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 meet like-minded folks, Local Food Connect is for you!

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

Sep 202017
 

Mac’s tip of the week

Although we are still getting chilly evenings, we are also (at last!) getting a taste of Spring during the days. As the chance of further frosts is now minimal, it is now time to clean up any damaged foliage in readiness for new growth. It’s also a great time to feed and tip prune your citrus, checking on wasp gall while you’re at it. Enjoy the rays of sunshine as you get your hands dirty.

There is now an edible food garden at Eltham railway station!

34(!) newsletter readers turned up to help install the two wicking beds at Eltham railway station on Sunday. Here’s the roll call: Alan, Andrew, Bev, Bruce, Charlie, Chris, Constance, Dana, David, David, Felicity, Glenn, Greg, Guy, Heath, Imogen, Jamie, Jane, Jeff, Jenny, Kate, Kilian, Mac, Martin, Maryrose, Natalie, Owen, Pam, Paul, Paul, Peter, Rachael, Susan and Vera. Thanks, everyone, it was a great team effort.

Particular thanks are due to: Paul Gale-Baker, from Macleod Organic Community Garden and Paul Morland, from Bellfield Community Garden, who jointly led the work; Bev and Dana, who did much of the organising; Felicity Gordon, who has done some brilliant artwork; and Charlie the Stationmaster and his colleagues, who were most hospitable.

Here are a few pictures. There are a lot more pictures, particularly of the work as it progressed, on the newly created Eltham Railway Station page.

We’ll now catch our breath and then start planning our next steps. To keep in touch with developments, join the Facebook group, Incredible Edible Eltham?

Community gardens in Manningham

Another week, another set of community gardens. This time it’s the gardens in Manningham. Each of the 3 gardens now has its own page on our website (Doncaster Hill, Kevin Heinze GROW and Warrandyte) and have also been included on the map of where the community gardens are. Another way of viewing the material is via the community gardening section of the Local Food Directory. Thanks to the community gardens for responding to my requests for information and photos. And thanks to Nigel Philpot from the Council for pointing me in the right directions.

Doncaster Hill Kevin Heinze GROW Warrandyte

Situations vacant (farmers’ market helpers)!

Local Food Connect is seeking helpers for the Eltham Farmers’ Market. The work is paid. Applicants need to be both reliable and fit as there is some heavy lifting required. The work will suit those with a restrained approach to Saturday night as the starting time is 6.15am Sunday morning. The time involved could vary but someone is needed before and after the market. There may also be an opportunity to work on a stall in-between. For more information, call Chris (0407 431366).

Local food producer news

Carlton Farmers’ Market has closed, at least for the time being.

The 2017 Official Great Aussie Pie Competition has just been held and there were some winners from North East Melbourne. One Girl Pie, from Richmond, won a gold and three silvers for their gourmet pies. Blue Pear Pantry, from North Warrandyte, and My Little Country Kitchen, from Kinglake West, both won silvers for their gourmet sausage rolls.

Some interesting links

Libby Shaw, from Nature’s Harvest Hurstbridge, has blogged about herbal medicines for digestive complaints.

Here is a thoughtful article entitled The Food Hub Dilemma (or what we mean when we say we support local farmers). Thanks to Permablitz Melbourne for pointing out the link.

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

Indira Naidoo’s top five plants for indoor living.

Crowdfunding for Melbourne ‘farmwalls’

Farmwall want to build vertical, edible farmwalls that use a closed-loop, natural approach to grow and store produce inside cafes and restaurants in Melbourne. They are currently crowdfunding for their first three restaurants.

Joke of the week

Submitted by Rita Hodgson: Why was the scarecrow given a medal? Because he was outstanding in his field.

Read all the jokes.

New events

‘Veggies, flowers & bees’ Spring veggie garden workshop

What: Keep the kids entertained with this fun, hands-on workshop. Kids will make their own vegetable and flower garden to take home. They will also learn about the importance of bees in the garden and meet a local beekeeper. All materials provided. Suitable for primary school aged children. Note that a parent or guardian must be present at the workshop.
When: Tuesday, 3rd October, 10-11am.
Where: Rivers of Yarrambat.
Cost: $27.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

‘Meet the beekeeper’ An introduction to bees workshop

What: Resident beekeeper Nathan Stewart, from Maya’Xala Honey, will take kids on an adventure to explore inside the hive. In this interactive and hands-on learning class, Nathan will teach kids more about these fascinating and crucial invertebrates as well as teach them about the amazing superfood they make: honey. The session will touch on: extracting and tasting different honey and honeycomb; the roles of a queen, drone and worker bee; looking at bees under a microscope; how to find the queen bee amongst thousands of worker bees; and learning to appreciate the foods that would not exist without bees and pollination. Each child will take home a temporary bee tattoo and a bee helium balloon. Ideally suited to kids aged 5-9 years old.
When: Tuesday, 3rd October, 11.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Rivers of Yarrambat.
Cost: $32.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

