Stars align for Living Smart Festival 2024

Published on 09 July 2024

Living Smart Festival returns to Speers Point Park in September.jpg

Alone Australia season one winner Gina Chick, ‘Frugal Foodie’ Steph de Sousa and River Cottage Australia host Paul West are set to spearhead this year’s bumper Living Smart Festival in Lake Macquarie.

The Saturday 21 September festival is one of Australia’s largest sustainability events, with a mission to encourage people to learn about and embrace everyday sustainability practices.

This year’s festival, supported by the NSW Government’s Stronger Together Major Festival Local Council Grants program, will take place across a single day, with a longer duration of 9am-3pm.

A range of workshops, stalls and presenters will cover all things sustainability, while a multicultural zone will invite people from around the world to showcase practices, traditions, dancing, music and cooking from their home countries.

Gina Chick, who spent 67 days solo in the Tasmanian wilderness to take out the inaugural season of Alone Australia in 2023, will talk to festival-goers about her experience, what she learnt from it and how connecting with nature can strengthen and enrich the soul.

De Sousa rose to fame as a contestant on Masterchef, but has enjoyed even greater success as a social media star.

The Lake Mac resident has gained an army of more than one million followers through her cheap and cheerful recipes and cooking videos, and will teach Living Smart Festival-goers about keeping things sustainable – environmentally and financially – in the kitchen.

West, who describes himself as a “food grower, family feeder and yarn spinner”, hosts the cult-hit ABC show River Cottage Australia, and co-founded the ‘Grow It Local’ movement.

Grow It Local encourages more Australians to grow, share and eat locally grown food, with more than 37,000 members and 6100 registered food growing patches nationwide.

Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser said this year’s festival line-up covered a broad range of sustainability themes and topics.

“Living Smart Festival is one of Lake Mac’s landmark annual events,” she said.

“It’s a celebration of living sustainably, and has played a major role instilling a more environmentally friendly mindset into the mainstream.”

The Living Smart Festival is proudly sponsored by the NSW Government’s Multicultural NSW, Hunter Resource Recovery, Hunter Water, Allambi Care, the University of Newcastle, Newcastle Weekly, and Greater Bank.

Multicultural NSW CEO Joseph La Posta said the festival was an opportunity to bring communities together to share their cultures.

“Multicultural NSW is pleased to support an initiative that provides meaningful ways for culture to be shared by individuals and local cultural groups,” he said.

“The creation of three culturally diverse zones in 2024 is a testament to a strong commitment to the values of diversity and inclusion.

Expressions of interest are now open for people interested in presenting at the event, and for stallholders whose values and products aligned with the ethos of Living Smart Festival.

Go to for more information.