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desertSMART EcoFair 2020 full program

We're excited to announce the launch of the 2020 EcoFair!

Join us over three fun-filled days showcasing local innovation and stimulating ideas and action in the fields of science and sustainability in central Australia. 

Enjoy talks, films, mini-markets and plant sale, garden workshops, music, kids entertainment, a science tour and more!

  • Hear from leaders and innovators driving local and national science and sustainability
  • Learn about local climate solutions, the emerging hemp industry, bush medicine, arid zone gardening and renewable energy
  • Connect with ideas, people and local organisations working in sustainability
  • Live events and online webinars 

The EcoFair will be held in outside venues across Alice Springs including the Olive Pink Botanic Gardens, Alice Springs Community Garden and Desert Knowledge Precinct. This year, events and talks will also be broadcast online!

Community safety is at the forefront of this festival's design. Please comply with the COVID-19 safety event guidelines at all times. Do not attend if you are sick or have come from a national hotspot.

Friday 7th August

ABC Outside Broadcast

EcoFair launch with ABC Alice Springs 

4-6 PM @ Bean Tree Cafe, Olive Pink Botanic Garden

Join us at the Bean Tree Café Courtyard with ABC Alice Springs and special guest speakers from EcoFair, live music and fantastic prizes up for grabs in the Great Science Quiz hosted (virtually!) by Costa Georgiadis, our EcoFair staple! A family-friendly event.


Film Works of David Nixon
Film Works of David Nixon - People, Environment and Country

7-9 PM @ Olive Pink Botanic Gardens

A retrospective showcasing works works created and co-created by David Nixon about people and sustainability in Central Australia.  Food and beverages available from the Bean Tree Cafe all evening. $5 entry. BYO. 

Purchase your ticket to attend the film night at the Olive Pink Botanic Gardens.


This event will also be broadcast online, so those outside Alice Springs can watch. Please register here to receive your link to the online broadcast.  

Saturday 8th August

Olive Pink Landcare Buffel Bust

8-9:30 AM @ Olive Pink Botanic Garden

Come along, meet a great bunch of people, get fit, and help protect River Red Gums in the Todd River! Remove buffel grass and help stop these majestic beauties being burnt to the ground. On this day as part of the EcoFair and every second Saturday of the month. Meet at the Olive Pink Botanic Garden entrance at 8AM. 

Planting Methods for Central Australian Native Plants

9:30-10:30 AM @ Olive Pink Botanic Gardens

The Olive Pink Botanic Garden has planted 600 native plants this autumn. Come and learn about the McEllister Planting Method used, see the results, share your experiences planting and growing central Australian natives, and hear what worked for others. The McEllister Method involves using termites rather than worms to work the soil. The Garden will be opening up several deep planting holes to see if termites have been active and what the effects have been. Presented by the Australian Plant Society Alice Springs.


Hemp Territory: Green Opportunities for the NT

10.30-11.30 AM @ Olive Pink Botanic Gardens + online 

An exploration of the science behind hemp farming and the benefits and opportunities for expansion of the hemp industry in the Northern Territory. Presented by Paul Burke, CEO NT Farmers and Klara Marosszeky, CEO Australian Hemp Masonry, Tim Schmidt, Hemp Association of TasmaniaPresident and James Vosper, Australian Industrial Hemp Alliance President. 

Climate Change in Central Australia

11.30-12.30 AM @ Olive Pink Botanic Gardens + online

Join a robust discussion about the uncertain future that climate change poses for Central Australia and the community leaders that are stepping up in the face of what climate science shows is ahead. Speakers include Donna Ah Chee (Central Australian Aboriginal Congress), Norman Frank and Geoff Evans (Julalikari Council Aboriginal Corporation). 

This event will also be broadcast live. Online places are limited, register now to receive your link to the online webinar.

Mini markets
Mini markets

9 AM - 1:00 PM @ Olive Pink Botanic Gardens

Connect with local organisations driving sustainability and learn about how you can get involved with your community.

Purple House
Purple House Bush Medicine Workshop

1-2 PM @ Olive Pink Botanic Gardens 

Join Traditional Owners from Purple House for a one hour Bush Medicine Workshop where you can see, feel and smell the local plants that form the key active ingredients of the bush rubs made by Purple House for use in Traditional Healing. This is your opportunity to sit with the women and grind the leaves into a paste while hearing the stories of their special healing properties. We’ll even teach you how to greet people in Arrernte, the traditional language of Mparntwe (Alice Springs).

This workshop is limited to 20 places. Bookings essential. 

Desert Knowledge Precinct Tour: Explore Science and Culture on Country

3-5 PM at the Desert Knowledge Precinct.

Explore the Desert Knowledge Precinct on a guided tour starting with a Welcome to Precinct, and then a tour of the DKA Solar Centre, Precinct grounds and partner organisations. Experience solar arrays and satellite ground stations, arts and culture, and learn about Indigenous land management on this flexible walking tour. Water and light refreshments will be provided.

This walking tour is limited to 50 places. Bookings essential. 

Sunday 9th August 

Food for Alice

9-11 AM @ Alice Springs Community Garden

Food for Alice connects local people with local produce.  Come along to the Saturday market selling fresh, quality produce from local, ethical suppliers including farmers, the Community Garden, bakeries, honey producers, coffee roasters and backyard growers. Enjoy coffee and cakes for sale too!

Garden Walking Tour and workshop

11 AM-12:00 PM, 12-1 PM @ Alice Springs Community Garden

Join local gardener gurus Geoff Miers, Bruce Simmons and bearded friends sharing tips for growing food in Alice Springs as part of a guided tour of the thriving community garden.

Bookings essential. Cost: $10.

Ecofair wrap up lunch
EcoFair wrap party and lunch

12-2:30 PM @ Alice Springs Community Garden

Join us to wrap up the 2020 EcoFair with wood fired pizza, cake, coffee and soup, run by Community Garden volunteers.

Hear from local innovators talking about the next steps towards sustainability in central Australia.