Conversations with Community: Pure Pod (Slow Fashion)

Today, I’m posting a little differently, and it’s something I’m pretty excited about. A new series ready to be kickstarted. One that involves, coffee, cake and some lovely long chats, with some amazing different women, who are doing all kinds of incredible things.

There’s always a first though, and today that’s Kelli Donovan from Pure Pod. An ethical clothing company that I’ve held in high esteem after discovering them on instagram a few years ago. For me it’s clothing that I feel ‘me’ in, and I’m tickled pink to have been able to sit down (ok, yes online) and be able to have a lovely long chat about what slow fashion really means, how social media connects consumers and what Kelli’s favourite kind of cake to go with that tea is?

Please take a few extra minutes to meet Kelli Donovan through this new series… Conversations with Community.

So first up Kelli, we’ll get the serious stuff out of the way first. What sort of tea are you drinking and favourite cake to go with it?

I like old fashioned tea with milk, even though I have milk allergies!! Or herbal teas, vanilla is very yummy or any kind of mint is my favourite. My favourite cake is carrot cake!

Great, now we have that sorted. I’d love to know more about your company. You run an Australian based ethical fashion label called Pure Pod, can you tell me how Pure Pod got started?

We had moved up from Melbourne to the Byron Shire for a tree change in 2005. We needed a break from the fast paced fashion industry and Sean’s commercial photographic industry. I had fallen in love with yoga and it just seemed like the perfect fit for our lives to move from the city to the beach and complete the training as a yoga teacher for almost 7months full time.

We started in the Byron Bay hinterland in 2007 on an organic macadamia farm we were living at that time. I had just finished my yoga and pilates teacher training. I was teaching yoga and working as a tea lady at the Lismore Hospital. I had always wanted to do my own organic or natural fibre label and I was inspired by what I saw living in this area and how seeing such ill people in the hospital effected me. I felt lucky to have my health and youth on my side. I felt I should give my dream a crack! Sean was with me all the way and encouraged me to do it. He has been through it all with me in the 10 years of our business – the highs and the lows!

I bought our first fabric at the end of 2006, with the last of my savings and when I got it I knew I was on the right path! I opened the doors to our farm house and let the smells of spring come wafting through the house. Put some music on and began pattern making! It was one of the scariest things I have done but so exhilarating! We sold our first whole sale collection into stores in mid 2007.

As a consumer it’s not always easy to find everyday clothing items that are both from local companies and from locally made fibres. How hard is it to source those locally made fibres/fabric? Does Australia produce anything in large amounts for the garment trade?

It is very hard to find good Australian makers and even harder to find Australian made quality organic fabrics. Our industry is now going through a huge shift as the highly skilled people retire and there is not a new wave of skilled people coming through behind them. There is hardly any textile mills open now in Australia and hardly any textiles grown here. We have always used an Australian organic cotton fabric which is from Fair Trade organic cotton fibre from India and the fabric was made in Melbourne. Most of our other textiles are not made in Australia as there is no textile mills to make them here. Many fabrics come from Asia and India. We have some organic denim from Turkey.

Many textile and fashion industry places have closed down in the last 10 -15 years as more and more imports are coming in to Australia. Up to this date we have only used Australian based makers, cutters, pattern makers and printers but this has been harder and harder to compete with offshore products.  We have had to change our direction with our new collection which will be fully Certified Fair Trade and Gots Certified organics and made in India. The quality of the textiles and clothing is beautiful. (This collection was  launched on the 1st October at Fashfest and launched on line at the end of October.) It will be in stores November. We are very excited about this new product and to be showing our customers soon. We will still make some high end designer unusual pieces in Australia but as we now have only two makers left out of about 10 we have used in the past, we had to look at a different direction to be commercially viable. All of our other makers have retired.

It’s been about 3 and half years now since the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh, do you think the industry has changed much since then?

There has been a lot of underground movement from this which I think has made it’s way up the fashion ranks to bigger companies and more developed designers. Before the Rana Plaza disaster ethical fashion wasn’t talked about as much as it is now in the media and with makers. Now more and more designers and brands want to change their ways and become more organic and ethical in their production. We still have a huge mountain to climb with fast fashion companies. These companies cause the biggest problems and pollution but slowly over time they are being forced to look at their supply chains and change their ways. Hopefully one day ethics and open clean supply chains will just be the norm in our industry.

