Nov 302013
 

Join a vibrant food culture, growing and eating local

Covering all matters food in Nillumbik, Banyule and the rest of North East Melbourne

Whether you just want to eat healthier, reduce your food mileage, grow veggies in your garden or are simply interested in enjoying your community life, Local Food Connect is for you!

Eltham Farmers’ Market, a Local Food Connect initiative, takes place every 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month.

Jun 222016
 

Do you have an unwanted tree or bush?

Velyne is after a small tree or large bush to fill a space in front of a window. Have you got one that she could have? She is happy to dig it out and take it away. Contact Velyne by email.

living todayMooroolbark Urban Harvest in the news

Mooroolbark Urban Harvest are in the June issue of Living Today.

Have you any reusable bags you could give Eltham Farmers’ Market?

In line with the Plastic Free July initiative, Eltham Farmers’ Market is aiming to become plastic bag free. As a first step, we have introduced hessian bags for sale. To complement this, we plan to investigate setting up a ‘Boomerang Bags’ bag-share box: the box will be available at the market and will be stocked with re-usable bags for customers to borrow if they have forgotten to bring their own, hopefully returning them at the following market. It would be brilliant if you could help us set this up by donating any spare fabric or other reusable bags. Or by donating any spare fabric from which we can make some bags. Please contact Felicity Gordon by email.

Do you want to manage a fortnightly compost bin at Eltham Farmers’ Market?

The market generates a fair amount of compostable waste material which currently gets put in a standard bin. We would like to establish a compost bin. The idea is that the contents of the bin would be available to someone to take home after each market (within, say, 24 hours of the market), so long as they committed to doing so over a period of markets. Could you be that someone? Please contact us by email.

Local food producer news

Croydon-based Blossom’s Organics will no longer be a stallholder at Eltham Farmers’ Market. But Blossom is still making her spices and blends and you can continue buying these either online or from any of the following outlets: Eastfield Organic Natural Food Market, Croydon South; Go Vita, Doncaster; Harvest Food Store, Fairfield; Health Food Thyme, Croydon; Jefferies Family Supermarket, Croydon; Kew Organics; Superfruit Organic, Ivanhoe; Village Greens, Yarra Junction; Yarra Valley Farmers’ Market; and Yering Station Produce Store/Winery, Yarra Glen.

Warrandyte-based PoppySmack are taking a temporary break from the Eltham Farmers’ Market. But they will continue to be at Warrandyte Community Riverside Market and Hanh has also organised for her Asian sauces to be available from: Bolton Street Deli & Liquor, Eltham; Eltham Deli; and Fish Pier, Doncaster East.

Talking about Bolton Street Deli & Liquor, they are now stocking Wonga Park-based J.B. Shackleton’s marmalade. As some of you will know, Lachlan Shackleton-Fergus won two Gold medals in the 2015 World’s Original Marmalade Competition and his marmalade really is delicious.

Bolton Street Deli & Liquor now stocks products from 20 local food producers around North East Melbourne. That is more than double the number of any other shop!,

cropsThe origin of crops

Have a look at this interactive map of the origin of crops. Or have a look at the non-interactive graphic on the right. The original version did not include the all-important macadamia nut(!), but thankfully this has been included in the interactive version. Thanks to Montmorency Community Group for the link.

New events

Winter fruit tree maintenance and pruning

What: It’s hard to learn how to look after trees from diagrams and descriptions in books so come along to this suburban garden which boasts over 30 fruit trees of different varieties, all in varying stages of maturity. From traditionally grown trees to espaliered and vines, the garden in Donvale provides a valuable teaching tool to discuss winter fruit tree maintenance. This includes pruning, as well as the regimes used for keeping pesky insects and fungal issues at bay. You will help prune various trees as you start to recognise unproductive wood, fruiting spurs and cross-overs, so you get to take home this experience to work on your own trees at home. See how to make up sprays and learn how to use them for maximum effectiveness in conjunction for caring for the soil. They will also discuss the difference between pruning in winter and in summer and when to do what.
When: Sunday, 17th July, 1.30-4.30pm.
Where: Donvale.
Cost: $50.
Enquiries: Maria Ciavarella by phone (0424 083057) or email.
Bookings / Further information: Weteachme website.

