2019 01 Network News

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Network News

January 2019 


  • Convenor’s Message
  • Next Open Day: Sat 26th Jan 1-4pm
  • Mad about Dirt: Sat 11th May 2019
  • Farrell’s Blower Door Test: Sat 3rd Feb 2019
  • House Building Progresses
  • NewKind Festival in Tasmania: 19-24th Feb
  • Resilience Letter from Lesley G
  • Beware of Potting Mix
  • Silencito Pilates at Narara
  • Anyone for Zumba? Sat 19th Jan, 9.30-10.15am
  • ReGreening Australia
  • Bohemian Rhapsody singalong: Avoca Theatre Fri 1st Feb 7.30pm

Convenor’s Message

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Welcome to 2019! And the village is really taking off! Our 9th house has been DA approved and about to break ground, with 6 houses completed or under construction.

We’re planning some pretty special eco-events for 2019, including “Mad about Dirt”, a festival of all things soil, on 11th May, and Sustainable House Day in September.

But no need to wait that long – there’ll be opportunities to check out several beautiful sustainably-designed houses through the year, starting on 26th January Open Day, when Candy’s   earthship (under construction) is open for tours.

During the year, you’ll also have the chance to participate in owner-builder workshops and learn some hands-on natural building techniques.

So keep your eye on the events calendar where new events are regularly added, here: http://neln.org.au/events/

 In food news, the Village has an energetic Food Production Working Group, who are setting up one of the greenhouses and will be trialling comparison approaches for improving the soil,          including using mushroom compost, the Ruth Stout no-tillage approach, green manure, and compost from our new Chicken Tractor.

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 Chickens preparing the soil in the triplespan greenhouse

Open Day Sat 26th January, 1-4pm

 Visit our beautiful site and learn about the vision for our Ecovillage with founder Lyndall Parris. Cost to attend: Individual $10, Family $20. Free for Narara Eco Living Network (NELN) members. Become a friend of the network online before the 26th – visit http://neln.org.au/

Tour of Candy’s Earthship

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 Candy is the owner builder of Lot 2 and is constructing an Earthship. Wikipedia: An Earthship is a type of passive solar house made of both natural and upcycled materials such as earth-packed tyres, pioneered by USA architect Michael Reynolds.

She has agreed to allow small tours of 10 people (at a time) entry into the semi-built structure and will explain the principles behind the Earthship model. She’ll point out her own unique features that will be incorporated.

 Conditions: No children under 18 allowed on the building site. Adults, you must wear closed shoes. Hard hats and high vis vests will be provided. Contact us for more details if needed on info@nararaecovillage.com 

Are You Mad About Dirt?

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If you are:

  • passionate about home gardening?
  • obsessive about growing your own, healthy, food?
  • a missionary for Permaculture?
  • a campaigner for soil conservation and against industrial soil stripping?
  • fascinated by the soil biome – the microscopic life in soil?
  • a mud-brick /rammed earth/ strawbale/ hempcrete home builder?
  • or you just love mud?

 Then you certainly won’t want to miss Mad About Dirt, on Saturday 11th May 2019 at the Narara Valley High School and Narara Ecovillage!

Mad About Dirt is a day dedicated to celebrating and discovering all about “dirt” (especially soil). Soil is the miraculous carpet of life that covers much of our planet –  yet we often treat it – “like dirt”! Soil is the one ecosystem that we absolutely rely on for our very survival, yet it’s perhaps the least appreciated ecosystem on Earth – why is that? Do you wonder why every child loves dirt, and why gardening makes you happy?

  • Hear and meet expert speakers
  • See demonstrations
  • Tour the school farm
  • Explore the ecovillage land and its soils
  • See the latest “dirt-built” homes
  • Join children’s activities
  • Get your hands “dirty”!

 Free admission (thanks to Central Coast Council, Bendigo Bank, SESL Australia, Viva Living Homes and Narara Eco Living Network).

 For more information and updates, see : http://neln.org.au/mad-about-dirt-sat-11th-may-2019/  and Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/NararaEcoburbia/

 Contact: madaboutdirt@iinet.net.au  Mobile Richard 0400 601 668.

