Local organisations and websites

 

For organisations relating to ‘food justice’, click here.

The Vegan Mini Market is held on the first Saturday of each month at Abbotsford Convent. I went to the October 2017 market (the market only started in September). There were 19 stalls, 13 selling food and 6 selling other things (shoes, soap, etc). Of the 13 selling food, 8 were primarily selling food to take home and 5 were primarily selling ready-to-eat food to eat there. 2 of the stallholders are also stallholders at Eltham Farmers’ Market: 99th Monkey and Girl Made Chocolate. It wasn’t very busy. Whilst this might not be good for the stallholders, it is good news for the punters as it makes the experience more enjoyable. And, as you will know if you ever go to the Slow Food Melbourne Farmers’ Market, the convent grounds are a nice place to stroll around. The one downside is that car parking costs money: $3 for the first 30 minutes, and then $2 per hour. Dogs are allowed and there were quite a lot of them. My dog Oscar was very interested in a bag that a woman was carrying. Then she unzipped the bag and out popped … a chihuahua! There were a number of chihuahuas at the market – is this a vegan thing or an inner city thing? (posted October 11 2017)

Although Coldstream is only a small place (population around 2,500), it actually has a large number of food producers, including: Adams Farms; Australian Harvest / Bio Grape; Coldstream Dairy; Cunliffe & Waters; Domaine Chandon; Garlic N More; Maroondah Orchards; Napoleone Brewery & Ciderhouse; Oakridge Wines; Pimpernel Vineyards; Punt Road Wines; Rochford Wines; The Functional Beverage Co.; Tokar Estate Winery; and Yarra Valley Tea Company. (posted August 9 2017)

Going Green Solutions have blogged about rubbish-free lunches. (posted August 2 2017)

CafeSmart is an annual one-day fundraising initiative to support local not-for-profit organisations and Australians in need. Each participating cafe donates $1 from every coffee sold on the day. In 2016, the initiative raised $160,000. 73 cafes from North East Melbourne are participating in 2017. Click here to view the list by suburb. (posted July 26 2017)

John Ferris, owner of Edible Forest Gardens nursery in Wonga Park, has started posting regular videos on his Facebook page. The videos are effectively mini growing guides and the subjects covered to date include: turmeric, canna lily, yacon and society garlic. (posted July 19 2017)

The Australian Food Awards are an annual, rolling set of awards where roughly half the awards for 2017 have now been made. Congratulations to the following winners from North East Melbourne: (posted July 19 2017)

Name Suburb Highest award Food group
Ardor Food Co Thomastown Gold Pasta
Aura Co. Mernda Bronze Ice cream
Billy van Creamy Fitzroy North Gold Gelato and Sorbet
Blue Pear Pantry North Warrandyte Silver Sausage roll
Chokamour Macleod Silver Chocolate
Cunliffe & Waters Croydon Bronze Jam and Sauce
Fritz Gelato Richmond Silver Gelato and Sorbet
Gelati Sky Brunswick Gold Gelato
JZ Business Enterprises Coburg North Bronze Snack
Marisa’s Kitchen Alphington Gold Soup and Dip
Montefiore Cheese Thomastown Silver Cheese
My Little Country Kitchen Kinglake West Silver Sausage roll
Okka Pies Bayswater Silver Quiche
Pantalica Cheese Company Thomastown Gold Cheese
Plough to Plate Fine Foods Thomastown Gold Preserve and Sauce
PoppySmack Warrandyte Bronze Sauce
Ranch Hand Foods Blackburn Gold Sauce
Select Harvests Thomastown Gold Almonds
St David Dairy Fitzroy Gold Milk and Butter
Sweet by Nature Heidelberg West Gold Cake
That’s Amore Cheese Thomastown Gold Cheese
We Feed You Hawthorn East Bronze Ready meal
Yarra Valley Dairy Coldstream Silver Cheese

 

Transition groups in North East Melbourne (posted July 12 2017):