Pure Pod did a big art installation this year with CIT and Salvo’s for the FASHREV Day. We borrowed from the Salvo’s, white garments in the same the number of people who died in the Rana Plaza disaster. These white garments were folded and installed in my installation with the help of the CIT fashion teachers and students. We showed the True Cost movie and the money raised went to a small group in Cambodia to buy them machinery for their industry school.

We often hear about Slow Food and the follow on effect with the Slow Movement, so how does Slow Fashion tie in and what does it mean to you?

Many of our customers are sick of fast living – fast food –  fast fashion, a fast pace of life which makes us all feel empty and tired. They are looking for something with ethics, meaning and that feels good. Slow and organic food feels good in your body and the way it is grown. So of course the slow fashion movement would inspire people in this way also.

Organic and sustainable natural textiles feel amazing on your skin. If they are made with care and ethics it gives the wearer meaning and story behind their purchase. We are all sick of buying  cheap clothes that don’t fit well and don’t last a season. They might be cheap but if we add up all the cheap purchases in our wardrobes and mark down how many times we wear them, it would cost much more than a beautifully designed and well made ethical garment that will last years of wear.

If you were describing Slow Fashion to someone who had never heard of the term before, what would you say?

Beautiful hand made creations which are made with ethics, love, passion and quality.

Do you have any other recommendations of industry leaders within the Slow Fashion movement? (Either in Australia or Internationally.)

Sass Brown –

There are many inspiring people and business around the globe on this UK site, Ethical Fashion Forum

I mostly love meeting other small makers, designers, artists and anyone trying make a better world for our future generations and for our planet.

Our new collection is called ‘Awaken’. It is a collection inspired by nature, organics and our botanical artist/florist friend, Lauren Anderson from Field & Coppice. She designed a beautiful art installation at Brow Lab in Braddon and photographed it. We have turned the images into textile prints which are the main statement of our new commercial collection.

Pure Pod will have it’s 10th birthday next year and with that thought close to our hearts and minds we are relaunching our brand to the public and into retail stores online and wholesale throughout Australia.

We launched our stunning new collection at Fashfest that is fully FAIR TRADE certified, FLO & GOTS Certified. This means that the people and planet involved are in our best interests and the lowest impact on our environment is a key ethic to this collection. Being Fair Trade certified shows our loyalty to those involved with making our clothing are looked after in their health, safety and incomes.

The clothing is an organic lifestyle collection for women. Weekend and some informal work wear all made in beautiful organics and designed to be layered with each other. Some products will launch on our new web site late Oct/Nov and others for next winter in late Feb/March 2017. Pre-orders are welcome from our studio for the public and retailers interested in stocking our brand. (Our new web site will be launched in late October, keep a look out!)

We also collaborated at Fashfest with another inspiring Eco artist from the Sunshine Coast, Katie Johnston from EcoBling.

EcoBling up cycles waste and turns it into gorgeous eco jewellery. They plant a tree for each piece sold and work with marginalised communities in developing countries to empower people to create an eco-friendly enterprise. They also respond directly to social issues, environmental concerns and natural disasters through creating meaningful and beautiful products. EcoBling is the planet friendly accessory label.

Field & Coppice is a Canberra based floral design studio created by Lauren Andersen. With a design aesthetic underpinned by a love of Australian native flora, Field & Coppice is all about variety in texture, shape, colour & pattern, and a style which retains that sense of wildness and unpredictability found in nature. Field & Coppice also do floral styling for weddings, events, corporate spaces and private orders.)

I first heard of Pure Pod via Instagram (I couldn’t for the life of me remember who it was, but I am super duper thankful!) Someone was singing your praises and I went off to investigate. How do you think social media plays a part in creating awareness and spreading a fashion message that still feels far too small? 

Well it’s FAR BIGGER than when we started 9 years ago. There wasn’t such a thing really as social media then. I remember thinking, when we were making our first retail web site, who’s going to buy clothes online? HA well I didn’t even know about social media then!

Social media is fantastic because little designers like us can have our own voice and not be waiting for magazines and stores to speak for us. It’s free and we can control our own information and what we want to send out. I connect with lots of like-minded sustainable designers all over the world and people interested in social change, so I think there’s a huge movement out there and I’m really proud to be a part of it. I’d prefer to be part of the solution than part of the problem and just sit back and wait for other people to change things or not care at all. I couldn’t live with myself!

