Time was when talk of sustainability and greening the planet might have ruffled a few feathers in the Far South Coast town of Eden.
For generations, dependence on forestry, fishing and whaling put the place at the centre of some pretty heated debates as Green politics grew and became more widespread.
In the past 15 or so years though, Eden has gone through a process of re-invention that sees it now as a centre for small producers, eco friendly holidays and strongly supported community ventures.
Held in the grounds of the Eden Community Garden, the town’s monthly market could be considered a bit of a barometer of changing community values. While a number of stalls are commercial in nature, their traders are local folk keen to push local products.
Take young Tom Burn as an example. At 18 years of age, Tom has his own range of jams, pickles and sauces called Crazy Ranga’s Preserves that he makes at the family farm in Nethercote west of Eden.
“It all started when I was about 10 and Mum and Dad used to make pickles and things at home,” Tom said.
“I always liked helping them and over time have collected recipes and made some adjustments to products that I like and that people want to buy. The ‘Crazy Ranga’ name was pretty obvious given my colouring and it kind of suits the sauces with chilli especially.”
A special attraction at the most recent market was the community garden focus and the arrival of special guest, Gardening Australia’s Costa Georgiadis, who spoke about the importance of sustainable living and “getting into gardening”.
In a talk that ranged across subjects like self sufficiency, permaculture and the war on waste, Mr Georgiadis stressed the importance of community and coming together to share and celebrate.
“I’m Greek you know and we’re pretty good at sharing and celebrating, eh?” he asked the large crowd gathered to hear his remarks at the start of the market.
Another Eden event coming up soon is the annual Whale Festival to be held over the weekend of November 2, 3 and 4.