Suburb Group Email address
Collingwood Friends of the Earth foe@foe.org.au
Darebin Transition Darebin transitiondarebin@gmail.com
Fitzroy Fitzroy Urban Harvest peta@cultivatingcommunity.org.au
Fitzroy Yarra Climate Action Now (YCAN) info@ycan.org.au
Fitzroy North North Fitzroy Community Gardens Group rushallgarden@gmail.com
Greensborough Transition Greensborough sustainablegreensie@gmail.com
Heidelberg Transition Banyule info@transitionbanyule.org.au
Heidelberg Transition Warringal warringal@transitionbanyule.org.au
Heidelberg West Transition 3081 transition3081@gmail.com
Macleod Sustainable Macleod sustainablemacleod@gmail.com
Maroondah Transition Town Maroondah ttmaroondah@gmail.com
Montmorency Montmorency Community Group montymoves@gmail.com

 

Going Green Solutions: is one of the liveliest, local Facebook pages, with most of the content being about eco-friendly food-related equipment. They are based in Hurstbridge (929 Main Road) and you can also buy their products online on their website. Furthermore, you can subscribe to their newsletter. Their owner is newsletter reader, Lucinda Flynn. (posted June 28 2017)

Kevin Heinze GROW are based in Doncaster. They “work with children and adults of all abilities to provide, enhance and promote the benefits of horticulture based therapy.” and their “activities promote social inclusion, laughter and friendship.“. If you want to get involved, you can volunteer or you can donate. (posted June 28 2017)

Nillumbik Healthy Schools newsletter: If you are involved in any food-related activities at your local school, you might be interested in receiving the quarterly Nillumbik Healthy Schools newsletter distributed by healthAbility. Whilst some of it is specific to Nillumbik (and Banyule), around half of the material is more general. To subscribe, email them. (posted June 28 2017)

Organic Fix is a new food store in Eltham (937 Main Road), where all of its products are Certified Organic. Its product range already includes: a wide range of dry goods (see first picture), some fruit and veg (see second picture), various canned/bottled food, and a variety of non-foods (from beauty products to cleaning supplies). Their signage is great (see third picture). Their website has just been launched and they also have a Facebook page. They plan to introduce both an online store and home deliveries in the future. The shop is the brainchild of newsletter reader Lynne-Eva Bottomley. (posted June 14 2017)

    

One of our most notable local websites is Deep Green Permaculture by Angelo Eliades from Preston. Angelo blogs regularly, writing substantial articles about all aspects of gardening. The easiest way of finding particular blogs is via his what’s new page, so that’s the page that you should bookmark. He has also provided DIY instructions for many (around 30) garden activities. Earlier this month, he posted an article about using boiling water to kill weeds. (posted May 24 2017)

Working in partnership with Transition Towns Maroondah, the Eastern Region Food Co-Operative (ERFCO) is seeking new members to join up and benefit from a combined buying power. Five times a year, non-perishable food like dried fruit, nuts, grains, flour, sugar, beans, lentils, and also honey and peanut butter, are bought in bulk, mainly from NSM Food Wholesalers in Brunswick. Food co-op members order what they need – the quantity can be small or large. The collection point is in Croydon South or Heathmont. You bring your own containers or bags, plus scales, and weigh out the food you have ordered. For more information, either read their website or email Lloyd. (posted May 17 2017)

Leaf, Root & Fruit is one of our best local blogs. They have recently published three articles about potting mix and fertiliser:

  • The importance of soil where one of their conclusions was: “despite one bagged potting mix being 5 times more expensive than the cheap bagged potting mix, there was virtually no difference in performance“.
  • Which potting mix is best? As they concluded: “There is a huge variation in the performance of each of the potting mixes.” and thus “Never underestimate the importance of good quality soil in growing your fruit and veggies. Interestingly, price isn’t always a good indicator of quality.
  • Which commercial fertiliser is best? Interestingly, their main conclusion is that: “even with the best quality fertilisers, terrible soil is difficult to improve“. (posted April 26 2017 and May 10 2017)

‘Crop Swapping’ has come to North East Melbourne: Yarra Valley Crop Swap is a closed Facebook group which started in December and which already has 770 members. As they say “if you have fruit, veggies, eggs, honey, crafts, plants, etc that you’d like to swap, post your offerings and trade for something you need.” Its two co-founders live in Croydon North and Wandin East. They were interviewed in the 7th April edition of The Leader.

