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People from Northey Street City Farm enjoy Robin’s workshop

Rob in Clayfie ld:

Putting fun back into Learning by Dale Jacobsen

Robin Clayfield, is a permaculture guru. Our local foodie, teacher, author is flying to the UK in August to share her creative teaching techniques at an international conference. She caught up with Dale Jacobsen before she left.


F YOU ATTEND a workshop run by Robin Clayfield, you will find yourself playing games that skilfully disguise their intention of focussing your mind to accept the knowledge that Robin is about to impart. You will move a lot; laugh a lot. “I learnt very early on in life that people don’t like being lectured to, but prefer to be involved. “In the early 70s I dropped out of uni. The state of the world depressed me, and I wanted to know how I could live my life better. I wasn’t going to learn this in a lecture theatre.” Robin took off to walk the bush of Tasmania; to observe first-hand how nature dealt with life. After a couple of years she moved to northern New South Wales and discovered permaculture.



“Permaculture isn’t just about growing food”, explains Robin. “It is a design system using a series of commonsense principles and good ethics. “The Permaculture Ethics—Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share—can be used to design anything from buildings to a social system. They inform so much of what happens here in Maleny, for example, the Maleny Credit Union and Crystal Waters Eco Village, where I moved to 20 years ago.” Robin takes her role in teaching the principles of permaculture seriously. “When my partner at the time, Skye, and I began teaching Permaculture Design Courses in the 80s, we realised that we needed to create a dynamic methodology that involved those who came to learn, or we would lose them the way the uni lost me”, said Robin. Skye has since gone on to ‘live the life’ in Brazil, while Robin continues evolving her teaching style to grow with the times. This month, Robin is travelling to London to take part in the International Permaculture Conference and Convergence. Held every two years in a different country (the previous one was in Cuba, the next one will be in India), the two events attract permaculture devotees from all over the world, with around 600 participants coming from 50 countries. Robin will be presenting a workshop demonstrating her learning methodology to educators: how permaculture principles can enrich and enliven the learning experience for children, as well as adults. Before the conference, Robin will join five other teachers at an Edge Event at the Sustainability Centre in Staffordshire.

Hinterland Times August 2015  
Hinterland Times August 2015