ONE thing struck the organiser of a new Koroit festival on Saturday while watching thousands stroll among the stalls - no one was on their mobile phone.
For Replenish Our Planet Living Festival director Tina Stubbs it was proof that "enjoying the simpler things" on offer at the festival was akin to "living sustainably".
"It's getting back to basics and getting back to nature," Ms Stubbs said of the entertainment.
"There were little boys climbing the trees and running around playing, there was no face painting or fairy floss."
She said 2500 people attended the festival to listen to a dozen speakers, wander among 107 stalls, and listen to live music under the Koroit Botanic Gardens' trees.
Ms Stubbs said farming families were particularly drawn to the festival to listen to Peter Anderson, the pioneer of natural sequence farming, and Ecklin South's Sam Doolan, who is trialling regenerative farming practices on his family's dairy farm.
"We were appealing to people agriculturally to make small changes in their farming method for their betterment," Ms Stubbs said.
Architecture also featured, with displays of small off-the-grid housing, and straw and hemp for use in building materials.
The festival also had a "zero waste" policy and screened patrons for single-use coffee cups and water bottles. Instead, volunteers manned wash-up stations and people enjoyed drinks in reusable cups, while food vendors used compostable materials.
Ms Stubbs said the policy had benefits for the environment and the festival's budget. "We didn't have to pay people to go and clean up," she said. "There was not one speck of rubbish on the ground."
She said the festival's success had guaranteed it would return as a biennial event, with the next one planned for 2021.
"We want to do these things every two years because things are changing so rapidly," Ms Stubbs said.
Ms Stubbs, who lives in Rosebrook and co-ordinates the Natures Way Eco Sanctuary, said the festival was one way to help community adapt to the world's "climate crisis".
"I was concerned about the future for my grandchildren, I wanted to leave them with something that I grew up with, with trees to climb. I want to allow them to live in a clean green world," she said.
"I felt the children and the people were very connected. People were happy.
"It was an awesome day."
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