Crop Swap Melbourne is a public Facebook group which started in February and currently has 320 members. As they say “We are building local community, reducing food waste & eating better, for less. Join us to meet your neighbours, swap excess produce and fairly barter with other like-minded people for fresh, local and delicious food, edible plants, seeds or gardening goods. (posted April 12 2017)

So, if you are a home grower with a surplus, you now have a plethora of options:

Vegetarian Victoria promotes the benefits of vegetarianism and provides support and information to vegetarians, vegans and the general community. They also organise social events and some workshops. (posted March 29 2017)

The Cider & Ale Trail comprises 11 breweries etc from roughly Wonga Park to roughly Healesville. Read this article by Zoe Powell as she travels the trail. (posted March 15 2017)

Reground: if you want lots of coffee grounds at zero cost and you live in Melbourne, then Reground may well be the organisation for you. They will deliver to your door(!) and as often as you want. As far as I can make out, the only potential issue is their (large) minimum delivery quantities: 2 bins if you live in inner Melbourne or 7 bins if you live in outer Melbourne. Thus far, they have re-purposed 26 tonnes of ground coffee into gardens around Melbourne. If you want some, contact Ninna Larsen by phone (0466 242575) or email.

Here is what Ninna says: “Reground is a sustainable waste management service for used ground coffee. We re-direct organic coffee waste away from landfill, re-distributing it to gardens city-wide, reducing the carbon impact of coffee consumption. There are around 2,600 cafes in the City of Melbourne. These cafes produce around 160,000kg of coffee-ground waste every month, contributing around 260 tonnes of methane gas to our atmosphere. Ground coffee is exceptionally nutrient-rich material, making a powerful soil amendment and a highly sought after organic matter for community gardens, farmers, and home-gardeners alike. By collecting the used coffee grounds from cafes and roasteries, Reground provides an innovative and dynamic service, creating a positive impact on the environment and their communities. We now also pick up chaff, which is high in carbon, and deliver it for free.

Stuart Rodda says: “I am exceptionally pleased with how it has worked out with Reground. They have brought regular deliveries of bulk amounts of coffee grounds, virtually free of any rubbish, and I am already starting to see beneficial effects in my garden. Where I have placed pure coffee grounds in the garden (but not directly into soil where I am about to plant because of known inhibitory properties of fresh grounds on plant growth), the coffee has become a seething mass of earthworms. By the time the worms are finished with it, it will be that ‘black gold’ of gardening, worm castings.

Bev Robertson says simply: “Reground are doing a great job.” (posted March 8 2017)

Cultivating Community is a local (Abbotsford) organisation which “offers a range of services to assist in the development of sustainable community food projects” and whose mission is “to work with diverse and low-income communities to create fair, secure and resilient food systems”. (posted February 8 2017)

MADGE is a local (Fitzroy) organisation which “researches the food system to allow people to choose food that is good for those who eat it, grow it, produce and sell it.”. (posted February 8 2017)

Your Council’s policies on urban agriculture: In 2016, Henry Crawford, from Sustain, mapped out the plans, policies and strategies of various local councils across Greater Melbourne that relate to urban agriculture. The Councils include Banyule, City of Yarra, Darebin, Moreland, Nillumbik, Whittlesea and Yarra Ranges. (posted February 1 2017)

The City of Melbourne’s Community Food Guide is a booklet for anyone who wants information about how to access affordable fresh and healthy food. ?Whether it’s affordable meals, food vouchers, community kitchens in which to cook in a supportive setting or community gardens to grow your own produce, the guide captures the services that offer these things within inner Melbourne. (posted February 1 2017)

Some important local organisations/websites not discussed elsewhere on this page:

Some other local organisations not discussed elsewhere on this page:

Some important Melbourne-wide organisations:

Some local projects:

Some Melbourne-based individuals who sometimes run workshops:

Some Melbourne-wide or Victorian organisations:

Beales Road Farm and The Veggie Empire: Beales Road Farm started three years ago in response to the social isolation being experienced by the leaseholder of the land in Greensborough where it is based. The leaseholder, Hayden, has autism and needed to meet new community members to help him feel safe and connected to his community. Gardening was something that he was interested in. Eighteen months after it began, a small community gardening team known as The Veggie Empire’ joined the original gardeners and have helped develop the food system into a vibrant and viable local food system. (posted November 30 2016)

