Plastic is not so Fantastic

Rivers and Ranges Community Leadership Program (RRCLP) is the newest of Victoria’s many leadership programs. The program covers the municipal areas of Mitchell, Murrindindi, Nillumbik, Whittlesea and Yarra Ranges. The program is based on community capacity and resilience building for the purposes of creating leaders connected to their local regions.   As such, they are well placed to identify local issues and needs and identify solutions. Leaders are a good resource in building resilient, connected and thriving communities.

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The program takes a group of up to 24 diverse participants through a ten-month learning experience and exposes them to leaders at all levels of government. At the completion of the project the participants are expected to participate in community leadership and service.

Each cohort of RRCLP completes an environmental or art project as part of their learning. This year’s cohort split into two teams to complete separate environmental projects.

Team Bravo have chosen to tackle the problem of plastic in the environment. We are working with the Flowerdale Men’s Shed to produce a song about the 5 ‘r’s – refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose and recycle. This song will be released via social media and we will attempt to measure the project’s impact via this platform also.

As a complimentary addition to the project, we have printed reusable calico bags which we will distribute at the November Tallarook Farmer’s Market complete with information regarding the dangers of plastic and ways to reduce its use. These bags will also contain either a reusable keep-cup or reusable plastic drink bottle.


Children at the Flowerdale Primary School decorated some of the bags during a session where they learned about the 5 ‘r’s. We have surveyed the children on their use of the 5 ‘r’s and will measure the impact, if any, at the completion of the project via a follow-up survey. We are hoping the final survey will show a decreased use of plastic and a better understanding of the issues. The children were very engaged during their session.

Collaboration with other community groups was another strong element of our project and we will be creating a map to show connections between community groups both before and after the project’s completion. BEAM Mitchell Environment Group was very supportive of our project and have produced a flyer with tips on reducing plastic use for inclusion in the bags. Many other groups offered support along the way.

All involved groups will be acknowledged by use of the bags.

You can follow our progress on our facebook page by the name of Plastic Not So Fantastic.

Linda Kennedy

Ten tips to reduce plastic

  1. Take your own shopping bags (don’t accept single use plastic bags)
  1. Drink from a reusable drink bottle or keep cup
  1. Choose items with less packaging
  1. Shop at the farm gate or at Farmers’ Markets
  1. Buy in bulk
  1. Say no to plastic straws
  1. Take lunch to work or school in a reusable lunch box (without added plastic wrapping)
  1. Grow your own veggies
  1. Don’t line your bin with plastic (easy if you have chooks to eat messy scraps)
  1. Shop second hand or at op shops

And now here’s Charlie Mgee with his song Plastic! from his new album Grow Do It.

Bulk Food Scheme- final orders for 2016 now open!

BEAM Bulk Food Scheme orders are open again. This quarter we’re introducing some exciting changes, including a new supplier, The Royal Nut Company. Which means that more Australian nuts and beans, including macadamias, pistachios, adzuki and borlotti beans are now available.


Other great new products include bulk organic tamari, rice malt syrup, vanilla essence, and rice flakes. We’ve also made a big change to our order form. With so many products we’ve decided to alphabetise the list so it’s easier to find the item you’re looking for.

We love getting feedback so please let us know what you think of the changes and new range. To download the new order form head to the BBFS page. Orders are due to Cynthia by Wednesday 2nd November.

Pumped Hydro Study announced for Euroa and Seymour

The Strathbogie-Seymour Energy Alliance has been granted $50,000 for a pre-feasibility study into pumped hydroelectricity energy storages at two sites near Euroa and Seymour.   The grant from the State Government’s New Energy Jobs Fund was announced in a press release on Wednesday 5th October by Jaclyn Symes, Upper House Member for Northern Victoria. Continue reading

We have a new committee!

Another highly successful BEAM Annual General Meeting was held on August 20th at Gavan Hall in Broadford.

42 guests attended the dinner meeting, including local councillors Rhonda Sanderson, Bill Chisholm and Des Callaghan, and members of the Euroa Environment Group who have worked closely with BEAM over the last year. A gourmet feast was provided by BEAM member Jonathan Murphy, supplemented by some beautiful home made desserts. I don’t think anyone left hungry!

new-committeetrent-mccarthyOur guest speaker, the Central Ranges Local Learning and Employment Network (LLEN) Executive Officer and Darebin City Councillor Trent McCarthy provided the laughs as well as an engaging presentation about successful energy and sustainability projects in his local area. Trent also encouraged BEAM to reach out to local young people and look at how we might link with the LLEN’s local initiatives, such as the 100 days in 100 ways campaign.

