Dog day afternoon

Category Archives: What’s On in the Blue Mountains?

Dog day afternoon
9th August, 2018

Gone to the dogs

We eat well, so why shouldn’t our dogs? Bring your four-legged friend to the Co-op on Thursday 30th August between 1 – 3.30pm for an afternoon of doggy diet discussion complete with canine canapés from Miso’s Treats and The Dog Baker.

Miso’s Treats

Based in Katoomba, Miso’s Treats are all natural, dehydrated dog treats that are low in fat with no added salt, sugar or preservatives. Only the best quality ingredients are used, with a preference for Australian, free-range and organic products whenever possible. Miso’s Treats contain at least 45% vegetables so they’re very healthy and many have no grains or dairy and so are suitable for dogs with allergy issues.

Miso’s Treats also offers dehydrated single ingredient treats like Grass Fed Beef Strips and Free Range Chicken Jerky, and dehydrated fruit and vegetables that dogs love such as Sweet Potato, Carrots, Apples and Pears.

“Miso” (above) and “Rosie” (top) photos by Paul Watkins.

facebook.com/Miso’sTreats

The Dog Baker

Sue Barclay, chief baker at The Dog Baker – a boutique Blue Mountains business – admits that prior to starting The Dog Baker she paid little attention to the ingredients in popular commercial dog treats. But when she finally did, it proved a scary read. “The ingredients included excessive amounts of salt, additive numbers (a very long list), sugar and generic references to unspecified meat products,” says Sue.  “No wonder my dogs were always gasping for a drink after feeding them treats. It seemed we had been inadvertently overdosing them on salt and other unknown additives.”

Sue realised the only way to ensure her dogs ate healthy treats was to make them herself. And so, after numerous experimental batches and lots of taste testing by her dogs, neighbourhood and friends’ dogs, and even a hungry teenage son, The Dog Baker was born. Using natural human-grade ingredients The Dog Baker treat range includes Apple Cheese Buckwheat biscuits, Banana Peanut Butter Carob bones and Sardine, Mint & Parsley paws.

dogbaker.com.au

The scoop on poop

If aliens chose to observe human behaviour through the lens of an off-leash dog park they would probably assume that dogs were the superior race. They’ve trained us well, our furry, four-legged friends, as we dutifully follow them around picking up after them. Aliens might also wonder why we are using environmentally damaging plastic bags to scoop the poop when there are much better eco-friendly alternatives.

The dog bags provided by Blue Mountains City Council in dispensers at off leash dog parks are degradable, meaning they break down into tiny little pieces of plastic over many, many years but remain in the eco-system as a pollutant and a danger to wildlife. The Co-op stocks Biobags, biodegradable dog poop bags made from a resin derived from plants, vegetable oils and compostable polymers that are completely compostable:  https://biobagworld.com.au/product/50-biodegradable-dog-poop-bags/

And because there is still much consumer confusion regarding the meaning of biodegradable, compostable, and bioplastic, here’s a nifty explanation from Choice magazine:

https://www.choice.com.au/shopping/packaging-labelling-and-advertising/packaging/articles/biodegradable-plastic

Meet the Maker – Nina’s Bees
9th August, 2018

Queen bee

Nina Tverskikh of Nina’s Bees shares the buzz on being an apiarist in this Q&A with the Co-op.

What got you into beekeeping?

Nina: A few years back my life took an unexpected turn after listening to an intriguing podcast that revealed the secret life of bees. On that same day, I made the decision to give these clever buzzing creatures a sanctuary in my own backyard, and my apiary has been growing ever since. To date, my little helpers and I have rescued countless wild swarms and given them a gift in the form of a second chance in the Blue Mountains.

How did you learn to use honey and beeswax?

Nina: My grandmother (babushka) grew up in an orthodox family of Old Believers, living in the wilderness of the taiga (boreal forest) in far eastern Russia. All of her family had to rely on natural medicine in their everyday lives. All through her life babushka Sasha would collect and use herbs, make tinctures and salves to treat literally every ailment. I learnt my basics from her.

What products do you make?

Nina: I make all-natural, botanical balms and soaps made with bee products from my apiary. I also make beeswax food wraps. All products are hand made with organic and/or cold-pressed oils, essential oils and are packaged in recyclable containers.

What is the best part about being an apiarist?

Learning new things about bees every time I open a hive. Working with bees and observing their environment made me a better gardener and passionate advocate for chemical-free living.

Nina will be at the Co-op Thursday 16th August from 10.30 – 12.30 for a Meet the Maker session.

Waste not
11th July, 2018

Australian households generate a massive amount of waste every year, most of it going to landfill. What can we do as a community to help reduce our environmental impact? We asked local business Integrated Dental Health and Blue Mountains City Council for answers.

