The sharpest tool in the shed

Monthly Archives: June 2018

The sharpest tool in the shed
13th June, 2018

Justin Morrissey is the weekend warrior behind Toolo, Katoomba’s tool library. He took time out to talk tools with the Co-op.

Co-op: Briefly, what is Toolo and how long has it been operating?

Justin: Toolo, is the Blue Mountains Tool Library, an artist run, not-for-profit, volunteer managed group that coordinates a resource hub of shared things for members to borrow.

Co-op: What prompted you to start a tool library?

Justin: I’d seen many similar successful projects overseas that weren’t supported by government, just run by people for people, and it seemed to just make sense to have one in the Blue Mountains.

Co-op: Who are your members and how can people join?

Justin: Members pay a small fee of about less than $2 per week, to borrow items from the library, they can join online or in person at the library, sign a form, present some ID, and then they can borrow to their hearts content.

Co-op: What projects has Toolo initiated since its inception?

Justin: We’ve had all manner of activities, like casting and modelling workshops, digital making and 3D printing demonstrations, an artist in residence program, and the Katoomba Falls Kiosk pop up art space for 9 months. Pretty good going for a library just turning two years old in July.

Co-op: What are your plans for the future of Toolo?

Justin: Toolo needs to have about 300 members to maintain viability, to pay the rent, insurance, and test and tag electrical equipment. Once we have 300 members we are a viable entity that can remain sustainable for future generations.

We plan to continue to educate the wider community about sustainability in the creative industries about innovation and entrepreneurship for creatives. The tool library offers an incredible shift in economies and we hope we can encourage people to join so that we may also be able to employ staff locally to run the programs and become tool librarians.

Click here to join Toolo online or pop into the library at 8 Froma Lane, Katoomba.

Opening hours: 3 – 6pm Thursdays and 9am -1 pm Saturdays.

Repair Cafe for Katoomba

Blue Mountains Food Co-op is joining forces with Toolo to start a Repair Cafe – a monthly pop up where the local community can learn how to fix, mend, restore and reuse broken and worse for wear household items. There are currently 1,500 Repair Cafes worldwide  keeping tonnes of ‘hard rubbish’ out of landfill and ensuring valuable skills are passed on.

If you have repair skills you would like to share please contact the Co-op or Toolo at or

Fresh pickings
13th June, 2018

Seasonal fruit and veg

Local citrus

When life gives you lemons! We have spray-free, juicy lemons from Carlingford but hurry they won’t last long!

These beautiful ‘Romanesco’ broccoli were a hit with shoppers.

New in the big little shop

Everco Bamboo straws 

4 pack includes cleaning brush. Sustainable and biodegradable. Made in Indonesia.

Green Essentials bamboo straw

Single straw that is package free. Bamboo, 100% BPA-free, PVC-free, phthalate-free and lead-free.

Laughing Bird tea towels, aprons & bags

Locally printed and sewn on linen featuring Blue Mountains Flora, Fauna and scenes.

Nim Veda Organic Rosewater 

Food grade rosewater in a misting spray.

Featured product – LIP BALMS

Hurraw Vegan lip balms

Organic coconut, lime, Earl Gray, orange, grapefruit, green tea, chocolate, Moon (Blue chamomile vanilla), chai, black cherry (tinted). Made in USA.

Est Velvet lip balm

Nourishing olive oil, beeswax and honey, calendula oil and vitamin E. Made in Melbourne.

Weleda Everon lip balm

Nourishing and protecting with organic jojoba oil, shea butter, rose and beeswax.  Really great for wind burnt lips. Made in Germany.

Locally made lip balms

Nina’s Bees lip balm

Locally made, plastic free packaging. With Nina’s bees honey and beeswax, coconut and almond oils.

Wild Earth Luscious Lime lip balm

Locally made using Malfroy’s  beeswax, organic cocoa butter, fair trade shea butter calendula infused sunflower oil, and lime essential oil.

Clemence Ultimate Lips and Glamour Lips lip balm

Soothing, nourishing + protective. Anti-viral Lemon Myrtle may provide relief from cold sores. 100% certified organic ingredients. BPA free tube. No parabens, sodium lauryl, sulphate, petrochemicals, PEGs, artificial fragrances, nanoparticles or unnecessary ingredients. Glamour lips is tinted.

Green Living Cocoa Lip Balm Kit

Make your own kit! Includes everything you need to make your own. Currently out of stock so place an order with Alison Monday to Wednesday.

Out of stock

Melrose bulk shampoo code 947 – Supplier has discontinued.

Melrose bulk almond oil – Supplier has discontinued however we still sell this in 500ml bottles.

The price is right

We compared our prices with a local supermarket to bring you this price comparison for June 2018.



Wellness Wednesdays
7th June, 2018

Wellness Wednesdays provide an opportunity for members and customers to meet our in store practitioners and learn about health and nutrition. One of our practitioners will be available to answer your questions from 11am – 1pm each Wednesday in the ‘big’ shop. See What’s On information for dates and topics covered.

Meet our practitioners

Sonya Byron

Sonya holds the staff board position. In her past life Sonya was a farmer in the US so supporting local growers and encouraging sustainability is a matter close to her heart. She is currently a fourth year student in naturopathy.

Sallyanne Pisk

Sallyanne gained her BSc and post graduate qualifications in nutrition and dietetics from Deakin University. She enjoyed several years working in community and public health nutrition in Central West NSW before undertaking a joint clinical, management and research role in diabetes. She completed her research masters at University of Wollongong in type 2 diabetes and her thesis provided the basis for the national dietitian practice guidelines.

