C is for Celebration, Communication, Compost, Cooking from Scratch and Cultural Safety


We all love to celebrate and regardless of the occasion it is made all the more special when we consider how we can decrease our footprint while getting our party on.

Reimagine birthdays by taking along a low waste picnic to a local park. An example is a birthday celebration that we organised at Price Park, Viewbank. Guests were invited via text message, we requested that guests didn’t bring a material gift, bunting was homemade using fabric scraps, simple finger food (low packaging), home made packets of seeds for the children to take home. My son still says that it was the best birthday celebration ever!

Image on left: Small girl wearing a party dress, eating watermelon. There is home made bunting strung between eucalyptus trees in the background, and a double slippery slide. In the foreground there is cut up watermelon and pineapple, cut up vegetables with home made hummus, a platter of olives and pickles, a bowl of chips and a birthday cake.

Image: basket containing fresh feijoas

Reimagine Easter with some simple swaps: feijoas in place of Easter eggs and hot cross buns either home made or bought from a local bakery in your own bags.
Reimagine Christmas with reusable/fabric wrapping, low material gifts (secret santa works well for this), buy a fresh/live tree from a local charity or garden nursery or get creative by making one from reusable materials, plan meals for low food waste.
Reimagine Weddings
We recently celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary. To this day we still have friends and family telling us that our wedding was the most fun they’ve had at a wedding. So what did we do to make it both a low footprint and fun? We hired a local venue where we could have our ceremony and reception in one location. We chose a location near public transport so that it was easy for guests to get there/home. We requested that guests ‘bring a plate’ of food to share (this was a great talking point for guests who hadn’t met one another before). We did hire caterers to help with food distribution, clean up and the dishes. We decorated the tables with rosemary from the garden, and home made candles. My dress was from the op shop, my friend Courtney also made me a lovely dress for the ceremony. We hired a bush band who encouraged our guests to get up and dance, making a fun party atmosphere. For gifts, everyone got to take home an indigenous tree and lovingly made home made cupcake (thanks to my mother-in-law and sister-in-law). We took along buckets with lids so that we could compost food scraps and took home leftovers to feed the many guests staying with us. This is just one example and I must say that it went really well despite how relaxed/disorganised we were. Erin Rhoads AKA The Rogue Ginger writes a wonderful blog about her low waste wedding and her son’s first birthday celebration.
Contribution by Che
Where is my local bakery?
Banyule microbakeries we know of:
DoughArty Baker delivers to – Bellfield, Ivanhoe, Heidelberg, Heidelberg Heights, Heidelberg West, Macleod & Rosanna


Slow Grain delivers in Banyule – check their website for your suburb https://slowgrain.com.au/order-online/ – or in person at Whittlesea, Elder Reserve Watsonia and Kinglake Markets

Other bakeries in Banyule include:

BRIAR HILL– Briar Hill Traditional Bakehouse

BUNDOORA – Bundoora Bakery, Bakers Delight Bundoora

GREENSBOROUGH – Greensborough Bakehouse

HEIDELBERG – Bakers Delight Warringal

homemade hot cross buns

Image: baking hot cross buns at home

IVANHOE – Ivanhoe Bakery, Breadwise Ivanhoe, Brumby’s Ivanhoe

LOWER PLENTY – Lower Plenty Bakehouse

MONTMORENCY – Montmorency Bakehouse, Brumby’s Montmorency, Kim Kim Bakehouse

ROSANNA – Bakers Delight Rosanna, Greville Road Bakery, Aus Vi Bakery

ST HELENA – Bakers Delight St Helena

WATSONIA – Diamond Village Hot Bread & Cakes, Watsonia Bakehouse, Bakers Choice Watsonia Road


Image: group of people sitting around a fire outdoors with the expanse of a waterway and the big sky in the background

Have you ever noticed that we communicate differently when sitting around a fire? You are present in the conversation, there are long pauses and you tend to add to the conversation in a constructive and reflective manner. Our ancestors evolved to communicate around fire, however, we haven’t yet learnt how to communicate effectively in the absence of fire. There are examples of communication techniques that aim to reintroduce these reflective, respectful communication practices. Two examples are Non Violent Communication (NVC) and Dialogue practice. There are online courses available in each. There are members from Banyule who meet up (either in person or online) to practice these communication techniques. If you would like to know more information then feel free to explore Non Violent Communication.



Graduated image of fresh food scraps turning into compost followed by a seedling growing out of the finished compost

Garden soil full of humus holds water well and feeds plants sufficiently. Making compost and adding it to your garden once or twice a year is a very quick way to build up humus in the soil, making your garden function energy efficiently.
Some ideas and local resources for composting
⭐️ Compost bins: there are many options to buy one secondhand or DIY a compost bay with some pallets (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62hBgU8XzKo )
⭐️ Worm Farm: you can buy a kit from your local gardening or hardware store, like Bulleen Art & Garden, or have a go at DIY and source some worms from a neighbour
⭐️ Bokashi bins or similar systems can be bought from Going Green Solutions and some health food stores
No room for any of the above? Find a neighbour who will compost your food scraps via the ShareWaste App.
What’s in your green bin? Local sustainable gardening enthusiast Marina Bistrin presented this workshop about processing all your garden waste in your own garden. She shows that we might not really need our green waste bins!

Cooking from Scratch

Image: Cutting homemade fettucine pasta on a wooden chopping board

Slow your home by simplifying your cooking routines and reconnecting with your food by making more from scratch. For millennia, humans have worked together to preserve seasonal food and today the tradition continues in Banyule’s houses, garages and apartments with family and friends getting together to make passata, pasta and noodles, relishes, marmalade and more from home grown or local produce. With a pantry stocked with such preserves, it’s easy to cook meals from scratch more often, reducing both food and packaging waste.
“My favourite homemade ‘preserve’ is fettucine. I buy a sack of local organic spelt flour and invest a weekend turning it into pasta that will feed family and friends for months. The cost works out similar to cheap packaged pasta while the flavour is incomparable.” – P, Rosanna
A great tip for getting the most out of your vegetable scraps is to place them in a container in the freezer then make a broth from it. In this video Kirsty from Zero Waste Victoria describes how she makes the most out of her leftovers by making soup.

Cultural Safety

Learning to be more culturally safe can save the life of another person and can also enrich your own. Looking at how we can live in a manner that is culturally safe is a life long journey. A wonderful way to begin this journey is to undertake cultural safety training like that delivered by the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation Inc. (VACCHO). Many workplaces have now initiated cultural safety training for their workforce, including Austin Health, Heidelberg. Does your workplace engage in cultural safety training?