by Beth Walton
More than 1000 people enjoyed the Voices of the Village – Sustainable Communities Fair held at the Mitcham Cultural Village on 21 October 2012. The free event was a partnership between Council and the three Sustainable Communities groups in the Mitcham Council area. Professor Chris Daniels, from UniSA and Presiding Member of the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Natural Resource Management Board, opened the event and the NRM Board also assisted with funding. It was a great day, focused on building community and promoting simple initiatives to help reduce our ecological footprint.
In total, around 60 businesses, local environment groups, food vendors, performers , environmental educational groups and green initiatives of Council and State Government were showcased. Apart from two Sustainable Communities stalls (thank you Unley for the delicious homemade lemonade, served in biodegradable cups) , other stalls included, PermacultureSA, the Alternative Technology Association, bookshops, the Native Grasses Resource Group, architects and environmental consultants. A vibrant kid’s program included recycling craft, a native animal zoo, scientific exploration of creek inhabitants and a workshop on no-dig gardening. Throughout the afternoon, interviews from participating stall holders and community groups were broadcast on Coast FM.
Partnering with Mitcham Council worked well. It gave us access to professional event management skills and unbelievable community wide promotion. Having a range of activities on the day – from those focused on sustainable community themes (energy efficiency, alternative transport, local food etc) to jazz bands and yoga demonstrations, ensured the Fair appealed to a wide cross section of the community. It turned what could have been a ‘gathering of the converted’ into a truly community event. We are extremely grateful to Mitcham Council and to the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board for their support.
Two followup workshops, one on house renovations, the other on water efficient gardening and composting are being planned for early next year.