Sallyanne then moved to Dunedin, New Zealand, where she worked in child and women’s health. On her return to Australia in 2003 she worked in integrative medicine. Sallyanne’s work, plus extensive travel in India and Nepal, sparked her interest in the common links between Eastern and Western nutrition, and the role of mindfulness in guiding personalised eating and lifestyle choices. She launched her first book, Eating for You: Your personal guide to mindful eating and living in Sydney in 2016. Sallyanne now provides online and face to face consults and programs.

Sallyanne and her husband, along with horse Chit Chat have been residents of Little Hartley since 2013. Her mindful eating practices incorporate growing and preparing seasonal food. She embraces the original definition of diet, diata, which means enjoying good health through food, exercise, sleep, relationships, work and an understanding of your life purpose. Sallyanne has been a Wellness Wednesday practitioner since 2016.

Danielle O’Donoghue

Danielle, aka the Yummy Yogi, is a holistic health coach specialising in cooking with wholefoods, herbal medicine and yoga. She currently runs our Nourishing Families workshops at the North Katoomba Community Hub.

Chris Ireland

Chris studied as a pharmacist and completed a PhD in pharmaceutical chemistry before embarking on a research career in molecular biology. She returned to community pharmacy in 1997 and has worked both in Sydney and the Mountains. She trained as a herbalist with Dorothy Hall in the late 1990s and has studied with the legendary Rosemary Gladstar. She has a large garden specialising in growing medicinal plants. She loves sharing her passion for herbs and specialises in using herbal medicines in conjunction with prescription drugs. Chris has worked at the Co-op since 2014.


10 minutes with…
6th June, 2018

Co-op worker Jeff Dargan

You could say Jeff Dargan  was ‘co-opted’ out of life in the fast lane to his role as a foot soldier of the revolution but he would be the first person to tell you that his story isn’t special. The quietly spoken ‘big store’ worker volunteered for 18 months before deciding a regular gig as a Co-op employee would suit his lifestyle much better than that of a corporate journeyman.

“My wife introduced me to the Co-op, as she shopped here, and told me about volunteering,” Jeff says. “I liked the energy of the store and appreciated the nurturing environment.”

Coming from a family-run small business background Jeff admits he’s always had an interest in small business and the community engagement that comes with it. And despite being an unknown quantity – “I wasn’t a friend of a friend of the Co-op when I started” – has found his place among his Katoomba comrades. “Working at the Co-op is refreshing because of the genuine human contact and relationships amongst staff and customers.”

Working for the benefit of the environment also played a part in Jeff’s career change choice. “I’ve always been aware of my impact on the environment, I surfed a lot growing up and do a lot of bushwalking now, the Co-op seemed a good fit for my wife and I.

“These days there’s a real shift to the left, people are becoming much more conscious as consumers which can only be a good thing.”


If you’re interested in volunteering at the Co-op read more about it here.


A frosty reception
6th June, 2018

Seasonal Gardening Tips by Steve Fleischmann

Living and growing in the Blue Mountains means dealing with frost. Frost forms when the ground temperature drops below zero degrees and moisture in the air freezes and settles. Frost mostly occurs in open gardens with exposed surfaces because frost tends to “fall” and can be blocked by tree canopies and verandas.

This is important to understand because one measure for frost protection is to employ a variety of covers that can be draped over plants to protect them. There are a number of products available online or in garden centres under names such as “frost cloth” or “horticultural fleece”. Draped over garden beds, and held in place by rocks or pegs, they act as a barrier to frost yet allow water to pass through.

Corn salad, or Mache, is a great winter leafy green

Another way of dealing with frost concerns a mixture of timing, variety selection, and healthy soils. Many plants cope quite well with frost as long as they are reasonably mature and healthy. Planting Brassicas such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages (White, Red and Chinese) and kales early – I start my first sowings around Christmas, and my last around March/April – means that by the time the frosts come the plant is mature and has the ability to cope with being frozen. In fact, many of the Brassicas taste better after several frosts because it increases their sugar content.

I mention this because it seems to be a common understanding to plant this family in autumn and winter. Personally, I find this much too late, plantings I make at this time tend to bolt to seed in spring – not much good if you want to eat fresh veg during winter.

Many lettuces actually prefer the cooler weather and, surprisingly, come back to life after they thaw out. I have found ‘Wonder of Four Seasons’ and ‘Speckled Trout’ lettuces grow well in winter, but there are dozens of others just as good. By picking off outer leaves you can also reduce incidence of slug attack by removing habitat.

Many varieties of lettuce cope really well with Blue Mountains winters

Additionally, most radishes are winter hardy and cope very well with the hardest of frosts. Every year I plant lots of daikon throughout autumn for harvest in winter and they are used in pickles and soups, the leaves of radishes are edible too.

Chinese cabbage, daikon and coriander planted throughout autumn

My favourite winter green would have to be Mache or corn salad. A European leafy green that looks like a miniature lettuce but has a lovely nutty taste and loves the cold weather, In fact it only really grows once the overall temperature drops and will bolt to seed once spring and warmer weather arrive. Plant a lot of them because you harvest them whole and you will need several florets for a decent mid-winter salad.

Using compost generously when planting winter crops not only benefits the plants ability to grow healthily, it has the added benefit of providing some warmth through bacterial decomposition.


The New Organic Grower & Four-Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman

Did you know?

Frost can actually help organic gardeners by killing overwintering pests and diseases.

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