Nov 302013
 

Join a vibrant food culture, growing and eating local

Covering all matters food in North East Melbourne

Whether you are a local food producer, want to eat local food, grow veggies in your garden or just want to meet like-minded folks, Local Food Connect is for you.

Eltham Farmers’ Market, a Local Food Connect initiative, is held every Sunday.

Jan 242018
 

Mac’s tip of the week

If you have not done so already, all your fruiting crops would probably appreciate another dose of potash or other fertilisers high in Potassium (except, of course, those stonefruits whose fruit has already been harvested). This will maximise your plants’ flower production and fruit quality (and also strengthen cell walls to fight off disease). Note that regular watering over summer can often leach out some nutrients that have not already been taken up by your plants.

Read all of Mac’s tips.

Pip pip onk onk!

The winner of last week's random draw for the free annual subscription of the PIP magazine was Rebecca Oates.

45 people entered the draw, up from 30 in the previous week. Given the level of interest, I have decided to offer yet another year’s free subscription this week. It will work as before: if you have previously entered, you are automatically entered for this week; if you haven’t previously entered and want to enter this week, simply email me some time today (Wednesday) with the word ‘PIP’ or equivalent.

Thanks to Ken Johnson’s two-year-old daughter for the “pip pip onk onk!” reference.

FareShare’s kitchen garden manual

Abbotsford-based FareShare have written a manual to share their experiences of urban food production at their Melbourne garden locations. Subjects covered include: crops grown and yield; soil; composting; integrated pest management; crop rotation; and companion planting. Click here to download.

One thing that struck me was their list of ‘top priority’ vegetables to grow: capsicum, carrot, celery, eggplant, leek, parsnip, pumpkin, sweet potato, turnip/swede and zucchini. Rather a surprising list. I thought I would go through the discipline of choosing my top 10 vegetables to grow and comparing it with theirs. Here is my list: bean, carrot, garlic, lettuce, onion, potato, pumpkin, silverbeet, tomato and zucchini. Only two in common with their list.

No Grainer

No Grainer, from Reservoir, are now in the Local Food Directory: read their entry. They make grain-free bread (and scrolls), which is also free of pseudo grains and starches. Read their Local Food Directory entry. Welcome Jo and Sally!

You can buy No Grainer’s bread at Apples and Sage Organic Wholefoods (Balwyn), Aunt Maggies (Fitzroy), Chirnside Park Health & Wellbeing, Go Vita (Greensborough), Ivanhoe Health Store, La Manna Fresh (Brunswick), Organic Fix (Eltham), Organic Wholefoods (Brunswick), Pachamama Wholefoods (Brunswick), Rhubarb Rhubarb Organics (Preston), Terra Madre (Northcote), Toscano’s Kew and Wild Things Food (Fitzroy North).

News about local food producers

Rivers of Yarrambat are looking for both a pastry chef (full- or part-time) or a chef (full-time or casual) If interested, call Karen Moad by phone (0409 436800) or email your resume.

Arthurs Creek Garlic’s fusions and olive oils are now available at A1 Bakery (Fairfield), Fairfield Delicatessen, Psarakos Market (Thornbury) and Renaissance SUPA IGA (Hawthorn – both IGAs), as well as Bolton Street Deli & Liquor (Eltham), Quintons SUPA IGA (Warrandyte) and Eltham Farmers’ Market.

Blue Pear Pantry’s ready-to-eat meals are now available at Yarra Valley Farmers’ Market as well as Eltham Deli, Eltham Farmers’ Market, FoodWorks Research, Lettuce Inn (Hurstbridge) Gourmet Living (Templestowe), Panton Hill General Store, Quintons SUPA IGA (Warrandyte), Renaissance IGA (Hawthorn), Switchback Cellars (Chirnside Park), Warrandyte Riverside Market, Wonga Park Farmers’ Market and Yarra Glen Racecourse Market.

Kaz’s Chai’s chai is now available at Dynamic Vegies (Eltham) and Organic Fix (Eltham), as well as Nature’s Harvest Hurstbridge and Eltham Farmers’ Market.

Have you seen a good film recently?

Chris Kent has written in to recommend the film Gardening With Soul, which he borrowed from Eltham Library.

Have you ever thought about going to Sri Lanka?

If you have ever been to Eltham Farmers’ Market on the 2nd Sunday of the month, you will know that Pete’s Travelling Pans’ ready-to-eat food is one of the highlights of the market. But you are unlikely to know that the stall’s proprietar, Pieter Siebel, has a second job as organiser and guide of tours to Sri Lanka. The two pages of the flyer below provide an overview. I understand that the next tour is in July. If you’re even slightly interested, contact Pieter by phone (0419 365609) or email for a chat.

 

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

The job opportunity at 3000acres.

Joke of the week

What did the corn chip say to the cheese that was caught stealing? “Hey, that’s nachos!”

Read all the jokes.

New events

Young gardeners

What: Join your youngsters in learning to successfully grow your own food. Children enjoy eating food they have produced. An event organised by Urban Shepherd.
When: Saturday, 3rd February, 10am-midday.
Where: Macleod.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: by phone (9444 7427 or 0408 733683).
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Organic market garden tour

What: Learn the history, present and future of Melbourne’s last remaining urban market garden. Meet the market gardeners and see what’s happening at the garden during peak season. You can read about Joe’s Market Garden on the CERES website. They hold a farmgate stall each Saturday which stocks their produce grown onsite and a few other local organic producers.
When: Saturday, 3rd February, 10.30am-midday.
Where: Joe’s Market Garden, Coburg.
Cost: $10.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Weed foraging workshop

What: Weeds by definition are unwanted, but some of the most common are edible, nutritious and delicious. Take a walk, identify and learn about local edible weed with Claire Dunn, Re-wilding Facilitator and Author of My Year Without Matches, and Taj Scicluna, the Perma Pixie. Weeds collected will be served as part of The Great Local Lunch on Sunday 11th February.
When: Friday, 9th February, 10.30am-midday.
Where: Merri Creek Trail.
Cost: $22 ($15 concession).
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Become a junior chocolatier

What: In a 45 minute ‘parent-free zone’, children aged 6–12 years can learn from their chocolatiers how to make their very own chocolate creations. Includes personalised badge, chef’s hat and apron, graduation certificate plus take home three chocolate creations to enjoy.
When: Saturday, 10th February, Saturday, 3rd March and Saturday, 17th March, all 10-10.45am.
Where: Yarra Valley Chocolaterie, Yarra Glen.
Cost: $40.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Beginners’ guide to growing veggies