Creating Eden in small spaces

What: Do you only have a small garden or no garden at all? Would you still like to grow your own food? Karen Sutherland, from Edible Eden Design will show you different options – such as pallet gardens – as well as information about plant choices, space-saving plants and combining both productive and ornamental plants.
When: Tuesday, 19th July, 11.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Greensborough.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Dione Fisher by phone (9434 3809) or email.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Preserving basics: make your own jams, pickles and relishes

What: Learn how to preserve fruit and veggies safely, using a variety of techniques. These techniques can be used on most fruit and veggies so that you will learn to make your own preserves, with no artificial additives and nasty numbers. No preserving background is assumed as they go through how to prevent food spoilage using the preserving methods of bottling, jam-making, pickling and making relishes. Dehydrating is also demonstrated. They cover the jars and lids to use, safe storage and use. The workshop is fully hands-on, where you are involved from the processes from start to finish. All the preserves made on the day get taken home by everyone.
When: Friday, 22nd July, 10am-1pm.
Where: Donvale.
Cost: $70.
Enquiries: Maria Ciavarella by phone (0424 083057) or email.
Bookings / Further information: Weteachme website.

Preserving with citrus

What: Winter brings an abundance of citrus so now is the best time to make preserves that will see you through the rest of the year. If you like marmalades and have never tried to make them before, now is the time! They will be using a variety of techniques with seasonal citrus. No preserving background is assumed as they go through how to prevent food spoilage using the preserving methods. They will cover the jars and lids to use, safe storage and use. The workshop is fully hands-on, where you are involved from the processes from start to finish.
When: Wednesday, 10th August, 10am-1pm.
Where: Donvale.
Cost: $70.
Enquiries: Maria Ciavarella by phone (0424 083057) or email.
Bookings / Further information: Weteachme website.

Aquaponic gardens

What: Join Paul Jonas from Grow Aquaponics as he advises plants and fish to use in aquaponics and the exciting future of food production.
When: Tuesday, 16th August, 11.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Greensborough.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Dione Fisher by phone (9434 3809) or email.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Common garden medicine making

What: Led by qualified Naturopath, Naabi Methe. Learn how to harvest and prepare a variety of common garden herbs, weeds and kitchen ingredients to make and take home your own home remedies to soothe everyday complaints. Materials supplied.
When: Saturday, 20th August, 1-4pm.
Where: Thornbury.
Cost: $50 ($40 concession).
Enquiries/Bookings: Naabi Methe by phone (0431 893577).
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Winter garden maintenance

What: Winter is a great time to think about the maintenance of your fruit trees – it’s not all about pruning. Join Maria Ciavarella, from My Green Garden, to find out how to prevent those pesky insects and diseases which can afflict your fruit trees.
When: Tuesday, 23rd August, 11am-midday.
Where: Watsonia.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Watsonia Library by phone (9088 3417).
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the next month

Click here for the complete calendar of upcoming events.

Jun 152016
 

Boroondara Council’s ‘growing and sharing local food’ web page

Boroondara Council’s ‘growing and sharing local food’ page contains a lot of information about community gardening in the area.

Thornbury seasonal cooking classes are no longer happening

The seasonal cooking classes discussed in last week’s newsletter are apparently no longer happening. Sorry.

Which parts of the tree bear the fruit

In his seminal book, The Complete Book of Fruit Growing in Australia, Louis Glowinski said that the more he read about pruning grape vines, the more confused he got. Well, I feel the same about pruning more generally. I think I understand the basics and how pruning in the first few years is a very different exercise than that for mature trees. And, on Robin Gale-Baker’s recommendation, I am currently reading Vegetable and Fruit Gardening in Australia, which discusses such subjects.

