Mad about Dirt, May 11 2019   Recently updated !


Saturday May 11 2019

“Mad About Dirt” will be a day dedicated to:

  • celebrating the importance of soil in our world, and
  • discovering heaps more about “Dirt” (mainly, but not only, soil).

Soil is the miraculous carpet of life that covers much of our planet- and yet we often treat it like “dirt”!

Led by ABC TV Gardening Australia personalities Angus Stewart and Tino Carnevale, a group of soil experts and enthusiasts will talk, and answer all your questions, about soil. There will also be practical demonstrations and chances for adults and children to get their hands dirty!

A particular focus of the event will be on careers related to soil for secondary and tertiary students, and there will be a special session for students and potential students. Secondary and Tertiary education providers are also being invited to exhibit at the event.

Get introduced to the conservation issues by the video “Better Save Soil (https://vimeo.com/125438160),

Think about solutions at: https://youtu.be/s1O3_0GKiEg

and Get in the mood by enjoying the Soil Song by Jeremy Newton-John here! 

or by Lorde at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HvlgWtq0bE&feature=youtu.be

Date: Saturday May 11 2019.

Venues and times:

  • 9.30 am to 1 pm: Narara Valley High School, Fountains and Pandala Roads, Narara, NSW 2250.
  • Narara Ecovillage, 25 Research Road, Narara, NSW 2250.
  • 1 to 4 pm: Narara Ecovillage, 25 Research Road, Narara, NSW 2250.

Admission: FREE!!

Things you can do on Saturday May 11 2019.

 In the morning (9.30 a.m. to 1 p.m.)at the Narara Valley High School, hear inspiring talks and join panel discussions with Tino Carnevale, Angus Stewart, and people passionate about Permaculture, Biodynamics, safe soils  and Regenerative  Agriculture, meet exhibitors over lunch and visit the school farm.

In the afternoon (1-4 p.m.)at the Narara Ecovillage (just up the road!) hear talks about soil science, composting and health; join a Darkinjung smoking ceremony, go on tours of the ecovillage property, visit a permaculture garden, learn about Central Coast soils, join in kids activities, see steam weeding in action, and see houses being built with materials from the earth – strawbale and rammed earth.

News release:

28 January 2019.

Soil Celebration and Discovery Day Announced.

The Narara Eco Living Network has announced a new event, “Mad About Dirt”, to be held on May 11 this year. Co-organiser Joan Cassels said that it was a “child” of the successful Narara Ecoburbia festival that ran from 3 years from 2014 to 2016. It will be a smaller and more focused event than the full festival.

Joan said: “ ‘Mad About Dirt’ will be day dedicated to soil, gardening, growing food, permaculture and soil conservation. Keynote speakers include Tino Carnevale and Angus Stewart from ABC TV’s Gardening Australia, Kerrie Anderson form Permaculture Central Coast, Peter Rutherford from Kimbriki Environmental Enterprises, Simon Leake from the Sydney Soil Laboratory and Consultancy, Prof. Mark Taylor of Macquarie University  and permaculture and other experts”.

The event will be held at the Narara High School in Fountains Road Narara in the morning and the Narara Ecovillage in the afternoon. Thanks to a Council grant and sponsors, admission will be free.

“The latest estimates are that up to 2/3 of the world’s soils are being degraded, at a time when the world population and consumption habits is growing. The good thing is that everyone can do something about this in their own back yard. It’s good for you, and you can eat the results! Our great speakers will be sharing why they are passionate about soil, and what you can do”.

“You can also see and learn about different types of “earth” being used in house building at the ecovillage- and children can get their hands into “dirt”!”

Who is it for?

Mad About Dirt is for you if you are:

  • a tree-hugging, plant-loving, dirt worshipper!
  • a dedicated home or community gardener
  • passionate about growing your own, healthy, food
  • inspired by Permaculture
  • a campaigner for soil conservation and for regenerative agriculture
  • intrigued by new discoveries in the soil biome- the microscopic life in soil
  • committed to positive action on human-induced climate change
  • a provider of courses, workshops, apprenticeships and employment in areas related to soil and growing food
  • a student interested in any of the above 
  • a mud-brick /rammed earth/ strawbale/ hempcrete home builder
  • you just love mud
  • and you want to learn more and to meet fellow soil, gardening and permaculture lovers.