What: Be guided through the basics including: soil and plant nutrition; pest control; traditional and no-dig veggies patches; and easy herbs and veggies to ensure first time success. The focus will be on low or no-cost organic methods and on growing in pots for renters and people with courtyards or balconies.
When: Tuesday, 13th February, 6-9pm.
Where: Fitzroy North.
Cost: $25.
Bookings: by email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Edible weeds of Melbourne

What: Learn the most common edible weeds of the season, how to prepare them and some of their medicinal properties. Monique Miller will walk you through the weeds at Joe’s Market Garden and down by the nearby Merri Creek.
When: Saturday, 17th February, 10-11.30am.
Where: Joe’s Market Garden, Coburg.
Cost: $12.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Farmer to table dinner II

What: The format is simple: 3 farmers, 3 courses, 1 exceptional experience. The dinner comprises 3 courses which highlight 3 ethical local producers. Beverages will be available to purchase at the bar. The evening will include a panel Q&A with the three producers, so come prepared with some good questions.
When: Saturday, 17th February, 6.30-9.30pm.
Where: CERES.
Cost: $65.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Introduction to natural beekeeping (two-day)

What: Suitable for beginners, and ideal for the backyarder, this two-day event is designed to provide participants with the information they need to start natural beekeeping with confidence. It will cover such subjects as: boxes, equipment, legislation, choosing the location, ongoing maintenance and harvesting. It will also hive manipulations and some honey tasting. After the course, for those that need it, the course organisers may be able to provide bees for your hive at no cost during swarming season. The event is being run by the Natural Beekeeping Group of Permaculture Victoria.
When: Saturday, 17th February and Sunday, 18th February, both 10am-5pm.
Where: Mitcham.
Cost: $200 for members of Permaculture Victoria; $250 for non-members.
Bookings: email them.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Seeds!

What: Collecting, drying and storing vegetable seed. February and March are ideal times for seed collecting – both seed that has dried on the plant and wet seed which has to be extracted, washed and dried from tomatoes, pumpkins, zucchini, capsicum and other vegetables. Learn which seed will be pure and which will be cross pollinated, how to store saved seed, and when to use it by. An event organised by Urban Shepherd.
When: Monday, 19th February, 1-3pm.
Where: Macleod.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: by phone (9444 7427 or 0408 733683).
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Indigenous plants for food and medicine

What: What you will learn: traditional Indigenous lifestyles and healing practices pre European settlement; traditional ways of using various Indigenous plants for medicinal purposes; and promising new research into their potential medical applications. What you will get: comprehensive course notes; recipes; and a chance to taste a number of Indigenous plant. Presented by Gaby Harris. Indigenous Australians have been using native plants and animals for tens of thousands of years as sources of food and medicine. With European settlement much of this knowledge was lost or ignored, but there is now growing interest in relearning these traditional healing methods. More research is being carried out to see how we can grow, harvest and utilise our Indigenous plants for foods, medicines, cosmetics and more. This class will introduce you to some of the well-known, as well as some more obscure, Indigenous Australian plants, teach you how they were once used, and how you can use them now. You will be able to see, smell and taste a variety of these amazing plants and learn where you can find them and how to cook with them.
When: Thursday, 1st March, 6.30-9pm.
Where: Bulleen Art and Garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Tomato passata – the traditional way

What: What you will learn: the traditional way to preserve the seasonal bounty of tomatoes into bottles of preserved tomato passata; about preserving safely for long-term storage; and how to use different types of equipment for best results. What you will get: lunch of pasta with sauce made from the first pressings of the tomatoes; and a box of tomatoes each to process on the day and all the resulting bottles or jars of passata made with the contents of the box – usually 12-14 bottles. The annual ritual of processing boxes of tomatoes into delicious and versatile tomato passata used to be a common sight throughout the backyards of Italians across the country. This was through necessity as Italian immigrants clung onto the traditions that they had in the ‘old country’. However, with the advent of good bottled passata available now in delicatessens and supermarkets, the traditional ritual is dying out with the original people who kept it alive for decades. You are invited to join them in their family home in “doing the tomatoes”, as the day is affectionately known. It’s not just learning and taking part in all aspects of the process, but about keeping the tradition alive – the fun, the laughter, the stories, the coffee, the shared lunch and glass of wine as we do it exactly the same way Italians have been doing it in their backyard since coming to Australia.
When: Saturday, 3rd March and Sunday, 4th March, both 9.30am-2.30pm.
Where: Donvale.
Cost: $165.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Home Harvest FEASTival

What: Celebrate local food and the summer harvest at the Home Harvest FEASTival. Register as a grower to supply produce to be turned into a shared harvest meal. Your donation of homegrown produce = your ticket to attend. As well as the shared harvest meal and socialising, there will be an opportunity to learn from others and swap gardening tips, tricks and seeds plus taste some more unusual foods. Growers will be asked to provide their produce in labelled ‘picnic’ baskets to the drop off locations prior to the event. On the day of the feast, attendees will be able to collect their picnic basket which will have been filled with goodies made from the donated produce before finding a place to have their picnic on the lawn.
When: Sunday, 4th March, 4.30-8pm.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: free.
Bookings / Further information: their website.

Growing veggies is easier than you think

What: What you will learn: the basics of growing your own fresh produce at home; how to prepare your garden for planting veggies; and how to choose the right produce for you and your family. Presented by Maria Ciavarella who will show you how to turn your hand to the practice of gardening to eat. Experience the taste and freshness when you can pick something organic and easy-to-grow to eat from your very own garden.
When: Thursday, 8th March, 6.30-9pm.
Where: Bulleen Art and Garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Introduction to beekeeping for beginners (two sessions)

What: This workshop will cover the basics of what it means to keep bees. Topics covered will include rules and regulations, best hive positions, pests and disease, tools required, seasonal management, and the workings of the hive.
When: Tuesdays, 13th and 20th March, 7-9pm.
Where: North Ringwood Community House.
Cost: $40.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Healthy productive compost and worms

What: What you will learn: the importance of compost for soil health; how to fix common composting problems; and setting up and looking after a worm farm. Presented by Maria Ciavarella. Learn how to make great compost, the essential ingredient for a thriving and healthy garden. You will also look at worm farms and Bokashi as other options. You will also be shown how to make a DIY worm farm using recycled products.
When: Thursday, 15th March, 6.30-9pm.
Where: Bulleen Art and Garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Reclaiming wellness, vitality and happiness – why gut health is so important

