12pm – 12/12/09 - State Library, Melbourne
Sunday, 6 December 2009
12pm – 12/12/09 - State Library, Melbourne
Saturday, 21 November 2009
The group got together for our monthly meeting this afternoon, and we had a great time learning about how Michael keeps his garden green during the summer months even with the scorching temperatures we have here in Melton. He has a fantastic irrigation system set up that is all fed by rainwater and the bi-weekly mains water we are allowed whilst on water restrictions.
Just last Saturday his garden featured on Vasili’s Garden which airs on the community Channel 31. It used to be shown on SBS.
Here are some photos taken by Kim during the workshop.
Some of the members listening intently to Michael,
The proud gardener!
The runner bean bed.
The broad beans are still going.
How to stop birds from digging up you cucumbers and keep the soil moist at the same time.
Sunflowers against the west wall. They were about 5 foot high.
More ways to keep the birds from digging up your plants.
And finally a way to keep the cabbage moths off of your cabbages any time of the year. A simple frame with mosquito netting. It hides the shape of the plants, and stops the moths from laying eggs on the leaves.
His irrigation set up was all set up to work from low pressure rainwater that was gravity feed from smaller tanks set higher up on the property that he filled from his main tank. His garden is an inspiration to anyone who wants to grow food in a dry area, as the west of Melbourne has now become, and all the member took away a swag of ideas on how to implement this type of garden into their own veggie patch.
From all the member, a big thank you to Michael and Carolyn for letting us into their home and showing us around there green oasis. You were great hosts.
Guess what? It is now raining for the first time in a month! There will be full tanks for everyone tomorrow!
Monday, 9 November 2009
All I can say is that I believe that our stand at the DJ festival was a success and fun to boot. Not only did we get the message out into the community that we exist, met many like minded people from other environmental groups in our shire, we made $121 for the group by selling plants grown by Michael, Jan and Gavin, chicken and duck eggs donated by Jan, and T-Shirts and hats for members provided by Kim. I must say the the Sunflower plants were the biggest seller of the day followed by the salad gardens and the multitude of heirloom tomatoes.
It was a great day, and it was good to see that many members and volunteers were able to man the stand throughout the day. Here are some photos of the event taken early in the morning.
Setting up at the start of the day
The first shift. Left to right; Amanda, Amy & David
Inside the marquee as you move from left to right; The Gardening Panel.
Green Cleaning and Energy efficiency panels
Poultry and Preserving & Baking panels
Finally the Waste and Water panels.
There were free ReNew and G magazines, lots of informational booklets and even a renters guide to going green. We gave away about 40% of the booklets, so there was quite an interest in what we were doing. We had 10 people who were interested in further information about the next meeting, which I thought was fantastic.
All in all, a great event. Many thanks to all who contributed to make it as successful as it was. Special thanks to Iramoo for the loan of the display boards; Sustainability Victoria, Environment Victoria, Iramoo, Melbourne Water, and the ATA for all the educational material; and to Kim for all the hard work on the pictures and laminating.
See you all at the next meeting as it will be very informative. It is a workshop at Michael Howard’s house and we will be learning how Michael prepares his veggie patch for the scorching summer ahead and how to still have a productive patch.
For details of the groups activities and when meetings are held, please call Kim on 03 97473616 for further information.
Gavin Webber, President
Saturday, 31 October 2009
The stall will be manned by willing volunteers (members & friends) who are more than willing to share their own sustainable living journeys with anyone who pays us a visit. We will also be selling some vegetable seedlings with all proceeds going back into the group.
We will have educational displays and many donated handouts about the following themes;
- Growing your own food
- Water saving (rain water harvesting/grey water use)
- Renewable energy
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
- Urban poultry
- Energy conservation,
- and much more!
Wednesday, 7 October 2009
Great news for those who expressed interest in cheese making courses. There will be two courses held at the Melton South Community Centre in November 2009. Here are the details from the Melton Shire Learning Directory Term 4:
Cheese Making - Basic Class
Make your choice of either Wensleydale, Feta, Haloumi, Parmesan or Cheddar. You can then add your own spices and flavours to personalise you cheese.