Farrell’s House Blower Door Test

10am start (arrive 9.45am) 3rd February 2019

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Tony and Teresa Farrell say: “To have an energy efficient house in our climate it’s important to reduce as far as possible hot or cold drafts coming into the house. Hot winds on hot days or cold winds on cold nights can have an enormous effect on the comfort of the internal environment of the house as they infiltrate through gaps in the envelope of the building. If you can keep the outside air out then it enables you to have better control of the air inside.

This can be done using products like breathable wraps, sealed window and door surrounds, and appropriate windows and doors. The effectiveness of the seal of the house can be tested with the blower door test, where everything is closed up and a large fan is fitted within a sealed doorway to create a pressure difference between inside and out. The air leakage can then be measured and gaps found.

This is an important principle in the ‘passive house’ system which is gaining popularity in Australia. Although our house wasn’t set out to be a ‘passive house,’ we have used many of the principles of the system in our building.

Our architect, Andy Marlow, of Envirotecture has organised an expert to come to the village to test our house for us. He is also keen to make this an education opportunity for others to come along and find out the different ways to achieve a well-controlled internal house environment.

You are welcome to come along to this free session to experience the blower door test, ask questions and find out more. Limited numbers: rsvptandtfarrell@hotmail.com or 0409 998 507

House Building Progresses

 This year will see even more homes starting or being completed at the village; there is much excitement in the air! Who would have thought trucks ‘n’ tradies, cement mixers, fencing, noise and building would resonate with so many people!

 We have a HUGE map of Stage 1 on the wall of our Site Office to give an overview of who is building when, traffic flow management, who has our internal Building Review Panel approval, Development Applications with Council approved and all systems go. If you have read the December newsletter you would have seen the article about our first home completed:  http://neln.org.au/network-news/

 So what’s next? The Earthship was showcased in the December news and is now has a roof on!  A strawbale workshop will be happening soon.

The second home is almost completed, a lovely natural build by Viva Living Homes. 

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One of our members said ‘All I want for Christmas is a concrete slab’ and she got it! We have two homes with slabs ready for framework. Four more lots have construction fencing around them.

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Cluster units – Coastal Constructions will build this 18-unit development for Narara Ecovillage Co-operative and anticipated completion is before the end of the year.

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Price range of available units:  $390,000 to $476,000.

Contact Jazz if you are interested in knowing more:  jazz.mozzi@nararaecovillage.com 

And in anticipation… a cute little raised garden bed has sprung up on this lot before the home is built.

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 You can also follow our builds from the air, keep an eye on John’s aerial video logs (vlogs) on the Narara Ecovillage Facebook page. You don’t need to have a Facebook account to view the page. www.facebook.com/thenararaecovillage/

NewKind Festival, Tasmania 19-24th February

 Samantha Graham (Education designer and much more: visit her website https://stateofmind.sydney/), says “I’m wondering if any of you are interested in coming to this festival of social change/sustainability 19-24th February just outside of Hobart or know who else might be keen and could pass this on?  I’m a presenter and as you’re a subscriber of Network News, I’m able to offer you a 20% discount using ‘StateofMind’ when you book”.

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Newkind is an annual conference for anyone ready to step up, find their purpose, and make a positive impact on the world. If you have a strong desire to champion social and economic justice, establish equality, defend diversity and facilitate the process of peace-building, then Newkind is for you.

Through inspirational discussion panels, workshop sessions and thought-provoking lectures by academics, activists, entrepreneurs and social justice advocates, the Newkind conference is designed to empower and inspire you to become the change maker you want to be. 

Thought leaders from the fields of education, economics, environmental protection, business, sustainability and social justice combine to create a powerful convergence for cross-disciplinary conversation. So come, be inspired, and get connected with a community of leaders, pioneers and agents of social change.

