Eco-fiesta, one of the city council’s best community initiatives in the thirty-plus years I have lived here, celebrated its 30th birthday yesterday with another wonderful festival. Dozens of stalls, hundreds of happy visitors, perfect weather, all in the beautiful surroundings of Anderson Park – what more could anyone ask for?
It has always been an event for all ages, but the young parents now taking their small children to it have known it since they were small children themselves. In its first years it was a fringe-hippie event but now it is mainstream, without having changed at all. Recycling, vegetarian food, solar power, bee-keeping, yoga and the rest have all become ‘normal’ to a large part of the community. Eco-fiesta has played a large part in that, and the world is a better place for it.
But let’s get on to specifics. As usual, I wandered at random, chatting to stall-holders and coming home with a handful of flyers and fridge magnets. There were far too many offerings to do them all justice but I will mention as many as I can, encouraging you to click through to their websites or facebook pages for further information.
Pollinators were the special focus of this year’s festival. To most people that word means bees, particularly European honey bees, but it is much broader than that: anything that sticks its head into one flower after another is likely to be a pollinator. That includes birds (honeyeaters, sunbirds and more), possums and gliders, microbats, flying foxes, and a host of insects – native bees, wasps, flies, beetles and butterflies amongst them.
Townsville Beekeepers Association had a big, buzzing, tent: honey, hives and other beekeeping gear, demonstrations, etc.
Local members of Golden Bee, a very active and creative pollinator support group on facebook, were there with information, themed t-shirts and some very classy handmade clothes.
Amelia’s Butterflies and Blooms was a solo effort focused on butterflies (especially our gorgeous Cairns Birdwings) and the plants that support them.
Landcare and other plant-happy people
The City Council had a native plant give-away as usual. It was as wildly successful as usual, too, judging by the empty tables after lunch.
Landcare’s Bush Garden Nursery (or on fb) had a stall doing brisk business in native plant seedlings at $2.50 a pop, and several commercial nurseries offered a wide variety of plants and gardening gear at somewhat higher prices.
Permaculture Townsville (or on fb) had a big area devoted to food gardening, with lots of herbs and greens. They reckon we really should grow more of our own food; I agree, but I have to admit that my agreement, year after year, stubbornly remains 90% theoretical.
Face painting? Of course. And Junior Landcare activities, and Enkindle Village School, now in its fifth year on the JCU campus and looking for a more permanent site.
Solar power has been such a success story over the last 30 years that it hardly needs to show its wares on a day like this. SuperGreen Solutions was there, though, with Tesla Powerwalls and a gadget which, as I told them, I want because it’s cool but don’t really need. It was a “solar-powered generator” which, as the name suggests, is a direct replacement for any of the little portable petrol generators which campers have been using for years. It’s basically a Li-ion battery with circuitry and outlets for all sorts of appliances, and inputs for 240V AC and the optional-extra solar panels.
EVs were on display but I didn’t see the EV-conversion people who have attended in the past.
Health and wellbeing
Sundalah Yoga was there with the latest edition of its community magazine and wellness directory; look out for it in yoga studios, health food places, etc. Ananda Marga Meditation and Yoga had a stall nearby. There were several other offerings which might fit under the ‘alternative therapies’ umbrella, but Sundalah’s community magazine is now your best introduction to them.
One might wonder how they all fit into the “eco” theme, but the answer is that personal wellbeing and environmental wellbeing are, at the deepest level, inseparable: we can’t achieve either of them without the other.
The Invasive Species Council was represented by their local Yellow Crazy Ants project officer. The ants are a problem in both Cairns (where the T-shirt was designed) and Townsville, and if we don’t get the resources to eliminate them soon, we will never be able to contain them.
Tidy Up Townsville has been growing fast in recent months, expanding in all directions from its origins as a roadside rubbish clean-up project.
There were lots more in this category – e.g. North Queensland Conservation Council (NQCC) – and some which shade off into other categories. Vinnies, for instance, had a couple of racks of clothes and pointed out that op-shops are, in fact, enormous recycling projects. Dreamweavers Recycled Plastic Craft goes beyond mere recycling, turning plastic bags into beautifully made table decorations and jewellery.