Climate Risk in Agriculture Conference

Grow Lightly had a presence at this Conference put on by West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (WGCMA), which aimed to explore climate change and what it means for farmers. There was an outstanding lineup of speakers, and lots of like minded people present.

Aboriginal elder Lloyd Hood welcomed us to Gunaikurnai country. and explained how we all need to care for each other and the land. Later on Mark Howden referred to the fact that traditional owners of the land have gone through climate change in the last ice age. Something I had never thought of before.

Portrait of Elder Lloyd Hood by Angela Lynkushka. I acknowledge the State Library of Victoria as the source of the work. Uncle Lloyd welcomed us to country.

The keynote speaker Mark Howden Director of the Climate Change Institute at the Australian National University and Vice Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was inspirational, not afraid to look facts in the face (climate change is already dragging agriculture’s productivity back by around 20%), but also asking how we can make an opportunity out of climate change and demonstrating that farmers themselves have lots of the solutions at their fingertips. He showed that our values affect our ways of adapting to climate risk. His main message was one of hope that the agricultural sector can do a lot more than it is to mitigate climate change.

Hallora farmer, Niels Olsen, spoke on a panel of farmers about increasing productivity and #carbonfarming. Niels Olsen is the inventor of Soilkee Renovator which increases soil carbon – and his farm business is the first to be paid for soil carbon through a government regulated system. “The livestock we’re looking after is the livestock under the soil.” Also on the panel were Jen Ribolli who spoke about having a positive impact on the planet through regenerative farming and Clydebank farmer Sandra Jefford who spoke about the work she and her husband are doing to generate their own energy and grow nutritious feed for their cattle.

There was so much more. The conference was live tweeted which you can see at this link (you need a twitter account to see this). It was so interesting to see many of the ideas that Grow Lightly is about, for example on the importance of providing nutritious food sustainably, were confirmed. Videos of the presentations will be available soon. Watch this space!

Winter Events at Grow Lightly

Workshops and other events

It is definitely winter now and it is a real pleasure to get all this rain. Leanne has been working hard getting our winter program ready and we have some great sessions depending on your interest. To get further information and to buy tickets go to Eventbrite.

Family cooking class

Events include cooking classes, soil health workshops, helping our kids eat and love vegies, a monthly bookclub, and coming soon: A Sunday Series of Talks by Interesting People and Boomerang Bags. There is something for everyone and we appreciate feedback on our events. If you would like to drop us a line please email Jo at

A list of the Grow Lightly Winter Events

This week we have two events at the Grow Lightly Hub: book club and Cooking class – curries

Tuesday June 4 Monthly Book Club: On Tuesday June 4 come to Grow Lightly Hub (near the Coal Creek Car Park on Silkstone Road) and meet like minded people for a lively and refreshing discussion. The book club is always on the first Tuesday of the month, every month. It will be friendly and informal and we hope you will leave nourished and inspired. Bring a favourite book on farming, food, gardening, sustainability, environment, or anything really, to share briefly why you enjoyed it, what you learned, how it has impacted aspects of your life. There will be no pressure to speak and you are welcome to just come to listen. If you have a copy of Retrosuburbia by David Holmgren please bring it. If you don’t have one there is one you can borrow. Or it is available from the Korumburra Library.
7.00 pm Venue: the food hub at 12A Silkstone Rd, Korumburra. Please park in Coal Creek Carpark. Gold coin donation.

For some of the time each month, we are reading and discussing Retrosuburbia by David Holmgren – a guide to a resilient future. Whether you are on a small block or in a unit or on land of some acres, this book is inspiring. Are you looking to create a more sustainable life? Would you like to be more resilient in the face of growing uncertainties? Would you like to retrofit your house, your community and your life? Are you interested in downshifting but don’t know where to start? Find out more on Tuesday!

Class is on June 6. Book now for your early bird tickets!

What are the benefits of a good curry? Curries are delicious and beautifully warming. We will be making a fragrant chicken korma curry (or vegetarian option) with a south east Asian twist using fresh local seasonal vegetables and herbs.

This class is part of our 2019 home cooking series and is on June 6 from 1 pm to 3.30 pm at Grow Lightly Hub in Korumburra. Early bird tickets are still available at the special early bird price of $55 until June 3. For that you get a meal for four to take home for that night’s dinner, recipe sheets, cooking tips and hints from a fabulous teacher and have fun as well. It’s a win-win situation. Join us. Here is the Eventbrite link to buy your ticket.

John Sutcliffe and the Sutcliffe Building

For the last week I have been walking around in a different Korumburra after a talk I went to put on by the Korumburra Historical Society. I met John Sutcliffe in the narrative that historian Keith Cook laid out over the period he spoke. Sutcliffe was a pioneer in the Drouin, Warragul and then Korumburra districts. John Sutcliffe was the owner builder of this building which accommodated three shops (including 25 Commercial St). John Sutcliffe was the owner builder of this building which accommodated three shops. The shop on the west end was occupied by F. Weichardt as a Bakery in 1892. W. Henderson was the occupier of the middle shop, while Williams the tailor had his business in the third shop. Now it is occupied by an accountant, a sport store and Grow Lightly.

John Sutcliffe was born in Yorkshire in 1841, one of nine children and immigrated to Victoria in search of a better life in 1863. He ended up in Crossover, at the goldfields near Jindivick and began a career as a hotelier, mail carrier and developer. He married twice and had five children. He died in Korumburra at the age of 53 and was given a lavish funeral with 1000 people lining the streets before his casket was placed on the train and he was buried in the Kew Cemetery.

Among his legacies are the Sutcliffe building (pictured above) and the Austral Hotel (completed in 1894). Recently I went through Drouin and caught a glimpse of the old Sutcliffe Family Hotel (now the Drouin Family Hotel). How different it is to see these old buildings now that I have heard a bit of history.

The Austral Hotel (1894) as it is now

ou can also see the amazing story of Korumburra’s history as it was captured on film through a collection of photographs on display at the Korumburra Library.

well worth seeing if you get the chance