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.

May 242016

Marina Bistrin writes about no dig gardening

On 15th May, Marina Bistrin ran a workshop at St Johns Riverside Community Garden on the subject of no-dig gardening. After reading her notes, I thought that they would be a worthy addition to the website and Marina has kindly agreed. As she says in her introduction “No-dig gardening was developed by Esther Dean in Australia – by sheet mulching and laying down layers of materials that decompose to make new soil. This is an easy and cheap way of growing plants over lawn (grass) or weeds – no digging is involved. It also uses waste products – rather than going into landfill or recycling (which involves extra energy expenditure and expense).” She then goes on to discuss: no dig basics; excluding light; laying cardboard down; difficult weeds; cover crops; paths as water reservoirs; and useful links. Read her full article.

A new egg producer – Belleview Farm

Belleview Farm have been added to the Local Food Directory. Located in Park Orchards, they sell chicken, duck, goose and quail eggs at their farm (weekends only), Park Orchard’s Farmer’s Market, Warrandyte Community Riverside Market and Yarra Valley Farmers’ Market. View their entry.

There are now three egg producers in the directory, the other two being Doreen Egg Farm and Top Hundred Acres.

chickens - milly & tillyYummy Gardens – who sell live chickens – have also been added to the directory. The picture on the right is of two chickens – Milly and Tilly – that I recently bought from them, hoping to end our egg drought. View their entry.

No room at the homestead

The introduction to fruit trees workshop at Carome Homestead on 28th May is now fully booked so don’t go unless you have previously booked.

macleodMacleod Organic Community Garden in the news

See the article from the Leader on the right. There is currently a working bee at the garden every Saturday from 1-5pm, and a more casual meetup every Wednesday from 1-3pm.

Organising a major event and want to advertise it across Melbourne?

Weekend Notes is a website & newsletter which covers all types of events across Melbourne. It usually costs $75 to list an event but “charity events with an average ticket price under $50 and free community-run events are eligible for submission to the suggestion box at no charge.“. It appears that quite a lot of people read Weekend Notes. For example, last year we submitted a free entry for Eltham Farmers’ Market’s 1st birthday and 1,500 people reportedly read the article.

Lesley Mitchell has recently submitted a review of Eltham Farmers’ Market to Weekend Notes which you might like to have a look at.

New events

Vegetarian and vegan food truck event

What: Bringing the best in Melbourne’s vegetarian and vegan street food vendors, this street food event is set to please all foodie lovers. Their lineup will include: Rice and Dice, Vegilicious, Woking Amazing, Boho Blends, Jerry’s Vegiburgers, Dolly’s Sister Vegan Cafe & Bar, Von’s Vegan Bake House, Bomba Wood Fired Pizza, The Butter Thief and Grace Café, Fitzroy.
When: both Friday, 3rd June, 5-10pm, and Saturday, 4th June, midday-10pm.
Where: Preston.
Cost: free entry.
Bookings: Just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Prune for June

What: The native citrus gall wasp has colonised citrus trees across Melbourne. Go along and find out how to prune your trees and learn about apprpriate disposal methods during the winter months.
When: Saturday, 4th June, 10-11.30am (Bayswater North); Sunday, 12th June, 2-3pm (Carlton); and Thursday, 16th June, 6-7pm (Carlton).
Where: Bayswater North and Carlton.
Cost: free entry (Bayswater North) or $2 (Carlton).
Bookings: Contact Kaye Roberts-Palmer by email.
Further information: Save Our Citrus Melbourne Facebook page.

Winter Wine Fest

What: Enjoy wine and food in warm and cosy settings. Celebrate with 5+ family-owned boutique Nillumbik wineries. The details are yet to be announced but the wineries are expected to include Hildebrand Ridge Organic Winery, Nillumbik Estate, Panton Hill Vineyard & Winery, Shaws Road Winery and Yarrambat Estate Vineyard.
When: both Saturday, 18th June, 11am-5pm, and Sunday, 19th June, 11am-5pm.
Where: various around Nillumbik.
Cost: free entry.
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.

May 182016

Have you any seeds that you could donate?

malawiThe Bumblebee Foundation is a local, volunteer organisation that guides and facilities the development of food security systems. They have recently partnered with two food co-operatives to help farmers in Malawi and, as part of this, they would like to send them some vegetable seeds to begin their gardens and, eventually, to have the seeds that they need to produce their own seed bank. They want organic (certified or equivalent) seeds only. If you can potentially provide some seeds, please contact Pauline Crosbie by phone (9751 2635), email or post (PO Box 263, Olinda, 3788).

calendarThe events calendar is now searchable by local authority

Someone has suggested that, with so many events now in the website calendar, it needs better ways of searching it. As discussed in the ‘filtering’ section on the website help page, the calendar has long been searchable/filterable by suburb (using locations), type of event (using categories) and key words (using a Google-like search box). In addition, the location field has now been enhanced to include local authorities. So, for example, if you are just interested in events in Manningham or Yarra Ranges, you would select these two locations and the calendar would only show the events in these two local authority areas.

