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It is so exciting to see and be part of a movement that is looking to change the world, starting locally, making a difference at home, and then taking the message out to the wider community. The Zero Waste movement in Ireland is very inspiring. There is a closed Facebook group (Zero Waste Ireland) that has over 6000 members. If you are looking for tips, support and inspiration to reduce the plastic and waste in your home, and you are on Facebook, I would urge you to join.

I have been to three super interesting events this year to do with Zero Waste. (All free, or just about free). The most recent being the Zero Waste Festival on the 25th of June in Dublin. This was a very well attended event, all Eventbrite tickets were sold out and entry to the hall for those without tickets was somewhat restricted. (I did not have the presence of mind to buy my ticket online, so I had to wait a while for a space to become available)

I learned a lot. Firstly, that if you don’t really know what to do next, or temporarily feel a little out of your depth (socially awkward) find someone who you can help and  help that someone out for a while. You get to meet people, you get to share insights that may help the common goal to be achieved and you get to practice at being collaborative.

There was a clothes swap; I came home with the best T-shirt: ‘I shot JR’. Just like the one in Father Ted. It is good as it is, but it is also the  perfect quirky T-shirt that can be upcycled into something a bit more interesting. There were vendors there too, a place to buy second hand baby clothes, bamboo toothbrushes, homemade palm free soaps, reusable handmade sanitary towels, refills for washing up liquid and olive oil, bulk buy items such as rice, oats and sultanas and a stall that was selling fruit leathers. There were also a number of excellent workshops on throughout the day. I went to the fermentation workshop.

Blog followers would know that I have at times been a fairly enthusiastic fermenter, so at this festival, I went to a fermentation workshop given by master fermenter and chef Neil Barrett. (He gives fermentation classes) It is always interesting to relearn what you already learned or know from a different source. You get different perspectives and a deeper understanding of the topic because each person focuses on what interests them the most. (That is the reason I enjoy going foraging with other foragers, I always learn new snippets of info)

I left that wonderful workshop with the knowledge that I have been mistreating my milk kefir grains, and that I need to make and eat sauerkraut again. I also left with the feeling that I need to be a little more careful with measuring ingredients, especially when feeding cultures. To put my scientific training to work while experimenting with food. Using scales, keeping notes, aiming for reproducability. All that without loosing the sense of play that I get when I try something new or tread uncharted territory in the kitchen. So I have removed the milk kefir from the fridge, boiled up some water for the newly acquired water kefir, fed my ginger bug and fed my newly acquired sourdough starter, I think I will dig that ancient sauerkraut out of the fridge and have a go of that with dinner. Thanks Neil for the re-inspiration!

This was a great festival, so much to learn, so many interesting people to meet, and re-meet. And to think, I almost chickened out of going.