What: With Dr Tom Connor, acupuncturist and doctor of traditional Chinese herbal medicine. Poor gut health has been associated not only with digestive complaints, but with a range of other health issues such as hormonal imbalance, weight fluctuation, headaches and skin disorders. This talk will also benefit anyone suffering from low energy or the effects on the body of stress and a busy life. Tom will address ways to repair and restore gut health.
When: Friday, 16th March, 1.30-2.30pm.
Where: Lilydale Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Whittlesea Community Festival

What: The activities will include children’s activities, live music, rides and roaming entertainment.
When: Sunday, 17th March, 10am-5pm.
Where: Whittlesea.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

The Herb and Chilli Festival

What: A two-day festival celebrating all things related to herbs and chillis. The festival brings together a variety of cuisines and cultural elements from around Melbourne and beyond. Visitors to the festival will see, smell, taste and imbibe food and wine in a multitude of forms. They will meet and talk with passionate producers who will teach them about their cuisine. There will be demonstrations, talks, tastings, music, dance and even competitions to enter. Activities for all ages. They will have 40+ varieties of chillies and a large range of herbs for sale.
When: Saturday, 17th March and Sunday, 18th March, both 10am-5pm.
Where: Wandin North.
Cost: $24 per adult per day (children free).
Bookings: Trybooking.
Further information: their website.

Planting for a changing climate

What: Learn how to adjust your autumn/winter planting schedule in line with climate change. Was your garlic small, did your broccoli and cabbage run to seed soon after planting? This is the effect of climate change. Learn how to identify the ‘Autumn break’ and when and how to plant after that for successful winter vegetables. An event organised by Urban Shepherd.
When: Monday, 19th March, 1-3pm.
Where: Macleod.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: by phone (9444 7427 or 0408 733683).
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Japanese tea workshop

What: Enjoy freshly brewed Japanese tea and paired sweets with Harumi Oshitani from Okei-san. Learn how to brew your own tea at home.
When: Tuesday, 20th March, 2-3pm.
Where: Coburg Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

International street foods

What: Bec, from Bowl Full of Soul, will provide a variety of dishes from her menu with Asian influence.
When: Wednesday, 21st March, 3-4pm.
Where: Whittlesea Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Preparing for the Winter harvest

What: What you will learn: crop rotation after summer veggies; growing common and uncommon winter veggies; and seed sowing techniques for winter veggies. Presented by Maria Ciavarella. It might seem a bit strange to be thinking about winter vegetables while the heat is still with us, but now is the time to start planning. This workshop will go through soil rejuvenation after your summer harvest, types of veggies that grow well over the cooler months and seed sowing in anticipation for planting.
When: Thursday, 22nd March, 6.30-9pm.
Where: Bulleen Art and Garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Summer preserves

What: What you will learn: how to preserve fruit and vegetables for use in the future; how to bottle preserves; and the selection and sterlisation of jars. Presented by Lucy Marasco. Join Lucy to learn the basics of preserving, including the importance of sterilisation techniques, as well as the opportunity to try out some traditional and modern preserving recipes.
When: Saturday, 24th March, 9.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Bulleen Art and Garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Gardening 101

What: Answering all those questions about growing successful vegetables. How deep do I plant seedlings? When do I plant? How deep should seeds be planted? How far apart should I plant? How do I prepare soil for vegetables? What can I plant together? Bring your questions along. An event organised by Urban Shepherd.
When: Saturday, 24th March, 10am-midday.
Where: Macleod.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: by phone (9444 7427 or 0408 733683).
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Sourdough bread making workshop

What: Tutor Jenna Farrington-Sear. This workshop will cover basic theory as well as the tactile pleasure of all the steps of making bread from milled flour. Suitable for both novices and those who want to expand their bread making repertoire. Topics to be covered: the essential ingredients and tools of the trade; the principal steps of bread making; Baker’s percentage and hydration; mixing, kneading and folding dough; shaping loaves, scoring and baking; and maintaining a starter. You will take home: a piece of dough which can be baked at home; and a sourdough starter.
When: Saturday, 24th March, 10am-1pm.
Where: Living & Learning Nillumbik at Panton Hill.
Cost: $59.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Improve your gut health

What: Learn how to make fermented vegetables and young green coconut kefir. Give yourself the opportunity to get healthier.
When: Saturday, 24th March, 1-3pm.
Where: Alphington Community Centre.
Cost: $15.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the next month

View the complete calendar of upcoming events.

Jan 172018
 

Mac’s tip of the week

With another burst of extreme heat on its way, it’s time to drag out your old sheets (or shade cloth if you have it) to protect your crops as well as you can. Even with mulch, and a good water in the morning, most produce plants run the risk of sunburn and obvious wilting when it gets to around 40°C. Ideally a tent type cover is best, rather than just laying over the foliage. So, some tall stakes, some twine, and a few pegs can make all the difference.

And Robin Gale-Baker (in the latest Sustainable Macleod newsletter) provides some complementary advice: “With more very high temperatures in the near future, it is important to understand the purpose of watering. The purpose is to hydrate plants before the hot weather hits. This means deep watering in the week before the day the temperature soars. Deep watering means watering onto the earth around the roots of the plants or under the drip line of fruit trees.

Read all of Mac’s tips.

More free gifts for newsletter readers: PIP magazine again

The winners of last week's random draw were Judith Chivers (for the year's free subscription) plus Niloo Barmanray and Pat Deveny (for the free hard copies of Issue #9).

30 people entered the draw for the the PIP magazine subscription and obviously most of them were disappointed. In reaction, we have decided to offer another year’s free subscription this week. Here is how it is going to work: if you entered last week and didn’t win the free subscription, you are automatically entered for this week; if you didn’t enter last week and want to enter this week, simply email us some time today (Wednesday) with the word ‘PIP’ or equivalent.

And some discounts for newsletter readers: Maria Ciavarella’s workshops

Maria and I have been talking and I am delighted to say that newsletter readers can now get a $10 discount on any of the following workshops (all based in Donvale). Simply use the coupon ‘MGG’ when booking.

Bees, bees, bees

Stuart Rodda has written in: “I have just harvested around 9Kg of beautiful clean sweet honey from just 4 of the 6 frames in the Flow Hive (see picture right). I have had my Flow Hive (the Aussie invention) for nearly 2 years now but it took a while to get the bees organised to make honey for me. Like they claim, the harvesting could not have been easier and did not disturb the bees at all. While it was an expensive item, I would not have bothered to try to harvest honey without this hive add-on – I have had a hive for 20 years and not previously obtained honey from it.

Frankie Spranger, from Bee Rescue, has two extractors for sale: 29 frame, steel, $2,200; and 8 frame, gal, $850. Good condition and good working order. Contact Frankie by phone (0408 336363) or email.