Victorian Pleasurable Food Education Package: Pleasurable Food Education is what the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation (SAKGF) call their food education program. The Victorian Government are subsidising the program, to reduce the cost to a school to $550. healthAbility has a further, Nillumbik-only subsidy, which reduces the cost to a school to $275 – click here for details. Schools in Whitehorse can obtain subsidies from Whitehorse City Council – email Amanda Swayn for more information. Click here to read about the program. (posted November 30 2016)

Melbourne’s vegetarian and vegan street food vendors include:

permablitzThe 10-year history of Permablitz: Adrian O’Hagan has written in (using the valediction ‘warm rhubarbs’!) to provide a potted history of Permablitz to mark its 10-year anniversary: “For ten years, Permablitz Melbourne has helped people grow their own fruit and vegetables, all by transforming people’s yards and lawns into edible oases. It has now transformed almost 200 gardens Melbourne-wide. The Permablitz movement started in Dandenong back in 2006, and has thrived due to its reciprocal nature – recipients of a permablitz will first have volunteered their time to two or more other permablitzes. This, in turn, attracts new volunteers, and the cycle begins anew. The permablitzes are almost always designed by volunteers with a Permaculture Design Certificate. This gives the designer real-life experience working with a ‘client’ and the recipient (or ‘host’) gets a design tailored to their preferences, lifestyle and environment. Each permablitz event also contains workshops, which teach new skills to the volunteers, as well as having lots of fun. The concept has proven so successful that it has spread all over the world, with blitzes as far away as Hong Kong, Canada, the UK, India, Italy, Uganda and several other countries – as well as permablitzes held regularly across Australia.” (posted October 19 2016)

The Kitchen Garden Program at Montmorency South Primary School offers students the opportunity to grow and harvest food from their own school garden and then prepare that food, sharing it with their class. Their established garden and kitchen facility make this both an enjoyable and a rewarding learning environment for the children in years 3-6. The continuation of the program relies on the support of volunteers. You do not have to be a green thumb or a masterchef! You will work with a small group of children guiding them with either a garden task (1 hour) or cooking from a recipe (2 hours). The program runs Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday over a fortnight rotation. You may want to volunteer once a week – or once a term. Note that a valid working-with-children check is required. If interested, contact either Jenna Farrington (garden) by phone (0406 738220) or Cathryn Hulme (kitchen) by phone (0419 322782). (posted October 12 2016)

east prestonA new community garden for East Preston: Darebin Council has joined with the Pavilion School in Sylvester Grove, Preston to create a new shared public space for the community to enjoy, grow food and connect with their neighbours. Located on the Pavilion School grounds at the corner of Dean and Gray Streets, the garden is in the final stages of construction. With a border of fruit trees, 15 raised wicking beds for vegetables and herbs, storage container and shelter, seating, composting bays and a children’s sand pit, the garden has been designed as a welcoming space to meet with friends and neighbours. A group of local residents has formed to take care of the garden, which they have named ‘Sylvester Hive’ (‘Sylvester’ is derived from the Latin for woodland and ‘Hive’ denotes a place where people meet and connect). The group meets regularly to discuss and agree on how the garden is to be managed, used, planted and harvested. Among the first orders of business is to purchase plants for the first Spring planting which will take place on Sunday 11 September from midday. All welcome (bring a plate for a potluck lunch). If you are interested in being involved with the garden, please contact Hendrik Falk at by phone (0420 353572) or email. (posted September 7 2016)

Read about the Whitehorse ‘Compost Mate’ program (‘Compost Mates’ is a community-run program that involves local residents, schools and community groups collecting food waste from local businesses to use as compost). If you are already part of the program, email us with your experiences. (posted August 24 2016)
 
 
warranwoodWarranwood Primary School food forest garden: Warranwood Primary School is establishing a permaculture designed forest garden which will enhance the education program and create a productive area where the children can explore the life cycles of nature. They are currently seeking funding to plant a Japanese garden, construct trellises, and plant a range of edible and beneficial shrubs groundcovers and climbers. (posted August 10 2016)
 
 
 