Brushing up on dental waste

Dr Henriette Macri-Etienne of Integrated Dental Health in Katoomba is making it easier for us to reduce our dental waste. Her practice is a collection point for Terracycle, a company that recycles old toothbrushes and other dental plastics and uses them to make things like playground equipment and park benches.

“Any dental waste like old toothbrushes, floss containers, toothpaste tubes – any waste you use in your mouth – can go in the dental waste collection bin at Integrated Dental Health,” says Henriette.

The practice is also investigating the most sustainable bamboo toothbrushes to provide free of charge with every check-up.

For more information, visit or call Integrated Dental Health 61 Parke Street Katoomba,  4708 7007 integrateddentalhealth.com.au

We’ve all bin there

Q: In Blue Mountains City Council (BMCC) 2014 Draft Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy the key aims were to reduce the rate of waste generation per capita, increase recycling rates and divert waste from landfill – how successful has Council been in achieving each of these goals?

BMCC: Very successful.

  1. Household waste diverted from landfill up from 18% (2000) to 53% in 2016
  2. Household waste to landfill per person per year decreased from 346kgs to 227kgs.
  3. Household waste recycled per person per year up from 76kgs to 254kgs.

Q: Has there been any update to that plan, and if so what will the new targets be?

BMCC: Yes. Waste Avoidance & Resource Recovery Strategic Plan 2017-2021 is the updated plan. It can be found at this link:

www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/residents/waste-and-recycling/waste-results-how-are-we-doing

Q: Where does our (BM residents) recycling go and what happens to it?

BMCC: JJ Richards collect and transport our kerbside recycling to Visy in Smithfield.  Visy is responsible for sorting the materials and sourcing markets for their recycling.  Visy use a lot of the material themselves in their plastic and paper/cardboard manufacturing businesses.

Q: Bathurst Council is utilising Australian Native Landscapes’ facility at Blayney to recycle all organic matter, including food waste, into compost – is this an option for BMCC and if not why?

BMCC: The introduction of the new waste service was made based on over two years of research and extensive community consultation prior to any decision being made. Households were asked to indicate their preference from three options. Option A included garden vegetation and food waste collection at a cost (the processing for food scraps is more expensive), option B was just for garden vegetation and option C was for no green bin. The results were as follows:

Option A – Green Bin (Food & Garden) 18%

Option B – Green Bin (Garden only) 46.4%

Option C – No Green bin 35.6%

Council was guided by this community response when the current waste service was selected and introduced.

Finally, unlike other areas closer to the city, many of our households have garden space suitable for composting. We offer a number of different initiatives to support households to compost at home; such as the compost revolution, composting workshops, our recent compost hub trial as well as offering compost bins and worm farms for sale via our website.

Q: What programs have BMCC initiated or supported in the last year to educate the community about waste avoidance and promote plastic-free living?

BMCC:

  • EPA – Community Recycling Centre (CRC) Katoomba Waste Management Facility – grant funded free disposal of problem household waste such as paints, gas bottles, motor oils, batteries, smoke detectors and fluorescent globes and tubes.
  • Waste 2 Art – Community art project encouraging waste avoidance and correct recycling. 2017 message was specifically targeted at avoidance and reuse of plastic bags. The project also specifically addressed recycling bin contamination with soft plastics.  2018 message focused on liquid paperboard containers.
  • Compost Revolution – An online educational tool for households to use anywhere, anytime. Householders complete an online tutorial and quiz. To help them get started on recycling food and garden waste at home a discounted compost bin or worm farm is available for purchase.
  • Compost Hub – A neighbourhood composting program connecting non-composting households with those that do not compost. Compost contributors deliver their household scraps to compost champions. Diverting food waste from the red garbage bin into a household compost bin.
  • Love Food Hate Waste workshops and market stalls – This plan focussed on providing tools to reduce food waste from meal planning, shopping to a list, food storage and using leftovers.
  •  OTHER ongoing promotion and communications:
  • Website – Update of waste and recycling pages
  • Weekly gazette ads
  • Waste App – used to update information, respond to feedback and provide recycling information.
  • Press Releases, rates newsletter – tools to promote and provide relevant waste avoidance information to the community.
  • Social media

 

Pop up cake stall
11th July, 2018

Local maker Cocoa Ruby will be bringing her beautiful vegan cakes to the Co-op Wednesday 18th July.

Featuring four of her favourite creations:

Raspberry, White Chocolate and Rose Cheesecake

Choc Mint and Matcha Mudslide

Chai Cheesecake

Black Forest Cake.

Come on down for a yummy treat and a chat to sweeten up winter!