Dana Thomson has written in to say that Moonee Valley Council has started hosting beehives on its buildings as part of their commitment “to re-home swarms found on Council land wherever possible“.

Melbourne Roof Top Honey have hives in 36 locations in Melbourne, around half in North East Melbourne and the other half in the centre of Melbourne.

There are 6 providers of honey in the Local Food Directory.

Remember, bee puns are good for your health: they give you a dose of Vitamin Bee.

The Yarra Valley Tea Company

The Yarra Valley Tea Company, from Coldstream, are now in the Local Food Directory: read their entry. They specialise in Certified Organic loose leaf teas and tisanes (herbal beverages). Their range is comprehensive, including black (e.g. Earl Grey, English Breakfast), green, herbal (e.g. chamomile, lemongrass), chai, and functional blends. You can buy their tea at numerous shops across North East Melbourne – see their Local Food Directory entry for the list. They invite you to visit them at their factory in Coldstream. Welcome Meaghan!

The local shops selling local products

We have just reached a landmark: the number of local (‘local’ here means ‘North East Melbourne’) shops that we know stock products from at least one local food producer now exceeds 300! Click here to see the full list organised by the number of local food producers that they stock.

Incredible Edible Eltham – a lovely story told by Duang Tengtrirat

Duang is one of the people who spend time looking after the Incredible Edible Eltham planter boxes at Eltham railway station. After a recent visit, she posted the following in the Incredible Edible Eltham Facebook group:

Today a lovely boy walked up to the planter box at the Eltham station and found one fully ripe strawberry. “May I have it please?” he asked, and popped it in his mouth. “Ohhh that was so YUM, so SWEET, the BEST ever”, he said. “Thank you strawberry plant. I will come back again.” And off he went to board the train heading to Flinders Street Station.

Another lady with a sketching pad and a pen in hand placed her pad on the edge of the box and started to draw. After 15 minutes, she showed me a lifelike drawing of nasturtiums complete with flowers. Then off with a broad smile she went boarding the train heading towards Hurstbridge.

Such is a gifted pleasure the planter boxes afforded my visit to water the veggies earlier today.

Whittlesea Community Festival – a chance to showcase your produce

Whether it’s cheese making, fruit growing, bread making, wine producing or any other food, Whittlesea Council are offering you the opportunity to showcase and sell your produce at their Community Festival on 18th March. “If you’re even slightly interested“, contact Tanaya Preece by phone (9217 2278) or email.

Job opportunity at 3000acres

3000acres finding land suitable for growing food and offer its use to the community. They are currently looking for a part-time (2 days per week) project manager. Click here to read more and to apply. Closing date 24th January.

Are you a student studying either an agriculture-related degree or financial services?

AgriFutures (formerly the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation) are offering scholarships. Click here to read about the opportunities and to apply. Closing date 23rd February.

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

Interview with Lynn-eva Bottomley of Organic Fix.

Joke of the week

Did you hear about the guy who invented Lifesavers? They say he made a mint.

As a bonus, the picture has been submitted by Jenny Shaw.

Read all the jokes.

New events

Summer gardening

What: Join Matthew Odgers from the Links Community Group as he helps you get your hands dirty and build your own bee/insect hotel. Do your bit to support native wildlife, increase your crop yield and reduce pest damage.
When: Saturday, 20th January, 11am-midday.
Where: Lalor Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Vegetarian and vegan food truck event

What: Showcasing the best in meat-free and plant-based street food.
When: Friday, 2nd February, 5-10pm; Saturday, 3rd February, midday-10pm; and Sunday, 4th February, midday-9pm.
Where: Preston Food Truck Park.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: Facebook.

Nillumbik Garden Club: summer vegetables

What: Summer vegetables by Alan Richmond. Doors open 7pm for a 8pm start. There will be plants for sale, raffles, door prizes and supper.
When: Monday, 5th February, 7-10pm.
Where: Metzner Hall, Eltham.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

3 Ravens Brewery tour and tasting

What: See behind the scenes of a fully functioning craft brewery. Taste your way through the The 3 Ravens range under the guidance of one of their brewery team. Learn what goes into beer, how it’s produced and how it gets in your glass.
When: Saturday, 10th February and again on Saturday, 10th March, both 4-5pm.
Where: 3 Ravens Brewery, Thornbury.
Cost: $35.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Summer fruit tree pruning workshop

What: VEGs Dan Palmer, Adam Grubb and Jeremy Prentice will go through the theory and lots of practice at summer-pruning a variety of fruit trees. You will also look at sensible orchard design strategies for Melbourne’s climate and soils. Includes a tour of Kim and Clive’s amazing permaculture garden that includes just about everything you could imagine. Please bring a plate toward a shared lunch and any pruning gear you have.
When: Saturday, 3rd March, 10am-2pm.
Where: Heathmont.
Cost: $40.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the next month

View the complete calendar of upcoming events.

Jan 092018
 

Interview with Lynn-eva Bottomley of Organic Fix

Just before Christmas, I interviewed Lynn-eva Bottomley of Organic Fix. Organic Fix is a newish food store at 937 Main Road, Eltham (on the west side, opposite Arthur Street) which mostly sells Certified Organic food. As I say in the introduction: “I begin the interview by asking Lynn-eva how she would describe Organic Fix. She replies that it is a ‘community hub of wellness’ where people can buy things that will make them feel better. An important part of this is helping people go on their own little journeys to reduce the amounts of chemicals and fast foods that they consume. And an important part of this is Organic Certification because Certified Organic food is ‘clean and safe’. So, for Lynn-eva, Organic Certification is a means to an end (health) rather than an end in itself. X years ago, she would probably have described Organic Fix as a health food store but she views that as passé, hence ‘community hub of wellness’. The end result is that she sells nuts, seeds, grains, spices, fruit, vegetables, environmentally-friendly cleaning products, and ethical beauty products. Most of these products (and all of the fruit and vegetables) are Certified Organic, with the remainder being where she has satisfied herself that they are equivalent.” We then go on to discuss the range of products that she stocks and her approach to local and non-certified products. Read the full interview.

Mac’s tip of the week

With bursts of hot summer weather starting to challenge our crops, remember to remove any damaged fruit that are unlikely to recover and develop. Energy and nutrients can then be directed to those that remain or are yet to come, rather than wasted on inedible compost material.

Read all of Mac’s tips.