In my younger days I would rather fork myself in the eye than spend a day window shopping and buying mass-produced clothing. With the growth of social media, the opportunities for lessons in how to make your own clothing, and buying from people who are more aligned to your values seems easier, and easier. I love being able to chat in a tiny way to the people behind some of my wardrobe, just as I like being able to chat to the people who provide me with the bulk of my food. Those connections are really important to me. How important are those connections to you? Is it possible to pin point where all the items from within your company actually come from?

I love talking to all of our customers as we are small. I get to know many of them and they tell me stories of where their Pure Pod clothing goes and is worn. I love it!

Maybe as we grow bigger I might not have to time get to know all of our customers but I will make sure our staff treat each one personally and with a huge respect for making a conscious change in their buying habits!

Our new Fair Trade Collection called AWAKEN – We can definitely pin point the process and hopefully one day we can go over to India and meet all the people who made it happen for us. Most of our other Australian made collections you can almost pin point the supply chain but it’s a bit harder when the fabric comes from everywhere around the globe. There’s hardly any textiles made here now and sadly many of our beloved makers are retiring. Great for them to have this time but hard for us as we have got to know them all so well and we have to grow with the changes. I’ve always been a die hard Australian made so we have jobs for our industry but it has just become so hard now. The older generation with all the skills are retiring and there’s really not many new people coming through with the same skills and opening making businesses. We will still make some higher end more bespoke pieces here and special items, but our commercial pieces will be made at this amazing place overseas now. I know we are helping the organic cotton farmers and workers in the local region where the fabric and clothes are made so we are elated!

Hypothetically (ahem) if you had in general more enthusiasm than sewing skills, but wanted to sew a little something that was wearable. What would you recommend as a starter project?

I think I do have more enthusiasm than sewing skills!!! My makers are the ones who make our product look amazing! It would take me forever to make the clothes. The makers have been doing this for many years and are highly skilled.

But if you wanted to do something simple try a simple elastic waisted skirt, pants or a square sleeved top. Or if that’s all too scary try a pillow case! Or just come and see me!

I will be running workshops next year about sustainable fashion and how to start your own brand!

Not that I want to start my own fashion brand, but that sounds good and err, might focus my (non) sewing skills just a little.

Thank you so much for stopping by and having a chat Kelli, another slice of carrot cake before you go?


This conversation with Kelli of Pure Pod is the first in a series, Conversations with Community. Whether it’s online or face to face. There will be some wonderful conversations coming up with amazing women, doing incredibly inspiring things within our community.

I’m really excited to be able to share some of their stories with you.

(*Any Pure Pod clothing I own has been bought by me, no special concessions, kickbacks etc. Jusssst in case you were wondering.)


Connecting with community

connecting with community || cityhippyfarmgirlconnecting with community 1 || cityhippyfarmgirlconnecting with community 2 || Brydie Piaf

Some times having a blog can feel a bit like having a one sided conversation with yourself. You know when you see someone standing in the corner, just quietly having a chat to themselves? Yep, that can often be how blogging feels. All a little one sided. Not today though, not this post. Nuh uh.

Today it’s about you the reader, the visitor, the lurker and the person who accidentally dropped in when they searched for emedia piano and keyboard method, (sorry, I have no idea what that is either.)

For this post, I’d love you to tell me something about you. What you ate for breakfast, what’s growing in the garden, how you trained your cat to dance cartwheels before bed time, the best way to slaughter a chicken, your Grandma’s favourite pre-dinner cocktail, what annoyed you on Tuesday. Anything, honestly I’d love to know, (adult conversations have been a bit low on the ground lately.)

To make it slightly easier, I’ll start off…

Hello there, I’m Brydie. This is my space where I waffle on quite a bit about things that are important to me, things that come to mind and things that I like to take pictures of. While mostly I do it for me, I also do it for the connection that it gives me to other like minded souls who sometimes drop in. Like you, the lovely readers, visitors, lurkers and the odd dissatisfied but still hopeful emedia piano person.

