SLF 2014: Program Highlights – Big Weekend

February 13, 2014

It’s nearly the Festival (SLF) Big Weekend and it’s looking like very civilised, gentle conditions to head in and enjoy the Birrarung Marr delights along the Yarra. There may be a bit of classic four-seasons-in-one-day action so pack sunscreen, a water bottle AND an umbrella.

Australia’s largest sustainable living celebration is one of kind. To my knowledge, there is no other sustainability festival working with the following theory of change:


The Festival aims to create multiple ‘entry points’ for a broad audience to engage with sustainable living by -

The Guided Programming Stream (curated by the Festival core production team)
1. Presenting national and international sustainability thought leaders (the wisdom)
2. Celebrating the ‘disruptive’ sustainability pioneers (the innovation and ideas)
3. Showcasing sustainable living product and service solutions (the tools)
4. Providing thought provoking content in entertaining event formats using humour, art, music,
creative expression and fun (the emotions)

The Open ‘State of Sustainability’ Programming Stream (events staged by community members across Victoria…and beyond!)
5. Connecting like-minded individuals to local and international sustainable living networks (the

At no time is this model more evident than at the Festival’s Melbourne-centric Big Weekend, 14-16 Feb, 2014. Applying my personal selection criteria again, here’s my top picks of the jam-packed program offering:

Fri 14 Feb:

I’m volunteering at the Streetbank stall for most of Friday afternoon so there’s lots of events falling ‘below the fold’ unfortunately. But there’s a few I’m going try and squeeze in…

One of my favourite life delights is thoughtful design well applied, resulting in multiple positive outcomes. Instead of the triple bottom line I prefer framing it as ‘the triple wow factor’. (You know the feeling – you learn about something and immediately go, ‘wow…that just makes so much good sense!’) Learning how to create an edible forest garden has lashings of delicious wow in it for me.

Also dripping in wowfulness is the Treadlie Bike Projector Film Night. Films, bikes, veggie patches and a full moon illuminating your trail – what’s not to like? I’ll be there with my comfy, two-wheeled steed and slightly awkward helmet (it’s too big and black…making me look like a gumnut baby crossed with an SS trooper).

Sat 15 Feb:

A very busy day indeed! Attending even half these events would make me happy-chappy.

Evelyn Roth’s Nylon Zoo tickles my fancy – the giant, inflatable salmon is just so intriguing.

RMIT Green Inventors – love learning about RMIT’s latest student eco-edge walkers.

Chris Jordan at Deakin Edge – an international provocateur straddling the line between art and activism. Have admired his work for some years now. He’s an emotive speaker and I’m looking forward to hearing him deliver the Festival’s keynote presentation.

Battle of the Big – 10 minute ‘popcorn’ insights from some of our leading local change-maker luminaries.

Ok, now for a special last minute addition to the Big Weekend program! For the past week I’ve been in conversation with Ella Agren, creator of the Festival’s Gratitude Box. We’re keen to trial a little extension to her wonderful interactive art project.

At 6pm, Sat 15 Feb, you’ll find us collaborating with the delightful Steph Gesling and the Padmacahaya Melbourne folk for about an hour to deliver a special open heart meditation around the Gratitude Box: come join us for ‘a moment of stillness, joyfulness and collective gratitude’.

I have visions of this looking like some kind of ‘mini-mecca’ or a tiny version of those beautiful solar thermal plants…can you picture it? No? Well, maybe you just need to mosey on down and see it unfold in the analogue world…

Below the Fold

Have a feeling I’ll be too blissed out after meditating to make it to these events, but I would like to get to Art Climate Ethics and Undress Melbourne.

Sun 16 Feb

Backyard Beauties is a new feature of the Festival guided programming stream. I’m keen to get out and explore some of Victoria’s gardening goodness, so I’m aiming to check out this little permaculture farmlet.

