Nicole Bray, co-founder of the Share Shed at Salisbury, tells us about her share economy initiative and the thriving scene in sustainability businesses and organisations in her local area.

There’s something special about Brisbane’s Salisbury area. For the last 18 months, this neighbourly suburb on the southside has been getting decidedly more connected and a whole lot more eco-friendly in the process.

In the warehouses off Evans Rd, you’ll find a hub of sustainable activity. Come down on a Saturday morning for a historical walking tour and you’ll find an old World War II munitions factory that is now home to Share Shed Inc, Queensland’s first library of things.

In this unique shed located at Textile Crescent, the Salisbury community shares access to hundreds of useful items for all sorts of occasions. There’s kayaks and tents for the adventurers, marquees, lights and catering supplies for backyard parties, wheelbarrows, pressure cleaners and air-compressors for the weekend gardener, plus hundreds of other practical items that make it easier to do more and own less.

Thumbs up from the locals

As Share Shed co-founder I’m thrilled with the enthusiastic community support for this unique library.

Not only do individual members and families love having access to great practical items, the local football club and state school regularly borrow from the library for their fundraising activities.

Sharing is a multiplier of positive outcomes. Every time a member has a positive borrowing experience, they realise how easy it is to detach from ownership while still having their needs met.

Plus, our members support the growth of a less wasteful economy and make stronger connections with the people in their community. Buying from a store can’t compete with that kind of feel-good emotion.

A shed in good company

Share Shed is in good company in the old munitions factory. For those wanting to ditch plastic-packaged vegetables for good, they can buy directly from their farmer every week with Food Connect. A much-loved icon of the Brisbane ethical food movement for nearly 14 years, Food Connect is about to transform into a food hub. Founder and director, Rob Pekin, is excited for the next stage – a community-led redesign and expansion of the warehouse, set to kick off with an equity crowd-funding campaign.

Rob says: “We’re asking the community to buy the warehouse together and to share in the ownership and the redesign. We want to build a space that directly responds to our community needs, not corporate agendas.”

Creating a better world is thirsty work, so it’s lucky for Rob that Ballistic Beer set up shop on the other side of Evan’s Road. This popular local brewery will gladly fill your growler or squealer (the wonderfully poetic names for refillable take-home beer jugs) with their latest pale ale or lager.

From borrowing to beer, there’s a business helping people reduce their carbon footprint just about everywhere you look. Sewing Adventures is a popular local sewing studio that teaches people how to mend clothing and make their own, but it also has a library of sewing patterns available to borrow. Plus, Sewing Adventures plays hosts to the local Boomerang Bags group. Owner Leesa Simpson says the business has benefitted from the eco-buzz in the area. “It’s delightful to help people connect with their creativity while discovering how well-fitted clothes are so much better for your self-esteem and for the planet. Why would you ever throw away a dress or shirt you love to wear?”

Discover sustainable Salisbury

In a world where it sometimes feels like a sustainable lifestyle is hard to maintain amongst the fast and cheap chain store offerings, a Saturday morning trip to Salisbury may be just what you need to refill your (reusable) cup.

Share Shed Inc:  shareshed.org.au

Food Connect: foodconnect.com.au

Food Connect Crowd Funding: localfoodhub.com.au

Ballistic Beer: ballisticbeer.com.au

Sewing Adventures: sewingadventures.com.au

Boomerang Bags Salisbury: boomerangbags.org