One of the things I want to be clear about is how different trees should be pruned differently. It seems to me that an important part of this is knowing which parts of the tree bear the fruit. For example, a grapevine fruits on the current season growth so, after the harvest, winemakers can (and do) safely cut off all of current season’s growth. By contrast, a peach tree fruits on last year’s growth so if, after the harvest, you cut off all of the current season’s growth, then you won’t get any fruit at all next year! Rather, for peaches, you should focus on removing laterals that are more than a year old, as they will never fruit again. And a sweet cherry tree fruits on (all) older wood, so the pruning should focus on structure and shape. In this context, the following table summarises my current understanding of which parts of each fruit tree bear the fruit.

Pomes Apple most: 2-year-old wood and older
some: 1-year-old wood and older
Pear 1-year-old wood and older
Stonefruit Almond 1-year-old wood and older
Apricot 1-year- to 3-year-old wood
Cherry sour: 1-year-old wood
sweet: 2-year-old wood and older
Peach 1-year-old wood
Plum 2-year-old wood and older
Evergreens Avocado 1-year-old wood
Citrus 1-year-old wood
Guava current year’s growth
Loquat current year’s growth
Olive 1-year-old wood
Vines Grape current year’s growth
Kiwifruit current year’s growth
Passionfruit current year’s growth
Berries Blackberry 2nd year canes
Blackcurrant 1-year-old wood
Blueberry 1-year-old wood
Cape gooseberry current year’s growth
Gooseberry 1-year- to 3-year-old wood
Raspberry everbearing: 1st year canes
summer bearing: 2nd year canes
Redcurrant 1-year- to 3-year-old wood
Other Hazelnut current year’s growth
Pomegranate 2-year- to 3-year-old wood
Walnut 5-year-old wood and older

 
fruiting-guide-low-resI have added this material to the graphic of our North East Melbourne fruiting schedule. Any comments or corrections would be gratefully received by email.

In passing, if you want to receive regular (weekly) newsletters about all aspects of growing fruit trees in Victoria, you might want to consider subscribing to the Mt Alexander Fruit Gardens newsletter (thanks to Bev Robertson for the recommendation).

New events

Composting workshop and solstice afternoon tea

What: Go along to a workshop to build a composting bay from recycled materials and start the process of turning garden and kitchen waste into food for the Produce With A Purpose garden. They will also be planting the garlic crop for the coming season. Afterwards they will celebrate the Winter Solstice by the fire with a warm afternoon tea and a conversation about ttheir vision of a community committed to social justice growing and sharing fresh food together with those who need it.
When: Sunday, 26th June, 1-4pm.
Where: Lower Plenty.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Louise King by email.
Bookings: just turn up. You can also indicate your intention on Facebook.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Bush tucker

What: It is NAIDOC Week and Uncle Ian Hunter will be sharing his knowledge of indigenous food found in the City of Whittlesea. Find out if you have any indigenous food items growing at home.
When: Friday, 8th July, 2-3pm.
Where: Lalor.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Lalor Library by phone (9465 2353).
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Community lunch

What: A two course home-cooked meal is shared in their dining room with other friendly community members. Go along for company, conversation and support. A great opportunity to find out what’s available in the neighbourhood. RSVPs required.
When: Every 2nd Wednesday, 12.30-2.30pm (next one on 13th July).
Where: Thornbury.
Cost: free.
Enquiries/Bookings: Span Community House by phone (9480 1364) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Winter garden party

What: They will harvest and cook some of their winter veggies and share a warm lunch next to an open fire.
When: Sunday, 24th July, 11am-3pm.
Where: Lower Plenty.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Louise King by email.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Biodynamic course (two-day)

What: A 2-day course covering: Rudolf Steiner and the Biodynamic Movement – 8 Steiner lectures; biodynamic preparation 500 / burying cow horns / stirring and spraying; biodynamic compost – the preparations and making the compost; cosmic nutrition, seed saving and collecting; the planting calendar and nature’s rhythms, Gothean science; biodynamic peppering – plant, insect and vermin elimination; and elementals, intention, mycelium, weeds, mosses, lichen, tree paste.
When: Saturday, 6th August and Sunday 7th August. The course will be repeated on the weekend of 15th/16th October.
Where: Warranwood.
Cost: $290.
Enquiries: Grit by phone (0477 408665) or email.
Bookings: Cheques, cash, electronic transfer, Paypal or credit card – see the LFC calendar entry for details.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Australian Community Food Hubs Conference