‘Buzz inn’ native bee workshop

What: Katrina Forstner, founder of Buzz and Dig, is a local gardener, native bee enthusiast and maker of insect hotels.
Native bees are good friends in the garden, performing the valuable service of pollination. Learn about solitary native bees, and the advantages of attracting these to your garden, as well as how to make bee hotels. After the workshop, take a tour of Northcote Library Food Garden with members, and see for yourself how easy it is to create a bee-friendly garden using edibles and natives.
When: Sunday, 8th October, 10.30am-midday.
Where: Northcote Library Food Garden.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Making permaculture stronger

What: Dan Palmer and friends will introducing the www.MakingPermacultureStronger.net project and summarise where it’s been, where it is, and where it’s going.
When: Sunday, 8th October, 1-2pm.
Where: Brunswick.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Very Edible Gardens website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Permaculture design

What: Put on the permaculture goggles and use them to see the potential and make the most out of any space. You will go through the process of permaculture design as developed by VEGs. Presented by Adam Grubb.
When: Wednesday, 11th October, 6-8pm.
Where: Brunswick.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Very Edible Gardens website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Cooking master class

What: Enjoy 3 tasting size courses cooked by chef Bek McMillan, from Gourmet Living, who will demonstrate step by step. All recipes are included. Menu: sambal battered zucchini; chicken satay; and chocolate mousse.
When: Friday, 13th October, 7-9pm.
Where: Templestowe.
Cost: $42.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Open Cellars of the Artisan Hills

What: Visit any or all of the family-owned wineries in Nillumbik, each with an individual style, where the grapes are hand-picked and hand-crushed by family and friends in the traditional style, with wines developed on site. This is a chance to sample exquisite wines from the artisan wine-makers of the western Yarra Valley, at wineries not always open to the public. You will also find excellent food to complement the wine, as well as live music and artworks from local artists at some venues. There is no entry fee, or tasting fee, at any of the venues. The 17 wineries participating in October 2017 are: Buttermans Track, Easthill Estate, Giammarino Wines, Hildebrand Ridge Organic Vineyard, Kings of Kangaroo Ground, Massaros, Naked Range Wines, Nillumbik Estate, Panton Hill Vineyard & Winery, Philip Lobley Wines, Punch, Shaws Road Winery, Stockman Wines, Swipers Gully Vineyard, Watson’s Creek Wines, Wedgetail Estate and Yarrambat Estate Vineyard.
When: Saturday, 14th October and Sunday, 15th October, both 11am-5pm.
Where: various around Nillumbik.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: their website.

Practically Green Festival

What: The festival celebrates sustainable living and all things green. It will include: practical demonstrations and workshops; sustainable building and lifestyle exhibitors; market stalls; live music; children’s activities and entertainment; Edendale nursery and gardens; local food and wine; not-for-profit and community groups; and a sustainability art project. The workshops will include: 11.30am – Talking food forests; midday – Sustainable Table towards a zero-waste lifestyle; 1pm – Setting up a worm farm; 2pm – Love food, hate waste; and 3pm – Fermenting food.
When: Sunday, 15th October, 10am-4.30pm.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: their website.

Organic backyard veggie production and plant basics

What: Growing your own food is a rich and rewarding part of life, and most of us want to do it chemical free. But where to get started? This talk, by VEG’s Jeremy Prentice, will cover how take those very first steps: understanding plant biology and propagation, waterwise gardening, companion planting, natural pest control, composting, worms and soil.
When: Wednesday, 18th October, 6-8pm.
Where: Brunswick.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Very Edible Gardens website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

The power of chook

What: Home chicken husbandry is making a global resurgence as people see the benefit of cheaper eggs, greater soil fertility and, yes, the companionship which comes from having these vivacious ladies around the garden. Learn what you need to get started, how to care for chickens and how to integrate them into highly productive backyard food systems for mutual benefits for your chickens and plants. Topics include housing, good chook health, what to feed, the social life of chooks, and how to avoid odours while building great soil.
When: Wednesday, 25th October, 6-8pm.
Where: Brunswick.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Very Edible Gardens website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Cooking from the garden – making filled pasta

