Back for its fifth year is Gold Coast’s greenest event, Botanical Bazaar. Held on one jam-packed day in early August, this popular garden festival sees botany experts, nature lovers, local producers, and more converge on the Nerang Country Parklands for a day of education, shopping, demonstrations, great music and of course, delicious food!
Botanical Bazaar has expanded its sustainability offerings this year, by including more environmentally conscious exhibitors and educational talks. These include: a talk on all things recycling on the Gold Coast; a talk on home plastic-free alternatives with plenty of products available for purchase in the market; education on permaculture; and dozens of information sessions from local community groups.
One of the fascinating sustainability speakers is Dr Kevin Redd (yes you may have to read that one twice!) Dr Redd is passionate about sustainable cuisine, as evidenced by his travelling nursery in which he grows his own unusual tropical edibles.
“The whole thing started years and years ago when I owned a restaurant in Hobart and one of my neighbours wanted to have a community garden that could supply the restaurant, and use the restaurant waste for better soil,” Kevin explains.
“When we moved to Queensland we realised it was a totally different series of things you can grow; all tropical stuff and weirdo plants that aren’t really common. So I started collecting obscure food plants from Asia, India, South America and started using them in my catering business.”
With people banging down his door to find out where he sourced these obscure ingredients, Kevin decided to start propagating the plants himself, and developed his current nursery. He will be bringing a trailer of hundreds of the unusual plants to Botanical Bazaar, and conducting a talk on the kinds of products that we can grow in Queensland, and some of their best uses.
Plastic Free Gold Coast (PFGC) is a business established in 2018, whose aims are fairly evident within the company name. We spoke with co-founder Jacky Madenfrost about their company and their presentation at Botanical Bazaar.
“PFGC Started almost a year ago (28th of June) by a group of like-minded people wanting to see a change in our community habits by educating others on how to reduce their waste and live plastic-free,” explains Jacky.
“We have a group of organisers who are together since the beginning of PFGC and together we direct and organise the actions that will go ahead for PFGC. Rhiannon Sibson (Ripples by Rhiannon), Larissa Tedesco (Eat Yourself Geen) and I are now responsible for all activities and for the management of our social media and funds which help us create more platforms and resources to share with our community,” she continues.
“At Botanical Bazaar, we hope to share more about what we do and to provide practical ideas and daily actions that can help reduce plastic consumption. We aim to offer simple and basic solutions to plastic pollution and we try to be inclusive and welcoming in our message, to make sure that everyone feels encouraged to make a change.”
In addition to the educational opportunities on offer at this year’s event, will of course be the usual wholesale plant nurseries and thousands of indoor and outdoor plants, seedlings, seeds and gardening supplies. Enthusiastic green thumbs will be able to shop for rare and favourite plants, meet with experienced horticulturalists, explore plant nurseries, herbalists, botanical artists, and learn about sustainable living concepts.
Throughout the day, celebrity gardeners such as ABC’s Gardening Australia, Stephen Ryan, with local experts Annette McFarlane and Kate Heffernan, will also be taking to the stage to present educational talks on various gardening topics.
Kiddies have not been forgotten either with free entry, a dedicated kids’ hub offering heaps of hands on nature crafts and environmental education, as well as face painting, roving performers, delicious food trucks and music by Gold Coast’s favourite folksters Leopold’s Treat.
Botanical Bazaar has grown like wildflowers over the past five years, with over 6,000 event goers expected to participate. Tickets are only $15 and best pre-purchased in order to avoid the queue. (You’ll also receive a free e-book about Medicinal Herbs with your ticket purchase).
Botanical Bazaar hits Nerang Country Parklands on 4 August. Full program and ticket info is at botanicalbazaar.com.au.