Date: Sunday 8 November 2009 from 10.00am - 3.00pm
Cost: $55.00 includes lunch
Contact: Melton South Community Centre
Cheese Making - Mould Course
Choose from Brie, Camembert, Blue Vein or Stilton. These soft cheeses have the addition of either white or blue mould and have a slightly different preparation technique.
Date: Sunday 15 November 2009 from 10.00am - 3.00pm
Cost: $65.00 includes lunch
Contact: Melton South Community Centre
To book call the community centre direct during business hours.
Melton South Community Centre Inc
26 Exford Rd, Melton South
Be quick as these courses fill up fast. I have previously attended both courses and found them fun and stimulating. As most of the members know, I went on to make many cheeses and it is now one of my main hobbies.
To read about the cheese making courses I attended, have a read of "Homemade Feta, or Gromit I Found the Cheese!" which describes my experiance at the basic cheese course, and "Stilton, or I Got The Stinky Blues!", which describes the mould course. Like I said, I had a ball and the instructors were knowledgable and helpful during both days.
I hope that you find the time to give it a go. Artisan cheese making was a skill that until a few years ago that was nearly dead in this country. There has been a big resurgence of late to relearn these disappearing arts, so lets help revive it further. Wouldn't it be great to have a MSLG meeting next year just to sample home made produce and cheese? You can't get much more sustainable by making your own cheese, other than owning your own cow or goat that is!
Tuesday, 6 October 2009
As discussed at the last meeting, here is some more information about campaigns in our local area. Click on the links for more information.
The Big Picture hosted by BREAZE in Ballarat.
ATA's 350 Photo Challenge. Danni, and I have already submitted photos to this campaign.
and finally, on Friday 23rd October, MGC Pedal Powered Launch Party. They are powering the event using Future Spark to generate enough electricity into the grid to power the show. Comedian Rod Quantock will MC the entertainment and perform his show, “Bugger the Polar Bears, this is serious” starting at 7pm. I wrote about Rod Quantocks show on a post called "Rod Quantock's Guide to Climate Change".
As for our own campaign, I am all ears, but we will need to act fast! Post ideas for a local Melton event via comments so that we can organise something quickly, or if we can't organise quickly enough then I can contact the Melbourne Girls College for tickets to the show on Friday, and contact BREAZE regarding attendance at the Big Picture. Car pooling where we can of course to get to these events if that is what we choose to do.
For an explanation of what all the hullabaloo is all about, click the graph above for a simple explanation of the science of climate change and what the number 350 is all about!
I have dual posted this at both the Melton Sustainable Living Group site and The Greening of Gavin in the hope to capture the hearts and souls of concerned Melton Locals.
Wednesday, 23 September 2009
I recently received an email from Rodney Dekker, a local Melton resident who is married to Desrae, one of the friends of the MSLG. He is a freelance photo journalist focused on climate change storytelling.
He has travelled to Bangladesh and made a story board for Oxfam about the effects of a cyclone that occurred in 2007 that killed tens of thousands of people in low laying areas of the country. Here is a video of what he saw. It is quite powerful and eye opening.
The images he took are a timely reminder of why the up-coming negotiations at Copenhagen in December are so important, and this may be the last chance we have to set realistic targets that reverse or at least stabilise the climate before the human race creates climate chaos by our own negligence. I for one feel ashamed that our country has the dubious honour of over taking the USA as the worst polluters per capita in the world. Australia will be and has been the first developed nation that is already seeing the impact of this global inaction. This needs to change big time. We need to campaign harder to avert this disaster. Oxfam Australia have a petition and letter to send to the Climate Change Minister, Hon Penny Wong about strengthening Australia’s Green House Gas targets. Here is the link to demanding stronger climate change action. I urge anyone who cares about future generations to send this urgent message to our elected officials.
Rodney has offered to do a slide show for us at one of the meetings. I think we should take him up on his offer in December and invite as many guest and friends as we can.
You can see more of his work at www.rodneydekker.com
Wednesday, 9 September 2009
Don't forget that Sunday 13th September is Sustainable House Day. If anyone is interested in visiting a few homes in our area have a look at the link for details.
If a few members want to get together and have a look at a few within a 100km radius of Melton, let me know, we may be able to organise a quick excursion. Happy to give the Hybrid a flog for the day! Email me at my normal address if interested.