I like knitted socks on my feet in winter, looped scarves any time of year, home-made sourdough cut in thick slabs, whippet snuggles, steaming chai in the morning, permaculture inspired gardens, reading books that make your heart grow big and conversations that make you think in ways you haven’t thought before.

Teas hot, scones are warm, and talk is open to all topics.

Hello 🙂


Scone recipe here, from back in the early days of blogging, recipe is still good to go, just excuse the very average photos.


How to dry your sourdough starter, and bring it back to LIFE again!

how to dehydrate and rehydrate your sourdough starter || cityhippyfarmgirlhow to dehydrate and rehydrate your sourdough starter || cityhippyfarmgirl

Baking your own sourdough bread from a little naturally fermented flour and water (starter) is one of those simple things in life that’s hard to move away from once you begin. Being able to dehydrate it and then rehydrate it, essentially bringing it back to life again is another handy additional skill to have as a sourdough baker.

Being a home baker, means that on the odd occasion I’m asked for a some starter to get people going with their own sourdough journey. It’s something that is forever growing and being used, so it’s easy enough to do and if it encourages someone to get cracking with baking the ‘good stuff’, well, I’d like to be a part of that.

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to first, dry the starter if you are the giver and how to revive it if you are the recipient.

how to dry sourdough starter || cityhippyfarmgirlhow to dry sourdough starter

How to Dehydrate your Sourdough Starter

Sourdough Starter– refreshed and bubbling. The more alive it is, the easier it will be to trap that fermented goodness and revamp it again down the track.

Sun– you can use a dehydrator or an oven on low, but if you have access to sun, use it.

First up, spread some of your refreshed starter on a paper lined baking tray. Thick or thin is up to you, depends on how long you have and sun quantities. Obviously the thicker it is, the longer it will take.

If you can cover it at all with some fine wire mesh, or muslin do so. This keeps out any nosy bugs that might be keen to check out what’s going on.

Keep it in the sun until it’s nice and dried.

Break off into small flakes and store in a glass jar, or alternatively grind your dried starter in a blender and again store in a clean glass jar.

And now pass it on to someone who will love it as much as you will!

How to Rehydrate your Sourdough Starter

25g dried starter

80mls tepid water (1/3 cup)

50g flour (1/3 cup)

Mix the three ingredients together in a ceramic bowl (at say 6am.) Cover it, muslin and a rubber band, beeswax cover or a loosely fitted lid of a glass jar.

Leave it in a warm spot- top of the fridge is good during winter or just the kitchen bench top over the warmer months. At 6am the next day, add 80mls of water and 50g of flour to the mixture, stir it through and cover it again. Back to the warm spot.

At 6am the following morning, add a further 200mls water and 150g flour. Mix together and cover, leaving in the warm spot. As the day progresses check it for bubbles, if it looks a little sluggish leave it for another 24hours and if it’s got lots of happy bubbles action going on, you can make up a dough about 12 hours later- say 6pm.

Also, make sure you have a good smell of it. If it smells like flour and water it’s not ready, if it smells sourdoughy it’s getting ready to rock. Make sure before you make up your dough, you leave some aside to keep as your mother, which can now be stored in the fridge.


how to dry and rehydrate your sourdough starter

If you are keen as a bean to get started with your own sourdough baking journey and can’t access any starter, I’m happy to post a few starters out if you would like to trade something with me. I’m not doing this for coins, but I would love in return a postcard, mixed tape of your favourite Wham songs, or picture of you at your favourite corner of the world- whatever you want!  Drop me a line at…

cityhippyfarmgirl (at) gmail (dot) com.

Sorry international peeps, Australia only at this stage.


If you would like more information on baking sourdough, there is a backlog of info within here.

How to bake a basic sourdough loaf

How to create your own sourdough starter from scratch…it’s easy, promise.

If you have any further specific questions please read through the comments of this post here. There are 95 comments, which equals to a whole bunch of potential information.

If you still have further questions, pop them into the comments and I will do my best at answering them a little further down the track.

Happy baking people!



Keeping it real

tomatoes ||

It was the array of vegetables quietly lying in their own individual plastic that finally broke it for me. I felt deflated, defeated and pretty bloody miserable to be honest.

Moving cities was always going to have its pockets of turbulence, I knew that. It’s a transition period where you have to nut out what’s what, who’s who, where’s where and build up from that right?.

I knew that, it all takes a little time.