Outgoing president Mr Peter Lockyer provided an outline of the depth and breadth of BEAM’s work in our local area over the past 12 months and thanked the outgoing committee for their tremendous contribution. A new committee, featuring a mix of seasoned long-termers, brand new members and one of our youngest members was enthusiastically voted for by the membership.

Thank you to all who attended and to all the committee members involved in organising this fantastic night. We look forward to another great year for BEAM.


Who is Trent McCarthy?

Trent McCarthy will be presenting ‘From Little Things New Jobs Grow‘ at our AGM on the 20th of August. How regional local governments and communities can drive the clean energy economy and create thousands of new jobs.

Trent McCarthyTrent will share his insights and experiences about to create local prosperity and employment through connecting new and old technologies, the sharing economy and grassroots sustainability initiatives, drawing upon successful programs in Australia and overseas. Are we ready to take up the challenges and opportunities?

Trent McCarthy is CEO of Central Ranges Local Learning and Employment Network, a dynamic not-for-profit working to improve the outcomes for young people in the Mitchell, Macedon Ranges and Murrindindi Shires. Trent brings to the role his unique background as a strategic facilitator and educator, specialising in leadership, creativity, entrepreneurship, communication and sustainability. Trent has also worked as a director and comedian, performing in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival since 2005.

In his spare time, Trent serves as a local councillor in Darebin, where he has championed the award-winning Solar $avers program and various community solar initiatives. An Executive member of the Northern Alliance for Greenhouse Action, Trent is a former Vice President of the Victorian Local Governance Association. In 2011, Trent was a finalist in the Australian Human Rights Awards as the co-founder of the Whitelion Bail Out, working with over 1,000 business leaders to raise $5 million to support youth at risk. A third generation game show winner, Trent believes we create our own luck.

Hear Peter Lockyer and Trent McCarthy on Earthchat

Bulk food orders open again!

bulk food divvy up day 270815

BEAM Bulk Food Scheme (BBFS) orders are now open. The new order form has been posted on the BEAM Bulk Food Scheme page, and orders are due by midnight 17th August. Divide up day will be Thursday September 1st from 9.30am.

Please note that there have been many changes to our list as we are transitioning many products from NSM to Terra Madre and other new suppliers of Aussie and organic products. Please take your time to go through the list as some items have moved around, we have deleted some lines and added others. Where the price difference between organic and conventional has been minimal we have only offered organic. Where price differences are vast we have offered both options.

Our trial of Terra Madre and their processes was very successful on the last order so we will continue to increase their product offerings. You will also note a new nut and seed supplier – Royal Nut Company. Unfortunately the wholesale prices did not arrive in time but we have chosen to show you the new lines we hope to offer next time around. As always we are open to suggestions of new suppliers and are happy to help with any queries you have as the list continues to grow.

Like and follow the BBFS Facebook page for regular updates on the BBFS and our suppliers.

The BEAM Bulk Food Scheme aims to provide local, organic and ethically produced foods to the local community. We welcome new participants at any time. You can access the bulk food scheme if you’re a BEAM member, or by completing a simple form. Please share the love and tell your friends!

To place an order please contact the BEAM Bulk Food Scheme Administrator, Cynthia Lim on or 0403 831 520.

From Little Things New Jobs Grow – a presentation by Trent McCarthy

Trent McCarthy presentation AGM2016‘How regional local governments and communities can drive the clean energy economy and create thousands of new jobs’

Comedian, Darebin councillor and CEO of the Central Ranges Local Learning and Employment Network, Trent McCarthy has a lot to contribute to a topic which fits well with the work we have been doing over the past year and into the next.

Local chef Jonathan Murphy will be preparing two delicious soups and a vegetarian main using predominantly regional seasonal produce. Please join us for our…

annual dinner and AGM

Saturday 20th August 2016 from 6pm till 10pm
Gavan Hall, High Street Broadford

CLLEN logoCost: $25 (incl main meal), children & students $10 – bookings essential.
BYO drinks along with nibbles, side-dish or dessert to share
Numbers limited so you MUST book in before 13th of August to avoid disappointment.
For bookings contact Barb on 0428 311 553 – email:
For more information:  click here

Download the BEAM AGM 2016 Invite

BEAM logo black

EarthChat with recycler designer Jan Flook

Listen to the EarthChat interview with local recycling innovator Jan Flook with your host, Irene Telford. Friday 22nd July at 10:30am on Seymour FM – 103.9

Glass Chandelier by Jan FlookJan Flook is an inspiring designer with a fascination for light, beauty, symmetry and fun. He has dedicated his life to the pursuit of beauty within the mundane, functional objects that surround us, transforming the everyday into practical works of art. Contemporary chandelier and furniture designer, passionate recycler and advocate of modern materials, Jan believes that “It is the hidden shapes that catch us by surprise and on closer inspection reveal their humble beginnings.”

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