Pilot Program for Australia’s First Pluriversity

Published by Panetary Health Initiative on

In the past month 20 young people in the Mountains participated in the pilot program for Australia’s first Pluriversity.

Pluriversity is a not-for-profit learning-by-doing platform to fill in the gaps not being filled by mainstream tertiary education. It offers work experience, mentorships, workshops and events.

According to co-ordinator Lis Bastian, from The Big Fix Inc and the Blue Mountains Permaculture Institute: “The Pluriversity will involve the community in providing rich and diverse learning opportunities for young people.”

The first stage of the diverse pilot program was a Permaculture and Social Enterprise Design Course in which the participants built a permaculture garden for Blue Mountains Food Services and Ben Roberts Café in Lawson. They also created a design for The Glendarrah Co-housing Project in Hazelbrook and collaboratively developed four social enterprises addressing many of the needs of the Mountains community.

“Over the next six months, an alliance of businesses and organisations in the Blue Mountains will mentor these young people to collaboratively develop their enterprises, designing the jobs of the future,” Ms Bastian said.

“They’ll be offering a range of services: delivering Safe and Sober no-waste pop-up events; building wildlife-proof garden enclosures and grey water recycling systems; running classes on gardening for children, bush safety and creating pollinator gardens; designing and building edible Indigenous gardens; and showcasing their whole enterprise with market stalls.”

The program has been jointly funded by The Big Fix Inc, Blue Mountains City Council, Bendigo Bank and Sydney Water. The group has benefited from a range of teachers, including Costa Giorgiadis, and one even admitted she now “looked upon the rest of the world differently”.

Annabel Pettit said “before the course began I remember seeing that we were going to learn units on fungi, soil, microclimates and ethical money. However, I couldn’t have anticipated all the other things  – the value of true collaboration and the elation of heading home with grubby hands and heavy legs after creating a garden all day. Every lesson felt like this big, extended celebration of life.”

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