my own mind about things, specifically how the design presentation was approached.
Manus Blackman
I loved that I was learning from people who understood and worked within my climate zone, and think I got much more benefit than if I’d done an urban or coastal course. Site visit was fantastic. Meeting other like-minded people.
Zoe Bowman
Introduction to new to me land management techniques. Learning new skills.
Fred Rinaldi
I learned so much but also how much I already had in place. Also real life experiences and dedication where a real plus. I could see how much the teachers really believed what they were teaching and their belief that a small group could change the world.
Penny Evans
I loved the whole course! I find it difficult to identify only one single aspect as the highlight. We were able to digress and explore different issues as they arose, it was great that there was the scope to allow this. I knew I was going to learn some new and exciting concepts – I never imagined what a life changing experience this would become! I loved the intensity of the timing of the 4 weekends – it allowed time to put into practise some of the concepts and also allowed time for thinking about questions for the group.
Michelle Richmond

Upcoming Workshops