So why was I feeling like I was carrying round a basket full of sad, looking down at my plastic encased vegetable dinner options?

Because I forgot. I did have options.

While I had been trying really hard to keep things as uncomplicated as possible, while I nutted out a seemingly endless supply of other issues that needed attending, packed a household, unpacked a household, grappled with a grumpy oven, the weather defied all odds, new garden beds were created and I mostly single parented the summer school holidays. For those reasons, I resorted to supermarket vegetables, some bought bread, and more plastic encased food than I cared to think about.

Except I did care, and combined with the transition of moving, it made for a pretty sad face round here.

Shopping had turned into being surrounded by an endless supply of uninspiring temperature controlled chain stores, empty conversations, enough plastic to make you shudder and all filled with people who I seemingly had little in common with.

It all felt so false. The mass-produced shopping, the plastic on plastic, the convenience of it all and the questionable happiness that people seemed to get from living like this.

Is that how it really is? Was this really my chosen road, the inevitable living that was bound to happen at some point, just because we moved?

Staring at those vegetables again, and something gently clicked back into place.

Hell no. This isn’t me, this isn’t us. I Don’t. Want. This.

Readjustment, realignment, and a good rethink.

organic feast || cityhippyfarmgirl

And so slowly I’m catching up. The local transport system was nutted out, travels further afield were taken. Local organic vegetables got delivered to the door which gave me some breathing room when I couldn’t get to the farmers markets, independent health food stores were located, the toilet paper came in bulk, the huge shopping centres were bypassed and I found the beginnings of a list of a few mismatched seated cafe’s that served coffee in cups the size of my head, (and from which I danced in caffeine fuelled happiness.)

While I didn’t want the plastic vegetables, and the convenience of everything being at my door step, I do acknowledge that I needed it for that transition period, (and not being sainted) may dip back into it in small amounts over the coming few months as needed.

While we are all still very much finding our feet and it really will take a while to set down new roots, I feel a hell of a lot more grounded knowing that there has been a bunch of bread just baked, there’s kombucha on the bench top, I’ve found places that I can buy basics in bulk, joined the local library, traded cucumbers for black soldier fly larvae over the back fence, made jam, made kasundi, roasted pumpkin’s and with a contented exhale, have once again sourced our families every day vegetables bought without a single, sheet, of plastic.

For me, it feels a whole lot better to be once again, keeping it real.

herbs ||


The permaculture community of Atamai

There’s a word floating around my head at the moment that I can not seem to shake off. So I’m not trying to, and instead I’m embracing it. I’m going to hold on to that word, feed it, water it and shower it in all the love and attention that it requires of me.

Community… it’s important stuff, really important.

Enjoy this little video that gives a tiny glimpse into the wonderful community and permaculture village, of Atamai in New Zealand.

“I’m surrounded by people who know more than I do about things I want to know about…I spend my days learning…continually”

Passata Day 2015

Passata Day || cityhippyfarmgirl

Last years Passata Day with Milkwood was a highlight for me, a big highlight. When the horizon was promising another gorgeous tomato infused day, well I was glad to get a chance to be there again.

Coming together as a community with a group of like minded souls. Wonderful conversations accompanying wonderful food…well this is a highlight of life surely. Simple living at it’s beautiful, delicious best.

  Trolleyd cocktails and mocktails using local, foraged, sustainable and organic goodness.

Passata… the making, the bottling

and importantly, the eating.

Passata Day 2015… you were delicious!

Passata Day || cityhippyfarmgirl

 For more Passata Day goodness check out Rachael’s stunning pictures here.

Organiser- Milkwood

Tomatoes- locally grown and organic

Cocktails- Trolley’d

Pasta- Pasta Emelia

Wine- Rosnay

Bread- Bread and Butter Project

Butter- Pepe Saya

How does your garden grow?

chillies || cityhippyfarmgirl summer patch- ecolosophy

Our gardens couldn’t be more different. Mine in small pots, neatly aligned along a big city urban fence. A tiny garden that grows intwined with the sound of other city dwellers, the soft murmur of traffic and the occasional summertime song of hidden cicadas.

Her garden? It meanders. Through seemingly endless acres, aligned with a neighbouring rugged, blue coastline. The gentle honking song of Cape Barren Geese flying over head at dusk and dawn, and frogs…lots of frogs.

