Solar cooking and zero landfill at Off the Grid 2017

Off the Grid 2017 is a solar-powered celebration dedicated to transforming the city we live in. On Friday 22 December, Off the Grid will take over the forecourt of the Australian Centre of Contemporary Arts (ACCA) to present 14 hours of talks, dancing, eating and drinking without sending a single piece of material to landfill.


Large music events and festivals often rely on volunteers to clean mass volumes of rubbish after the event has taken place, however Off the Grid has designed an easy no-waste experience which empowers individuals to question why they would even need to create waste in the first place.


In line with the environmental ethos of the event, most food available at the event will be prepared on solar cookers.


“In an effort to reduce reliance on power for the day, we’re going to cook with the sun. If the sun is out, we’ll cook – if it’s not – we won’t. Bring your sunnies because the solar cookers are bright and you might score a meal cooked with mirrors, like an inverse disco ball,” says Ross Harding, cofounder of Off the Grid.


Everything will be served with compostable plates and cutlery, which can be disposed of in large bins marked ‘compostable’. At the conclusion of the event, these bins will be emptied and sent to a farm in Bass Coast for composting. There will also be solar refrigerators on site to chill the beer and to keep the food cool and fresh.


Adam James and Paul Mattei are on board to create this wonderful low-energy food experience, which will demonstrate green energy solutions in a fun and delicious way. Paul is keeping it fresh with no cooking at all, while Adam will cook with the sun.


Fermenting guru Adam James has been involved in the flavour-making business for over 20 years. The self-taught Tasmanian chef set up Rough Rice (his fermentation-based enterprise) over four years ago and quickly started doing pop-ups around Tasmania including regular appearances at MONA and its affiliated festivals. Adam has just returned to Australian shores after a nine week ‘world fermentation tour’ which took him from monasteries in Korea to the kitchens of Copenhagen with stops in remote villages in China, Italy and Japan along the way.


Adam will be bringing in a bunch of seasonal, organic ingredients from the Yarra Valley as well as some of his ferments, which are produced in Tasmania. He will be serving his dishes in lettuce cups, san choy bao style. Everything will be vegetarian/vegan/gluten free – although he might add the option of a solar-cooked fried egg if the sun is out! The only thing that will be prepared off site is boiled rice, which will be reheated on the solar cookers or served cold with assorted veggies and ferments.


Paul Mattei is the owner and operator of Fresh Fork Catering. His passion for food extends to organic, ethical and sustainably sourced produce and combines a flair for creativity and clever design. Paul has extensive knowledge of food in relation to health and wellbeing and lectures on the subject for a number of retreat centres and wellbeing events around Australia. Paul will be serving up a delicious offering of fresh plant-based cuisine, all locally and sustainable sourced.


After sensational efforts at the previous iterations of Off the Grid, Milne’s Zero Waste Bar is back to ensure the drinks are flowing from start to finish but absolutely nothing is sent to landfill. The bar will be using polycarbonate cups which will be washed and reused though out the day. Punters will be charged a loan fee of $3 for their first drink, which will be refunded when they return their cup, or a clean cup will be used in its place for the next drink.


Tea and coffee will also be available, courtesy of Storm in a Teacup and Cam’s Kiosk. Hannah from Storm in a Teacup will also be hosting Chinese Tea Ceremonies, wherein festival-goers will be able to sit down for a 15-minutes for a chat and a cup of tea with one of the experts on The Palimpsest line up.


Presented by Finding Infinity – an organisation dedicated to speeding up the world’s transition to renewables through creativity and consulting – Off the Grid is designed to help the city of Melbourne create its own future based on infinite resources. The day will commence with a conference program – dubbed The Palimpsest – designed to promote the exchange of ideas and innovations by exploring experts’ visions of future cities, followed by a big party featuring Jay Daniel (US), Chee Shimzu (JAP), Krakatau, Kaiit, Two Steps on the Water, Ben Fester, Jaala Vs Man, Dianas, Toni Yotzi and SOMA.


Off the Grid

Friday 22 December

ACCA, 111 Sturt Street, Southbank

Tickets on sale now at