Your guide to the Sustainable Living Festival

From walks to workshops and a thought-provoking projection performance, here are our picks from this massive festival.

The Sustainable Living Festival is the biggest of its kind in Australia, with hundreds of events across February. This annual event can help us all to change the world, by raising awareness and providing tools to create an ecologically and socially sustainable future. Not thinking that big? How about just changing your own life for the better?

The Big Weekend

A highlight of the program is the free Sustainable Living Festival – Big Weekend. Discover bright, green ideas for everything from gardening to transport at the exhibitor market. Choose from talks by more than 100 local and international sustainability experts. Be part of the Great Local Lunch, a unique ‘crowd farmed’ lunch on the banks of the Yarra River, enjoy plant-based street food, organic beer and wine as well as live music on a solar-powered stage.

A group of people having lunch at a table outdoors

Sustainable Living Festival

Food Waste, Food Prep and Lunch
Did you know that the contents of one in five bags of groceries bought in Australia ends up in the bin? That’s a lot of wasted food and money! Food Waste, Food Prep and Lunch by Open Table is a hands-on workshop that can help turn things around in your kitchen. Learn about using leftovers and parts of veggies often discarded, menu planning and composting. Then put it into action by preparing lunch. A waste of money? Try again – it’s free!

Create a set of shopping bags
What about the bags you haul your groceries home in? Are they – gasp! – plastic? Create a set of shopping bags is another free workshop that reveals how easy it is to be green. Choose some fabric scraps, settle at a sewing machine, and be guided by an expert in making a pretty, re-useable shopping bag. If you have half a clue about sewing, there’s time to make more for friends and family.

a group of cloth bags hanging from a rope

Create your own shopping bags

Heat-proof your edible garden
Another day, another clever, free workshop that can make your place, and our planet, better. Reduce your food miles by growing vegetables at home, even if you only have a balcony or courtyard. A warming climate is making this harder than ever, but the Heat-proof your edible garden workshop can help. It’s led by a horticulturist who will guide you through topics like soil preparation, plant selection and minimising water use. Get ready for cheap, delicious veggies on your doorstep!

People holding plants and vegetables

Learning how to build an edible garden

Cool Down, Power Up
When you need some relief from the heat, head for the festival’s pop-up urban forest. Cool Down, Power Up reveals how vegetation cools urban areas by providing shade, storing carbon, reflecting sunlight and releasing moisture. Charge your phone with solar energy while you’re chillin’.

Park Ranger Trailer – Backyard Biodiversity
Short on time? You can learn about vegetation’s cooling influence, and the importance of biodiversity on your lunch break. On four afternoons during the festival, Park Ranger Trailer – Backyard Biodiversity comes to some of the city’s parks and gardens. Roll up with your questions, or just amble along with a curious mind.

People outside a stall and a van set up in a park

Meet the City of Melbourne’s park rangers in your lunch hour

Green Break: Walk and Talk Tour
Here’s another lunchtime opportunity to get better acquainted with our natural environment. Take a free urban ecology guided walk to learn about inner-city flora and fauna, while also getting active and de-stressing! Choose from walks in the Flagstaff Gardens (13 February), Treasury Gardens (15 and 22 Feb) and Docklands’ Buluk Park (20 Feb).

Boyd Summer Park: Splash Yoga
Discover Melbourne’s new green space with some free Sunday morning Hatha yoga sessions. There’s an aquatic twist to Boyd Summer Park: Splash Yoga, making it the perfect way to start a summer’s day.

People doing yoga at the Boyd Park Summer Park

Splash Yoga at Boyd park

Illuminate 2030
Here’s something for kids aged five to 12, which is also relevant and potentially enlightening for everyone. Illuminate 2030 is a roaming, interactive projection performance created in collaboration with climate scientists and the community, including children. This animated artwork reveals two very different worlds: a future where climate change has been addressed, another where it’s been ignored.

A projection of Australian wildlife animals on a wall.

Illuminate 2030