Sprouting everything from sustainable seedlings and salons to healing herbs and honey, the annual Ecoburbia festival brings a touch of the ethical and eco to Narara Valley High School.
An initiative of the Narara Eco Living Network (NELN), part of the Narara Eco Village, the aptly-named festival is all about suburban sustainable living on the Central Coast.
Following the distinctive Fixx Events flags into the school grounds, we’re met with a parade of stalls spruiking everything from chemical-free cleaning to composting.
Local honey is available by the tub-full, there are native plants galore and advice on worm farming, e-bikes and backyard chickens.
Water bottles are on offer at filling stations and at the official NELN stall, information is sweetened with tea and scones.
There is a sausage sizzle and classic market fare like gozleme but The Smoothie Co. hits the spot with a thick organic shake and colourful al fresco pop up cafe.
A surprisingly moreish combination of banana, almonds, brown rice protein power, coconut oil, peanut butter, cacao and rice milk, the “Hulk” is the perfect liquid lunch to wander around the festival with.
When we heard there would be a hair salon at the festival, we wondered how they could provide a sustainable service within the community.
With all that chemical hair dye and power-hungry blow drying, hairdressing hasn’t ever conjured thoughts of eco-friendly and recyclable practices but it only takes a few minutes at Eco Chic’s pretty stand to realise there is a lot salons can do to be sustainable.
From sending hair off to be used to soak up oil spills, make wigs or help community gardens thrive to recycling aluminium foil and using organic hair products, Eco Chic Hair Boutique is leading the way in the Coast’s sustainable salon stakes.
It’s a thrill finding out that a Coastie mum is making a natural botanical skincare range in our backyard.
Steering clear of the nasty stuff like petrochemicals and parabens which can cause more harm than good, Somersby-based Completely Natural products include a Lavender Spritz toner, Cucumber Cleanser, Silky Pear moisturiser and vitamin-packed serums that feel as divine as they smell.
As well as plants that we’re well acquainted with for their scent and flavour, a healing herbs stall opens our eyes to some with special qualities.
Did you know sage is good for sore throats, thyme helps with coughs, lemon balm calms nerves, marigolds are a great fungal treatment, dandelion root flushes the liver and mint can soothe upset stomachs?
It feels wrong only parting with a fiver for a collection of baby herbs and vegetables including kale, fennel, coriander and spinach, but that’s how affordable a home veggie patch is with Sustainability Supplies.
Offering eight organically-grown seasonal seedlings for just $5, the Coastie business provides an avenue to create a sustainable source of food in the backyard or on the balcony for about the same price as a couple of bunches of herbs at the supermarket.
As always we enjoy pottering about the market stalls with Wood’n’Stuff offering handmade treasures including wooden sailboats, chopping boards and marine creatures.
With a few drops of lemon and grapefruit oil, the wellness advocates at Pure Oils extoll the virtues of using natural extracts to boost immunity or ease stress.
While Assorted Affair’s upcycled coasters, necklaces and hanging vases make recycling look as chic as possible.
As we walk back to our car swinging brown paper bags full of sustainable and recycled goodies, we’re left feeling energised and educated.
It’s amazing what you can learn in an afternoon when eco experts get together to encourage us all to live a little more ethically and sustainably.