What seeds to plant in January

Beans
Beetroot
Carrot
Chives
Lettuce
Mustard greens
Oregano
Parsley
Radish
Silverbeet
Sweetcorn

 
January is not really a month for planting. According to the list above you can still sneak in some beans or sweetcorn. Lettuce and mustard greens will also grow but will probably go to seed quickly. Why would anyone want to plant parsley? Guy’s tip of the month: sit down, relax and watch those tomatoes and pumpkins that you’ve previously planted mature.

The 2017 Golden Seedling awards – the aftermath

Here’s what some of the award winners said after reading about their award in the last newsletter:

  • St John’s Riverside Community Garden (Heidelberg): “Oh WOW- THANK YOU!!!! We not only CHUFFED but TICKLED PINK that you’ve awarded us the Golden Seedling Community Garden of the Year award. We are touched and encouraged to be acknowledged. Thank you for this award, it means a LOT.
  • Paul Gale-Baker (from Sustainable Macleod): “Thanks for the award. Feeling doubly chuffed.
  • Whitehorse Urban Harvest: “Thank you! Yours is the best local food connecting e-newsletter, if not the best e-newsletter fullstop!
  • Deb Graham (from Blue Pantry): “Guy!!!! I don’t know what to say. Thank you. It’s so rewarding when someone notices the efforts of my daily grind!
  • Maria Ciavarella (from My Green Garden): “Thank you for the award!“

Fay Loveland: “Great Golden Seedling Awards nominations this year. Well done! Newsletter of the year? This one!” Thanks, Fay, you win a belated Golden Seedling for best comment of the year!

Distributor wanted

J.B. Shackleton’s, a boutique marmalade manufacturer in Wonga Park, was awarded the accolade of the World’s Supreme Traditional Marmalade Maker in 2017. The resulting boost in sales means that they no longer have time to do our own deliveries. They’re looking for a keen, experienced, committed person to help with distribution and new customer development, mostly in the Yarra Valley. If you’re prepared to learn about this world class product, and to discuss it with their customers, please see their (slightly out of date) website, then email Lachlan.

From conversations, I think that some other local food producers have the same distribution problems as Lachlan. So, one possibility is for someone to become a distributor for multiple producers. I would be happy to work with someone to make this a reality. So, if you are a producer in need of a distributor, email me, and if you are potentially interested in becoming a distributor for multiple producers, also email me (as well as emailing Lachlan).

A free gift for newsletter readers: PIP magazine

Newsletter reader, and person of importance at PIP magazine, Sam Allemann has written in to offer 2 hard copies of the latest issue of PIP magazine (issue #9) plus a year’s free subscription to the magazine. Here is how it is going to work: email us some time today (Wednesday) with the word “PIP” or equivalent and on Thursday we will select the three prize winners at random. Thanks, Sam!

Want to be a community leader in Banyule?

Applications are now open for Banyule’s Community Leaders in Sustainability Course starting in March 2018. If interested, they recommend that you go along to their information session being held on 13th February at Greensborough. Click here to register for the information session. Click here to apply for the course. To discuss any aspects, contact Jo Connor, the Sustainable Homes and Communities Coordinator, by phone (8470 8405) or email

News about local food producers

The 3 Ravens Brewing Company’s Juicy IPA was recently named as one of Victoria’s best new beers. They, together with Barrow Boys Brewing Co., Kooinda Boutique Brewery and many others, have now been shortlisted for favourite Aussie craft beer. Click here by 19th January to vote.

Fairfield Farmers’ Market has moved to the Melbourne Innovation Centre, 2 Wingrove Street, Alphington.

Sugarloaf Produce have decided that they will only be attending three markets in 2018: Carlton, Collingwood and Eltham.

Duang Tengtrirat, aka the best cook in Nillumbik, has decided to retire from the catering business and Real Food Catering is thus no more.

Frisky Mylk & Co have decided to put their business on hold, at least for a while.

Australian bird of the year

Many of you will have seen that the Australian magpie was voted 2017 Australian bird of the year, just ahead of the Australian white ibis. But you may well not have seen the full list of results from 1-50. Click here.

Have you had an allergic reaction to packaged food?

Food labels are required by law to carry essential information so that people know what is in the food they buy. This includes statements about the presence of food allergens, which are foods known to cause a life-threatening reaction (including anaphylaxis) in people with allergies. People with allergies are at serious risk unless foods are labelled correctly.

The role of the Food Safety Unit at the Department of Health and Human Services is to ensure that food sold in Victoria is safe. They can investigate and test food for allergens that are not described on the food label. If a food is not correctly labelled, they can make sure it is removed from sale. Please contact them by phone (1300 364352 24) or email if you suspect that you have had an allergic or anaphylactic reaction to a packaged food and the label did not show that the food allergen was present.

Thanks for the heads-up, Dana Thomson!

Want a vegan, gluten-free crepe?

Newsletter readers Constance Neal and Rosie Shilo have created a video reviewing the vegan and gluten-free savoury crepes of Eltham Farmer’s Market stallholder What A Crepe. How many newsletter readers can you spot in the video? Apart from Constance and Rosie, I spotted six others: Bev Robertson, Chris Chapple, Dean Romeo, Hans Hoffman, Mary Rankin and Tatiana Coluccio.

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

Really Really Free Market Preston Facebook page.

Proverb of the month

Once in a blue moon. Meaning: very rarely. In most years, there are 12 full moons during the year (one in each month) and in American folklore these moons had names, often seasonal and farming related. For example, the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox was called ‘the harvest moon’. In around a third of years, however, there are 13 full moons and, from the early 1800s, this extra full moon became popularly known as ‘the blue moon’ (it can come in any season so its name couldn’t be seasonal or farming related). At roughly the same time, the phrase ‘once in a blue moon’ was coined to mean very rarely (even though there is one roughly every third year!).

Incidentally, the monks in the middle ages didn’t like the extra full moon as it upset the regular arrangement of church festivals and it may be for this reason that 13 came to be considered an unlucky number. Perhaps related to this, some people think that the ‘blue’ in ‘blue moon’ is a corruption of ‘belewe’, which mean ‘betrayer’ in Middle English.

Read all the proverbs.

Gardening quote of the month

I love things that are indescribable, like the taste of an avocado or the smell of a gardenia. by Barbra Streisand.

Read all the quotes.

Joke of the week

Jane Dyer, from Backyard Honey, has written in to recommend this link for jokes about bees. Here are a couple of the more food-related examples:

What do bees use to style their hair? Honey combs.

Why did the honey bee queen’s dessert wobble when she tried to eat it? Because it was royal jelly.

Read all the jokes.

