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Byron Shire
May 19, 2021

Something is fermenting at Blue Knob

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Saturday (March 7) will see the second annual Fermentation Festival at Blue Knob Market.

Last year’s was a great success attracting around 350 people. The market was very fortunate to have Sandor Katz present for the event. Sandor is known as the modern guru of all things fermented and has published several books including The Art of Fermentation a New York Times best seller. One of best things about last year’s festival was discovering the amount of interest in fermenting and creating an opportunity for so many talented fermenters in our region to get together.

I think the revival in fermenting grows out of a bigger movement about reclaiming where our food comes from – moving away from the way big business produces food and moving instead towards farmers markets, community gardens, seed saving, and locally focused food security. Nimbin has travelled very far in this direction with lots of focus on working towards greater food security with the Blue Knob and Nimbin Farmers markets, the Nimbin food security group, Nimbin Natural Beekeepers, Nimbin Seed exchange, the Farmers Collective, HUB, and more recently the Nimbin Food Cooperative.

We will have many great speakers presenting on Saturday. Jean Martinez and Tom Rothsey will be our main speakers, both are leaders in the field of fermenting in Australia.

The Fermentation festival starts at 9.30am at Blue Knob Hall, that’s about a 10min drive north of Nimbin. If you are a keen fermenter bring along your creation to share at the end of the talks.

Speakers will include:

Jean Martinez runs a business called Artisan Wholefoods. Jean’s food philosophy is to teach classes which focus on wholefoods/real foods and traditional food skills – for the health of individuals and the environment. Jean’s talk will cover nutrition of fermented foods, history of fermentation and a simple fermentation demonstration.

Jason Grigon is a regular seller of bread and cakes at the Nimbin and Lismore markets. Jason will be talking about sourdough culture, its uses, how to love and care for it and make sourdough bread at home without any expensive equipment. Sourdough culture will be available to purchase for those who would like to take some home.

Peter Hardwick has been researching wild food plants for over 35 years, and has been making wild ferments for 8 years. He’s currently making kombucha-like and seawater based pickles using wild cultures with native fruits, nuts, seaweeds and wild vegetables. Peter also supplies ferments to restaurants.

Natalia West is mother of four kids and an avid fermenter. She will demonstrate the making of nut cheeses and Japanese pickled greens ferments.

Alan and Denyse Hodgson Olive grower and processors of prizes winning olives from Jiggi. Alan will talk about producing the fastest olives using fermentation processes.

Jenny Creasy is a local teacher of fermentation with a focus on making cheeses. She has developed a passion for working with fabrics including using fermentation in that process. She will talk about cheese making and fabric dying.

Tom Rothsey is passionate about the social, political and functional aspects of fermentation, and the linkages between notions of community, sustainability and fermentation. His book ‘Cultivating Communities’ (with a foreword by Sandor Katz) will be out mid 2015. Tom will talk about healing brews and demo the making of sauerkraut.

Shabari Bird with her partner Hugh Lovel run the Quantum Agriculture School that teaches ‘how your local weeds become gifts to your farm and gardens through fermentation processes’ that dynamically transform them into fertilizers, insecticides, and herbicides. Sahbari will talk about the art of the making dosas.

Arpita Cleland makes traditional artisan tempeh fermented in banana leaves to sell at BKFM and Lismore Organic Market, using all local organic ingredients. She will also be launching her new vegan cheeses at the fermentation festival.

Johnny One Tree Yeast’s, bacteria’s, moulds, soil liqueur, kombutcha, sauerkraut and traditional processing methods are exciting subjects alone. Enjoy Johnny’s tales of experiences and observations in discovering the magical similarities between the earth’s soil organism’s and those of the human gut.

Charmaster Dolph Cooke has been experimenting with biological fertilisers since he started with Biochar in 2009. Through his work with soil carbon he has gained insights into the plant world seldom seen by others. Sharing all with everyone along the way. His main interest in biomymicry and self-sufficiency.

This festival is a free event.

James Creagh, coordinator, Blue Knob Fermentation Festival


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