Open Day Planning Process

Posted by on Aug 30, 2010 in Work | No Comments
Open Day Planning Process

Djanbung Gardens has an open day annually on the second Saturday in June. Planning starts several months beforehand & the inaugural meeting and workshop was held on the 19th of April.

Shortly before the session began, Robyn Francis and I sketched out a rough timeline and the key areas to cover:
Project Open Day Planning Process

Time Activity Required Materials & Space
1.30 – 2pm Past Open Days – Activities & Organisation Review Projector, Contributory Story Telling in Classroom
2- 2.30pm “Brainstorming and Idea forming
Key Area’s are Theme – Activities – Logistics – Promotion ”
Butchers Paper Sheets Outside Verandah
2:30 – 3pm Feedback and going through Sheets for reality checking, quality & feasibility Butchers Paper Sheets In classroom
3 – 3:30 pm “Identify Target Groups
Establish Aims and Objectives”
Post it notes on Affinity Matrix Sheet in Classroom
3:30 – 4 pm Check these back to Butchers Sheets
4 – 5 pm Define Jobs, Actions & Areas of Responsibility Whiteboard or Butchers Paper in Classroom
5pm Have Rough Gantt Chart & Timeline Computer, whiteboard or Butchers Paper in Classroom

The process got off to a slow start, as is often common after lunch. To bring the people back into the space Robyn started singing and others quickly joined in. This icebreaking process is an area for me to strengthen.

Once we were together I opened with some of the previous Open Day experiences and observations that I had made. I projected photos of some of the presentations & displays from past students.
This set a context for others and provided a space to impart some of the lessons that had been previously learned.

We then moved outside and setup butchers paper with the key areas.

2010-04-19 at 15-07-18

Key Areas

The key areas were:
– Theme
– Activities
– Logistics
– Promotion

I instructed the group to walk around each of these areas and write their ideas down. There was some confusion with the theme sheet, in a future process, it may be worth exploring the purpose of the theme in the beginning. The rest were evidently self explanatory.

2010-04-19 at 18-01-57

“Practical Solutions for Eco-Friendly Living & Design” was the outcome from this sheet.

2010-04-19 at 18-01-50

2010-04-19 at 18-02-05

My role during this process was to answer questions that were brought up, encourage everyone to contribute to each of the areas and manage the time.
When we were nearing the end of the time allocated it appeared that people where moving their focus from the task and more toward conversations about the things written. I then gathered the group back together and we moved around each sheet and had someone read out all the things that were written.
Some things were added, some removed and some explained further during this process.

Target Groups

Next we moved back inside the classroom. With the sheets now on the ground in front of us we discussed the target groups for promotion and activities.

2010-04-19 at 17-30-57

Kids and schools was raised as a group to be targeted. Robyn discouraged this and told the story of a year when some kids went through the orchard and pulled off every piece of fruit from the trees, the gardens’ next six months supply of citrus. As well as the importance of being aware of the hazards that exist in that gardens such as the dams.
Tracy told the group about last year’s “kid’s tent” that was setup for those families that came with kids and how that worked quite well.

The class explored the kinds of people that would be interested while Robyn and I wrote them on the whiteboard.

2010-04-19 at 16-55-21

Target Groups:
– future students
– past students
– community activists
– local community
– environment centres
– land owners
– people interested in transition
– health care workers
– gardening groups
– families
– foodies
– survivalists
– school teachers
– uni and tafe students
– older people (able/mobile)
– local politicians
– local business

Aims & Objectives

I asked the class to form groups of three and handed out a six post-it-notes to each group. I instructed them to write out what they thought might be the Aim’s and Objectives of the day. They were given 5 minutes. When the time was up, a member of each group read out one of their post-it’s and stuck it on the board. If any other group had a similar note, it was stuck next to it. This was repeated around the class until all the notes had been stuck up.

True to the permaculture principles, the event has many functions.

– Raising community awareness & connection
– Education
– Fun environment
– Offering solutions ie: answering questions
– Fundraising
– Setting to be workable
– Promote Permaculture, Principles & Practices
– Maximise ticking off of SKOPE sheets

It serves to make the wider community aware of Djanbung Gardens, Permaculture College Australia, and Permaculture itself.

Raising money to cover the expenses of the day as well as fund projects and equipment to further the Aims of Djanbung Gardens.

It is also a key vehicle for many competencies for the APT students, providing them with the opportunity to engage with the community, communicate permaculture principles & practices and their application as well as gain confidence and experience with public speaking.

The event is also a an opportunity to demonstrate their organisation and management skills.

Area’s of Responsibility

The planning process provided a space and a brief for the students to establish what the key areas were to encompass. From the butchers paper the students were able to narrow down with some guidance from myself and Robyn what the roles and tasks were to be.

2010 04 19 at 16 38 00

These key roles were then voluntarily self-assigned a co-ordinator from the group based on their ability and interest. Others also indicated their willingness to support them, or particular skills that they could offer.

2010-04-19 at 18-00-44

Strategic Plan – Caroline, diploma students
Secretary – Rotating
Social Networking – Tracey
Desktop Publishing – John, Bel
Radio & Community Bulletin – Caroline, Lynne
Face To Face – Bel, Hilary
Press Release – Tracey, John
Site Co-ordination – Shannon, Veg
Rosters – Shelley
Signs – Bel
Static Display – Vicki, Tracey
Canteen (menu, prep, deliveries, baking) – Ben
First Aid – Nick, Seb, Guy, John, Vicki, Bel, Janelle, Michelle
Program Co-ordinator – Lynne, Bel, John, Caroline
Kids Activities – Sal?

From this information I created a time line and published it on the forums ready to guide the next meeting.


I was satisfied with the work done by the group and my facilitation. We achieved all the desired outcomes on time. The group were active in the process and I feel there is a sense of ownership of the results and commitment to their roles & responsibilities. I look forward to following through with continued planning meetings and the day itself.

Costing of Process

The materials required are:
Large Format 600×850 sheets of flipbook paper – $38
Enough Pens for Everyone – ~$12
Total: $50

Variable Costs:
Hiring of Facilitator – 4 hours @ $30/hr – $120
Rental of the space – 5 hours @ $10 / hr – $50

For a total cost of around $220 depending on variable factors.