Letter from ex Member Lesley

 Hello Nararians,

 It’s so good to see your eco village dreams taking shape, and though I now watch from a distance (Brisbane), I do share your extraordinary journey, in spirit. I’d been involved in NEV since early 2011 but had to walk away in 2018 for health reasons. However, under the right circumstances, I could return.

 In the meantime, I’ve channelled my eco village enthusiasm into the online environment via The Local Resilience Project which I kick started in at The Apple Store in London late last year.

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Designed to help people assess their household’s strengths and weaknesses and take action to improve their resilience, The Project has three stages:

The Conversation: ideas for meaningful conversations about the threats to our resilience e.g. climate change, financial indebtedness, shrinking biosphere and so on.

The Checklist: 100 Yes-No questions across 12 areas of life to create an inventory of your current household resilience with links to resources to help boost your score.

The Call To Action:  An invitation to make behavioural changes to boost your resilience through (i) personal habits e.g. shopping at farmers markets and (ii) community initiatives e.g. Town Hall Meetings to meet ‘experts’ in the 12 areas of The Checklist.

Ideally, The Local Resilience Project will be ‘exported’ to postcodes across the country, given the right kind of exposure and interest. The website is:www.localresilienceproject.org and you can visit right now to take The Checklist.

I welcome your thoughts and questions and can be contacted at lsgillett@gmail.com.

Go well with all your wonderful eco constructions.


 Lesley Gillett

 Beware of Potting Mix

 The death of a New Zealand man last year after contracting Legionnaires’ disease has his friends asking whether the warnings about the dangers of potting mix are strong enough.

 According to family and friends, he was well aware, as an experienced gardener, of the recommended safety measures when handling potting mix.

 He would split open the bags and use the hose to wet them down well, then leave them exposed to the air before using the mix. He wore gardening gloves, but no mask.

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Bacteria can easily grow in potting mix. Legionella longbeachae is one species that breeds in the warm, moist conditions inside the bags.

 Inhaling the spores can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially fatal form of pneumonia that can be more easily contracted by older people, particularly if they have existing health conditions, poor immunity or chronic illnesses.

 The gardening industry had been looking at ways of making safer composts. The best precautions were to open potting mix carefully, wear gloves and a mask, dampen down the product, use it in a well-ventilated area and wash hands thoroughly. Full article: www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/109688672/

Silencito Pilates & Meditation at Narara

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Friend of the village, Liz Stride is delighted to announce that Silencito Pilates & Meditation Studio has opened in Narara and would like to offer NELN and NEV members a free one hour Initial Consultation and 10% off package prices.

 Silencito is a fully equipped Pilates studio with high quality equipment. Pilates tuition includes private classes, intimate groups (max three people) and mat classes (up to six people). Meditation classes have a maximum of six people.

 The aim of Pilates is to experience joyful, balanced movement in each individual. Pilates creates and restores natural movement with efficiency and ease. It’s a science and art of control of the whole body and mind to help restore and maintain functional movement and ease the pain from various injuries and conditions. Liz aims to get to know each person, their needs and goals, to create an uplifting movement experience. Pilates is for every body. Young, old, fit, unfit…

Liz has been teaching Pilates for 16 years in Sydney and on the Central Coast, as well as being on faculty for teacher training courses, Certificate IV, Diploma and Advanced Diploma in the Pilates Method with Pilates International Training Centre. She holds an Advanced Diploma in The Pilates Method (10538NAT) and is a registered member of the Pilates Alliance of Australasia (PAA), Australia’s leading industry body for Pilates. Please visit her website or contact her for further information: email hello@silencito.com.au website silencito.com.au

Anyone for Zumba?

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Free demonstration of “Zumba Gold” at Narara Ecovillage Visitors Centre, 25 Research Road, Narara, NSW 2250.

 When: 9.30-10.15 a.m, Saturday, 19th January 2019.

 Come along, join in or just watch! No previous experience necessary.

 Haruko Eaton runs Zumba classes at Wyoming for seniors on Friday mornings (“Zumba Gold”), and for the very active on Tuesday evenings. This demonstration is to see how much interest there might be in holding Zumba classes at Narara Ecovillage in 2019.

