Friday, 28 November 2014

TTMH at City of Vincent's "Thank you" Sundowner

TTMH Members (L to R): Behrooz, Kim, Lisa, Alfred, Gabby & Geoff.
As a community group, we were fortunate to be invited to the City of Vincent's (CoV) "Thank you" Sundowner.

Held at the Vincent Administration Building, there were about 120 people from different community groups and council staff.


CoV's CEO Len Kosova gave a brief speech, followed by Mayor John Carey.

Photo op with Mayor John Carey (L to R): Alfred, Gabby, Kim, John Carey.
Mayor Carey acknowledged the role community groups played and thanked them for their contributions. He then spoke about the challenges the council faced and the changes already made and also planned for 2015.

I got to meet meet people from the North Perth Community Gardens, North Perth Men's Shed and the Claise Brook Catchment Group.

Lisa spoke to Lee from the Men's Shed about a new sustainability project she and Geoff are interested in.

It was a good night, spent with people who are making positive contributions to the communities they live in.

Thank you for a lovely evening, City of Vincent, and Transition Town Mt Hawthorn look forward to working with you to make our community a better place.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

We decided to make a video: Update #1

Gabby and Alfred planning using a laptop.
We got together and did a bit more planning for TTMH's videos.

Storyboards were reviewed and home owners of sustainable houses were contacted, letting them know we will be shooting in the new year.
Two panels from the storyboard
Part of the storyboard

As video production is a new thing to us, we decided to trial using the recording gear on Kim - a fellow member of TTMH.

Kim is passionate in waste reduction and we will be producing a series of short videos about composting.

As always, feel free to give pose question - the trickier the better - as comments below.

If there ever were questions about composting and sustainable housing that you've always wanted to ask, now is the time!

We would still love to have help to create videos - see the first blog and comments if you can help.

By January, TTMH should be ready to launch our first video!

So keep an eye out :-)

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Festive Card Making Workshop - Home Made & 3 R's

Keen to make Christmas cards, learn sustainable tips and support your local community group? Then check out this event.

The festive season is round the corner & festive card making is my annual artsy outlet. I mentioned this to Irma and before I knew it I was organising this fundraiser!

I've been busy designing, setting up registration and now advertising. Know anyone interested, if so please spread the word.

I'll be sharing my tips to card making with the 3 R's: reduce, reuse and recycle; and hope to learn from others at the workshop too.

Transition Town Mt Hawthorn works to keep our community strong & sustainable in the City of Vincent. We are a not for profit and this fundraiser helps to support projects such as the No Junk Mail Sticker, Urban Chicken & Native Gardener's Networks; and movie nights.

If you are ready to thrill, surprise or confuse your friends and family this Christmas, come and make some cards they can't buy in the shops!


Date: 4 Dec, Thurs, 6:30 to 8:30PM 
Cost: $20 Waged and $10 Unwaged (plus booking fee of 30c if paying by credit card).
Where: Menzies Park Pavilion, 95-117 Egina St, Mt Hawthorn, WA 6016 

Register and find more info. at http://www.trybooking.com/GJCG or by clicking on the button below.

The event is supported by the the City of Vincent and Lala Design.  Thank you to Lala Design for generously donating paper, card and envelopes for this community event.
This is a Transition Town Mount Hawthorn Fundraiser event.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Let’s start a native gardener’s network!

Blog by Lisa

Geoff, Gabby and I are keen to start a native gardener’s network in our local area! We hope to:
  • get other native gardeners together for drinks in the garden
  • set up a buddy system, where experienced native gardeners can help people that are just getting started 
  • arrange some walking tours with morning or arvo tea, where people can visit a few native gardens, speak to the owners and learn a few tips. 
How to get in touch – be part of the beginning of our native gardener’s network
If you’d like to be part of our new native gardener’s network, please send us an email to ttmthawthorn@gmail.com we’d love to hear from you.
The City of Vincent can help you to change your verge to natives – FOR FREE!
They will dig up the lawn for you, apply high quality woodchips and give you 20 free native plants. Further information is available on the City of Vincent website, www.vincent.wa.gov.au/Services/Environment_Sustainability/Green_Initiatives/Adopt_a_Verge_program.
Let our native gardener’s network know if you would like help with planting, we may be able to find some keen volunteer planters!

