Home' LOTL : Dec 11 Contents Every community needs a Fairy Princess and the LGBT community
of Lismore is blessed an abundance of that precious goodness in
one exuberant, irrepressible package called Fairy Princess Amber.
Tropical Fruits is lucky to have Amber as a Committee member, with
the dedicated responsibilities of Green Team and Cabaret under her
wings. Amber is particularly passionate about her role in the greening
of Tropical Fruits' events. I spoke to her on a rainy a ernoon out in the
Fruits' kitchen garden, as I munched on a lettuce leaf.
Amber spoke about her excitement at the opportunities for Tropical
Fruits to become "carbon positive". "I'm tired of being neutral!" said
Amber. "I want to be positive! e term carbon neutral is so passive..."
Amber's visions for the greening of the Fruity events include looking
at accessing alternative energ y sources for powering the parties; building
working partnerships in order to grow kitchen gardens on site, since
Tropical Fruits feeds many volunteers daily during the production period
and beyond; using the existing natural water way as a site for environmental
regeneration, and upcycling all party waste. Tropical Fruits already uses
bicycles to travel to the production site. Amber wants to reduce vehicle
use further, and is particularly fond of introducing tuk tuks for trips
further a eld. Big dreams. Amber doesn't think small.
Amber believes that living in the beautiful Northern Rivers region is
conducive to having an eco-mindset, and a er a recent trip to Europe,
returned home to the beloved Northern Rivers as a self-identi ed eco-
sexual. She spent time while in Berlin and Spain doing Ecosexuality
workshops with Annie Sprinkle (cult performance artist and post-porn
performer) and her partner Beth Stevens.
Amber explains her relationship to ecosexuality as a process of treating
the earth as a lover rather than a mother. I re ected upon this and
understood the level of care she was referring to. Mothers are expected to
clean up a er you create a mess whereas lovers tend towards an engagement
where con ict is mutually managed. It seems like a no-brainer in these
troubled times. Treading lightly, nurturing, caretaking and mar veling at
the earth are all ways of manifesting ecosexuality. Amber would like to
create spaces to allow people to process their own interpretations of how
to take the earth as your lover!
Vicki Harding owner of Flying Penguin's toy store in Newtown has
always had a passion for education -- growing up she remembers
spending all her days in the public library. "I would usually be
there, playing games and reading when other kids were playing outside.
My goal was to be a librarian, so it's no surprise that I set up e Women's
Library as soon as I found my feminist feet."
Over the years Harding has had many di erent jobs in the education
sector however she confesses that her love for tackling "big projects" was
what inspired her to open her own toy store -- a store whose roots are
rmly planted in eco friendly and educational toys.
She says that "Flying Penguin is a synthesis of my love of education,
the importance of toys in learning and my interest in conserving the
environment, along with the risk and excitement of starting a new project."
Harding and her partner Jackie decided to set up business in their
local community of Newtown: "Given that our daughter, Brenna, went
to primary school in Newtown, we knew that it was the perfect place
for a quality toy shop because the population of children in that area is
growing and there was no toy shop on King Street (which is the southern
hemisphere's longest shopping strip, by the way)."
Flying Penguin was an instant hit. e shop stood out for its quality
products and attention to detail. According to Harding the toys at Flying
Penguin o er "plenty of quality and varied educational opportunity: to
encourage the development of motor skills, imagination and social skills
as well as literacy and numeracy."
Another bonus is they also have a lesser impact on the environment
than the usual plastic toys available at the big department stores.
"Most are made of FSC certi ed wood or wood in plentiful supply like
bamboo or rubberwood, any plastic is recycled, nothing needs batteries
and we sell a range of Fair Trade toys. It is really important that our
products are well-made toys from quality material so that they have more
chance of being passed on, rather than sent to land ll."
So what makes a great kid's toy?
"A solid, quality toy that can be used in a variety of ways over several
stages of a child's development is perfect, especially if it is open-ended,
with no set solution and not branded with a particular TV show or movie.
ese are the best conditions to encourage creativity, and long play/
learning sessions. Stacking , music and building toys are great, as well as
strategic games for older children." Check out Flying Penguin's top ten
toys in LOTL's gi guide.
Read our extended interview with Vicki online.
Tropical Fruits' Fairy Princess Amber. By Virginia
12 Lesbians On The Loose Magazine • lotl.com
Lifestyle Opinion / Profile / Travel / Food / Stars
Vicki Harding's passion for education has
resulted in a unique toy business --
Flying Penguin. Cec Busby reports.
PHOTO COURTESY CHRIS PEKEN
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