Finally, I can request soymilk, wear clothes others have worn previously and appear at an event all pink and sweaty from the ride there and not feel ostracized. Melbourne it seems, is a haven for those who like to consider the entire life-cycle of the products and resources that we use everyday, and has developed into a Mecca for the environmentally conscious. It’s cool to be ‘green’. Innovative marketing by creatives of the city are ensuring there’s a continuous flow of inspiration to not only educate but also enrich us. They often come in the form of urban installations, pop-up stores and markets and festivals, thereby offering a chunky, fleeting experience, and leaving the space it inhabited to be used in future, suiting the sustainable message they hope to relay.
For instance, some of the more recent things that I’ve encountered:
‘Livin’ Burrito Loco’ in Odessa Creative Space in the residential area of Fitzroy is an incredible pop-up taco restaurant, serving up fresh and flavoursome burritos and tacos, bulging with black beans, salsa, vegan cheese topped with coriander and lime and of course meat options for you carnivorous types. I couldn’t contain my excitement when I clapped eyes on the coconut milk, aloe vera and lime drink sold in a single-serve plastic bag complete with mint garnish and straw. Furthermore, the walls of the space are alive with fringes of colourful crepe paper, celebrating the installation’s short life-span.
The Rose Street Artists Markets on Rose Street in Fitzroy that run every Saturday and Sunday display an array of crafted wares from witty stamped cards to glasses made from old alcohol bottles, plastic animals super-glued to spoons as necklaces and even rings made from spiders set in resin. It’s all incredibly affordable and after a trip here you feel like a part of the community, all warm and fuzzy inside.
The 2012 Melbourne BikeFest being held at a number of locations runs until mid-march, and last weekend a friend and I explored a range of stalls at Federation Square including a free Etsy ‘Pimp Your Ride’ bike decorating booth, a ‘Swap Meet’ to trade or buy bits of bikes amongst a group of cycling enthusiasts and a ‘Bike ‘n’ Blend’ booth where you can cycle your smoothie to smithereens and enjoy it that bit more knowing your sweat has gone into its creation, and its footprint on the earth is minimal.
The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival will exhibit a greenhouse by Joost Bakker employing a variety of sustainable systems from the installation and building materials through to the food sourcing and production of the plants onsite. For twenty days only, the rooftop bar will be resplendent in greenery from the gardens to the walls, and the menu served within, created by Matt Stone, is a locavore’s dream; herbs grown in the garden, wheat milled onsite and organic yoghurt and butter from the region.
Last weekend my housemates and I attended the Fitzroy Community Markets, as we all felt the need to de-clutter our wardrobes by giving our bright, taffeta, and often 80s inspired garments another life. For a small fee you can rock up in a car loaded with items you no longer value or for emotional reasons need to part with, and if you have as much self control as my mate Tilly, might make a little bit of money for that holiday you’re saving for. Or you might be like me, and wander off to sift through old books and purchase illogical shiny things that beckon from every corner of the market. Of course there’s always the option of breaking into a jig with the wandering Melbourne Ukelele Kollective that we also happened across at the Zine Fair in the city the weekend before.
In the Melbourne Town Hall last Sunday the 2012 Festival of the Photocopier: Zine Fair took place, hosted by the Sticky Institute, an epic volunteer-run artist initiative that comprises of both an exhibiting and open resource studio space and a not-for-profit retail space in Degraves St Subway under Flinders Street. Over 100 zine sellers set up tables displaying a vast array of their artistry, including stories about vegan superheros, berry picking adventures, and theories about avocados.
It’s safe to say I’m going to love living here.
Photo 1 courtesy of Broadsheet.com.au, ‘The Burrito Van at Odessa Creative Space’