Why go native?
We have a mix of local and WA natives in our garden. Purists go for 100% local natives but we just get too excited about the incredible diversity of natives in the whole of WA.
We love native gardens because they:
  • provide habitat, food and shelter for local birds, native bees, butterflies and other wildlife (we like to show people our resident native bees!)
  • are adapted to the local soil types and climate, including drought conditions
  • require minimal watering, saving water and money
  • look great!
Do local native plants need water?
The following advice is provided by the Australian Native Nursery[1].
“Initially, yes you should water your new plants in well. For the first summer your new plants may have to be watered regularly, just keep your eye on the forecast and deep water once a week during long periods of low rainfall or high heat. Once established, they should be able to cope with just the local rainfall - just another great benefit of choosing a local native garden.”

Where can we buy local native plants?
It is best to plant natives in autumn or winter. Choose a nursery that is certified by the nursery industry association scheme Australia (NIASA), as they follow practices to ensure they do not spread Phythopthora dieback to your garden. Not all native nurseries are certified. Some certified native nurseries in Perth include:

 
Where can I find more information on growing WA native plants? 
Further information on growing local native plants is available from the Wildflower Society of Western Australia, the Master Gardeners at Kings Park – they provide free advice on native gardening, and the Florabase website.
 
Our Transition Town Mt Hawthorn website is still being developed. It will soon have further info about going native (and a whole heap of other info about growing veges, the urban chicken network, compost and sustainable living).


[1] Australian Native Nursery 2014, Do I need to water native plants? Cited at <www.australiannativenursery.com.au/2014/05/19/watering-native-plants/> on 27 August 2014.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Happy chickens - our quest to buy higher welfare eggs

by Lisa

Irma's happy chooks eating food scraps.

Geoff and I are on a quest to choose higher welfare eggs. This is what we found out:
  • avoid the cage
  • think like a chicken
  • choose certified.

Avoid the cage

We avoid eggs laid by hens in cages. That bit is easy!

Think like a chicken

Chickens have natural behaviours, such as dust bathing, perching, stretching and flapping their wings and laying their eggs in private. Some choices may mean they are not able to use these behaviours or fulfill these natural instincts.

They naturally like to be free range… but we found there is more to it!

Choose certified

We found there is no legal definition of the term ‘free-range’ in Western Australia, so standards can vary dramatically.

Choose certified free range, organic, bio-dynamic or barn laid eggs, so you will be sure what you are buying. These eggs are produced with no more than 1,500 hens per hectare (or no more than 2,500 hens per hectare in some circumstances).

The stocking densities could be a lot higher if the eggs are not certified (e.g. 20,000 hens per hectare!). We looked into this further - Choice has a campaign for better labelling.

Some local uncertified egg farms have sold cage eggs in free range egg cartons and they are being investigated by the ACCC1. We used to buy these “free range” eggs because they were local - but now we know better.

The word ‘organic’ on an egg carton can sometimes mislead people to think the welfare of hens meets certified organic standards - when it may only mean that hens in barns are fed organic grains. We are now really careful to avoid being misled and always check the certification.

Advice from Choice Magazine: “If you want to ensure that the free range eggs you buy meet your expectations:
  • look for certification logos and inform yourself about the free range standards behind the certifying bodies”… and
  • “check the packaging or producer websites of the eggs you buy for information about their standards.” 2
Some examples of certified free range, organic or barn laid eggs currently sold in Mt Hawthorn and Leederville are summarised in Table 1. The table does not include brands that also sell cage eggs.


Where can I find further information?

Choice explains the issues here.

The requirements of the certifying bodies are summarised by:
This fun You Tube video sums it up perfectly.

Conclusion

We avoid the cage, think like a chicken and choose certified to ensure we are buying higher welfare eggs. We are going to do this whenever we buy eggs.
Now stay tuned for news on our Urban Chicken Network. Another way to find higher welfare eggs is to care for the chickens at home - and they can use our food scraps too!

Notes

1 A recent example is the Swan Valley Egg Farm (Snowdale Holdings), which is not accredited and is being investigated by the ACCC. They also own Eggs by Ellah. See Swan Valley Egg Farm, ACCC Institutes proceedings against free range egg producers and ACCC crackdown on free range egg definition.

2 Choice 2014, Free range eggs. Cited on 27 August 2014. Certified free range and barn laid eggs from Golden Egg Farms, Sunny Queen, McLean's Run (owned by Sunny Queen), Pace and Kalbarri Eggs were ruled out because they also sell cage eggs. See Shop Ethical! and the Egg Corporation.