And that’s a wrap! Wait, no let’s make it a slider, no one does wraps anymore unless it’s a burrito…  The Taste Of Sydney 2012 Sustainable Living Corner Garden burrito…?

Through a client of mine, Karl (of Yulli’s and more recently The Veggie Patch – the super-sustainable vego food truck about to hit the streets of Sydney), Urban GreenSpace was invited to install an edible garden in the new Sustainable Living Corner of Taste of Sydney from March 8 – 11.

Due to the short notice and lack of funds to do it alone (heck I’m a start up less than a year old) I decided to call in the cavalry – the Growing Local Urban Permaculture Workshops crew to present a kind of Sustainable Living Solutions Garden whereby all of our skills and passions were able to come to the fore for the benefit of all. So glad I did as it really made the space really engaging and interactive.

The Sustainable Living Corner was pulled together by The Sustainable Table and Rebecca Sullivan AKA Dirty Girl Kitchens. Rebecca has a food and sustainability pedigree about as long as my arm so it was a great experience to meet and talk with her about some of the issues we are all facing around this space.

Rebecca Sullivan

Here’s a list of what we presented:

  • A bee zone with Gavin Smith’s collection of different hive designs: African, French Warre, Single box, swarm catcher and trigona hives.
  • A composting area with a compost tumbler, bokashi bins, black soldier fly biopod (complete with live maggots in separate boxes), a worm farm display model borrowed from the Watershed as well as a wormfarm installed in my latest design (look out for a post about this later)
  • Edible weed beds courtesy of “The Weed One” himself, Diego Bonetto
  • 2 raised beds made by Gordo from Free Range Food Gardens and myself
  • one Urban GreenSpace balcony & courtyard planter (as mentioned, there will be a specific article about this later)
  • both of the above garden items filled with seedlings and larger pots from Renaissance Herbs 
  • loads of larger plants in pots borrowed from friends and family including Nathan’s 2 year old basil, a couple of banana trees, a papaya, tomato bush, purple chilli…
  • Seeds for sale from Green Patch
  • A selection of heirloom vegetables from Vaucluse House
  • Permaculture Diaries and Calendars
  • Food Connect box info
  • Our chooks were kind enough to lend me their chicken tractor but were a little put out when they weren’t invited (due to the biosecurity policy of the Centennial Park Rangers)
  • A rainwater harvesting and pump system from Marrickville Council
  • Last but by no means least, the Beyond Zero Emissions working model of a large scale solar thermal power station. (A very popular part of the space!)
Our table at Taste of Sydney

The torrential rain washed out the Thursday session but otherwise the weather couldn’t have been better. We had many very interested visitors to the space and of course we had some fantastic neighbours.

Mayas Sunny Honey
Mayas Sunny Honey

Also in the Sustainable Living Corner were the Meat and Livestock Association of Australia (sponsors) who are working with chefs and food retailers on their Red Meat Green Facts program, Nespresso showcasing their Sustainability Blends (yes I know, Nestle has a pretty dodgy track record – they’re working on it – so please don’t waste your efforts on reminding me in the comments ;).

We also had the lovely CWA ladies with all of their cookbooks, preserves and chutneys. Justin North brought his retail store Quarter 21 and restaurant Becasse to Taste and for my money had the most ‘talkable’ product on display. Honeycomb sold in the jar that the bees had filled. Yep. You read that correctly. The jar is attached to a modified hive that allows the bees to build their own comb in the jar. Warre hive technology without the wood – almost cutting out the middleman. Maya Sunny Honey for the win!

A special mention must go to the gorgeous FreshPops girls who livened up the space with their cheery yellow bike and umbrella serving frozen “real fruit real cold” which allowed us all to keep our voices and avoid melting in the heat of the day.

Another special mention must go to Matt from Matilda Bay Brewing Co sampling their cider, Dirty Granny. It’s rare to meet someone so supportive and helpful as Matt. He was always making sure everyone was OK and helped out if anyone needed anything – a true gentleman. Try the Dirty Granny next time you’re in a bottle-o or bar and want something refreshing but not sweet. Made from Granny Smith apples and champagne yeast so has a very different character to other ciders.

Of course it wouldn’t have been a Sustainable Living Corner without the chefs and restaurants participating in the Pop-Up Restaurant and Kitchen Stage.

As Thursday was rained out organisers squeezed two days into one on Friday as a double header with Tom Kime’s sustainable fish restaurant Fish & Co alongside Bronte boy wonders, Three Blue Ducks. Both served up memorable dishes and it was great to meet some of the Ducks and hear about what they are doing in their local government area with the Grow It Local initiative, go check it out and sign on!

On the Saturday Veggie Patch were on deck serving up some great vegetarian and vegan fare – I have fond memories of the avocado and cacao mousse and the zucchini slider. They were so busy that Karl had to come foraging in our garden for some ingredients as they started to run short later in the evening.

Sunday was organic restaurant Agapé’s turn and looked to be very busy too. I tried Simon’s delicate and flavoursome goat and quinoa salad that he prepared on stage in conjunction with the MLA.

Being so busy, I only caught a few of the demos on the stage but Tom Kime from Fish & Co owned his timeslot with his disarming humour and no nonsense approach.

The Growing Local Urban Permaculture Workshops team and I really enjoyed our time at Taste and the chance to engage with so many interested and interesting folk. If you would like to hear more about our workshops or have any questions about what we showcased at the event, please ask in the comments.

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