New events

Fruit tree pruning and tastings

What: What you will learn: the history of Petty’s Orchard and it’s significance; Summer fruit tree pruning techniques; and tasting of some heritage apple varieties. What you will get: an understanding of heritage apple varieties and summer pruning techniques. Members of the Heritage Fruits Society will introduce you to Petty’s Orchard and its important horticultural history, established in the early 1900s and containing over 200 apple varieties. Then you will split into groups and head out into the orchard to discuss and demonstrate different pruning techniques and purposes, and to look at their heritage apple collection. You will also be able to see and taste some early ripening heritage apple varieties.
When: Tuesday, 16th January, 6-7.30pm.
Where: Petty’s Orchard, Templestowe.
Cost: $20.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Summer fruit tree pruning

What: Traditionally orchards are pruned during the dormant winter months, but there are benefits to pruning after the harvest in summer. Learn and practice your pruning skills with expert supervision, working in the farm orchard. Merrin Layden is a horticulturalist who has spent the past 5 years working at The Orchard Project in London teaching urban fruit tree skills. The skills that you will learn from Merrin will be put to use on the day in the farm’s orchard. Morning tea provided. BYO lunch, secateurs and gardening gloves.
When: Sunday, 21st January, 9am-midday.
Where: Bundoora Park Farm.
Cost: $26.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Plant-based midweek cooking class

What: Participants will experience: 90 minutes of hands-on cooking and creating with mostly organic and unrefined/unprocessed foods; 30 minutes plus of relaxing over a meal created during the 6-person class; a pdf of recipes and resources – ongoing support and advice relating to incorporating plant-based foods into your life; and a safe, non-judgemental space where questions are welcomed, friendships are made and food is enjoyed. The content of the classes will run as a recurring 4-part series with each class having a specific focus (i.e. breakfasts, lunches, dinners or desserts) plus an additional snack or pantry staple.
When: 6.30-8.30pm on Tuesdays or Thursdays, roughly fortnightly. Next 11: 23th January, 8th February, 20th February, 8th March, 20th March, 12th April, 24th April, 10th May, 22nd May, 7th June and 19th June.
Where: Smiths Gully.
Cost: $60.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Healthy lives plant-based cooking

What: The classes are 3 hours of creating and 1 hour of eating mostly organic and healthy vegan food. A good part of the class’s content and style is conversational. The class is for up to 8 people and is a mostly demonstration-style class but every dish is made by one of the participants, under Jan Saunder’s guidance. The content of the classes will run as a series, with each class covering at least one of: breakfasts; salads & dressings; dairy & egg replacers; mains; and desserts & treats.
When: midday-4pm on Sundays, roughly fortnightly. Next 9: 28th January, 11th February, 25th February, 25th March, 15th April, 29th April, 13th May, 27th May, 17th June.
Where: Smiths Gully.
Cost: $90.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

New ways of composting and worm farming

What: There is a difference between making compost and worm farms. Where and how do you use each of them? When are they ready to use and what can go wrong? Diana Cotter, local horticulturalist and sustainable gardening enthusiast, will open your eyes to a host of new ideas you may never have previously considered.
When: Monday, 29th January, 11am-midday.
Where: Fawkner Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Transform your garden into a native paradise

What: Learn from native plant expert David Sparks about planning, caring and creating different habitats for different birds, insects and frogs. From what you need to do to plan your garden through to maintenance and pruning, you will gain the skills needed to transform your garden into a native garden. Take home a free native plant.
When: Thursday, 1st February, 6.30-8pm.
Where: Nunawading Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Bush foods & herbs for courtyards & balconies

What: What you will learn: which native produce-plants are suitable for growing in pots and small spaces; what to harvest and when; and how to use bush foods and herbs to flavour your dishes. Presented by Karen Sutherland, of Edible Eden Design. Australian native plants have flavour and aroma profiles unlike any others, and can be easily incorporated into your kitchen. Also, a wide range of them can be grown in Melbourne in pots or small and difficult spaces. In this class, which is ideal for those with limited garden space or even just a courtyard or balcony, you will explore the world of edible native Australian plants that are easy to grow in such spaces, attractive to look at and can easily add flavour and interest to your home-cooked dishes.All plants covered are suitable for Melbourne’s climate, and will be discussed in terms of how best to use and grow them in your garden.
When: Thursday, 1st February, 6.30-9pm.
Where: Bulleen Art and Garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

The age-old art of preserving – the Summer bounty

What: What you will learn: how to select and re-use suitable jars and how to sterilise them; how to use standard kitchen equipment to make preserves, without needing to buy specialist items; and how to bottle fruit, and make jams, pickles and relishes and the science behind the techniques. What you will get: recipes all of the preserves made; small (new) jars of the 4 preserves made on the day; Preserving Basics booklet, authored by My Green Garden; and tastings of other preserves made by My Green Garden. Learn how to preserve fruits and veggies safely, using a variety of techniques. These techniques can be used on most fruit and veggies so that you learn to make your own delicious preserves, with no artificial additives and nasty numbers. No preserving background is assumed as you go through the science of how to prevent food spoilage using the preserving methods of bottling, jam-making, pickling and making relishes or chutneys using seasonal produce. Dehydrating will also be demonstrated. You will cover the jars and lids to use, safe storage and use.
When: Saturday, 3rd February and again on Wednesday, 21st February, both 10am-1.15pm.
Where: Donvale.
Cost: $85.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Brewers Feast Festival

What: Brewers Feast is a boutique craft beer and food festival, made by beer and food lovers for beer and food lovers. It will feature around 18 breweries and 70 beers (as well as cider, wine, fresh juice and homemade lemonade). There will also be food and live music. Throughout the day, there will be craft beer education classes, exploring the tastes and flavours of beer pairing with food, cheese, confectionery and other foods. Enjoy free samples while learning more about your beer.
When: Saturday, 3rd February, 11.30am-8pm.
Where: Abbotsford Convent.
Cost: $37.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Native herbs for the kitchen and garden

What: What you will learn: which native produce-plants are suitable for growing in the Melbourne area; what to harvest and when; and how to use them to flavour your dishes and enliven your garden. Presented by Karen Sutherland, of Edible Eden Design. Explore edible native Australian plants that are easy to grow, attractive and add flavour and interest to your home-cooked dishes. Lemon myrtle, bush pepper and native salt are just a few of the flavours we can smell and taste, and they and many others will be discussed in terms of how best to use and grow them in your garden. All plants covered are suitable for a Melbourne climate, and many are suitable for pot cultivation. Add bushfoods to your garden and plate without delay!
When: Thursday, 8th February, 6.30-9pm.
Where: Bulleen Art and Garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Natural pest control with companion planting

