Live like the world depends on it.


History – Celebrating 25 Years!

It all started in 1998, when a small group of people gathered in Musk, a regional township located one and half hour drive north-west of Melbourne. Back then, it was one of the first, and rare, opportunities to share information, stories and practices about sustainable living. They pretty much felt like rebels, going against the mass and mainstream way of living. The Sustainable Living Festival was born there and then, thanks to a visionary group of changemakers that considered sustainability not as an option, but as the only way forward.

One year went by, and in 1999 the Festival took place at Hanging Rock, a sacred prehistoric volcanic formation, located one hour drive north of Melbourne. A suggestive spot, perfect to celebrate the Earth and its gifts, together with a crowd of international newcomers from Austria, New Zealand and USA.

Positive actions attract positive people; over the years the group grew and founded the Sustainable Living Foundation (SLF), which still today, organises the Festival. In 2001, the audience and volunteers increased to the point that SLF had to choose another location for the event. That’s when the Festival arrived in the City of Melbourne, hosted by the beautiful Alexandra Gardens. With a new audience and urban flavour, the Festival had more than 200 exhibitors and 100 seminars.

The sustainable movement kept growing, and the event with it. In 2003, it moved to Melbourne’s newest landmark, Birrarung Marr along the bank of the Yarra River, where its was “home” for 16 years. Now the event has evolved in a national cultural and creative festival, attracting a diverse audience — with over 150 events staged across the city of Melbourne and beyond.

While the Festival has grown and evolved since the first gathering in 1998, 25 years later, the spirit of our Festival community remains committed as ever to fostering positive change for a sustainable world and safe climate.


Walk the talk

NSF not only talks about sustainability: it is sustainability.

The Festival is a leader in “walking the talk”, adopting progressive management practices that address the environmental and social impact of events. The organising team has developed a sustainable event framework that monitors and reduces the social and ecological footprint.

Here’s what the framework covers:

GreenPower is used across the whole site; solar power instalments for audio-visual systems at key venues; water heating at the Wash Against Waste trailer.

Reduction measures such as the provision of composting toilet facilities; drinking water stations located throughout the site; grey water filtration system in the Wash Against Waste trailer.

Implementation of a Waste Wise Plan and Waste Stations; drinking water stations reduce the need to purchase bottled water and reduce plastic waste.

Visitors are encouraged to walk, bike or catch public transport. Access events by train, tram, and bike.

Event Volunteer t-shirts are made from 100% organic cotton and manufactured in sweatshop-free conditions; all food and beverage vendors are screened to ensure their offerings are as sustainable as possible; catering is completely vegetarian and/or vegan with a focus on organic and local produce