Coming up . . . Dylan Graves and Evita Shen are hosting a series of permaculture workshops at the Waitaki Community Gardens next weekend. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

The Waitaki Community Gardens has become much more than just a physical garden space.

Since it was established in 2009, it has been providing opportunities for people in the community to learn new skills for sustainable living, and its working bees and workshops have become a central point where people from all walks of life learn and work together, as well as increasing community connectivity.

This autumn equinox, the community gardens is hosting a series of permaculture workshops facilitated by Dylan Graves and Evita Shen.

Mr Graves and Ms Shen have been teaching permaculture for the past eight years.
They recently moved to New Zealand from Queensland, and are based in Tuatapere at present.

After a recent visit to Oamaru, they wanted to return to host the workshop series at the Waitaki Community Gardens for those who want to learn more skills for sustainable living, such as tree care and summer tree pruning, how to manage animals in permaculture systems, fermenting vegetables, and how to work with activated foods.

Ms Shen said permaculture was a way of life that helped reduce people’s impact on the Earth.

‘‘It is a design system that makes the world a better place.’’

It felt natural to Ms Shen, whose grandfather grew his own food, nurtured the land and was resourceful, and she loved sharing her knowledge.

‘‘Activating foods gives you the password to activating the nutrients that plants and foods are supposed to give us. In just six years of practising with activated foods, we have noticed health benefits in our day-today lives,’’ she said.

For Mr Graves, permaculture gave him hope in a world with many daunting problems. It was a design system people could integrate into their lives so they became less consumerist and more producer-oriented.

The workshops are being held on March 19 and 20, with morning and afternoon sessions to choose from. For more information or to register, visit the Waitaki Community Gardens Facebook page or email