The 2012 AGM and LAND Celebration Event held at St Werburghs Community Centre on Saturday 10th November was a great success, with a plethora of workshops, networking opportunities, music and much more. Andy Goldring officially opened the event by welcoming the 70 + attendees to the centre and handed over to Rebecca Harris (one of the board of trustees (BOT) for the Permaculture Association) who took us through the formal process of the AGM. Rebecca highlighted the work carried out by the Association this year and introduced each staff member, who in turn provided a brief description of their role, outlining their achievements in relation to the projects that they are involved with. After the formalities were over, all attendees were given the opportunity to elect new BOT members by voting. All votes, including the proxy voting slips provided by members who were unable to attend the event were counted.
After the formal business of the AGM was completed our caterer Ellie Elstob-Wardle provided us with a nutritious, organic and locally sourced lunch which served to satiate us before the busy afternoon schedule. At this point in proceedings there was time for people to greet old friends and make new connections. After lunch Joe Atkinson and Louise Cartwright led a presentation about the LAND project, providing an overview which detailed where the project is headed in 2013. Helen White held an interactive workshop titled 'Strengthening Your Local Community' where she showcased informal communities in the Leeds area and Jay Abrahams gave an informative talk about Permaculture and Low Entropy Design with examples from his business 'Biologic Designs'. Mike Feingold also took some attendees off-site on a 2 hour tour of his allotment site and a community orchard project.
After this round of workshops there was time for a quick loo break before the next workshops began. Ed Sears and Andy Goldring gave an update of the research work completed by the Permaculture Association. Sarah Pugh gave an exciting presentation about the permaculture activities in Bristol describing the great change that the somewhat anarchic Bristol Permaculture group have achieved since the groups' inception. Hannah Thorogood also gave a fascinating presentation titled 'Regenerative Agriculture at the Inkpot in Lincolnshire' where she talked about several interesting topics including 'mob' grazing.
After a well earned biscuit break (home made and organic of course) the next round of workshops and presentations took place. Attendees had a choice of six to participate in, including a presentation by Jon and Cheryl Kean of Pennerley Permaculture Plot as an example of a permaculture homestead. Susan Tilley and Helen White led a step by step guide of how to train to be a permaculture teacher and Joe Atkinson with the help of Andy Goldring led a talk about the Association's international work . The final three workshops included an informative presentation about frameworks for past, present and future permaculture design led by James Piers Taylor. Janta and Merav Wheelhouse of the Karuna project led an inspiring talk where they explained how the project developed from a green desert to abundant diversity in just 7 years and Joe Atkinson with the help of Hannah Thorogood led an Education update, describing the Association's role in the Open College Network and the role of both the education and diploma working groups.
Many thanks to all 15 workshop leaders who held 12 workshops and one tour, for making the event incredibly diverse! Sufficed to say by 5 o'clock we were all ready to regroup and share our learning. Andy Goldring officially closed the day's activities by leading us in an aptly named 'appreciation space', where he made a special thanks to Louise Cartwright, who will be leaving the LAND project after almost four years at the end of January in the pursuit of an affordable smallholding.
In the evening, attendees were treated to a delicious dinner from our fabulous caterer Ellie as well as some wonderful music from Beccy Nelson, the Shifty Singers and Ursula Billington's band. All in all a very action packed event highlighting the enormous diversity in the ever burgeoning permaculture network.