Some Darebin project updates

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a ‘Sustainable Food Leaders Forum’ in Darebin. Its main purpose was to update people on the progress of various local projects, including:

One satisfied customer

Judy Green, from the Warrandyte Community Garden has written in: “Just to let you know that we have received a load of soil and compost from The Green Centre as a result of your piece in the newsletter so thank you for that.

Another satisfied customer

Chris Kent, who won our ‘most in need of new boots’ prize last month, has now received his new boots, courtesy of Blundstones. He has written in: “The winning boots have arrived – thank you. I chose a pair with good ankle support and with zips for quick on/off. They felt comfortable from the start.” Have a look at the before and after pictures. As you can see, we also gave him some fluorescent green bamboo socks, just to make sure that he makes an impression wherever he goes.
boots chris

Chocolate pizza bar anyone?

Following last week’s feature on customised chocolate from Chocolab, an Indian company (Chocolate Mantra) wrote asking us to publish a link to their chocolate pizza bar. Yes, they really did! So, here is the link.

food cubesHow cool is this(?)

Colossal is an amazing art site which often has interesting pictures of food. They even have a section devoted to food. Here is one of their recent photos of 98 different unprocessed foods each cut into 1 inch cubes (obviously you will only see it properly if you actually click the thumbnail).

New events

Worm farms

What: Caring for your worm farm and how to use the vermicast and worm wee. Free but RSVPs would be appreciated.
When: Monday, 30th May, 11.30am-1.30pm.
Where: Richmond.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Finbar Neighbourhood House by phone (9428 7668) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

How to make compost & set up a worm farm

What: In this 3 1/2 hour workshop, learn how to recycle household and garden waste (including dog poo!) by setting up a worm farm and a backyard compost system. Also learn about plants that can help the soil. This workshop will suit learners wanting to recycle household and garden organic waste in order improve soils. It is not suitable for young children. Please wear sturdy shoes and dress for the outdoors as part of the workshop will be hands-on around the farm. The tutor Dianne Gordon is a member of the environmental education team at Edendale. She has been growing food without chemicals for many years. The secret to her food growing success has been largely due to natural soil improvement. She has also mastered the ‘art’ of dog poo worm farming!
When: Saturday, 4th June, 1-4.30pm.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: free.
Enquiries/RSVPs: Edendale by phone (9433 3711) or email.
Further information/bookings: Edendale website.

Low-maintenance edible gardens

What: Learn how to set up an edible garden that will look great and taste great with minimal effort. Free but RSVPs would be appreciated.
When: Saturday, 11th June, 11am-midday.
Where: Fitzroy.
Cost: free.
Enquiries/RSVPs: Pippa French by email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

How to prepare your garden for spring

What: Free but RSVPs would be appreciated.
When: Monday, 20th June, 11.30am-1.30pm.
Where: Richmond.
Cost: free.
Enquiries/RSVPs: Finbar Neighbourhood House by phone (9428 7668) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Cooking with winter vegetables – Italian style

What: Chef Sandra del Greco will share some of her delicious Italian recipes for creating tasty dishes from the many vegetables that are available in winter. Tasting samples and recipe sheets provided. Sandra runs an Italian cookery school in Richmond and also grows a variety of her own vegetables in her plot at the Burnley Backyard. Go along and get some new ideas to brighten up your winter cooking.
When: Wednesday, 22nd June, 6-8pm.
Where: Richmond.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
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.

May 112016

On 27th June 1964, an unusual event happened: Can’t Buy Me Love, by the Beatles, returned to the Number 1 position in the Australian Pop Charts after having been temporarily usurped by Mary Wells’ My Guy. On 4th May 2016 (i.e. last week’s newsletter), something similar happened: our market dog gallery returned to being the most popular link in the newsletter! Aaargh! Well, this is meant to be a food website, not a dog website, so in time-honoured tradition I am now manipulating the rankings (by not including the actual link to the dog gallery on the home page any more). To get you back onto food, here are two of my favourite food-related videos of all time.

Mary Clear, from Incredible Edible Todmorden

Pie Face

The Darebin Homemade Food & Wine Festival

By the time you read this, the week-long Darebin Homemade Food & Wine Festival will be in full swing. One event that I have not previously given sufficient prominence to is the Meet the Makers showcase event on Saturday, 14th May, 1-4pm. Homemade wine tasting and an opportunity to meet your local homemade wine makers, cooking demonstrations, information stalls, coffee, music and more. Here is the agenda:

  • 1-2.30pm – paella, with Maria Echevarria-Lang from Chato, Thornbury: Chato has established itself as every local’s favourite Spanish tapas bar. Its chef and co-owner, Maria, will demonstrate her method of cooking authentic paella.
  • 1.15-1.45pm – sambal, with Yuni from Yuni’s Kitchen, Northcote: Use it as a base for fried rice and soups, or served as a condiment alongside chicken and fish, sambal is Indonesia’s versatile answer to Thailand’s sriracha hot sauce and Yuni will show you how you can make your own. Includes free samples and jars available for purchase.
  • 2.30-3pm – panakopita, with Mani from Melissa Cakes, Heidelberg: Melissa Cakes have been serving their Greek cakes, pastries and biscuits to Melbourne neighbourhoods for 45 years. Join their head pâtissier for a demonstration on how to stretch your own filo pastry and to talk you through their signature savoury recipe for spanakopita.
  • 3-3.30pm – raw snacks on the go, with Christine Amad: Christine is a certified raw chef and yoga instructor who is passionate about eating clean for optimal health and nutrition. She will show you how easy it is to prepare healthy raw vegan low glycemic snacks to eat on the go.
  • 3.30pm – the awards ceremony itself for best local homemade wine, beer, passata, ajvar and olives.

How to set up a successful food swap

Have a look at the guide to setting up a food swap produced by Melbourne-based Cultivating Community.

chocolateDesign your own chocolate bar

Chocolab is website which allows you to design your own customised bars of chocolate. For cost reasons alone, this is probably not the sort of thing one would do often. But, as a treat for yourself or someone else, it has great novelty value. I had a dark chocolate bar with mini marshmallows, crunchie sprinkles, popping candy rocks, jaffas and blueberries! Yum, yum.

New events

Making food fun – ideas for healthy lunchboxes

What: Around a third of children’s daily food intake occurs at school or kinder. Join healthAbility’s Accredited Practising Dietician, Brodie Preston, as she unlocks the secrets to packing a lunchbox that ensures kids get all the energy and nutrients they need. Michelle Hegarty, from Home Grown Catering, will also be on hand to showcase simple and healthy lunchbox treats to prepare and taste with your kids. Bookings required (by phone or email).
When: Thursday, 19th May, 4-5pm.
Where: Greensborough.
Cost: free.
Enquiries/Bookings: Dione Fisher by phone (9434 3809) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Winter gardening

What: Prepare for your winter garden and garden well through the winter months with a talk from Bulleen Art and Garden Nursery.
When: Thursday, 26th May, 10.30-11.30am.
Where: Bulleen.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Whitehorse Manningham Libraries website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Habitat gardens – how to attract birds and reptiles

What: Learn about the best plants and the best techniques to attract birds and reptiles to your suburban garden from the experts at La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary. Followed by an optional walking tour of the Sanctuary.
When: Saturday, 28th May, 10.30-1pm.
Where: Bundoora.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Charlie Davie by phone (8470 8405) or email.
Bookings: Eventbrite or phone (8470 8405).
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Vegetarian basics cooking class

What: A hands-on workshop for those who want to introduce more meat free meals into their diet or gain some ideas on how to cater for the vegetarians in their life. It will cover: what vegetarians need for a balanced diet; how to create balanced and delicious vegetarian meals; tips on cooking beans, pulses and seeds; and being prepared for quick and easy vegetarian meals.
When: Saturday, 18th June, 9.30am-1.30pm.
Where: Montmorency.
Cost: $85.
Enquiries: Julie French by phone (0438 115853) or email.
Bookings: online.
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.

May 042016

When I was a child, my mum and I used to sit down in front of the television every Thursday evening and watch Top of the Pops. Our main purpose was to find out whether the latest Beatles’ single was still no. 1. Perhaps you are now doing the equivalent but with respect to this newsletter and the market dog gallery?! Well, the dog gallery has finally been de-throned as the most popular newsletter link, replaced by Helen’s article on growing strawberries.

Kim Riazi and Lin Wong both report that the first Eastland Farmers’ Market on 24th April went well.

Some food-related apps for your smartphone

Chris Chapple has suggested that some newsletter readers may be interested in Choice’s free-range egg app, available for both Android and IoS. You point your camera at an egg carton and, from the label, it tells you whether the eggs are true free range or not. It works with many of the supermarket eggs, but not (as yet) with our local egg producers.

Other food-related apps that I have on my Android smartphone/tablet include (in alphabetical order by category, where the categories reflect what is available rather than where my interests necessarily lie!):

And, of course, there is the free app that I wrote myself: Local Food Connect.

In passing, as well as the Android version of the app above, I also wrote an IoS version (the two operating systems use different languages). But Apple demanded that I pay them $100 a year before I could even put it onto my own phone! Obviously, on principle, I’m not going to do this. If you have an Apple smart device and want my free app, blame Apple not me.

New events

Kitchen gardening in schools

What: Brought to you by Nillumbik Healthy Schools, the health promoting schools initiative of healthAbility, this is a free professional learning workshop on providing successful food education experiences. It will include: the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation showcasing the benefits of kitchen gardens in providing pleasurable food education; best practice advice for managing a successful kitchen garden program; tips, resources and local supports available for getting your kitchen gardening program growing; and a reflective look at the Hurstbridge Primary School kitchen garden story & community in action.
When: Tuesday, 17th May, 2.30-4pm.
Where: Hurstbridge.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Bridget King by phone (9430 9169) or email.
Bookings: register by email.
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.