Hurstbridge Primary School’s kitchen garden: a few weeks ago, healthAbility ran a workshop on kitchen gardening for schools in Nillumbik. As part of this, they interviewed Hurstbridge Primary School. Here is a summary. In 2014, Hurstbridge Primary School joined the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation (SAKGF), whose food education philosophy is that of promoting pleasurable food education and building positive food habits through fun, hands-on learning. Since then, changes at the school include: new garden beds, compost bays and a chook pen; assigning gardening and cooking specialist roles to staff; recruiting parents as volunteers; and incorporating gardening and cooking sessions into the weekly timetable. The benefits of having students excited about the program, sharing meals cooked with the produce and gaining positive food experiences clearly outweigh the ongoing challenges with storage space, budgeting and not having a designated kitchen. If you would like to know more, contact Chris Tatnall or Diane Brown by phone (9718 2386) or email. (posted August 10 2016)

Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation (SAKGF) schools in North East Melbourne: here is a list of the schools in North East Melbourne which are part of the SAKGF program, followed by a list of those who are classroom members. (posted August 10 2016)

Program schools:
Banyule Montmorency Primary School
Montmorency South Primary School
St Thomas the Apostle Catholic Primary School
Viewbank Primary School
Boroondara Andale School
City of Yarra Fitzroy Primary School
Learning Centre at Collingwood College
Yarra Primary School
Darebin Findon Primary School
St Francis of Assisi School
Westgarth Primary School
Manningham Templestowe Valley Primary School
Wonga Park Primary School
Maroondah Croydon Special Developmental School
Dorset Primary School
Kalinda Primary School
Melbourne Carlton Primary School
Nillumbik Hurstbridge Primary School
Whitehorse Kingswood College
Whitehorse Primary School
Whittlesea St Peter’s Primary School
Yarra Ranges St Richard’s Primary School

 

Classroom members:
Banyule Edward Street Preschool
Boroondara Auburn Primary School
Carey Baptist Grammar School
Greythorn Early Childhood Centre
Hawthorn Early Years
Trinity Grammar School
Darebin Merri Community Child Care Centre and Kindergarten
St Joseph the Worker Primary school
Manningham Creative Play Early Learning Centre
Warrandyte Kindergarten
Maroondah Eastwood Primary School
Melba College Senior Campus
Milestone Childcare and Kindergarten
The Village School
Yarra Valley Grammar School
Moreland Antonine College
Murrindindi Ellimatta Youth Inc
Middle Kinglake Primary School
Nillumbik Early Learning Centre Diamond Creek
Eltham High School
Eltham Primary School
Whitehorse Old Orchard Primary School
Orchard Grove Primary School
Our Lady’s Primary School
Roberts McCubbin Primary School
Whittlesea St Joseph’s Primary School
Yarra Ranges Lilydale High School
St Peter Julian Eymard School

 
Middle Kinglake Primary School garden: see the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation website for the story. (posted July 6 2016)

kinglake1 kinglake2

From this

To this

 
your indigenous garden‘Your indigenous garden’ booklet: Whittlesea’s latest edition of its ‘Your indigenous garden‘ booklet is now available. Here’s the blurb – “with information and advice on local plants, animals, climate and soil conditions, it also includes: garden design tips; how to grow gardens that children will love; planting techniques and maintenance; plants and garden features that attract wildlife such as butterflies, frogs, lizards and birds; and tips for managing common weeds and pest animals.” Click here to download it as a pdf or, for a hard copy, contact the Council by phone (9217 2042) or email. (posted July 6 2016)

 

 

seedbankDo you live in Darebin and want some free seeds? Kerrie Ludekens and the Northcote Library Food Garden are offering seeds to Darebin home gardeners free of charge. Collect them from: Northcote Library Food Garden at their working bees (next door to Northcote Library, second Sunday of the month at 10am, except long weekends); Northcote Library (32–38 Separation Street, Northcote); Preston Customer Service Centre (274 Gower Street); Kiln Cafe (85C Clyde Street, Thornbury); or the Darebin Information and Volunteer Resource Service (285–287 High Street, Preston). For more info, contact Kerrie by phone (8470 8888) or email.

