Sustainability in the Suburbs 2020: Recharge and Reconnect

Transition BanyuleCommunity, Economy, Energy, Food, Inner transition, Reconnection to nature

A series of online workshops and webinars brought to you by the Transition Banyule Network to support local people to Recharge and Reconnect.

During lockdown in Melbourne, we stayed home while coming together via Zoom to have fun celebrating sustainable living. The program included ‘Something for Parents, Something for Kids, Something for Everyone’.

Average participant rating across the series: 4.5/5 (where 5 = “I loved it!”)

Something for Parents

Building Resilient Families During COVID

Tuesday 11 August 2020, 8.00-9.30pm
A webinar for parents of under-12s

Nearly 50 people joined LIVE via Zoom to hear Lou Harvey-Zahra, popular parenting author, share practical tips and ideas for a happy family life, including:

* daily family connection games, for strong bonds
* free family fun ideas for entertainment
* what to do when you hear, “I’m bored!”
* tips to help with home learning

Feedback from participants:
“Excellent tips and engaging presenter. Very timely.”
“So many ideas. I do feel uplifted and its 9pm. That is unusual at the moment! Thanks again!”
“Great tips, well worth listening in.”

More about our guest presenter:

Books by Lou Harvey-Zahra

Video of Lou’s webinar presentation (available for a short time only)

Video of the Q&A (available for a short time only)


Understand and Connect with Your Teenager (and Pre-teen)

Tuesday 15 September 2020, 7.30-9.00pm
A webinar for parents of 11-14 year olds.

More than 20 parents joined LIVE via Zoom to hear Lou Harvey-Zahra, popular parenting author, share practical tips and ideas for supporting children transition through their early teens.

In the first half of the webinar, Lou Harvey-Zahra covered the changes that occur around 12 years of age, as teenagers begin to ask for more autonomy and may become both self-critical and critical of parents. Lou provided understanding and practical tips for connection and more harmonious homes as well as how to live with technology, followed by a Q&A session.

More about our guest presenter: Books by Lou Harvey-Zahra

Video of the webinar:


Something for Kids

Local Lockdown Beats

Saturday 26 September 2020, 10.30am-12 noon

More than 10 kids joined in this fun workshop and went away inspired to create more of their own songs!

This was a songwriting workshop for kids aged 8-12 with Kylie and Mal from Formidable Vegetable, limited to 15 participants.

The kids were treated to a short live performance then supported through a simple songwriting process. The collaboratively created song was recorded and shared with family and friends.

Here it is:

More about our guest presenters:


Something for Everyone

Storytelling Circles #1

Saturday 5 September 2020, 10.30am-12.30pm


A workshop on using storytelling as a tool to own our power and catalyze our grief for grace, limited to 25 participants. Our guest presenter Mariam Issa guided the audience in using their power of memory and imagination to move emotion. This workshop was designed to support people to deal with stress and find their strength.

Mariam, a captivating speaker, talked about the power of story and how we can make impact with it. The event was interactive, with questions, introspection and participation encouraged.

More about our guest presenter:


Testimonial from Transition 3081 core group member Maria Nechwatal:

I was privileged to hear Mariam speak after seeing a documentary on her RAW garden and I was blown away. She loves to use the metaphor of an emergent butterfly.
Never have I been so inspired!  Mariam tells of her life and lessons she has learnt with integrity and warmth and in doing so she takes us on a journey of exploration – of confronting challenges and of making choices.
When I think of Mariam, I think of a ‘valiant woman – joyful, strong, patient, loving, sharing, courageous and brave!
Participant feedback:
  • “Speaks to the Heart and Soul part of Transition framework. Loved it! Thanks”
  • “It was rich, full of wisdom and transformational. I felt empowered by it to move forward on my own path and to be curious about where it could take me. What a gift! Mariam is an advanced soul and it was a real privilege to hear her and learn from her experience and love.”
  • “Great workshop…..there were some golden nuggets for reflection!”
  • “Mariam is a powerful speaker who imparted so much wisdom and so many truths in such a short time – it was inspirational. I hope that one day, by thinking through what she taught us, I can reach a similar place of grace to be an inspiration to others in their journeys.”


Storytelling Circles #2

Monday 28 September 2020, 6.30-8.30pm

More than 20 people again came together to hear Mariam impart wisdom and truths in her warm, encouraging style.

In response to demand, this was a repeat of the earlier workshop with Mariam Issa exploring the power of story to make impact, limited to 25 participants.


Indigenous Plants: Nourish, Thrive, Revive

Monday 12 October 2020, 6.30-8.30pm

A homegrown workshop with guest storyteller Che Hall from Sustainable Watsonia who shared her experience of connection with place through local Indigenous food systems.

Watch Che’s video story, created for this event:

Che shared some Indigenous ways of knowing about local plants and animals and how these connections can support our communities to thrive.

This interactive workshop supported people to recharge and reconnect with nature and the local food systems that have nourished our ancestors for thousands of years.

More about local indigenous plants:
Banyule City Council’s 2-for-1 Indigenous Plant vouchers
Banyule City Council’s Gardens for Wildlife program

Che invites you to explore these people’s work if you’d like to discover more Indigenous plant wisdom:
Indigenous Plant Use (pdf, 13.5MB) from
Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe
Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer (listen to the audiobook narrated by the author)
Robin Wall Kimmerer Keynote: Mapping a New Geography of Hope


Energy-Saving Homes: a Permaculture Perspective

Monday 26 October 2020, 6.30-8.30pm

A homegrown workshop with guest presenter Megan Cassidy from Sustainable Greensborough.

Our presenter shared home energy-saving experiences and sparked our imagination as we reconsidered what “energy” at home means to us (it’s much more than electricity and solar panels!). Through the lens of permaculture design principles, we explored the flow of energy through the systems at the centre of our lives: our inner world (zone 00), the home (zone 0) and our suburban gardens (zone 1).

This interactive workshop supported people to recharge and reconnect with ourselves, each other and old and new ways of being.


Rising Resilience: the Power of Sourdough

Saturday 7 November 2020, 10.30am-12.30pm


A homegrown workshop with guest storyteller Maude Farrugia from Slow Dough microbakery and Transition 3081.

Come together to celebrate the rising resilience in our neighbourhoods!

Local resident Maude Farrugia will share ways of growing the local economy, for a beautiful and simple, relocalised life, rich with homemakery and community connections.

This interactive workshop supports people to recharge and reconnect with neighbours in readiness to bounce forward into a sustainable future.

More about our guest presenter:

Maude writes for Pip magazine —

And she’s crowdfunded a microbakery, due to be launched late 2020 —


Transition Banyule Network is a collaboration of 6 local suburb-based Transition groups: Montmorency Community Group, Sustainable Community Ivanhoe, Sustainable Greensborough, Sustainable Watsonia, Transition 3081 and Transition Warringal.

This project is supported by a Banyule City Council Environment Grant, auspiced by Montmorency Community Group.