Below the Fold

Too many to list, but I would recommend: dining at The Great, Local Lunch hosted by the ever lively Costa Georgiadis, getting some of your over-loved household items repaired at Fix It!and having a squiz at the Suitcase Rummage .

While you’re there, don’t forget to make use of facilities down near the Festival Greenhouse. I mean it. Make sure you go to the toilet! The Composting Toilet Systems (CTS) team will have their first mobile toilet caravan on-site for the day.

I’ve been waiting for the next iteration of sustainable event toilet infrastructure to enter the market for a while now. And, while I’m a big fan of the Natural Event service, it’s going to be interesting to see how the CTS guys build their business – a battle of the bog vans perhaps?

Finally, for those of you who feel the world is a just a little bit better when organised in a spreadsheet, here’s that SLF_personalmenu for you to download again.

See you tomorrow!

Minimalism Game #6

February 8, 2014

Day 6: 6 items given away, 385 items remaining

5 x stamped origami pieces
1 x hand written system card

While packing yesterday morning I stumbled across some old origami I’d done while staying out at Commonground over Christmas/New Year 2012…

Commonground Seymour Christmas New Year 2012On getting back to Melbourne I entered a fiercely busy work period. So I kept the letters spelling ‘happy’ on the wall next to my work desk with the following five self care principles written on post-it notes next to each letter:

H: ‘Stop hunting woolly mammoths and pick berries (meditate) 10 minutes a day’
A: ‘Eat really well (Feb Feast)’
P: ‘Get incidental exercise every day (cycling, swimming, walking…dancing like a wet noodle)’
P: ‘Celebrate the blessings & unexpected gifts each day (#winning!)’
Y: ‘Talk to that cranky looking, one-legged old guy in your hood (don’t be scared, you can run faster than him)’

Can’t say I kept to all of them 100% (e.g. just couldn’t work up the courage to chat to the old guy). But they definitely helped with staying centred in the maelstrom of coordinating a hectic Festival Tour program.

While going through the notes, I reflected on what I’d really miss about leaving this part of East Brunswick. Apart from my flat, the superb no. 96 tram service, the ‘music bells’ at the catholic primary school next door, Neighbour Dad (story for another time) and regular ‘Red, Roo & Reviews’ at the Sporting Club, I was mostly going to miss my daily chats with the friendly folk at Pope Joan – my local coffee haunt.

So under the cover of darkness, and in the spirit of farewelling and appreciating, I left a little ‘guerrilla happiness’ on their outside wall. I figured the staff there would understand. Which they did…



















Minimalism Game #5

February 8, 2014

Day 5: 5 items, 391 items remaining

1 x table top
1 x album cover
1 x wooden seat
1 x vacuum cleaner
1 x sister’s art project (decoupaged plate)


This is a Hoover Harmony small vacuum cleaner (small but mighty). We've been in a relationship for about 4 years now and it does try it's best - steady, reliable, adequate suction, gets into tight corners, good for apartments or small space living... But there's no getting round it any longer: it's just not a Dyson. We've talked it over and it's decided if I can't love it for what it is, then it's time for it to move on.

This is a desktop. It's a big, relatively heavy piece of pine (?) wood (80cm D x 160cm W) I painted it white to go with trestle legs. Never found the right legs so bought two of white +brown cane drawers (see pic below) and rested it on top. Worked a treat, but don't recommend heavy leaning...

Do you like Pina Coladas and gettin' caught in the rain? Or are you just into cruising, wearing matching plaid suits, while dinking your needy, slightly creepy looking offspring in the front basket and crooning long forgotten love songs? Or maybe your name's just Ray? Either way. This 70s album cover provides laughter - rain or shine.

















This is an early piece of my sister's art. A lovely old plate with a lovely old night gown pasted on it. I like it...(I may have to keep it)...

A lovely little wooden seat for the garden. Also from Coburg Better Block. This one may come with me to the new pad but if you're interested in giving it a home, leave a comment. Is about 75cm W x 15cm D x 50cm H.