What: What you will learn: which plants to grow together, and which ones not to; how to solve many common garden problems naturally; and how to construct ‘plant guilds’ (groups of plants that grow much better together). Presented by Angelo Eliades. With companion planting, by knowing which plants to grow together and which ones not to, you can grow stronger, healthier and more productive plants, improve soil quality, and reduce pests and diseases in your garden. Learn which companion plants to add to your garden to solve many common garden problems naturally, and find out how to construct ‘plant guilds’ (groups of plants that grow much better together) for more abundant harvests.
When: Saturday, 10th February, 9.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Bulleen Art and Garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Preserving know-how – savoury ways with tomatoes

What: What you will learn: how to preserve the seasonal bounty of tomatoes in a variety of different methods, including bottling, drying, sauces and savoury condiments; how to select and re-use suitable jars and how to sterilise them; and the basic science behind different preserving techniques so that your preserves remain safe to eat. What you will get: recipes all of the preserves made; small jars of the preserves made on the day; Preserving Basics booklet, authored by My Green Garden; and tastings of other preserves made by My Green Garden. Growing tomatoes can be incredibly rewarding and their productivity can leave you with a glut that demands to be turned into delicious sauces and preserves. And even if you don’t grow them, you can always make the most of the seasonal varieties available over this period to make your own bottles and jars to last you through the winter. In this workshop, you will cover different preserving techniques, including bottling, dehydrating, making sauces, passata, pickles and chutneys, as well as some traditional Italian techniques with tomatoes. You will get to taste and then take home all of the preserves made on the day.
When: Saturday, 10th February, 10am-1.15pm.
Where: Donvale.
Cost: $85.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Chocolate discovery class

What: This class includes indulging in a range of chocolate & truffle tastings, the chance to learn about how chocolate is made, and finding out about the inspiration behind each of their specialty ranges with their European Chocolatiers. Your chocolate education concludes with the chance to create your own personal chocolate bar and delve in giant lollipop making fun.
When: Saturday, 10th February, 11.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Yarra Valley Chocolaterie, Yarra Glen.
Cost: $48.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

School lunch boxes

What: The average household in Australia throws away $2,000 worth of food every year. That means that one out of five bags of shopping that is purchased is never eaten. Join Gaby and Jen from Plan Buy Cook to learn some simple ways to reduce the food waste and save you time and money. Bookings essential.
When: Tuesday, 13th February, 11am-midday.
Where: North Fitzroy Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Herbs for the home gardener

What: Are you a herb lover and would absolutely enjoy your own herb garden but aren’t sure where to start? This course will include plant identification, herb history and resources, how to grow and cook with herbs as well as crafts and the health benefits. Learn about plant propagation, container growing, companion planting, plant nutrition and herb design.
When: Tuesday, 13th February, 7-9pm and again on Saturday, 24th February, 10am-12.30pm.
Where: North Ringwood Community House.
Cost: $60.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Sourdough bread making workshop

What: Tutor Jenna Farrington-Sear. This workshop will cover basic theory as well as the tactile pleasure of all the steps of making bread from milled flour. Suitable for both novices and those who want to expand their bread making repertoire. Topics to be covered: the essential ingredients and tools of the trade; the principal steps of bread making; Baker’s percentage and hydration; mixing, kneading and folding dough; shaping loaves, scoring and baking; and maintaining a starter. You will take home: a piece of dough which can be baked at home; and a sourdough starter.
When: Saturday, 17th February, 10am-1pm.
Where: Living & Learning Nillumbik at Panton Hill.
Cost: $59.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Heritage apple tasting

What: Sample the seasonal flavours of the heritage apple collection at an apple tasting afternoon at 5pm. Around 15 varieties will be available for tasting, with limited quantities available for purchase. An orchard tour included.
All funds received go toward the maintenance and expansion of the collection.
When: Sunday, 18th February, 5-7pm.
Where: Petty’s Orchard, Templestowe.
Cost: $15.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Melissa King – Garden Guru

What: Go along to meet Melissa and listen to her expert advice.
When: Tuesday, 20th February, 11.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Diamond Valley Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Hot composting

What: Join Heide head Gardener Dugald Noyes for a hot composting tour. Discuss sustainable green waste management at Heide for the home garden.
When: Thursday, 22nd February, 11am-midday.
Where: Heide, Bulleen.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Shady edibles

What: One of the most challenging spots in any garden is shade. Karen Sutherland, from Edible Eden Design, will share her top tips to turn this challenge into an opportunity. Discover shade-loving edibles that will give you aromatic and useful foliage and unusual fruits.
When: Thursday, 22nd February, 7-8.30pm.
Where: Whitehorse Centre.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Home beer-brewing workshop

What: Cade, from Home Make It, will show you how to make a malt extract brew while you trial some different home brews. Only participants over the age of 18 may attend.
When: Thursday, 22nd February, 7.45-8.45pm.
Where: Brunswick Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Summer fruit tree maintenance

What: What you will learn: how to prune to keep trees to a manageable size; how to prune to maximise fruit production in the coming season; and keeping espaliered shapes in check. Watch and ask questions of Angelo Eliades, as he prunes both traditionally shaped trees and espaliered varieties. Convention had us pruning deciduous fruit trees in winter but now the thinking is swinging to doing it straight after fruiting, in late summer or autumn. Techniques are slightly different, so it is wise to see the pruning in action on actual trees.
When: Saturday, 24th February, 9am-12.30pm.
Where: Bulleen Art and Garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Composting

What: Learn how to efficiently compost food and garden waste. Bring any weeds or other additions you would like to learn how to compost. Wear appropriate outdoor clothing for the weather. Expect to get dirty!
When: Sunday, 25th February, 10am-midday.
Where: Watsonia Neighbourhood House.
Cost: gold coin.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Introduction to horticulture – 9 session course

What: Every Monday for 9 weeks. This 9-week hands-on course will introduce you to a range of topics in the field of horticulture. Places in the course are government-subsidised, so it is a great starting point for people thinking about turning their passion into a career in horticulture, or simply for home food growers who want to learn more – only $130 for a 9-session course! No prior experience is necessary. Working as a team with fellow participants, you will gain a broad overview and practical, hands-on experience such topics as: introduction to plant recognition; propagation; planting; soil properties; environmentally sustainable work practices; and career pathways/further study in the horticulture industry. You will spend a lot of time outdoors (getting your hands dirty!) under the leadership of an experienced trainer and horticulturalist, along with some time in the classroom learning basic theory and exploring study pathways. The course will be run by Justin Calverley.
When: Monday, 26th February, 9.30am-3pm and then every Monday for 9 weeks.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: $135 for all 9 sessions ($78 concession).
Bookings: by phone (9433 3744).
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Italian savoury preserves