Angelo Eliades has written a comprehensive article on this Free Public Seed Bank Project. (posted April 27 2016)

Some local mailing lists: the list below comprises those local newsletters that I subscribe to. Its purpose is twofold: first, to give you a checklist of newsletters that you might like to subscribe to; and, second, so that you can tell me if there are any other newsletters that I should subscribe to. In many cases, it is actually quite difficult to subscribe online so the links below are the email addresses from whom the newsletters emanate.

Three places to buy preserving equipment:

Public Fruit Melbourne’s fruit tree map: this map has been developed by someone, or some group, calling themselves Public Fruit Melbourne, but we have no idea who they are. It lists getting on for 1,000 fruit trees. For example, in Eltham it lists:

  • Loquat: behind a wooden bench in Alistair Knox Park.
  • Olive: next to the pedestrian path, Main Road.
  • Plum: large tree growing next to the corner of Eucalyptus Road and Mount Pleasant Road.

Another map of this data, with better search facilities, can be found on the Falling Fruit website. Here the data is combined with some other data, particularly about dumpster diving(!). So, for example: “Aldi Warringal (in Heidelberg): If I’m driving through, I always stop here 🙂 It’s usually full of food, including beer! Unlocked, go any time.” (posted February 3 2016)

Darebin – some useful links

u-picktrailThe ‘u-pick trail’: the ‘u-pick trail’ comprises 9 farms in the Yarra Ranges where you can pick (and then consume) fruit. (posted December 2 2015)

Food Know How – a recipe for taste, not waste: if you live in Darebin, Maribyrnong, Moreland, Whittlesea or Yarra Ranges council areas, you can, at no cost, join the Food Know How program to learn how to reduce food waste, save money and make a positive contribution to the environment. Food Know How members will have exclusive access to:

  • Free workshops to learn handy tips on preparing, cooking and storing food to avoid waste.
  • Handy tools to help reduce food waste: kitchen food caddies, menu planners, food storage guides, etc.
  • Contribute to the online Food Know How members’ recipe book.
  • Share food saving tips and ideas with the Food Know How community.

Find out more about Food Know How by email or visit their website. (posted October 7 2015)

Some Facebook pages:

  • Edendale Community Environment Farm: will keep you in touch with their upcoming activities and what the animals are up to.
  • Food Swap / Share Banyule, Nillumbik & Surrounds: it is a closed group so you have to join it and be approved. As the page description says: “There are a lot of people struggling to put food on the table. Do you have spare tins or packaged food, fresh fruit & veg, etc that you won’t use? Let’s help others in need. Nothing is too big or small … someone will use it.” (posted July 22 2015)

Hurstbridge Organic Fruit and Veggie Co-operative is seeking new families: would you like a new way of weekly shopping for your organic fruit and veggies? This is a long running co-op of local families who order and buy bulk organic fruit and veggies at wholesale prices each week. Key points:

  • Each week a selection of fruits and veggies are offered.
  • Order only what you want and need – not a price per box system.
  • Each family has a job in the co-op. They are currently seeking hosts and packers – the time commitment required is about 2-3 hours every 5-6 weeks. Hosts get the veggies delivered to their house and, using an excel spreadsheet, print off packing slips. Packers then come along and pack the veggies into boxes for members to collect. They have 5 host houses. Packing is easy and is mostly done in pairs, at the host’s house. Children are welcome but need to be supervised.
  • Ordering and payments are made via email/internet banking.
  • By using a co-op, you are supporting a great organic food industry – better for you and the planet. And with the money you save, you can continue to support the local organic shops for anything that isn’t in the selection each week, as well as other organic goodness!

For more information, contact Michelle Clayton by phone (0425 756345) or email. (posted June 3 2015)

Montmorency Primary School Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program: Montmorency Primary School is looking at recruiting new volunteers to work in their Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program. As a volunteer you would assist a group of 4–5 students with either their cooking or their gardening lesson. You are not expected to be a master chef or a green thumb, but just have a willingness to help out whilst learning alongside the students and having fun along the way. If you could spare one to two hours on a Tuesday once a week or every fortnight they would love to hear from you. Gardening is 10-11am and cooking is 9-11am or midday-2pm. If you are interested, please email Keryn Johnson or phone the school on 9434 5944. (posted April 15 2015)

3000acres aims to unlock underutilised land across the city to grow food and build communities. The link for more information is here. (posted November 7 2013)

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