May 19 – Jake & Lindsey

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To begin the day, the group traveled to the South Geelong Farmers Market. At the market, the group was able to observe and taste the many local goods offered in Geelong. While enjoying some live music, the group tried a variety of products including local honey, produce, a variety of cheeses, oils, coffee, and baked goods. Buying local helps support the local, small-scale producers.  The farmers market provides consumers with products of higher quality, as well as a more intimate, involved food experience compared to purchasing their groceries from the chain grocery stores. This cycle provides sustainably produced goods to consumers, while supporting local families.

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The group had the opportunity to visit John and Simone Budd who have built a complex sustainable 25-square home and life.  The family has utilized straw bale as a form of insulation in the walls, as well as rammed earth. They found straw bale is the best at insulating; it has a width of about a half of meter.  The rammed earth has a smaller width, but the family has found it is a weak point in terms of the house’s insulation.  One important aspect of sustainability is utilizing and reusing waste products.  The Budd family recognizes this, and has used cow manure waste as flooring. This method results in a leather-like textured floor that remains warm during the winter and cool during the summer. The family has added solar panels to their roofs, which provide a 4 kilowatt array that provides a majority of their power, which is supplemented by a generator, wood, and kerosene gas when needed.  Because of their efforts in sourcing renewable energy, they are able to “drive on sunshine.” The family uses the solar panels to charge their electric cars, as well as most of their appliances. The family has built and maintained a greenhouse garden, as well as a chicken coop, to provide a percentage of their food.  The chickens, food scraps, and their composting toilet are all methods they use in creating a nutrient-dense compost that sustains their garden. Nutrients are cycled, waste is minimized, and a more sustainable way of living is a result.

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Visiting the Bulla Dairy Foods gave us two opposite perspectives; an industrial dairy processing plant where even inside photography is not allowed due to intellectual property. It is a family business that produces millions of gallons of ice cream and confectionaries.  Bulla contracts for their milk supply and demand for ice cream remains strong.  They produce 27 flavors of just base flavors.  We were treated to taste multiple flavors of Bulla product, too.  The plant utilizes cogeneration power to maximize their energy efficiency, however falls short in its water usage/recycing, ability to utilize waste, or use renewable energy sources.  Additionally, the group noticed Bulla does not prioritze recyclable packaging, or other sustainable business practices.  Thank you Scott and Peter for showing us the Bulla plant on your day off.

Getting the opportunity to visit both an eco-friendly house as well as an industrial dairy farm in one day gave us two different experiences and perspectives, but both were equally important.  By experiencing two totally different ends of the spectrum in terms of sustainabilty and environmental impact, the group gained a better insight on the range of sustainable practices in Australian businesses, both small and large scale.

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