What: What you will learn: how to use vegetables to make savoury preserves, Italian style; how to select suitable jars and how to sterilise them; and how to use bottling techniques to preserve sauces, ready to eat. What you will get: jars of all the preserves made on the day; recipes for the techniques covered in the workshop; tastings of preserves previously made; and vegetables prepared on the day to take home and continue the processes learnt. Italians have perfected the art of the antipasto platter, with delicious savoury pickled vegetables often made with fresh organic veggies from their own gardens. You will use many of the vegetables from the home of My Green Garden to create preserves done in the Italian style. Then you will make a tomato pasta sauce that can be preserved for future use – fast-food the Italian way! A jar of everything you make is taken home by each participant, as well as some vegetables prepped on the day to continue some processes at home.
When: Tuesday, 27th February, 10am-1.15pm.
Where: Donvale.
Cost: $85.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the next week
Over the next month

View the complete calendar of upcoming events.

Dec 162017
 

Mac’s tip of the week

All produce gardeners should have a clump of bamboo. Be it potted, contained in an old bath, or a controlled clumping form, these plants can be very useful. No, I don’t mean eating the shoots. I mean for homegrown stakes, climbing frames and edging. If you want to be sustainable, why buy stakes when you can grow your own? And the plants look good too!

Read all of Mac’s tips.

The 2017 Golden Seedling awards

Now in their third year and now expanded to 16 awards. As Sustainable Macleod said last year after being told of their award: “we are very chuffed!

Maybe there should be a judging panel, or maybe voting by the readership, but at the moment it is just my 2 cents.

Awards to organisations
  • Community garden of the year – a difficult award as I only visited a minority of the community gardens but I’m going to give it to St John’s Riverside Community Garden (Heidelberg): they have clearly gone from strength to strength over the year. Honorary mention – SEEDs Communal Garden Brunswick: regular working bees, food swaps and workshops plus a lively Facebook page.
  • Food swap of the year – another difficult award as I only visited a minority of the food swaps but I’m going to give it to the Forest Hill and Box Hill South food swaps, both run by Whitehorse Urban Harvest: free talks at many of their swaps and, importantly, they tell people by email about the talks before they happen. Honorary mention – Warrandyte Food Swap: a great ambience and they actively recruit people to receive this newsletter.
  • Library of the yearWatsonia (for the second year running): for their free, monthly events on different topics and their hosting of a community garden. Honorary mention – Box Hill: their events were the most popular on our website.
  • Innovation of the yearReally Really Free Market Preston: yes, everything is free and there are no catches.
  • Villain of the yearMicrosoft: for classifying this newsletter (and all other MailChimp newsletters) as spam for no reason in November, admitting this, but then effectively saying that they can’t be bothered fixing the problem.
  • Newspaper of the year – not awarded: The Weekly Review now has no local stuff and The Leader’s search facility has, for some reason, been crippled.
Awards to individuals
  • Overall contributor of the yearPaul Gale-Baker, of Sustainable Macleod: always indefatigable, energetic, obliging, and helpful to others. Honorary mention – Felicity Gordon: also indefatigable, energetic and obliging plus a wonderful painter of plants and veggies.
  • Newsletter contributor of the yearHelen Simpson (for the third year running): for her interviews of local home growers; her growing guides from previous years are also some of the most popular pages on our website. Honorary mention – Mac McVeigh: for his weekly tips, which are always informative and often witty.
  • Workshop presenter of the yearMaria Ciavarella, from My Green Garden: for her 20 or so workshops during 2017 at her own home plus many others at various other locations. Honorary mention – Rasha Tayeh: for her workshops on unusual topics.
  • Council officer of the yearLee Tozzi, of both Darebin and Moreland: for her leadership of the Homemade Food & Wine Festival, the Backyard Harvest Festival and other food initiatives. Let’s hope there is more competition in future years.
  • Entrepreneurial spirit – shared between Cath Lyons (aka Tiny Trowel), for her Crowd Harvest initiative, and Deb Graham (from Blue Pantry): entrepreneurial spirit is difficult to define but you know it when you see it.
Newsletter links

An extra Warrandyte Food Swap + extra Warrandyte Riverside Market

They had to cancel on 2nd December due to the weather so they are both having extra ones on 16th December.

News about local food producers

Best Of Health is a new organic bulkfoods store in Greensborough. Inter alia, they sell the products of AVS Organic Foods, who are from Watsonia North.

PoppySmack, from Warrandyte, now sell a kit to make rice paper rolls.

Local food production in the news

The community garden in Condell Street, Fitzroy was the subject of an article in The Age.

Which link was clicked most times in last week’s newsletter?

Briar Hill Primary School gardening job application.

Joke of the week

What did the skeleton order for dinner? Spare ribs!

Read all the jokes.

New events

In last week’s newsletter, I said that I would include January events this week. In practice, however, hardly anyone has yet announced their January events.

Really Really Free Market Preston end of year celebration

What: Join the Really Really Free Market (Preston) community for an end of year celebration lunch which will replace the market for the month of December, as it falls on New Years Eve and many of them are busy. Bring some food to share (but only if you can, no obligations, there will be plenty for all!). There will be a kitchen you can use if you want to join the communal cook-up beforehand at 11am.
When: Sunday, 17th December, 12.30-2.30pm.
Where: Preston.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.

How to make sense of food labels

What: Tour a supermarket and learn how to accurately read and understand food labels and choose healthy foods that are suitable for the whole family. You will also receive a show bag with information sheets and a healthy shopping guide booklet. The tours are led by healthAbility’s qualified dietitian and open to anyone interested in healthy eating.
When: Thursday, 11th January, 9.30-11am.
Where: Woolworths, Eltham.
Cost: $15 (includes a healthy shopping guide booklet).
Bookings: by phone (9430 9100).
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Summer fruit tree pruning

What: Traditionally orchards are pruned during the dormant winter months, but there are benefits to pruning after the harvest in summer. Learn and practice your pruning skills with expert supervision, working in the farm orchard. Merrin Layden is a horticulturalist who has spent the past 5 years working at The Orchard Project in London teaching urban fruit tree skills. The skills that you will learn from Merrin will be put to use on the day in the farm’s orchard. Morning tea provided. BYO lunch, secateurs and gardening gloves.
When: Sunday, 21st January, 9am-midday.
Where: Bundoora Park Farm.
Cost: $26.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Summary of upcoming events

In December
In January

View the complete calendar of upcoming events.