Now who’s garden am I speaking of? Well that would be Tanya from Ecolosophy (remember the one I wanted to face plant into last year?) I caught up with her recently to hear how her garden was growing and also to find out who won the giveaway.

boys and beans- ecolosophySo it’s been a little while since I face planted in your garden because of the sheer beauty of it all. What’s been growing since we last caught up?

Oh Brydie, we’ve been pretty lucky this year. Ordinarily at this time of year, our patch would have been burnt to a crisp by a few blazing hot days with northerly winds and no rain but so far we’ve had an exceptionally mild summer in Esperance, most days mid twenties, rain every so often, not a single day so far over 40 (please don’t jinx me weather fairy!) The Patch is churning out tomatoes by the bucket load so I’ve been making lots of slow roasted tomato sauce. I’ve been as inventive as possible but the yellow button squash have (FINALLY) come to an end so I can relax on finding new and exciting ways to hide them in the family meals.

My black frilly kale and I are at a standoff of sorts because on one hand, I learned how to make kale chips…and they’re lovely but on the other hand my kale just keeps getting prettier and prettier so I’m loath to remove a single leaf. Most of the greenery in the Patch now is assorted pumpkins, melons and gourds that are the obsession of my other half.

Every summertime there is a quest to grow the worlds largest vegetables (so far the biggest pumpkin has only got to about 50kg which is a few hundred kilos off the world record) but we do grow a nice big New Guinea Bean (here’s a snap of last years beans with my boys) We eat them when they’re small (about zucchini sized) but then we let them grow and grow and grow. 

That bean picture is amazing. I’ll bet the boys were impressed with them. I’m certainly impressed! Now tell me also, who won the giveaway?

Well quite a few of your lovely readers popped in to the Ecolosophy Shop and had a wander through. And one of those lucky shoppers has won themselves a sweet eco giveaway of Ecolosophy goodness. Can I get a drum roll please?….. the winner is…..Diana Sayes.

tomato window sill- ecolosophy

Excellent! Well done Diana*. Tanya your garden is once again enviable and sadly, I’m now hesitantly going to go back to my small collection of pots…hmmm, three tomatoes anyone?

tomatoes || cityhippyfarmgirl


 * Diana- Ecolosophy will be sending out your lovely little package soon.

Chocolate, Community and Choices

beetroot brownie || cityhippyfarmgirl

I’ll let you in on a little secret. This place here, is my number one place to eat out. It doesn’t happen often, actually hardly at all really, but when it does…oh it’s bliss. Sheer bliss.

While this blog is not about food reviewing (and never will be) I can’t help but want to stand on my pedestal and shout…”you really should go there!”

Once in that blue moon period when I do go out, I want to go somewhere that holds similar beliefs to me. Going somewhere where the selling points of a dish are “Salmon from Alaska, oranges from Malta, cheese from Turkey and wine to wash it all down with from Italy”. Nope, it just doesn’t cut it for me, I’m seriously not interested. Tell me the bacon is from a small scale farmer a few hours away, the milk is from the outskirts of Sydney, the eggs are organic and the plated greens were grown three metres away in the small backyard. Now that’s going to make me sit up and pay attention.

Also add to it being some of the best tasting food I’ve ever tasted and I will be scrambling for any opportunity to get a table again.

Now when time ticks by and life gets in the way, their cookbook will be tiding me over. The pages talk of how they started, seasonal eating, not wasting anything and community– all topics of which I’ll happily devour every page, (which is includes this rather tasty Chocolate Beetroot Brownie.)

beetroot brownie || cityhippyfarmgirl

Coming back for a moment, to that wonderful C word that I love so much- community. It’s important to me here in blogland. It’s important to me in ‘real life’ and is also one of the big things that has struck me every time I’ve been lucky enough to eat there. (And it really is a privilege to eat out , for anyone!) Community is something that really seems to jump out at you, even just walking down the street. You can tell that this is a close knit area that really looks out for each other, (which also includes famed sourdough legend, Iggy’s just a few doors down.)

Living in a big city, if you are lucky enough to be in the position of choosing to go out for a meal, then considering where your dollar is going just makes sense. It makes wonderful sense. Combine a little chocolate and community in with those choices and you have yourself a pretty great combination I think.


