Green Living Champions - Anna, Blackburn North

We talk with local residents who have embraced environmentally friendly lifestyles and practices, and invited them to give their tips on how you can do the same!

Anna, The Urban Nanna

Anna is one of our Green Living Champions and is affectionately known as “The Urban Nanna” to her loyal social media followers. As a side hustle she spreads the word of living sustainably by teaching workshops (including low waste living and foraging) and is often contacted by the media for comments about these topics.  

Anna has been a teacher and a vice principal of a 5-star sustainable school in north-east Victoria, and has a background in science and horticulture. Her mum is Swedish, so she grew up in a household with a sustainable outlook. But it wasn’t until she did some permaculture courses, including one with David Holmgren co-founder of the permaculture movement, that she found her true calling and is now guided by what she learnt.  

“Permaculture is only partially in the garden. It’s a whole lifestyle and systems-based way of living. It has a framework of 12 guiding principles that remind you what to do. You don’t need to buy a goat or composting toilet; you can even just change what tea bags you buy to avoid microplastics,” reflects Anna. 

“The first principle of permaculture is to stop and think about what you are doing. Is there something you could do more sustainably?  You’ll find a better solution, and everything always has to be adapted to fit your own situation,” recommends Anna.  

Anna’s specialty is ‘renting permaculture’ and says that “Lots of people are renting and can’t afford big fancy houses. I’ve rented the last 10 houses and have been doing lots of growing in pots – for example rhubarb and fruit trees. And you don’t need to buy things – you can make own compost and use recycled pots.” 

Anna has given us some of her top tips to put us on the path to living more sustainably. “Quite often being more sustainable can start by focussing on food, money and personal comfort. We are all trying to do better for the Earth. Just try something small and take it step by step... and then try something new”, suggests Anna. 

  1. “Focus on something that hits home -  which is usually food. Look at where you source your food from and find two small ways of making it more sustainable – tomatoes for example, don’t buy them in plastic bags.  

  1. Observe where your packaged food comes from. Do an audit of how much waste your household produces in a month. Where does it come from? How much plastic do you use and find alternatives for them. 

  1. Look at how much energy your household uses and see where you can save”.