SAGE Discussion Forum — 19 February, 2011

Council home composting project

Proposal is that Council use SAGE site for the Moruya part of the home composting demonstration. Shanna Provost will conduct a 2 hour ‘How to Compost’ workshop from 2 – 4 pm at the SAGE site on Saturday 19 March. Sage members are welcome, and we will supply some organic matter for building the compost pile. Contact at Council is Shanna Provost: projectofficer.homecomposting [at] eurocoast.nsw.gov.au

Rustic Pantry and ESD shop

To emphasise the direction that Moruya is heading, there are two new shops with a focus on sustainability. Stuart Scobie has opened his Eurobodalla Sustainable Devices outlet next to the Post Office. Eurobodalla Sustainable Devices: info [at] eurodevices.com.au

Bronwyn Carter is about to open the “Rustic Pantry” in Vulcan Street (former Marg’s Arts and Crafts) which will be a bulk wholefoods store. Bronwyn is interested in working with SAGE and possibly stocking our produce. Her contact is bronwyn [at] rustic-pantry-wholefoods.com.au

Orientation for new and inactive members

There will be an orientation day for Eurocare members on March 19th. There is a possibility that this could be expanded for other new members. Stay tuned.

Allotments

There are currently only nine individual allotments. There may be one allotment becoming vacant. It was decided to try to increase the amount of allotments and areas of individual responsibility to ease the burden of general maintenance at working bees. The area to the west of the site will be looked at initially.

Commercial organic trial

Stuart Whitelaw has had a meeting with Belinda Wagner about a trial of commercial organic composting. It is based on a method developed over several years and currently successfully operating in several nearby LGAs.

Council wants to do a small trial in Moruya collecting organic waste from businesses (restaurants, clubs, cafes, etc.). They will be using a simple inoculation system with small windrows of covered waste. SAGE would be involved in doing some monitoring (temperature, etc.) and possibly other tasks. The waste is collected by the commercial contractor in compostible bags (corn starch). From start to finish would be less than 6 months for the process. It is a really exciting project. Have a look at the YouTube video on the City to Soil blog. The finished product can’t be used until it is tested to the bio-solids standard. It appears to get over the organic bar as well! There is an organic farm on the video that is building its own huge waste handling building to compost the waste! The monitoring of the domestic waste stream in Moruya showed about 60% of compostibles in the red bins.

The meeting resolved to ask for additional information from Belinda regarding some practical aspects, including area required, possible machinery, etc. Belinda has undertaken to get back to us. This may be the subject of a separate meeting. Her contact is belinda.wagner [at] eurocoast.nsw.gov.au.

Eurocare – 6-bed rotation gardens

Fraser has been working with Eurocare who have decided to manage the six-bed rotation garden on an ongoing basis. This is a very exciting development, and will increase the SAGE message across the community. Contact: tina.crowley [at] eurocoast.nsw.gov.au

Future directions

Commercial beds

Last year demonstrated that it is possible to produce good quantities of market produce from the commercial beds. It also showed that it requires at least a part-time manager to co-ordinate the plots. While the adopt-a-bed system had some success, it still fell to Fraser to work out planting rotations and schedules, etc. A suggestion that the commercial beds be managed on a more realistic basis was discussed. The focus on the area being an educational facility is important. SAGE Executive will meet shortly to look at alternative plans.

Education program

This is partly dependent on having a covered venue, but we need to set out a program for the year. Rather than any TAFE style course, SAGE would offer a series of workshops. Working with TAFE and encouraging the continuation of the TAFE farming courses was seen as essential.

Working bee program

Will be published soon on the SAGE website.

Priorities for infrastructure work

A. Irrigation system
A relatively small cost would see the irrigation system connected to the mains. The method of connecting and mixing bore water into the mains is still to be resolved.
A high priority

B. Water collecting roof and tank 
A significant cost and a large effort to construct. Will bring many benefits to our education and community outreach efforts. Water tank will reduce our dependency on mains supply.
High/medium priority

C. Header tanks 
Would be one method of supplying pressurised irrigation water. Probably required to be done in conjunction with roof.
Medium priority

D. Vegetable washing sink/ wicking bed
Small cost and small effort to install sink.
High priority

Proposed that discharge be used for an adjacent wicking bed. Possible supply of a new type of fibreglass wicking bed from a Bingie manufacturer. Probable cost $400. Manufacturer (Joe Hooper) interested in launching product at SAGE. His email is joeandstella [at] bigpond.com

E. Tractor purchase
We are currently borrowing (from Fraser) a small tractor for bed preparation. With the proposed management regime for the commercial beds, a tractor would be largely redundant.
Low priority

Slow Food Festival

Carole Carlson gave a presentation outlining the proposal that SAGE become the head body for the Slow Food Festival. This could then become our major fund raiser. The following discussion points were raised:

  • Issue of future of Moruya Slow Food Convivium and the use of the ‘brand’
  • Previous SF days (@ 16 month intervals to sample seasons) have been under auspices of Moruya Chamber of Commerce, but new parent body needed if it is to continue
  • Question of use of name Slow Food, etc. and need for established Moruya body
  • Could this be SAGE?
  • Previous infrastructure, e.g. committee largely exists and able to go
  • Next SFC due March 2012
  • Discussion emphasised issues of compatibility with SAGE philosophy and practice, and dangers if dilution of members resources
  • Agreed further consideration needed. SAGE executive to discuss as it requires a full year lead up to organise.