What: Sustain, Growing Change, the City of Greater Bendigo, the Open Food Network, Bendigo Kangan Institute, William Angliss Institute, La Trobe University, Melbourne Farmers Markets, the Regional Food Network and Pip Magazine in what will be Australia’s very first Community Food Hubs conference. To view the two-day program, visit the Sustain website.
When: Monday, 8th August and Tuesday, 9th August.
Where: Bendigo.
Cost: $240 for two days or $130 for one.
Enquiries: the conference organisers by phone (5434 6100) or email.
Bookings: The Capital website.
Further information: the Sustain website.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the next month

Click here for the complete calendar of upcoming events.

Jun 082016
 

4 simple ways to reduce food waste

See the latest blog by Hurstbridge-based Going Green Solutions.

winter winefest 2Winter winefest

The details of the 6 participating wineries have now been announced. See the LFC calendar entry.

Sian Gleeson is the new Environment Officer at Banyule Council

Sian replaces Fleur Anderson, who recently moved to Whittlesea Council.

New events

Permablitz 182 (Preston)

What: Elizabeth and Finlay have a dream of turning their barren back yard into a edible green haven. They have just finished building some extra space for their growing family and they need some help making their inner court yard and back yard into a food bearing oasis that they can enjoy for many years to come. They want to learn to grow food plants and trees, enjoy their outdoor space and teach their young kids where food comes from.
When: Saturday, 18th June, 9.30am-4.30pm.
Where: Preston.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Permablitz website.
Further information: Permablitz website.

Change makers (Banyule)

What: This event aims to energise volunteer groups, create social cohesion and provide networking, peer to peer learning and ‘passion mashin’ opportunities for the environmental movement in Banyule. It provides an opportunity for people to network with other like minded residents and groups, sharing ideas and common interests. This year’s theme is sustainable food. The evening will take the format of a networking event over refreshments, starting with a welcome to country by a Wurundjeri Elder and an address by Mayor Craig Langdon on Banyule’s environmental achievements over the past year, especially focussing on the Home Harvest program. Rohan Anderson is the key note speaker, followed by Rooftop Honey.
When: Wednesday, 22nd June, 6-9pm.
Where: Ivanhoe.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Jim Mead by phone (9457 9885) or email.
Bookings: Trybooking.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Backyard chicken keeping

What: Felicity Gordon will cover the basics of keeping chooks in your own backyard. Topics covered will include:how to set up a fox proof chicken coup; advantages of different breeds; what to feed chooks; how to keep chooks in good health; and how keeping chooks can be a valuable part of a productive food garden.
When: Saturday, 30th July, 11am-midday.
Where: Watsonia.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Introduction to horticulture – 9 session course

What: This 9-week hands-on course will introduce you to a range of topics in the field of horticulture. The course runs at Edendale in Eltham, and 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. The course will be run by Justin Calverley, a horticultural expert with over twenty years’ experience. Inter alia, Justin is a lead trainer in adult education at CERES, where he has presented workshops on topics ranging from fruit and vegetable production to bush foods, and from garden design to sustainable gardening.
When: Saturday, 30th July – Saturday, 24th September, 9.30am-3pm. Also, Monday, 5th September – Monday, 28th November, 9.30am-3pm.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: $130 for all 9 sessions ($73 concession).
Enquiries/Bookings: Living & Learning Nillumbik’s website.
Further information: Living & Learning Nillumbik’s website.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the next month

Click here for the complete calendar of upcoming events.

Jun 012016
 

The comparative costs of fruit & veggies

How do you think that the costs of the food at farmers’ markets compare with a) small shops and b) supermarkets? We have now analysed our fourth, and final, quarterly Eltham survey (i.e. for late Autumn). For the detailed results, click here.

