Living Earth Festival Mullumbimby

1 September, 2013

It was a spectacular Fathers Day in the Shire last weekend and there was certainly a lot to choose from in terms of where to go and what to do on such a beautiful day. Spurning the natural attractions such as the beach, we started off with home made buckwheat blueberry pancakes, topped with yoghurt, banana, strawberries and maple syrup! Fortified for the day we chose between the Ocean Shores art expo which was held at Ocean Shores public school and included a family fun day, and the Living Earth Festival held at the Mullumbimby Community Gardens.

The festival started with a small street parade with local participants which we unfortunately missed (except for sighting a giant strawberry walking past on arrival at the gardens!) With a gold coin donation we entered into a nature lovers paradise. First stop was the permaculture garden which has been recently built, along with a visit to the chickens (and chicks). I didn't quite have time to find out what a "Chicken Mower"was but a friend had explained it to me the night before. It's basically a giant chicken cage on wheels - the theory being that you place it in one part of the garden and let the chickens eat and scratch there keeping the grass short, and then move it to a different part of the garden. I imagine to be successful you would need a fairly large garden for it to work (i.e so you don't end up with scratched dirt instead of grass for a backyard!) Clever idea - especially back yard chickens are certainly growing in popularity. Making our way past the human powered orange juicer (on a bike) we popped over to get my son's face transformed into a Tiger while wandering in and out of some information stalls.

The gardens are quite extensive with individual plots for locals, along with a community garden from where one can take free veges in return for a bit of work in the garden. We got a chai and then had a look through the healing section which had tarot, massage, a healing circle and a few other alternative therapies going. There was plenty of food on offer from Raw Ecstacy raw foods through to crepes and pastries. Teh food section was certainly busy! We tried some raw vegan cheesecake, bu tI have to boast and say I think mine is indeed better!

While there were not may stalls selling produce as such there was an interesteing section dedicated to "Biochar" and all it's glories for your gardens including bags of Biochar itself along with little "fireplaces" which enable you to make your own. There were cooking demonstrations and talks going on in small tents scattered throughout the area. We were extremely happy to purchase some wonderful Neoflam cookware from a local manufacturer. They were selling some damaged stock as a fundraiser for a young school friend of our son's who is beating cancer. So wonderful to see so much community support for her and her family.

In the distance the skateboard competition was peaking with the local kids, whicle we enjoyed a performance by Circus Arts and a demonstration of Capoiera, a Brazilian form of Martial arts which is a wonderful combination of strength and agility. After that we headed over the the Kid's section which - with so much going on and so many people to bump into - we had totally overlooked! The Rotunda in the centre of the garden had bands and performers entertaining the crowds. The kids section is of course year round within the gardens and is a lovely shaded sandpit and there was a big craft and activity tent set up next to it. Inspired my son made a couple of crafts and then we lined up for our frozen banana and stawberry icecream, before calling it a day! Whew! that was mid afternoon but lots of friends were going as we were leaving! There was lots on throughout the afternoon and the evening. The event came to a close with a family screening of a Cirque de Soleil movie which was enjoyed by many.

All and all a great day. Next year I plan to take a picnic and a thermos full of chai and it will be perfect. I'm sure the organisers were overwhelmed with the success of the event - it was so well supported by the community. So if you're looking for something to start spring off with next year then the Living Eart Festival is a really great way to do so.