TGoG 115 – Bek’s Backyard with Bek Stiegler

Listen to the Episode Below (00:34:34)

Bek Stiegler went pretty much went from the average consumer (supermarket shopping, buying stuff she didn’t need, buying the cheapest and not caring where it came from etc) to growing pretty much all her own food (except meat and dairy), reusing and recycling, and being an extremely conscious consumer.  She lives in Melbourne on a 750m² suburban block.

She writes about her own sustainable living journey over at Bek’s Backyard, a popular gardening and lifestyle blog.

Bek Stiegler

Bek Stiegler

During the show we talk about how she went from a barren backyard to building a fruitful and abundant suburban food farm!  She loves fruit trees and eating fruit that is in season.  If there is a glut she preserves via dehydration or water bath.

Her passion and enthusiasm about growing her own food is clearly evident as you listen to the episode.  Please thank Bek for sharing her story and journey with us all.

Don’t forget that this show is financially supported by you, the listener, via our Patreon page.  If you believe the show adds value to the sustainable living community and you would like to support the show, please pledge your support at  Any pledge small or large is most welcome, as it keeps the show going and growing week by week.

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And finally, do you think this podcast episode will help someone you know?  If so, help them out by sharing it using the social media buttons below.  And if you are super excited about what you have heard during this episode, pop on over to iTunes using the button under the player and leave a rating and review.

It helps the podcast get noticed in the charts and makes it more visible for others who may be interested in living a more sustainable lifestyle in the ‘burbs.  Thanks!

If so, please join thousands of others who receive exclusive weekly online recaps & tips, and get a FREE COPY of my eBook, The Greening of Gavin - My First Year of Living Sustainably.


5 Simple Ways to Get A Weird Look In Public

Being green can draw weird looks in public, especially when you do some of the things I am in the habit of doing.  Most of these are tongue-in-cheek, but quite frankly, I still can’t figure out why some of these behaviours or actions are not yet mainstream where I live.

Let me describe a few for you.

Taking Your Own Cup to the Coffee Shop

This simple act still gets me weird looks from coffee shop clients and barista alike.  You would think that people would be used to seeing eco-conscious folk take their own cups for a cup of java, but noooo, apparently it is more fashionable and planet destroying to ask for a disposable one.  But then again, I like to set my own trend.

My favourite reusable coffee cup is the KeepCup.  You can reuse it thousands of times, and if it ever breaks, you can recycle it in curbside recycling.  Try doing that with a styrofoam or plastic coated paper coffee cup!


My hope is that more people take my lead at my local coffee kiosk, partly because it is the right thing to do, and partly because some café offer a small discount off the price of your cuppa.  What is not to like about that.

Wearing Gumboots to the Hardware Store

Yes, I must admit that when I am working hard in the garden and I need something urgently, I often forget what I am wearing on my feet and visit the hardware store with muck covered gumboots (aka wellingtons or rubber boots).  You should see the funny looks I get as I am pondering over which veggie seedlings to buy, or which bag of organic manure to lug home.  It may be okay in the country, but in the urban fringe of Melbourne, it still turns heads, especially when I have just mucked out the chook house!

Travelling on Public Transport with a Climate Change Placard

This one certainly got the most weird looks so far.  Ben and I had just attended a climate change rally in the city, and were travelling back to sleepy old Melton on the train.  You would have thought that we had two heads by the ogling that we received.  It was as if our fellow passengers had never heard of Climate Change!  May be they were blissfully unaware as I was before September 2006, but really, who hasn’t heard of Climate Change these days.  Denial or what?  What’s wrong asking for action on the most single issue affecting mankind?


Using Canvas Shopping Bags instead of Plastic bags

Kim and I still get weird looks, especially from the supermarket checkout chick or rooster from this one (probably more like a groan than anything else).  A simple bit of forethought and planning to make sure that you have canvas bags if you go to the shops.  How hard is it, honestly?