Tell me, what are some of your favourite community minded places (or books) to eat or hang out at? 


Top 10 Collaborative Consumption sites

collaborative consumption || cityhippyfarmgirl

In January I attended a talk on collaborative consumption as part of the Sydney Festival. It had been one of those days that had been long and hard, and more than a few times I thought I might ditch the evening in the city in favour of a cup of tea and an early night. I didn’t though and damn, I’m glad I didn’t.

My brain grew a little that night. One of those moments where you can almost hear the audible pops, as ideas and thoughts run unhindered when you are by yourself and really, really are able to listen. Needless to say I loved it, but what on earth is Collaborative Consumption?

The sharing economy (sometimes also referred to as the share economy, shared economy, mesh, collaborative economy, collaborative consumption) is a socio-economic system built around the sharing of human and physical assets. It includes the shared creation, production, distribution, trade and consumption of goods and services by different people and organizations. These systems take a variety of forms, often leveraging information technology to empower individuals, corporations, non-profits and government with information that enables distribution, sharing and reuse of excess capacity in goods and services.  [Wikipedia]

In a nutshell it’s a shared economy, and that’s a good thing.

Now there are oodles of different shared economy sites to use these days, it’s just a matter of finding one that suits you and getting started. After that, it’s a kind of landslide effect and the doors keep opening.

collaborative consumption || cityhippyfarmgirl

Here’s an easy ten to get you started.

1/ Airbnb accommodation in 34,000 cities and 192 different countries. Options from one night in a tent in someones backyard to a castle for a month- with everything else in between.

2/ Landshare “Connecting growers to people with land to share.” The concept of Landshare began in the UK and was launched by super-duper popular River Cottage.

3/ Eat with Me “Connect with interesting people by planning or attending event’s to share food and eat together”

4/ The Clothing Exchange Swapping clothing either online or at one of their regular exchange meet ups.

5/ Garage Sale Trail “Bargains are had, treasure is discovered, friends are made, money raised and fun is had by all. The cupboards, garages and sheds of Australians are decluttered, re-used and waste minimisation is put into practice en masse.”

6/ Skillstay “Exchange your skills. Make new friends. Stay for free.”

7/ Hive Studio Desk or office space, coworking spaces are offered with a community atmosphere.

8/ Car Next Door Neighbour to neighbour car sharing

9/ MamaBake– “Group, big batch baking for mothers.” A group (say 4) comes together, cooks one big batch dinner each and then swaps- dinner for the next 4 nights.

10/ Jayride An easy way to hook up a ride with someone going in the direction you need to. Rides could be free, or for just a couple of dollars.

…and the big mama of them all Collaborative Consumption. My top ten is fairly Australian based but if you click on this link it will take you to which ever country you are from, showing sites that will be more local and possibly relevant to you.

What are some of your favourite Collaborative Consumption sites?

four years on and a giveaway

four || cityhippyfarmgirl

I was flicking back through my blog recently, looking at what changes there had been made in the time since I had first started writing. Not surprising, rather a lot. There had been changes in my thoughts, ideals, photos, recipes and even the way the words tumbled out…but then, in a funny way there hadn’t been many changes either.

The essence of why I had started blogging was still there, and still the same. A year ago, not a dramatic difference, but certainly subtle changes that I know have been for the better.

The one change that had made itself incredibly apparent to me in the last twelve months, is realising just how important community is to me. I always thought it was important, but now I know, it’s really, really important to me. Whether it be as a physical presence or in a digital sense, (both here in blog form or instagram-where I can be frequently found lurking) connecting with like minded people and engaging in conversations keeps me going. It grounds, gives a sense of belonging and quite often adds a hell of a lot more meaning to my day.

With that in mind I wanted to give a little something back. Drawing from people that I’ve discovered because of my blog, and to pay that forward to others (well one anyway) that is a part of this little community.

This bloggy community rocks, and with that I wanted to say, a huge thank you. Really from the bottom of my heart. Thank you to all those who read here, pop in and out and take the time to comment. Without you all, well it definitely wouldn’t be the same.

