PYV was founded in October 1992, as the Yarra Valley Permaculture Group, by Adrian Francis, David Arnold and Graeme George. The group began by meeting monthly at Candlebark Farm near Healesville with guest speakers, the occasional weekend working bee and a regular newsletter. In July 1994 the group became a Local Group of Permaculture Melbourne Inc. Under this arrangement all YVPG members became financial members of PcM and received a copy of the PcM newsletter PIE (Permaculture Information Exchange).
As membership began to extend throughout the Yarra Valley from its initial base in Healesville, interest in monthly evening meetings waned and the group began to focus more on site visits and attendance at expos and fairs.
Adrian, David and Graeme ran a few Introduction to Permaculture courses after the group was formed and in 1995 Graeme began running Permaculture Design Courses through community houses in Healesville and Yarra Junction. Many graduates of those courses joined the group to maintain their interest in permaculture. One of those was Nola Garbett, who went on to help lead the group as Convenor and Events Coordinator for many years. A newsletter devoted to local events was resumed in the mid 1990’s. It has progressively developed from an occasional single sheet update on activities to a regular multi-page bi-monthly publication under the guidance of successive editors, each building on the efforts of their predecessors.
In March 2004, after nine months of negotiation, the group launched the Healesville Organic Farmers Market, initially as a joint venture with the Yarra Valley Tourist Railway, with the market running every Saturday morning at the Healesville Railway Station. From this point the membership grew steadily. On the occasion of the market’s second birthday the annual celebration of the Autumn harvest – Autumnfest – was commenced.
In early 2008 we offered support for the development of the Upper Yarra Community Environment Park at Wesburn, now Yarra Valley ECOSS. A group of our members conducted a site analysis which was later incorporated into the Master Plan for the park. Over the next few years several members served on various committees to assist in the park’s development.
By 2010, with a membership approaching 100 and regular income from the Farmers Market, interest in separating from Permaculture Melbourne began to grow. In June 2012 a discussion paper was circulated to members listing the pros and cons of incorporation as an independent body. The idea was favoured and a formal vote to incorporate in our own right was passed unanimously at the 2012 AGM held as part of the group’s 20th birthday celebrations at Hedgend Maze in Healesville. Incorporation was achieved in March 2013.