Information for organisers of International Permaculture Day events
Thanks for participating in International Permaculture Day (IPD). Following are a few things to consider that will increase the effectiveness of the day.
To make International Permaculture Day a positive experience for all our visitors so that we encourage them to participate in permaculture, we have a set of standards and practices that we encourage you to follow. Some of these are to do with legals in Australia — check out legal requirements applicable in your own country.
Have existing knowledge
A substantial knowledge of permaculture as a system of design is an obvious requirement to host an International Permaculture Day (IPD).
If you are new to permaculture and are organising an IPD event, and you do not have in-depth knowledge of the design system, try to locate someone in your region who has knowledge and ask them to attend your event to explain permaculture and answer visitor questions about it.
Have a clear intention for your IPD event.
- what is the single important thing you want to achieve?
- what ideas/messages/insights do you want visitors to go away with?
- what would you like them to do after your event?
- what would be a call to action that you can make to stimulate action in your visitors?
Our intent for the day might be:
- promoting permaculture to the public, inspiring them to get involved and assisting them to change behaviours
- recruiting members to your local and regional permaculture groups
- promoting local permaculture courses
- demonstrating how a specific program, site or technology works
- to offer insights, knowledge and experience through a seminar, workshop or video screening followed by a discussion about the content of the video.
- This is where we think about what you need to run an IPD event. It is about:
- logistics — the physical things you need to make the day a success, such as materials, food, venue and so on
- planning how the day will run — scheduling different parts of the event such as talks and tours, afternoon tea, informal networking among visitors, and conclusion to the day.
Some people may want to visit several IPD venues in your area. If there is more than one event nearby and if your event is a site visit, ensure workshops and tours are not too long. Events should be of sufficient duration that visitors go away with some sense of value from their visit.
We can break up longer events into smaller segments so people can come and go. Make sure the times of these specific segments are advertised.
Think about the following:
- is the time that you have allocated realistic and appropriate for the event?
- have you factored in breaks for yourself and volunteers?
- have you assigned specific roles for your volunteers? Someone to: welcome visitors; lead tours; give talks; staff the question and information table; take photos; make tea; meet and greet; roam generally etc
- how many people can you fit into your venue at one time and how will you control traffic flow?
- if your event is showing a film, how many people will the venue accommodate? It may be worthwhile setting up an online event registration so that you don’t exceed the number that can be accommodated in the venue
- do you have good quality audio-visual equipment for a video screening?
- does your venue have facilities such as toilets, water, power, tables and tea/coffee station?
- have you printed membership application forms and a schedule of the day’s event to be handed to visitors as they enter?
(Information about insurance is relevant only for Australia — find out about insurance requirements in your country/state).
You need to make sure that your crew and visitors are protected by insurance. This may be covered by household public liability insurance.
If you are part of a permaculture group that is registered as an incorporated association, you may need public liability insurance. If your event is to take place on land controlled by local government it might be a requirement that you provide a certificate of insurance currency when applying for access to the land for the event.
For insurance purposes (in Australia) you need to record attendees’ names on a list as they enter. Explain why this is necessary. Provide the option on the form for listing visitor emails so that they can be notified on next year’s IPD event and so that they can be notified of events our organisation plans in future. Have membership application forms close by. A membership application form could be handed to visitors along with a running sheet for the day as they enter.
Accidents create bad impressions of a venue and of those running an event. It is a good idea, for public liability insurance purposes, to make a checklist of our site safety measures.
During the planning phase for your event, check out the site/venue. Are there hazards that could cause injury? If the site is a private or community garden, is there:
- equipment lying about that could trip or injure visitors?
- holes in the ground that could cause visitors to trip and injure themselves?
- low-hanging branches at face level that could injure?
- chemicals, including organic gardening chemicals, that should be stored out of reach?
- building, gardening and other materials safely stored?
- thorny bushes pruned away from paths?
- warning sign adjacent to honey bee hives (some people suffer life-threatening allergic reactions to bee stings)
- no sharp edges on which people could cut themselves or rough timbers that could cause splinters?
If there are site features that could be a hazard but that cannot be secured, such as ponds, it might be worthwhile informing visitors of these and, perhaps, placing a warning sign on them.
Have a first aid kit for use on the day and the knowledge of how to apply first aid. If there is an injury during your event, record the victim’s name and contact and make a note of the action you take.
Before the start of your activity on IPD, do a walk-around to check that hazards have been minimised, that no garden or other tools such as spades and rakes have been left on paths and that the site is in order.
Develop a security plan before the event. Think through how you can ensure the site, volunteers’ belongings and those of your visitors are safe.
- keep bags and purses locked away out of sight
- ensure you have plenty of helpers with you throughout the day
- consider one main entrance and exit to the site for all visitors and have someone staff this point perhaps with someone welcoming people and saying goodbye and handing out group or permaculture course information
- ask people not to leave their bags unattended
- keep doors to your home or office locked
- think about people using our house toilet and access to medicines and items stored in our bathroom.
To promote our IPD event, consider downloading and printing the IPD posters from the IPD’ website’s resources page.
