Created on Djaara Country. Salt of the earth people. Grassroots change. Find out more at

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Local stories, global issues.

Although the show is made in Castlemaine and features people from this region, this movement is truly global. What one community is doing in rural Australia is what many communities are doing all around the world. What is possible here is possible elsewhere. What we have learned from watching and listening to other communities, others may learn from us.

After all, a grass roots movement is just a bunch of people who decided to get together, discuss ideas and then do something.


Monday Sep 04, 2023

It has been almost a decade of effort and love and garlic from Gung Hoe Growers – supplying our local community through the local farmers market, selling to cafes and restaurants and providing boxes of veg to seasonal and annual subscribers.
Many have felt sadness on hearing that Gung Hoe will not be renewing their lease out at the Harcourt Organic Farming Cooperative.
This episode is a big chat with Mel about how and why this has happened and how this reflects on our farming and food production systems.
Listen back to the start of the Gung Hoe story:
Saltgrass Season 1 Gung Hoe Growers with Sas and Mel
Gung Hoe Growers
HOFC – Harcourt Organic Farming Cooperative

Monday Aug 07, 2023

We are heading back out to the Harcourt Farming Cooperative – this time to talk to Tess Sellar who runs a herd of 10 or so dairy cows and supplies organic milk and yoghurt to our local community.
Tess uses regenerative farming practices, re-usable glass containers and does countless other things to make her micro-dairy as low impact as possible.
Trigger Warning:
Please note that this episode contains conversation about suicide. If you feel vulnerable or at risk please reach out for help.
If you are in Australia you can go to Lifeline or call 13 11 14
Resources and Links:
Sellar Dairy
Harcourt Organic Farming Co-operative
Food Not Bombs
Holy Goat Cheese

S5 E12 The Orchard Keepers

Monday Jul 24, 2023

Monday Jul 24, 2023

Following on from the last episode about the Harcourt Farming Cooperative, today we are looking at The Orchard Keepers.  They are part of the  grand experiment of this farming cooperative, having taken over the orchard management a couple of years ago. 
They are using organic and regenerative practices and they are not just farmers, but they are visionaries and committed activists through the work they do on and in the soil. 
Listen as we discuss the challenges and joys of taking on a mature orchard and trying to make a go of farming with young kids and extreme weather.
The Orchard Keepers are:
Ingrid Phyland Alex Kelly 
Yoann Le Guen 
Megan Roberts 
Brian Morris 
Rachael Cilantro 
Resources and Links
The Orchard Keepers
Harcourt Organic Farming Cooperative
World Wildlife Fund – Innovate to Regenerate fund
Related Episodes:
S5 E11 An Incredible Octopus - with Katie Finlay
S1 E05 Mount Alexander Fruit Garden
S1 E06 Gung Hoe Growers
S2 E13 Food Security and Farmers Markets

Monday Jul 10, 2023

This is the first of four episodes that will be released about the Harcourt Organic Farming Cooperative.
Long term listeners may remember two episodes from season one that captured conversations with farmers from the cooperative as it was just beginning back in 2018. 
I’ve been following the process of this cooperative with interest since it began because it is a fascinating case study of alternative farming... that is, an alternative to large scale, monocultural farming which contributes to climate change rather than helping mitigate it.
Listen to Katie talking about what it has been like to open her family farm up to young farmers and the co-op - what she affectionately describes as an incredible octopus!
Project Drawdown on climate and farming
Grow Great Fruit
Fruit Tree Nursery
Gung Hoe Growers
Sellar Dairy
Indigenous native food – Murrnong Mummas 
The Orchard Keepers
World Wildlife Fund – Innovate to Regenerate fund
AFSA – Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance
Farming on other people’s land  - FOOPL
Grounded – community land trust 
Farmer Incubator
This Farm Needs a Farmer (Facebook link)
Growing Farmers
Related episodes:
Saltgrass Season 1 Katie and Ant
Saltgrass Season 1 Gung Hoe Growers with Sas and Mel
Saltgrass Season 2 Regenerative Farming

Monday Jun 26, 2023

Plastic Free July had humble beginnings in back in 2011 when Rebecca Prince-Ruiz had the idea of refusing to buy or accept single use plastics for the month of July, just to see if she could.  She asked people around her if they wanted to do it too and now it is a global movement with an estimated 140 million people from 195 countries participating in 2022.
I wanted to Talk to Rebecca, not only because she is amazing, but also, Plastic Free July is truly a grassroots movement that has made a global impact. And I was so curious to hear how it started and how it grew. Rebecca is also overflowing with stories of people making change at all levels of society and business and she happily delves into discussions about balancing personal responsibility with demanding action from corporations and governments and we also had some great questions from the audience as well. 
Plastic Free July
Book: Plastic Free
By Rebecca Prince-Ruiz and Joanna Atherford Finn
(Published 2020)
Global plastics treaty
Zero Waste Victoria
BYO Containers
Some other plastic education media pieces:
Climate Town: Plastic Recycling is a scam
DW Planet A: Recycling Myth
The Story of Plastic