Wednesday, 29 July 2009
Also, please feel free to pass this email to anyone who you think would be interested in attending.
Sunday, 19 July 2009
Well, what a great day out we had on Saturday! Only a few members came along, but we had a great time at CERES this weekend.
There was Gavin, Michael, David, Kim and Ben and Liam. Kim was taking the photos. We spent about 3 hours walking around the Community Environment Park, and it was great fun. Here are a few photos of our visit.
Renewable energy galore!
Now that is what I call a bakery. Ben sampled a croissant and said it was yummy!
This is where the Cafe gets most of its food from.
Fresh organic fruit. The labels even had the food miles listed on them.
Organic Free Range chickens of the ISA Brown variety. They had so much land to run around in. About 2 acres I reckon.
The propagating tables were to die for. Such a large area to grow seedlings in and so well organised.
And of course what would an Environment Park be without a Yurt. It looked very cozy.
The mud brick house was well constructed, however it was put together using concrete mortar which kind of defeated the purpose.
There were so many community garden plots that we lost count. Mind you, we looked at every single one to check out what was growing and if our veggie patches were on par!
We learnt that you can grow garlic in any sized spot.
Early broccoli under netting so the cabbage moths don’t get to them. Beautifully grown, and pest free.
Some exquisite photography by Kim in the other grey water pond. The Egret looked very much at home. I love the reflection in the water.
The Sustainable House with Zero Emissions Vehicle (Electric Car) in the driveway. This retrofitted house was state of the art about 10 years ago when it was first fitted out.
The waterwheel had a 200 litre header tank that was filled by a massive windmill. The water was acting like a big battery that made sure that the waterwheel kept the generator supplying electricity. I think that I could rig up something around the pool to generate base load for the house at night.
There is a massive solar PV farm. Unfortunately the meters that tell you exactly how much energy they are generating were broken. Such a shame as I would have loved to know whether CERES was a net exporter.
This small wind turbine was spinning so fast, but difficult to see. It was so quite as well. Perfect for a residential area. I believe that it was producing about 400w.
And the recycling areas were very comprehensive. Michael noted that one of the bins was a worm farm and you simply throw your organic waste straight to the worms!
And finally we ended up at the nursery in which all the plants were edible. There was not one ornamental in sight.
Well that is the end of the tour. For those who missed it, I encourage you to take the time to visit this wonderful park.
I felt like I was amongst likeminded people who really cared about the planet.
Sunday, 28 June 2009
This fortnight we have an evening meeting on Thursday, 2nd July, at the Melton Community Hall, meeting room 4, from 7-9pm. The meeting will start dead on 7.00pm as we have a full programme, so please be a little early. The hall will be open from 6.30pm onwards. I have invited the team at ecoMaster to come along and present to us, and they have kindly accepted.
Listed below is what they intend on covering in two presentations;
The most effective presentation would be about the Fed. Govt program which starts on 1st July. Our group will be the first ever group in Australia to be presented with the Home Sustainability Assessments and the Green Loans program.
We will cover:
what is a home sustainability assessment and how does that work with a 'green loan'
what is the purpose of the green loans scheme
the 'mechanics' of the scheme
eligibility for the loans e.g. must you be a homeowner or is it open to the landlords of rental properties
restrictions on the amounts of loans
options in finance choices
are loans secured through mortgages of some sort
What is the role of the Home Sustainability Assessor
- what is the fee for assessing a home, how much and who pays for it
- Are there benefits to having a Home Assessment done as opposed to a homeowner deciding themselves on what they want done and borrowing for that purpose
- How long does it take to do an assessment
- Who receives copies of the Assessment
- The independence of the Assessor
This should be approximately 30mins followed by 15 min question time.
- Will address the following matters in regard to technology and factors which influence the selection or choices:
- draught proofing
- fireplaces and chimneys
- window glazing
- floor,wall and roof insulation
- water systems including size of rainwater tanks, types of tanks e.g. steel v plastic, when grey water systems are viable
sources of energy - e.g. when solar power is suitable
- outdoor blinds
- use of vegetation to reduce heat
This should be approximately 30mins followed by 15 min question time.
I do believe that it will be one informative night and I hope you can all attend, and please feel free to bring along any friends or family who are interested.
Melton Sustainable Living Group Inc.