The look usually starts when they (the cashier) asks “do you want a bag” and I reply, no thanks, I have my own.  Just that is enough to get a raise eyebrow or two.  Maybe it is my return look of disbelief that I still got “the look”.  It bugs me.

I wish our state was a bit more forward thinking like South Australia where all plastic LDPE shopping bags are banned and shoppers have to take their own.  It would be just so much easier on the environment and certainly people quickly get used it.

Refusing Bottled Water at a Function

This one gets some serious weird looks.  Not drinking water from a plastic bottle?  You must be crazy.  Yes, that is actually what I have had said to my face.  I told them that I was certainly not crazy and that there was nothing wrong with tap water, which I proceed to go and find.

I think it may be time to look in the mirror, because not only is bottled water so expensive compared to tap water, the empty bottles themselves are rarely recycled and take thousands of years to breakdown in the environment.  It is a luxury that is just not worth it.  Life’s a bitch with a Mitch.  You’ll know what I mean after watching the video!

 Take a look at this post I wrote about bottled water.  It is still relevant today as it was the day I wrote it.  Once you have tap, you won’t go back.

What Happens When “The Look” Stops?

I have probably missed hundreds of examples, because I am just that sort of guy.  The one that doesn’t give a hoot what sort of attention I attract when I am different from mainstream.  And you know what?  It’s okay to be different, and try to lead by example.  People take notice, then think a little bit more deeply if they see you doing it repeatedly.

You will know when green living is mainstream when “the look” stops or is seen on the rare occasion.  I am sure there are places around Australia and the globe for that matter where the things I listed don’t get a second look or raised eyebrow ever.  Now wouldn’t it be nice to live somewhere like that!

Where I live, we are not there yet by a longshot, but it will happen eventually if I have anything to do with it.  It will be a massive day of celebration at my house when it does!

So over to you.  What green behaviours or actions make you the receiving end of a weird look in public?  Oh, and Blue Steel or Ferrari don’t count.

 Post your comments below.  I’d love to read about your weird look moment!

Sharing The Journey

It is oft said that company makes a journey far more enjoyable.  I don’t know who first said it, but they were certainly right.

Imagine my surprise, (more like bursting with pride) when I checked my Facebook timeline the other day and found this post.

Sharing the journey

It fills me with joy that Kim is my life partner and is sharing the journey that we have chosen, along side of me.

I do not lead.  She does not follow.  We walk side by side in the quest to live more sustainably each day.  Some days we win, others are not so victorious, but we travel together, always.

I don’t think that I have ever said that sustainable/simple living was ever easy (well maybe once).  If I have, then I must have had a few too many home brews that night when I was writing that post!  But don’t get me wrong, it is certainly a lifestyle worth pursuing, now more than ever.

In a society that embraces the consumer culture as the norm and living in the rat race is an everyday occurrence for most, it makes me feel incredibly alive that I left that lifestyle behind long ago.  The hedonism of today is a disease inflicted upon many who follow it.   Constant need for entertainment, consumerism gone wild, mixed in with bouts of boredom, guilt and financial stress.  It doesn’t seem worth the hassle to me or the financial heartache, because I know from experience that it will more often than not end in tears and suffering.

Give someone a suburban yard with space to grow veg, raise chooks, plant a couple of dozen fruit trees, among other green endeavours and living a simple life with an understanding partner and family that supports them, you will find a very happy individual.  For they have built and grown an honest and practical life for themselves, learning skills for the future–whatever that may bring–leaving behind the trap of consumerism.

That is why I am so thankful that Kim wrote that Facebook post.  It may seem like such a little thing, but it confirms to me that we are indeed on the right path and gives me the courage to keep keeping it real.

So today, wherever they may be, here’s to supportive partners everywhere.  May they be loved and treasured and travel together far sharing the journey for a long, long time.

We are at our very best, and we are happiest, when we are fully engaged in work we enjoy on the journey toward the goal we’ve established for ourselves. It gives meaning to our time off and comfort to our sleep. It makes everything else in life so wonderful, so worthwhile. ~ Earl Nightingale

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