S5 E09 Walking Together

Monday Jun 12, 2023

Monday Jun 12, 2023

How can local councils and Traditional Owners work collaboratively towards climate and environmental goals?
Today's episode explores one way to get things going.
Back in November 2022 Djaara – the Traditional Owners in Central Victoria where Saltgrass is made – invited representatives from local councils to gather on Country and workshop how Djaara and councils can co-design climate strategies and manage environmental issues together.
Along with the audio from the workshop there is an extended interview with the organisers of that event that includes Oli Moraes from Djaara, Melanie Marshall, Climate Change Coordinator at Mount Alexander Shire Council – my local council and Dr Alexander Saeri – or Zan – from Monash University and Behaviour Works Australia.
Resources and Links
About Djaara:
Djaara’s settlement agreement
Djaara’s Healing Country Plan
Oli Moraes from Djaara
Dr Alexander Saeri from Behaviour Works Australia
Melanie Marshall from Mount Alexander Shire
Mount Alexander Shire Climate Change Strategy

Tuesday May 23, 2023

Tim Hollo is many things, musician, politician, anarchist and the author of Living Democracy – An ecological manifesto for the end of the world as we know it. He was in conversation at the Taproom in Castlemaine with Jim Buckell and introduced by Alex Kelly with an extended Q&A with the audience.
Living Democracy Book
There is no time left not to do everything – an article and now a chapter in the book
The Green Institute                                                                   
Green Music Australia
Jim Buckell
Democracy for Dinner
Democracy for Dinner Substack
Tim Low’s book ‘Where Song Began’
Half of our body is not human 
Nobel Prize winning economist Eleanor Ostrum ‘Defender of the commons’
Philosopher Hannah Arendt who escaped Nazi Germany and dedicated her academic life to exploring totalitarianism and the nature of power
Fearless Cities as exampled by Barcelona
Murray Bookchin
Democratic confederalism as seen in Kurdish communities
Related Episodes:
Democracy for Dinner

Monday May 08, 2023

Duang moved to Castlemaine just a few years ago, but is already an integral part of the fabric of our community.
She sells delicious Thai cooking at the weekly farmers market and came here, as you will hear, in part because she knew about the Harcourt Farming Cooperative and the community supported agriculture (CSA) method that they employ.
Duang was so keen to support the farmers that she offered a free zero waste cooking class to CSA members at her own home – a way to offer more value to those who subscribed. It was a fun class with Duang peppering the cooking advice with stories of her life. We made pesto out of carrot tops and talked about what makes a good life. Allie then went back later to have a longer chat with Duang. 
SBS episode about Duang's life
Duang’s cooking school
Harcourt Organic Farming Cooperative
Related Episodes:
Gung Hoe Growers
Mount Alexander Fruit Garden
Food Security and Farmers Markets

S5 E06 Talking About Money

Monday Apr 24, 2023

Monday Apr 24, 2023

Following on from the last episode about the Castlemaine Currency Project, this episode shares audio from a panel discussion that was part of the original exhibition and social experiment. 
Warwick Smith, Castlemaine Institute
Karl Fitzgerald, Prosper Australia
Merryn Tinkler, Mount Alexander Shire - Manager of Economy and Culture
Anitra Nelson, University of Melbourne

Monday Apr 03, 2023

Local currencies and alternative money systems... what is that all about? Is it really a helpful thing to be thinking about in the middle of the climate crisis?
A group of artists in Castlemaine have created an art project and social experiment in the form of a local currency they called The Silver Wattle to explore just these questions.
The audio in this episode was recorded at a live event that was held as part of the Castlemaine fringe arts festival – one year after the Castlemaine Currency Project was launched back in May 2022
About the Castlemaine Currency Project:
Castlemaine Currency Website
Castlemaine Currency Facebook
Film “Conversations from the Castlemaine Currency Project“ by Lisa Mills at Storyland
ABC article from time of exhibition
Article in garland magazine
About the Artists:
Jodi Newcomb
Carbon Arts
The Castlemaine Institute
Dale Cox
Ann Ferguson
Other Links:
Get Lost – funded the Currency project in 2022
Castlemaine Pay The Rent
Transition Towns
Transition Network
Local Lives Global Matters conference
The film Tomorrow
Rob Hopkins – his book ‘from what if to what is’
Transition Town
Totnes Pound
Wararak Initiatives
Josh Durum  - Design by Committee
Regen Melbourne
Brixton Pound – Bowie’s head on the note
Anitra Nelson – Beyond Money

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