Zumba combines music, dance, both physical and mental exercise and much laughing. The music and moves come from all over the world- Cuba, Italy, India (Bollywood), the USA and many others.  Children are welcome to join in.

Loose clothing and “gym” shoes recommended! The venue is air conditioned, and water drinks are available – or bring your own. 

Hosted at NEV by Zumba Gold enthusiast Richard Cassels!

ReGreening Australia

Hot enough for you?

Imagine if you could make the temperature around you drop by 11 degrees…

Well, you can, according to ArborCarbon’s (experts in sustainable vegetation management solutions and urban forest monitoring) thermal imaging cameras unearthed an 11C-degree-difference between streets with trees and those without. www.arborcarbon.com.au/

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This overhead shot shows how even the smallest green spaces are being eroded. Residential areas (like these in Perth) have gone from tree-lined lawn to concrete and brick right up to the boundary.

Local planning regulations often allow patios, hard verandas, and paved parking to be called “open space”. 

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It might be open, but it’s not green…

It’s not all touchy-feely protecting-nature stuff. As well as keeping us cool:

creating more green spaces:

So it’s good news for us as well as the planet. 

Trees and green spaces in our cities can lower temperatures and boost air quality

If you’re in Sydney, take a detour to the beautiful Paddington Reservoir Gardens , created out of a disused urban site, for inspiration.

Your green space doesn’t have to be that grand – a tree, some shrubs, and a seat in the shade will do just fine.

 Or vertical gardening –

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Vertical gardening is a great way to incorporate the great outdoors within urban spaces. When planning your vertical garden, consider the sunlight requirements of each plant. Design your garden with the most shade tolerant plants placed towards the lowest section. We’ve created a selection of our favorite tube stock plants best suited to vertical gardens.

Adapted from an Australian Plants Online article: www.australianplantsonline.com.au

Warning about Global Warming

 According to an article in The Guardian, global warming of oceans is now equivalent to an atomic bomb per second.

 Every time you start a petrol engine, switch on coal-fuelled electric power, or use any manufactured product, you are contributing to the vast release of energy by burning fossil fuels. Thanks to a human population of 7.5 billion, global emissions are now estimated at the equivalent of AT LEAST one atomic bomb per second.

 Read more at: www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/07/global-warming-of-oceans-equivalent-to-an-atomic-bomb-per-second?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Bohemian Rhapsody SingalongAvoca Theatre Fri 1st Feb, 7:30pm

Now for something lighter! Sing your heart out! 
You so wanted to sing through the movie BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY and now Avoca Theatre are celebrating the great love of the music and the film with a Bohemian Rhapsody singalong with the words to the songs on the screen…not that they you need them! www.avocabeachpicturetheatre.com.au/bohemian-rhapsody-singalong

Looking forward to seeing you at the village!

 Linda Scott


BA (Communications) UTS, Sydney
Grad Cert Design & Technology

  • Contacts and More Information
  • The Narara Ecovillage project currently comprises two entities. The Narara Eco Living Network Inc. is a not-for profit incorporated association that promotes sustainable living. It serves as a “Friends of the Narara Ecovillage”. Its brief is both local and global. 
  • Membership is open to all, and costs $20 an individual or $40 a family for 12 months. Membership gives free admission to all Narara Ecovillage Open Day tours and talks, and provides discounts on special workshops and tours. The Network organizes regular talks, tours and events. You can join at any Open Day, or on-line anytime at: http://neln.org.au/join-us/. Narara Eco Living Network Inc. http://neln.org.au and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nararaEcoliving
  • The Narara Ecovillage Cooperative Ltd. Is a Co-operative formed to develop the Narara Ecovillage.
  • Membership costs $30,000, and requires the intent to purchase a lot at the ecovillage and to contribute a minimum number of working hours.
  • Contacts: Narara Ecovillage Co-operative Ltd. http://nararaecovillage.com, and https://www.facebook.com/groups/43471726786,  or email: network.news@neln.org.au
  • The Narara Ecovillage is located at 25 Research Road, Narara, NSW 2250.