Conversation Hub

Intimate chats with amazing people!

The Off-Grid Living Festival is all about interaction, and what better way to learn and interact than with a good ol’ chat. Come along to the conversation hub to sit and chat with some wonderful people with a vast array or experience, knowledge and wisdom.

Hosted by: Lachlan Gales, Ovens & King Builders
No booking required except for the Grafting Workshop, which can be booked at the Blackbarn Farm Stall anytime throughout the day.


9.45 – 10.30am

Sarah Rickard

Living sustainably doesn’t have to cost the earth.

Come along and learn solutions to make a home or building more ecologically sustainable, and support lifestyles that are resilient and regenerative.
10.30 – 11.15am

Ella Boyen
Compost Community

Learn about bokashi and how this fermentation system will revolutionalise the way you compost meat, dairy and other tricky items! Get some great tips on different types of compost systems to help you decide what will work for you.
11.15 – 12.00pm

Po Mei Kwong
Crystal Waters Ecovillage & CASA Australia

Po Mei has lived in an Ecovillage in QLD for many years and has some very interesting insights into a world outside of the mainstream.

Come along as she talks about taking off-grid living one step further, the benefits of not only disconnecting from municiple services but from mainstream media and influences as well.

Learn about passive haus design in Australia
12.00 – 12.45

Lachlan Gales
Ovens & King Builders

Learn to get the most out of the suns energy to heat and cool your home by implement smart passive haus (house) design and building techniques.

Imagine living in a space that stays at a beautiful 18-23*C all year round – with no aircon or electronic heating required. Join certified Passive Haus builder Lachlan Gales to learn the basics and get you started on the perfect house design.
1.00 – 1.45

Debbie Rodda
Debzzz Beekeeping Paradise

Join Deb Rodda as she quiches your curiosity about bees, with interesting stories and facts about bee colonies and her adventures in bee-keeping.

Bees are amazing intricate creatures and the food sources a on which they depend (and what effects their output) are just as amazing.
2.00 – 2.45

Steave Petrie
Grazed Meats

A discussion about Soil Health, nutrition agronomy and regenerative farming. Focusing on how this leads to healthier animals and more nutritious food for human consumption.


10.00 – 10.45am

Ricki Hersburgh
Plastic Oceans Australasia

After the huge success and change-making power of the film Plastic Oceans, the team are now setting their sites on more environmental impact and Ricki will be introducing you to their new focus – Plastic in the Air.

POA is proud to announce the release of our new short film ‘Plastic in the Air’ and this informative talk will discuss the facts of the film and give you an insight into the state of pollution in our world today.
11.00 – 11.45am

Kathy Ashton
Flourish Live Naturally

A healthy thyroid equals a healthy sustainable you – This little gland is often misunderstood, misdiagnosed and mistreated. This presentation will explain from beginning to end, the 8 different steps involved in having a healthy thyroid. It will explain the foods that hinder and the foods that heal. Understand how the liver and gut microbes play a vital role in optimal thyroid health.

Kathy will also touch on another topic she is passionate about – Gut Health. With a focus on how important it is to have a healthy, diverse gut microbiome and how this impacts health.
12.00 – 12.45pm

Chelsea McNab
Executive Officer – Yarra Valley ECOSS

Curious about community living, eco-villages, sustainability and some great examples for a long-term working project? Join Chelsea McNab as she takes you through some of the most exciting parts of Yarra Valley Ecoss, with a focus on the thriving example of what happens when you build respectful relationships with first nations, and other multicultural community members, combined with shared ethics NFP and small business.
1.00 – 1.45pm

Gamila MacRury
Gamila at Beechworth

Do you have an olive tree at your place? Have you tried eating them off the tree only to find they are the most bitter horrible things around? Have you sat on a couch putting slits in olives, changing the water every day, only for 3 months later to be left with uninspiring or uneatable olives? Then this is the talk for you.

We produce award winning wild fermented table olives and in this short talk we will share a little of our story plus the techniques and tricks for making your own delicious olives at home with minimum fuss.
2.00 – 2.45pm

David Arnold
Murnong Farm

Join farmer and Permaculture Teacher, David Arnold, to hear about his experiences in home food production and why this is such a powerful skill.

Home food gardens can be beautiful, satisfying, and delicious. Could it be that they also address the major issues of our time?
3.00 – 3.45

Alison Hawthorn
Volunteer at Our Native Garden Nursery in Wodonga

There are lots of reasons to grow local native plants. Come along and learn the why and how of growing indigenous plants.