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ECOSS Events & 2023 Wrap Up

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  • ECOSS Twilight Xmas Market 2023

ECOSS Events & Wrap Up 2023

ECOSS Twilight Market 3.30pm-9pm

Join us for an evening of entertainment, music, kids activities, shopping and food at The ECOSS Twilight Market. With a large variety of art, craft, local produce stalls as well as a variety of food available for dinner.
This is a FREE event for the whole family.
Thank you to our sponsors: VicHealth, Regional Community Recovery Committees and Yarra Ranges Council.

4:00pm: Woody’s Bush Dancing for Kids and Families
4:45pm: The Dreaming Space end of year showcase
5.00pm – The Dreaming Space end of year showcase- Joined by Funky Monkey’s
5.10pm: Funky Monkey Family- Finding the heart of Christmas Stage Musical act
5:50pm: Silks in the Dome
6.00pm: Lothlorien
7.00pm: Funky Monkey Family- Funky set!
8.00pm: Little Yarra Steiner School Bands

Here’s the link to the event on Facebook- please share it on your socials.
The Sound Installation “Bird Child Spirit” is now installed and running at ECOSS.
Come and visit ECOSS and hear this award winning community artwork.
Every 20 mins from 2 pm to 7 pm, Tuesday to Saturday, Dec 7 to 23rd.
The sound installation Bird Child Spirit is now at ECOSS. It’s an immersive multi-channel sound installation that features approximately 600 short recordings of children making bird sounds. The artist Peter Mcilwain, who is an experienced composer, has worked with children to make the sounds and has written software that generates an ongoing composition that you can enjoy in the gardens at ECOSS.
As part of the project the artist works with children from the local community wherever the installation is being presented. After editing, the recordings are curated and included in the installation so it’s an ongoing evolving creative process.
Peter will be at ECOSS each Friday during the markets and he’ll be happy to meet you and record new “birds” for the installation. Look for his stall in the market. Peter has found that the best age group to work with is 8 to 12 years old. Parents will need to sign a recording release form. Peter has a Working With Children Check and has undertaken Yarra Ranges Child safe processes.
Peter is a professional artist who has won a number of national and international awards including the major Yering Sculpture Award 2023 for Bird Child Spirit. The artist hopes you have a chance to come and enjoy this unique and wonderful artwork.
Bird Child Spirit is supported by the Yarra Ranges Council.
Introduction to Leather Tanning Workshop at ECOSS- press here.
UpCycles closing dates for the Holiday season,
Open 23/12, Closed 30/1 & 6/1, Open 13/1/2024
Celebrating our Wonderful Crops for Community Volunteers.

Every week at ECOSS our Crops for Community volunteers work really hard in the Community Garden and the Nursery, to grow and harvest food for donations.  This dedicated bunch of volunteers bring bundles of joy and good vibes to the ECOSS site. We thankyou volunteers for your massive contribution to the community.

A word from Chelsea-
As we rapidly make our way toward the end of the year, I try to recap all the developments that have taken place on the ECOSS grounds over the past seasons; no small task. It’s been an amazing year to say the least, with both unexpected challenges, heart-ache and surprising rewards. As a small and dynamic team, we seem to accomplish a lot, whilst life unfolds, or implodes around us. Either way, we continue to be inspired by the many wonderful actions and intentions, dreams and inspirations that makes working for ECOSS a meaningful experience. 

It’s been a very busy year, hosting at least one event per month, some of which were large scale festivals including Ecotopia festival and Permaculture Week, Ngulu the First Nation’s festival and Rhythms of the World multicultural festival. We had Tenzin Choegyal grace our stage with the Little Yarra Ensemble, and we hosted regenerative farming seminars, youth music events and multicultural events connecting children to foods from distant places. We held workshops on composting, biochar, permaculture, clay play and others, whilst we ran courses on bike maintenance and mental health for first aid, weekly West African Drumming and dance classes. Between all this, we had lots of site hire for private events. The place has been humming with movement.

Our Co-Locators are still active on the grounds with the Dreaming Space offering dance lessons, circus skills and among other things, regular and well attended poetry nights. Bush Wood Creations recently featured in the Open Studios weekend, and the Pottery studio underwent a substantial up-grade and recently held its own exhibition. Silvertine Farm continues to grow bio-dynamic food on the property and selling their produce at the market; a showcase example of the circular economy at work.  Tonantzin Chocolate continues to hold a valuable presence offering delicious chocolate and Tacos, with Fernando also offering sweat lodges and cacao ceremonies. 

Mel Organics is currently trialling expanded trading hours, opened her organic produce to more days of the week. Up-Cycles has really kicked off this year and in partnership with Box Hill Institute, we were able to offer a bicycle repair course, and extend our network of bicycle up-cyclers in Victoria. Other regular site users who continue to meet at ECOSS, include the Yarra Valley Bee Group,Permaculture  Yarra Valley , Upper Yarra Landcare, Warburton Environment, and the Beans and Bananas Food Coop. Crops for Community continued to give weekly fresh food donations to Koha Community Café and Oonah Indigenous Tucker Bag program.  Peter Lorback  has given a more caring and revitalising edge to the native nursery environment, and in partnership with Crops for Community, propagated over 2500 native plants. 

Progress on the food forest, in its on-going developments, has now been converted from what was a dock-weed infestation, into a garden with future possibilities. Many thanks to those who supported weekly working bees. The construction of deer fencing around the property will now also support any garden developments in the future.

Under the fluid topic of education, there have been a lot of incursions and excursions this year as our relationship with schools expands, with school groups also working in the weed management of the future forest garden. 