- place the IPD poster in a prominent place; one or two of these in front of your home or venue identifies the venue to the public; this size poster is designed for walls
- place the IPD poster in key locations where people meet or in prominent places like walls and notice boards in council buildings, libraries, café’s, community centres, nurseries, shops, bus stops and the like.
On the day:
- place a poster out the front of our venue so that people can see from it cars and from a distance along footpaths
- consider interpretive educational signage around our venue to explain permaculture principles in use, how particular installations/technologies work and their purpose, how visitors can try ideas for themselves at home and so on.
- publicity and promotion.
Have one of your team take photographs of the event to:
- supply to the press after the event if necessary
- be used for our local regional and bioregional groups’ promotional newsletters and websites
- use for promotion of next year’s IPD.
Publicise your event:
- inform local and regional newspapers, radio stations (such as the regional stations of ABC Local Radio in Australia), community radio stations, influential bloggers and networkers and regional groups on social media of your event; invite them to attend and report on it (working media is not charged for entry)
- email posters and flyers to our local council contacts, local media, other groups in your community, local networkers, and people we know who will spread the word about your IPD event.
We ask that you take photos to document your event and upload them to the International Permaculture Day Instagram, Facebook and Twitter using the #internationalpermacultureday hashtag.
Ensure that if we intend to fundraise we have met all legal obligations in our area.
Some IPD events are free to attend. Others levy a charge:
- in the form of a suggested donation
- some simply have a donation can on the entry table
- some events use IPD to raise funds for Permaculture Australia’s charitable donations and grants body, Permafund
- others collect donations, retain a portion to fund their next IPD event and donate the rest to a project in their home country or abroad.
There may be fundraising opportunities through the sales of books and products. The organising permaculture group might negotiate a commission on sales if sales are to be done by authors, organisations or commercial entities.
If our event is to be of a larger scale such that it attracts a significant number of people, manufacturers or distributors of relevant products or technologies might agree to exhibit in exchange for a donation.
Other community organisations might have a table at the event, however where these are not-for-profit they are not charged a fee.
The IPD coordinating organisation is maintained by volunteers and is unfunded. Contributing a portion of the donations you collect to the organisation helps keep the website online and meets the other expenses of organising the international event.
Money collected by a permaculture organisation should be passed on to the treasurer for banking so that it can be accounted for. It can be a good idea to have one person in charge of money.
A clear plan of action
How will your IPD event run?
Have you developed a schedule for the different elements of the event?
How will you start and end the event?
Have you organised people to fill the different roles?
Who will do periodic attendance counts to estimate the numbers attending the day?
Here are some ideas for our IPD plan of action:
- schedule the day; what different elements of your event will we run in what order? who will lead them?
- it might be useful to print a schedule to the day’s events if your event is of sufficient scale, and hand this to visitors as they enter; alternatively, notify your schedule on signs
- have a ‘welcoming’ person to greet visitors as they enter
- set up an information table and crew it throughout the event; this can also serve as the location of the welcoming person
- ensure there are plenty of your organisation’s membership application forms as well as site/course/other information
- ensure there is someone to talk to visitors and answer questions
- if the site is open to self-guided visits, have a knowledgeable person wandering around to assist people and answer their questions.
Include on your event registration list that people sign on entry (for insurance purposes in Australia) that the event will be videoed/photographed if you plan to do this and how the images will be used. This signifies their acknowledgement that this will happen.
The mobile phone with its camera is today’s notebook. Attendees will want to photograph/video what they see and this is usually good publicity if they post to social media. This is why it is useful to have a tidy, good-looking site.
Ensure all volunteers/staff have a clear understanding of how the day will proceed, what to do in case of an emergency or injury and other important information.
Let’s design how we will wind up:
- your IPD event on the day
- the event for the year.
Winding-up the day
Winding up your IPD event at the end of the day involves thanking people for attending, reminding them of the group membership forms and contact registration so they can stay in contact and of any workshops and courses your organisation has planned.
Recap briefly the value of permaculture design, its principles and ethics and invite people to stay around for informal discussion if the venue does not have to close its doors. This extends the feeling of being welcome, extends the opportunity for people to meet and talk and gives a positive impression of our event.
Winding-up the year
Not long after your IPD event, call your team together, ask and record:
- how many attended?
- what worked well?
- what could have worked better?
- what was the most popular part of the day for visitors and what was the least popular?
- what would we do/not do for our next IPD?
- the value of donations raised on IPD
- were there any accidents, mishaps, or injuries?
- have there been any follow-up enquiries from attendees?
Use this information to report to your group’s members and for planning future IPD events. Write them down in a brief, informal report. Email a copy to the IPD coordinating team via the email on the IPD website. This is used to gauge the value and successes of the day and to base future improvements on. Make your recommendations for improvements that are within the capacity of the voluntary IPD coordinating team.
If you raised donations on the day, consider donating a portion to IPD so that the voluntary, unfunded organisation can maintain its website and meet its other costs.
Don’t forget to take photos and upload them to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter using the #permacultureday hashtag.
Thanks for for being involved and we hope you have a fantastic and successful day.
The International Permaculture Day Team