For an overall summary of the four surveys combined, click here. Whilst the results differ a bit between the surveys, the results of the latest survey confirm our previous overall conclusion: the supermarket is NOT generally cheaper than either the farmers’ market or the greengrocer for veggies and fruit.

Are you surprised by this? I (Guy) certainly am. Before doing the surveys, I had (without thinking about it too much) simply assumed that the supermarket would be cheaper than both the farmers’ market and the greengrocer. I now know better.

In passing, I have come to the conclusion that some market sellers of veggies and fruit undersell themselves when they say things along the lines of “our costs should not be compared with those of supermarkets because our produce is tastier, fresher and freer of chemicals“. As our surveys demonstrate, there is no need to cede the cost argument and, indeed, I suggest that the farmers’ market movement should be devoting some serious effort to researching the subject and then publicising the results.

A bonus byproduct of the surveys is documentation of the seasonal availability of fruit and veggies at the market. Click here. Key points:

  • For both fruit and veggies, a full range of seasonal produce is available at the market throughout the year.
  • More than half of all veggies (26 of 45) are available throughout the year.
  • The availability of fruit is highly seasonal, with only apples and lemons being available throughout the year.

Helen Simpson writes about how to grow raspberries

raspberryHelen’s article for the month of June is on how to grow raspberries. As she says in her introduction “The intense flavour of a home-grown raspberry picked fresh from the bush encourages many people to plant raspberry canes. The downside is the space and structure required to grow the canes and their maintenance. However the home-grown raspberry’s superior flavour compared to those bought in plastic-wrapped punnets from supermarkets makes it well worth the effort. Being able to feast on raspberries, rather than use them sparingly due to cost, is also a treat.” She then goes on to discuss: getting started; number of canes; types of raspberries; maintenance; some common varieties; and pests and diseases. Read her full article.

Do you currently have any home-grown surpluses?

At the next Eltham Farmers’ Market, on 12th June, we plan (as usual) to have a community market stall, where one or two people sell their surplus produce at a stall provided by us. However, we don’t currently have anyone organised to do this. If you currently have a surplus, and want to combine some conversation with the public with making a bit of money, contact me by phone (0416 203067) or email. Read about the initiative here.

How to find all Sustainable Gardening Australia’s (SGA’s) food-related posts

SGA often has posts by guest authors on edible gardening and, for example, it has just published an article on how to have pumpkins all year round. Something you might not know is that you can find all of their edible gardening posts listed on the following three pages:

New events

Just Eat It (film)

What: This is a World Environment Week special screening of Just Eat It, a documentary film about food waste and food rescue. We all love food. As a society, we devour countless cooking shows, culinary magazines and foodie blogs. So how could we possibly be throwing away 50% of it? Light refreshments provided. Bookings essential.
When: Thursday, 9th June, 10am-12.30pm.
Where: Preston.
Cost: free.
Enquiries/Bookings: Darebin Council by phone (8470 8440) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Hot composting workshop

What: Hot composting is a great way to make lots of rich compost in as little as 30 days. The technique also kills weeds and weed seeds, pathogens and unwelcome bacteria. Brian Koop, an experienced and passionate vegetable gardener, will deliver the workshop.
When: Sunday, 19th June, 11.30am-1pm.
Where: Heidelberg.
Cost: Free for members of St Johns Riverside Community Garden; gold coin contribution requested from visitors.
Enquiries: Katrina Philip by phone (0422 735213) or email.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Mindful eating

What: Our relationship to food is a central one that reflects our attitudes toward our environment and ourselves. Jacinta Sherlock, Dietitian and Nutritionist specialising in eating behaviour and eating disorders, will explore why weight loss diets don’t work in the long term and the person centred approach to wellbeing and mindful eating.
When: Tuesday, 26th July, 7-8.15pm.
Where: Ivanhoe.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Contact Ivanhoe Library by phone (9497 5780).
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the next month

Click here for the complete calendar of upcoming events.