New developments take us down behind the Food Forest and Silvertine Farm, where Pollination place has been established.  This acreage includes the Community Viticulture Group, The Farmer’s Incubator, which ran a pop-up garlic farmer course on site, and the development of biochar test plots running 12 different test ratios. This year, we became biochar distributors and developed an education program which is now incorporated into the ECOSS education program for schools.

Further on the grounds, we extended the stage area to include a closed-off room and off-stage space., which given the last two major events, proved to be a great blessing. Heavy curtains now frame the stage with warmth and colour, thanks to the Healesville Music Festival, who donated a host of useful items to us. We’ve remediated the mould in the cottage, which meant that our cottage movements were restricted for quite some time; however, the kitchen up-grade has been impressive.

ECOSS has been developing a stall presence at the weekly market, selling any available produce, biochar containers, native plants and cups of chai with the aim of connecting more directly to local people and also as a means of increasing financial stability. We have expanded our staff by one to include Alexandra, who is now our marketing consultant. With intentional eyes in this field, we’ve been able to promote Ecoss to a wider audience,

some of whom are international experts in food security; as a result, ECOSS has been able to connect with some interesting people from around the world.

This has also meant that, I was invited to present at a number of massive national conferences, like the Urban Agriculture Forum, and on-line to eight countries, to a Fellowship of professors  in Agroecology, 

This year, more attention has been given to consultation with large organisations, who need to reduce their carbon footprint. In building relationship with these organisations, and through supporting each other’s needs, we hope to contribute to a circular economy in our own unfolding future. With an emerging history of credibility, we’ve attracted la lot of grants, which has enabled us to offer a diverse range of activities in line with our ethos, and for which we are very grateful. 

Relationship building between grassroots community, education institutions, through to government departments and corporations, continues to be an important function of what we do at ECOSS. Building bridges of understanding and collaboration is essential to our work and we look forward to more of it in the year to come. Next year we plan to build four studios to support our own financial sustainability and to bring more interest to the site.

For all the amazing activities we’ve been able to be part of, and inspiring new people we’ve collaborated and marinaded in conversation with, we also need to acknowledge the number of integral community members that have died this year; whose loss is deeply felt. It is the ongoing contribution of people that keeps our flame alive and I’d like to pay homage to those who are no longer with us; your contribution on site and in our hearts has been valuable; and memorable.

In closing the chapter of 2023, and the full and productive year it was, I’d like to say thank you to our amazing committee for their undying support and governance during this year. The work we do, wouldn’t be possible without their support and we’re very grateful.  Next year we’d like to increase our volunteer base and bring new people into the working fold of ECOSS, so if you know of anyone who could benefit from being involved in this inspiring place, please let us know; everyone is welcome. 

With our flora and fauna environments continuing to be depleted, I wish to encourage the planting of more native trees and bushes to enhance life for all our creatures great and small. Under the large umbrella of sustainability, we need to include our considerations for those who can’t advocate for themselves. 

Finally, thank you to our members who continue to ignite our inspiration for a sustainable future and whose support we value. I wish you all a safe and joyous holiday season and the very best for a year full of possibilities. 

Thankyou and gratitude- Chelsea

Brilliant Biochar!

Give your soil a long term boost – store carbon and increase water and nutrient retention

ECOSS is a supplier of locally sourced biochar. Yarra Ranges Council has collaborated with Earth Systems to build a large biochar facility on the old Lysterfield tip site. ECOSS has partnered with this project to facilitate the education program about biochar.

Biochar is a carbon-rich material made by burning biomass (wood, leaves and branches) in a carefully controlled low-oxygen process called pyrolysis. It is like charcoal but has particular properties that added to soil give improvements in soil and plant health.

Biochar has a long history of use in indigenous farming throughout West Africa and the Amazon rainforest where the incredible results can be seen even today. Many scientists believe this ancient agricultural technique has the potential to increase crop yields and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at the same time. Instead of carbon dioxide being released during normal decomposition or open-air burning, the pyrolysis process locks carbon into a stable form that can be buried underground.

Biochar is a soil additive, or enhancer, that helps soil to create, sustain, and replenish the growing environment for plants and organic life to thrive within. The structure of biochar provides a very large surface area, which holds water and nutrients and provides a home for beneficial soil microbes and mycorrhizal fungi.

Benefits of using biochar in your garden:

  • Improves soil structure
  • Increases water and nutrient retention
  • Stimulates beneficial soil microbes and mycorrhizal fungi
  • Assists to regenerate poor soil and improve the harvest in your vegetable garden.
  • Stores carbon in the ground
  • Can reduce fertiliser requirements as unlike compost or fertiliser, biochar is very stable and doesn’t break down easily and can last hundreds of years

How to use biochar

  • Simply add to your compost or worm farm to boost microbial action and make an enriched mix ready to use. Add 10% of compost volume at any stage of the composting process at least 2 weeks before use
  • Apply with your compost or nutrient mix
  • Target root zones – mix into soil, potting mix and planting holes
  • Use 1-5 Litres per square metre or 1-10% soil volume
  • Supercharge by soaking it for a few days (up to 2 weeks) in a mix of water and compost or nutrient-rich fertiliser (seaweed, worm tea)

ECOSS is establishing some biochar demonstration vegetable plots for visitors to see. Purchase your biochar at the Valley Market on Fridays or contact eartheducation@ecoss.org.au to make an order or for more information on workshops or biochar.

Support the Planet!! Revegetate for natures sake!

Native Plants and Veggie Seedlings available at ECOSS Valley Market on Fridays!
We are now accepting large native tubestock orders for your revegetation.
Email: Peter on peterlorback@hotmail.com


2023-12-12T11:51:53+11:00December 12th, 2023|News|
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