So to the giveaway part. A little giveaway of stuff I really do like. 

chai tea || cityhippyfarmgirl

My day doesn’t start without a pot full of chai, and if by chance it does begin without it…well it’s not a very good day. I love this tea. Love, love, LOVE it. (one box of original chai tea)

Apiwraps. The plastic wrap alternative that I’m also lovvvving. Anything that decreases on the amount of kitchen plastic being used, is a good thing. A really good thing. (apiwrap pack x3)

environmental toothbrushClean and shiny teeth. Yes indeed, teeth are super important and what you brush them with is important too. As these are made out of bamboo, they will slowly break down as compost and not like their plastic cousins, sit around in landfill for a thousand squillion years. (one adult sized toothbrush)

So if you would like me to send you this little packaged giveaway, I would love to hear about your “community”. What the word means to you, an example of it, what you would like from it, a photo, a story or a tumble of words that instinctively fall from your mouth at just the mere mention of the word. Share it here within the comments of this post, or on instagram with the hashtag #cityhippyfarmgirlcommunity by Thursday 20th February, I would love to hear about your community.

Passata Day

tomatoes||cityhippyfarmgirl When I found out Milkwood was holding a Passata Day, there was a squeal of delight, and more than a little happy hand clapping. I had long held dreams of being part of a European village tomato festival, had looked longingly looked over at Rohan’s Passata Day from last year and would have happily invited myself over to any large family that held annual passata days in their backyard (if only I knew of any.)

So when Passata Day was announced I was just a little bit happy. A promise of lunch by Three Blue Ducks, mocktails by Trolleyd, music by Sophie Loizou and all tomatoey goodness by Common2us and Old Mill Road– to be held in the back garden of an inner city community centre?

Oh yes I was going to be there, and it promised to be a good one!

passata day||cityhippyfarmgirl


Amazing mocktails from Trolleyd created from native and organic ingredients, all foraged or sourced locally. If you didn’t think bartending and sustainability went hand in hand, think again.tomato||cityhippyfarmgirl

Tomatoes. Real tomatoes. The kind that taste like summer and come in every funny shape and form. The red goodness came from two market garden farms- Common2us an organic community farm based in Dural and Old Mill Road BioFarm, a family run farm in Moruya.

fermented||cityhippyfarmgirl Some of my favourite conversation topics happened here. Chats on sourdough, permaculture, homebirth, cooking, photography, community and fermentation. The Passata Goddess must have been smiling above me, when she placed two of Sydney’s fermentation experts in front of me- questions answered and encouragement built on. These were a few of their beautiful fermented goodies to be tasted on the day.

 Simple beautiful food, eaten at a long table….nothing better. Nothing.

milkwood permaculture||cityhippyfarmgirl The amazing and inspiring Kirsten and Nick, the couple behind Milkwood Permaculture.

milkwood permaculture passata day||cityhippyfarmgirl

…and the wonderful finished product.

Bidding goodbye to old and new friends, with the passata bottles safely tucked away. I slowly peddled home and reflected on why today had made me so happy.

* I had got to be a part of a community event that I had always wanted to.

* I had been able to talk with people that held so many similar interests and beliefs.

* I was able to introduce two of my friends to an event that they would have otherwise not known about, (which they loved.)

* I had met a bundle of people that I knew in the virtual social media world, and had been able to (at times nervously) introduce myself.

And ultimately. Celebrated the fact that so many of my interests and ideals could come together in the one day. To organise an event such as this would taken a huge amount of time, but it was done beautifully and I can only hope there is another one for next year. This is a perfect example of what simple living can be. A community event where food and people come together. Where skills are shared, knowledge is passed on and friendships formed and added to.

Passata Day you rocked.


For more Passata Day goodness see here.


bunting picnic

It was the perfect antidote to a pretty stressful week. A celebration of our city living community. A chance to get together, share food, swap stories, let the kids run loose and put all my worrying tiring thoughts on pause for the afternoon. I needed that.

It had been awhile since the last one. With Autumn’s Equinox and the tail end of a Sydney summer- it seemed like a good excuse for a laden food table and a chance to watch some colourful bunting flutter gently in the breeze.

Thankfully, it takes very little to get a great bunch of people together. A group email invitation to a chosen loved spot. Invitations to invite other friends along with them, and suddenly there is a big bunch of lovely people. Ukuleles, hula hoops, bare feet and rampant yodeling are always actively encouraged at these sorts of things. This is what makes living a busy life, in a small space, in a bustling city… ok. Actually it’s more than ok, it makes it wonderful.