What can you do?

  • Hear and meet expert speakers
  • See demonstrations
  • Tour the school farm
  • Meet providers of courses, workshops, apprenticeships and employment in areas related to soil and growing food
  • Explore the Narara ecovillage land and its soils
  • Hear about the Narara Ecovillage community-building and sustainability demonstration project  
  • See the latest “dirt-built” homes at the Ecovillage and learn about natural building
  • Join children’s activities
  • Taste some soil!

The Program and Speakers.

The program will be announced in March. Spots are still available for speakers and panellists who are passionate about soil and “dirt” and natural building.

If you would like to speak or demonstrate, an application form is attached below; please submit as soon as possible. Email the contact address below if you need more information.

Exhibitors and promoters.

 14  stalls (each 3 x 3m) will be available in the High School Main Hall; preference will be given to educators and conservation organisations active in areas related to soil and natural building. An application form is attached below; please submit as soon as possible. Email the contact address below if you need more information.

 Free admission.

 Admission to the event is free, thanks to Central Coast Council, Bendigo Bank, SESL Australia, Viva Living Homes and the Narara Eco Living Network.

How to get there by public transport

  • Take a train to Narara and then take our free shuttle bus to the event (timetable to be announced), or
  • take a train to Gosford and then either a taxi to Narara (cost $15-18) or the bus to Hanlan Street, then 10 minute walk, or
  • take a train to Narara, then take a 25 minute walk or 5 minute bicycle ride.
  • More details coming soon.

Food and drink

You are welcome to bring your own picnic. Light refreshments will be for sale at both sites: we love people who bring their own water bottle, cup and plate. More details soon.

Our sponsors and grantors.

For regular updates, see Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/NararaEcoburbia/.

Contact: email madaboutdirt@iinet.net.au.  Phone 0400 601 668.

Application Form for exhibitors and speakers.

Download (DOCX, 377KB)

News : Garden design scholarship announced.

12 March 2019.

As part of the Mad About Dirt event, Builtsmart Modular Homes of Lisarow have just announced a generous $8,000 scholarship for year 11 and 12 students of Narara Valley High School and Lisarow High School. The scholarship will be awarded to the best design for a modular garden that can accompany Builtsmart’s modular homes.

The scholarship will be managed Builtsmart Modular General Manager Sean O’Hara and Narara Valley High School Deputy Principal Kerrie O’Heir. The project was dreamed up by Joan Cassels, co-coordinator of the Mad About Dirt event.  

Sean O’Hara said that Builtsmart wanted to provide opportunities for local high school students to gain skills. “ We produce environmentally friendly modular homes, now we would like to encourage local young people to design environmentally friendly gardens to go with them. We are looking for  designs that can make use of Builtsmart’s technical capacities and any by-products of our manufacturing processes. The garden beds should be suitable for delivery and attachment to Builtsmart Modular homes for decks, window boxes, and for under and along side the houses, including vertical gardens”.

Students who wish to enter the competition will have a special opportunity to get expert advice from television personalities Angus Stewart and Tino Carnevale at the Mad About Dirt event at the Narara Valley High School on Saturday May 11 at 9 a.m. 

Sean O’Hara said that Builtsmart wanted to provide opportunities for local high school students to gain skills. “ We produce environmentally friendly modular homes, now we would like to encourage local young people to design environmentally friendly gardens to go with them. We are looking for original ideas, and designs that can make use of Builtsmart’s technical capacities and any by-products of our manufacturing processes.

The garden beds should be suitable for delivery and attachment to Builtsmart Modular homes for decks, window boxes, and for under and along side the houses, including vertical gardens.

Ms. Kerrie O’Heir of Narara Valley High school said she looked forward to seeing the students work in pairs to produce the designs. “The exercise complements  the curricula for our horticulture and engineering students by giving them a real world challenge”.   

Joan Cassels, Co-ordinator of the Mad About Dirt event, said she was thrilled that Builtsmart was offering this scholarship based on a competition to design environmentally friendly gardens.