When the folks from Map Magazine asked us recently to nominate someone from the Brisbane Permablitz movement to highlight as a role model in their August 'eco' issue we were proud to put forward Tim Auld a Permacuture Designer with All You Can Eat Gardens. Tim has been a regular at just about every permablitz for the past 12 months or more. His design work and professionalism is truly inspirational and we thank Tim for all his assistance, dedication and mentorship. We'll be announcing some exciting new collaborations with Tim and AYCEGs soon! You can read the interview below or head on over to Map Magazine for the full issue.
What is your profession?
People come to me with a desire to grow food. I design productive and low-maintenance organic gardens. This involved herbs, vegetables, fruit trees, chickens, fish, beehives, compost, irrigation, grey water and rainwater harvesting.
What training or qualifications do you need to fill this role?
I recommend a Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC), lots of background study, and practice as a minimum.
What are the key skills and responsibilities of the role?
Reading the landscape and seeing how a designed ecology can satisfy a client's needs without artificial inputs. It's important to identify and use 'waste' and create habitats for other life.
How did you get involved in your profession?
I was working for the video-game industry when I was introduced to peak oil. It woke me up to the absurdity of depending on depleting resources for everyday needs. I trained part-time in permaculture, a holistic design system for sustainable settlements. In 2010 I started All You Can Eat Gardens.
Could you break into the industry in other ways?
Permaculture is a framework that can be applied to almost anything. Architects, town planners, aid workers, process engineers, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, policy makers and famers can especially benefit from permaculture. Some may have to build a new career as I did, but you can leverage existing skills, so be creative!
What do you hope to achieve within your industry?
I aim to create or inspire thousands of edible gardens - demonstrating that nature is abundant if you partner with her.
Are you in the industry for the long term?
Graduates of PDCs rarely 'recover' from the experience; you see the world in an entirely different way. There is such a great need for low-energy, carbon-negative design that I expect to be in demand for a long time.
What advice would you give someone looking to emulate your success?
Learn from like-minded people and build a strong support network. A great resource for that is Permablitz, which is like Backyard Blitz, but using permaculture. Take opportunities with both hands.
Did you always think you would be in this role?
Absolutely not! Life took a dramatic turn and it was only a couple of years ago that things started to take shape. It's very exciting.
What was your first paid job?
I received a call from the Graceville Community Garden about a local resident who wanted her garden re-designed. We ended up installing a pond, rainwater tank, paths, fruit trees, herb and veggie beds, and an automatic-irrigation system. We continue to maintain her beautiful garden.
What would you love to do if you weren't in this role?
Organic and local farming! I would love a handful of acres just out of the city.
What inspires you?
Visiting past clients, seeing their smiling faces, hearing the stories of how they grew so much they had to give it away.
Who is your rolemodel?
Geoff Lawton, who runs the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia. Geoff pushes the boundaries and he is dedicated. The world needs more like him.
What are your words of wisdom?
The only food crisis we should have is deciding what to eat!