THERE are exciting times ahead for Bass Coast and surrounds, as Bass Coast Landcare Network prepares to host this year’s Sustainability Festival, ‘Reimagined’.

After multiple postponements of the festival, Landcare staff focused on what they could do, in a COVID-safe way within ever-changing restrictions. This led to switching up the format from the traditional big, single-day event of the past.

This year, local groups, businesses, and organisations have been invited to host either online or live events over a six-week period, framed by an opening launch event on Saturday, October 23 and closing with a produce market at the River Garden in Bass on December 5.

The theme for the 2021 festival is ‘Future Homes and Farms for 2040 – Empowering People to Adapt’. This topic extends the question: ‘What would a comfortable home or profitable farm look like in 2040 and what will we have to do to get there?’

Our amazing community was certainly up for the challenge to answer this question, with applications for more than 60 online and in-person events, all designed to empower us to act now for a more comfortable future. Many have stepped outside of the square, themselves adapting to online formats that suit the changing world we find ourselves in.

“Although there have been less opportunities to attend events in-person this year, the beauty of online events is that they are accessible to anyone, anywhere,” Lisa Wangman, festival organiser with the Bass Coast Landcare Network, said.

“This year we can give our local community the ability to speak to a massive audience to share their products, mission or passions in a way we haven’t seen before.”

The festival will be launched by the Bass Coast Shire Council Mayor, Cr Brett Tessari, on October 23 in an online event, starting at 4.30pm. BCLN is excited to announce the launch will be hosted by television favourite and Junior Landcare ambassador, Costa Georgiadis, and will also feature Dr Susie Burke covering the important topic of mental health during a changing climate.

After a Welcome to Country from the Bunurong Land Council, keynote speakers will be followed by a series of informative shorter presentations from Bass Coast Shire Council, Zoe Geyer representing Totally Renewable Phillip Island, Paul Haar representing CERES Fair Wood and Jasmin Rooks representing the youth of Bass Coast.

The launch event will flow straight into a fantastic program featuring a whole host of topics around sustainability. There is a huge range of organisations and topics that will be covered in this year’s festival with something for everybody.

Westernport Biosphere Foundation, Energy Innovation Cooperative, Bass Coast Climate Action Network, Gippsland Community Power Hub and Mitchell House are just a few of the community organisations involved so far. Events focusing on transport, energy, carbon, education and carbon farming will be hosted by Totally Renewable Phillip Island in partnership with other organisations.

Events on local food systems, housing, gardens, cloth nappies, planting for bees, local birds, water, social sustainability, available rebates, waste-reducing products and more, hosted by a range of organisations, businesses and groups, can be viewed in this year’s festival program.

Another new category in the program this year is, ‘Available Anytime’, a curated list of links to existing online resources and content relating to sustainability, including recorded webinars, video clips and more.

After six sustainable weeks of events, the festival will draw to a close on Sunday, December 5, with a produce market to be held at the River Garden in Bass.

The River Garden is an exciting space in itself, with swales of vegetables, herbs and fruit trees, a nuttery and orchard, and a resident nursery business, all surrounded by the beautiful Bass River. The perfect space to sell produce surrounded by innovative demonstrations of produce growing!

Applications are open for stallholders for the produce market, so if you grow, make or bake, you can express your interest by filling out an application form on the festival website by following the link below.

“Hosting a stall at the market is a great opportunity to not only sell produce but to connect directly with future customers. People can connect with the face of your business and learn how and why you do what you do,” Lisa said.

If you would like to discover, learn about and implement sustainable actions into your life to save yourself some hard-earned cash or increase your comfort, then there is definitely something in this year’s festival for you.

This event is supported by Bass Coast Shire Council, Westernport Water and the Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning through the Supporting our Regions to Adapt program.

For more information about the Sustainability Festival and to view the event program, head to basscoastlandcare.org.au/sustainabilityfestival2021. It is worth continuously checking back as more events are loaded onto the program throughout the six weeks.