SCPA South Coast Field Days promote sustainability

Hungry for skillsharing: Animal health and husbandry is just one element of the  SCPA South Coast Field Days. Elisabeth Larsen and Dr Jim Shields with the Herds-For-Hire goats at the 2015 event. Photo: Peter Smith

Hungry for skillsharing: Animal health and husbandry is just one element of the SCPA South Coast Field Days. Elisabeth Larsen and Dr Jim Shields with the Herds-For-Hire goats at the 2015 event. Photo: Peter Smith

The SCPA South Coast Field Days are just around the corner, a chance for the community to step back in time and experience traditional forms of land management. 

This year’s theme is a focus on traditional skills and crafts. In an age of rapid technology development, event organiser Christa Rehwinkel said the event will give people a chance to get back to basics. 

“The way the world is going, it’s really important that we don’t lose these skills,” she said.

“Our first reaction should be to repair something before we just throw it away and buy a new one.”

A range of workshops will be on offer for people to develop skills to increase their self sufficiency, such as cheese making, spoon carving, blacksmithing and felting.

Demonstrations across the weekend from groups such as the Bega Valley Seed Savers and the Spinners and Weavers Association, will give visitors useful and resourceful tips to implement in their own homes. 

“These sorts of skills mean we can work toward becoming a resourceful society, not a throwaway society,” Ms Rehwinkel said. 

Discussion panels will look into the topic of resilience further, arguing the case for traditional unpowered tools, exploring housing alternatives in the face of the housing and land cost crisis, and creating a better local food system. 

Ms Rehwinkel hopes the event will generate interest in backyard farming, which will reduce reliance on big supermarkets. 

“We’ve got the right soil and pastures and water in the Bega Valley, but I think people aren’t using it to its full potential,” she said.

“We shouldn’t be too reliant on the supermarkets, it only takes one crisis to have supply cut off, so self sufficiency really is a crucial skill.”

Animal care and training will be a big feature at the event. Information will be available on keeping chickens, bullock and horse training, and natural beekeeping for pollination purposes. 

Bookings for the sheepdog training workshops with Neil Lynch of Cooma are filling up fast. The champion trial dog trainer and sheep farmer can train both the dog and the owner, and give an early indication if your dog has the “working gene”.

Noel Butler and Dean Kelly will take visitors on a walk of the area to discuss traditional indigenous tools, native foods of the region and how indigenous communities work with the land . 

Children will be kept busy with workshops on leather making, plant propagation and candle making.

The South Coast Field Days are on September 23 and 24. Tickets are purchased on entry, $15 for one day, $20 for both and $5 for children.

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