Permaculture Swansea and Neath Network Launch – 5th November 2017 – Pontardawe

 

Permaculture Swansea and Neath Network Launch – 5th November 2017 – Pontardawe

 

This was the first meeting for a new permaculture network to serve Swansea and Neath. Peter Stopp (coordinator of the South Wales Paramaethu Cymru Network) has been already planning to set up regional network as it has becoming more and more difficult to manage one overall network for such a big area. He had already started organising this meeting with Shaun and Nicola from Cafemake in Pontardawe.

 

Meanwhile, Fed and Darren Tomassoni-Williams, a Swansea-based couple were also looking at setting up a local network to link up to Ty Enfys Eco-Retreat - a One Planet Development that they are developing in Pitton on the Gower Peninsula.

 

Peter and Fed joined forces and with the support of Shaun and Nicola, they organised the launch event for the network. The event was publicised via the south wales network, on Facebook and on the Permaculture Association website.

 

On the day, we had 19 participants from across the two counties and the group was very varied in terms of ages, cultures, and experience in permaculture. Nevertheless, everyone was very enthusiastic about getting together and making the network a success.

 

During the morning, Fed coordinated the meeting and everyone introduced themselves, then Peter talked about the role of Paramaethu Cymu and the network. Following that, we looked at some of the local projects, like Ty Enfys, Gaia’s Garden, the Dove Project, and Swansea Community Farm. Then the conversation moved onto the purpose of the network and a discussion about what every attendee was looking for from the network – lots of good ideas came out, but many people were focused on helping each other with perma-blitzes, which was very nice to hear!

 

In the afternoon, we did a team design exercise to help Shaun and Nicola with the yard outside Cafemake. The exercise was led by Peter and used the 5-hat approach. We split in two groups and after looking at the yard and using the café’s tables as blackboards (at Cafemake you can write on tables!), we came up with lots of ideas for developing the yard into a permaculture project.

 

 

The day was inspiring and there was also some seeds/plant swapping, some Kombucha and dish sampling, and generally a lot of amazing support for the network and each other. We ended the day with Fed taking on the network local coordinator’s role and this was followed with a SurveyMonkey questionnaire to look at everyone’s expectations and wishes for the network going forward.

 

The Swansea and Neath Permaculture Network will be meeting on a monthly basis, mainly at weekends and will have a mixture of learning opportunities, perma-blitzes, skill-swapping, as well as opportunities to socialise.

 

Ty Enfys run by Fed and Darren also organised an Introduction to Permaculture course on 25th and 26th November, which attracted 25 attendees including some members of the newly formed Network.