Vale Dan Palmer

A few days ago much-loved Permaculture visonary Dan Palmer died.

Many people knew Dan, with his long-time friend and collaborator Adam Grubb, as owner of the wonderful VEG (Very Edible Gardens). 

Together Dan and Adam’s team have installed productive Permaculture designs in urban backyards, farms and public spaces all around Victoria. 

Dan was also a teacher and a deep thinker – his gentle questioning and infectious curiosity evolved and connected Permaculture with Holistic Decision Making and the Living Design Process.

And although Dan will be remembered for this deep engagement with human and ecological systems he was ironically best known for a beautifully simple idea he stumbled upon in a Dandenong backyard.

In 2006, after completing a Permaculture design course, Dan & Adam wanted to put their newfound knowledge into practice.

Teaming up with Dan’s friends from an El Salvadorean community group, they gathered together to install a Permaculture food garden in one of the member’s houses.

Within a day many hands transformed a once barren lawn into a productive vegetable and herb garden, a worm farm and a small pond.  Food, singing and dancing followed as the group celebrated what they had achieved together.

“I stopped for a second and had this spine-tingling feeling of deep elation at a bunch people coming together to do something positive and meaningful.”

This was the first Permablitz.

It didn’t matter if you didn’t own your own house or had little money – with a Permablitz all you needed was a yard, a group of friends, borrowed tools, found & recycled materials, saved seeds and some homegrown plants and cuttings.

The shared food, music and dancing at the end of the day were equally as important as the gardens that were transformed.

And like a plant each Permablitz contained the seed for the next – when you helped on a Permablitz others would come to help at yours and so on and so on 

Dan and Adam freely shared their idea online – you didn’t need to buy a kit, pay a registration fee, they even helped connect you with a volunteer Permaculture designer  – Permablitz was all about coming together to positively transform backyards and communities.

Word about Permablitz’s exploded and groups sprung up all over the world.  Today the word Permablitz is ubiquitous, long detached from its origins in a South-East Melbourne backyard.

There’s so much more to Dan Palmer’s legacy than can be shared here –  in all he’s done he has left our world a better place and left us better people for knowing him.

Our thoughts go to his family and friends.

I’ll leave the last words to Dan (who in true form acknowledges his source material).

“In nourishing a bit of nature that in turn nourishes us, separations dissolve and the world becomes a little bit more beautiful, and a little bit more abundant.”

VEG Edible Gardens

Have a great week,


EDIT: Read a recent response from VEG’s Adam Grubb here.


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  1. I love feeling the Spirit of Dan through this beautiful story telling, thank you! I am now imagining Permablitzes across Scotland, since I am moving to Scotland from Maui, Hawaii to share –my 20 years’ experience living –Permaculture –on Maui + Australia + in Aotearoa — across my ancestral homeland’s of Scotland, Ireland, Wales + Shetland, as well as The Hebrides — to bring healing, joy, real food, resilient community and great artisanal foods’ production to life.
    Maui Permaculture Network founder, 2006, +
    Orkney Permaculture Network, 2016.

  2. This is so sad. Dan and his crew did work on my backyard so often we joked I should get frequent flyer points. He was a wonderful human and the world is a poorer place without him So sorry for his family.