Lyttleton Stores co-op
10th July, 2018

Lyttleton Stores is becoming a co-operative, which means more of the community will own and run the resources they have built so far, and make decisions about the future they share. As a community co-operative, Lyttleton will operate an organic grocery store, local artisan made wares store, workshop space, community hub, permaculture garden and commercial kitchen that transforms food waste.

It is currently run by a collective of people who combine their love of organic home grown food and artisan made craft ware. Their mission is to connect customers, makers, teachers and growers, while encouraging conscious, ethical, local economies moving towards a no-waste, lower energy future in the mid-mountains. And they are asking for your support to establish a substantial membership base.

So spread the word and check out the store (if you haven’t already) or consider making a contribution to their crowdfunding campaign here https://pozible.com/project/lyttleton-stores-co-operative

From little things big things grow. The Blue Mountains Food Co-op was small once too!

Photo: Luisa Brimble

Refill not landfill
10th July, 2018

A worldwide love affair with bottled water is costing us dearly and not just our hip pocket.  In 2017, The Guardian revealed that almost 20,000 plastic bottles were consumed per second globally, and that figure would increase another 20% by 2021, “creating an environmental crisis … as serious as climate change.”

Australia’s bottled water consumption generates over 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year and despite most being recyclable, billions of plastic water bottles end up in landfill or as litter in our waterways and oceans. New studies have also discovered that the largest source of micro-plastics consumed by humans come from drinking bottled water.

But there is good news. Did you know you could refill your reusable water bottle at the Blue Mountains Food Co-op? The Co-op has free filtered water available on tap in-store for thirsty shoppers, locals and tourists.

“It has always been the Co-op’s remit to provide opportunities for shoppers to reduce waste wherever possible,” says Halin Nieuwenhuyse, Blue Mountains Food Co-op manager. “To that end we stock a large range of non-plastic, eco-friendly shopping and produce bags, food storage containers, stainless steel, bamboo and glass drinking straws, keep-cups, water bottles, and locally-made ceramics. And we welcome donations of label-free glass jars and bottles for re-use.

With China now refusing to accept the world’s waste, it’s more important than ever to be mindful of the products we buy and choose package-free or reusable packaging where we can.”

To support Plastic-free July the Co-op is offering non-members the opportunity to shop at member’s prices all this month when they BYO reused or recycled containers, plus go into the draw to win a Plastic-free Living prize pack. See bmfoodcoop.org.au or in-store for details.

Edible Garden Festival 2019
5th July, 2018

Organisers of this year’s hugely successful Edible Garden Festival and Trail are planning an even bigger and better festival for 2019 and they need you, the food growers of the Blue Mountains, to register interest.

Jump on their facebook page to like and follow for updates and information on how you can be involved in this great community initiative. Or drop them an email at ediblegardenfestival@gmail.com

Photo by Cameron Bryce taken at the Whitton’s garden.

 

 

 

Plastic-free July BYO competition
3rd July, 2018

BYO containers this Plastic-free July and win!

It’s a win-win situation when you ditch plastic for BYO containers and recycled produce bags at the Co-op. Not only are you helping to protect the environment, and your health, but you will go into the draw to win a fantastic Plastic-free Living prize pack.

During July, every time non-members use their own containers (reused or recycled produce bags, packaging, jars and bottles) to buy food or other unpackaged products they will:

Shop at member’s prices & go into the draw to win a fabulous selection of plastic-free living products

And, during July, every time members use their own containers (reused or recycled produce bags, packaging, jars and bottles) to buy food or other unpackaged products they will:

Go into the draw to win a fabulous selection of plastic-free living products

Don’t forget to fill in your entry ticket at the checkout!

Prize pack includes:

Coco cutlery (1 set of six)

Gingham & Wax natural reusable wraps (2 sets of 3)

Wire Pegs stainless steel clothes pegs

Earths Purities Bicarb Free Deodorant Paste

Clemence Organics Ultimate SOS balm

Ever Eco Stainless steel smoothie straws (pack of 4 plus cleaning brush)

Green Essentials Sustain-a-Stacker stainless steel lunch box

Earthlust 1 litre stainless steel water bottle

Laughing Bird linen shopping bag – locally made

Soaps by Heather – Goats, Oats & Honey 

Beauty and the Bees natural shampoo bar

Natural Value cellulose scrubber

Import Ants non-stick pan brush and palm body brush

Klean Kanteen insulated tumbler

1kg Organic Soapberries from That Red House plus wooden storage box

Organic produce bags

Nina’s bees lip balm

Mieco Bamboo toothbrushes x 2, toothbrush holder and hairbrush

 

 

 

 

 

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 hello@bmfoodcoop.org.au or toolo.blue@gmail.com

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.

 

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