My Geelong

(Louisa Jones) 214278_06

Transition Streets Geelong co-ordinator Monica Winston is helping neighbours to transform their homes and reduce their ecological footprint together. She speaks to Luke Voogt.

Tell us about you…

I’m 59 and I moved to Torquay about a year and half ago – I was yearning to be near nature. I grew up in Sydney and I’ve moved around a bit. I lived in Geelong for 12 years. I really like Geelong because it’s got that mix of city feel with the friendliness and connection of a rural community.

I was a founding member of Geelong Sustainability in 2007 and I ran permaculture courses and a discounted solar bulk buys program.

I have a one-eye cat, Pumpkin, and he’s very affectionate. Importantly, he’s inside at night so he’s not chasing wildlife.

I have a property in Belmont where collaboratively with the tenants, Sprout and Bean owners Cherie Seeto and Shaun McLeod, we’re creating an urban farm with a micro-market garden.

I like meditating, dancing, singing, playing guitar and hiking in nature – it doesn’t matter if it’s the beach or the bush.

What is Transition Streets Geelong and how are you involved?

I’ve been the coordinator at Transition Streets Geelong for four years. If everyone in the world lived like Australians did prior to COVID-19, we’d need the resources of five planets. We help people reduce their ecological footprint in areas including water, energy and food consumption, transport, waste and other consumption. And most importantly, we help people do it as a community with interested neighbours. It’s a fun thing to do and people are making friends they can share things with. We recently received a $150,000 grant from the state government to run 11 workshops and a festival in March just before COVID-19 hit.

What are your favourite things to do locally?

Before restrictions, I liked to eat at plant-based restaurants like Feast Geelong, Sprout and Bean and Face Plant on Pakington Street.

I also like local Indian and Asian places like Saffron Indian Cuisine in Moorabool Street, because you can get plant-based options there as well. I hope they’re all still going at the end of COVID-19.

I love the green spaces of the Bellarine Peninsula, the bird life down there is very beautiful. I enjoy going to Buckley Falls, the coast and Tuckerberry Hill berry farm in Drysdale.

How are you coping with COVID-19?

I’m coping OK. I think meditating and yoga helps. I’m enjoying not rushing around. I’m on Zoom a lot, having meetings with people.

I’m spending more time getting the edible gardens going at Belmont and my home in Torquay. I’m looking forward to being able to go outside without a mask, hug people, get involved with edible garden blitzes and see people from Transition Streets in-person again.

What’s something about you that people might not know?

I taught mind, body and spirit dance in Geelong for seven years.