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Gazette Article

Sustainable Living in your Local Library

As many of us grapple with current debate on climate change or simply try to reduce our impacts and the cost of living, a rich source of information remains the local library.

Artarmon Library, as previously reported in the Artarmon Gazette's Sustainability Street pages, houses a special "sustainable living" collection, set up as a community project with council support and Environmental Trust funding. Its success has led to "copy-cat" collections at the Northbridge, Castle Cove and West Chatswood branch libraries.

The original collection will travel with Artarmon library when it eventually relocates to the corner of Artarmon and Tindale roads. While a separate collection is not currently proposed for the soon-to-open main council library at The Concourse, books on sustainability will bear special labels and a dedicated education space will showcase the new development's sustainability features and other local sustainability and environmental initiatives.

The diverse treasury in the Artarmon collection includes some classic Australian writings on sustainability. A gem among these is Resurrection in a Bucket by Margaret Simons, published in 2004.

"The rich and fertile story of compost" as it is subtitled, is a true journey to the centre of the earth. It reveals the incredible dynamics deep in the micro-world of compost and the lives of the organisms within. The heroes of the story are, naturally, worms.

As well as going to the heart of compost itself, Resurrection in a Bucket takes us through society and history viewed through the prism of compost. Characters include environmental educator and compost guru Peter Rutherford, who, besides launching the Artarmon sustainable living collection, authored the ADAM principles of composting - Aliveness, Diversity, Aeration and Moisture - all required for successful composting.

Other significant names in Australian composting include the father of permaculture Bill Mollison and the Bradley sisters, best known for their work in bush regeneration but also pioneers of Australian composting.

On the bigger world canvas, compost greats include George Washington who experimented in enriching soil with decaying manure when he was not fighting for American independence and becoming the first US president.

Perhaps the most compelling character in the saga is Sir Albert Howard, appointed Imperial economic botanist to India in 1905 and tasked with solving starvation there. He is credited for inventing the compost heap. The book itself has a rich organic quality as it traces the germination of ideas and innovations in composting and their cross-fertilisation over time and across continents.

Resurrection in a Bucket also explores, very amusingly, how people reveal themselves in their attitudes to compost. Yet, while entertaining and even hilarious at times, it also offers practical composting advice and serious insights into concepts such as sustainability, organic gardening, permaculture and biodynamics. The perfect read for weekends that are too wet to spend in the bush or the garden. Contact:

by Alethea Morison

Barton Rd celebrates community garden success

Composting was a familiar subject last June for Artarmon residents of Barton Road's Phyllis Burke Court, NSW Housing staff and WCC officers who gathered at the apartment complex's community garden to celebrate a NSW Housing grant for another community garden bed.

The WCC community garden project aims to encourage residents to grow their own fresh food to save energy and money plus raise awareness of other environmental issues such as composting organic waste and recycling.

The Phyllis Court community garden, which engages more than 300 residents, has been a successful part of council's community garden project since 2009, when the first community garden bed was established.

by Eva Wiland

Courtesy of Gazette August 2011
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Willoughby City Council Logo
Celebrating Barton Rd community garden ... Laurie Hirst (tenant representative) and Bianca Fleming (NSW Housing)





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