What: Learn how to make your own pasta using all natural ingredients. Learn how to transform this into delicious filled shapes, such as cannelloni and ravioli, that you will all enjoy together at the end.
When: Thursday, 26th October, 10am-midday.
Where: Whittlesea Community Garden.
Cost: free.
Bookings: contact Megan by phone (9716 3361) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Growing fruit and veg in small containers

What: Growing food without access to ground soil is very possible. With a variety of containers, pots, raised beds, vertical planters available on the market, knowing which are best for growing food and for your situation can really accelerate your successes. You will cover suitable containers, potting mixes, feeding regimes, watering and how to make the most of your spaces.
When: Wednesday, 1st November, 6-8pm.
Where: Brunswick.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Very Edible Gardens website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Fermentation

What: Join Carolina Cordeiro for a talk about preserving garden produce with fermentation. This talk will continue into a paid workshop (see below)..
When: Saturday, 4th November, 11am-midday.
Where: Brunswick.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Very Edible Gardens website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Fermentation to make the seasons last longer

What: Join Carolina Cordeiro to learn about stretching out the seasons by preserving your garden produce. Carolina will focus on how to partner with millions of tiny microbes to ferment your way towards enjoying garden produce the year around. Bring a jar to take home your very own home-made sauerkraut and (possibly) kimchi..
When: Saturday, 4th November, 11am-2pm.
Where: Brunswick.
Cost: $45.
Bookings: Very Edible Gardens website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Whittlesea Show

What: With over 50,000 visitors over the weekend, it is one of Victoria’s largest agricultural shows. There will be lots of free activities and entertainment throughout the weekend, including: cattle and sheep on show; horse show; showjumping; livestock pavilion; animal nursery; wood chopping; vintage displays; arts & craft competition; photography competition; and alpacas & alpaca handler competitions. No dogs or alcohol allowed.
When: Saturday, 4th November and Sunday, 5th November, both 9am-5pm.
Where: Whittlesea Showgrounds.
Cost: $20.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: their website.

Vertical vegetable gardening

What: Vertical gardening is perfect for people in high rise apartments, or on small blocks with limited garden space. This session will focus on growing vegetables and other edibles in a vertical gardens. Considerations to be covered include light access, weight and water, as well as the different vertical garden systems from low to high tech. Find out what kinds of edibles work well in the vertical garden and how to maximise their production and keep them looking good.
When: Wednesday, 15th November, 6.30-7.30pm.
Where: Box Hill Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Love food, hate waste cooking demo with dinner

What: Did you know Victorians waste 25% of the food they buy? Learn how to avoid food waste and use leftovers more creatively. Local chef Duang Tengtrirat, from Real Food Catering, will provide a cooking demonstration where you can gain fresh new ideas on how to use all of the food you buy. You will learn how to use all of the vegetable and how to be creative with leftovers. Plus you get to eat the food as well.
When: Wednesday, 15th November, 6.30-8.30pm.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Trybooking.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Introduction to permaculture (two sessions)

What: Facilitator: Donna Livermore. Developed by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, permaculture (permanent agriculture) is a whole system approach to ecological planning and design for sustainable living. This workshop, spread over two weekends, will be beneficial to both those new to the concept of permaculture and for those thinking of undertaking a permaculture design course. You will be introduced to permaculture and gain a basic understanding of the principles and design methods associated with permaculture.
When: Wednesday, 15th November and Saturday, 25th November, both 10am-4pm.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: $120.
Bookings / Further information: Trybooking.

The art of espalier

What: What you will learn: growing espaliered fruit trees; different techniques to make the most of all available space for espalier; and improve your general gardening skills. “Go vertical” is the cry when garden space is limited. Gardening in two dimensions is what espalier is about and this class will cover the different types and how to get them started and then continue to train them into the desired shape. Topics covered are suitable fruit trees, pruning and training techniques. Presented by Diana Cotter.
When: Thursday, 16th November, 6.30-9pm.
Where: Bulleen Art & Garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the next month

View the complete calendar of upcoming events.

Sep 132017
 

Mac’s tip of the week

While pruning a bay laurel (Laurus nobilus) hedge this week, I had to admire how versatile this Mediterranean plant really is. It is able to cope with drought, frost, poor soils, pretty much anything once established, and can be grown in full sun or in the shade. I have even heard that it can even survive bushfires! Although, if let go, it is classed as a tree or tall shrub, when hedged, it can provide excellent screening and be kept at your desired height (up to 6-8m, or less) and a mere 60-80cm wide if trimmed both sides. More moisture will give quicker growth. Dry leaves are generally the preferred option for cooking as the fresh leaves can be a tad pungent. So, if you can sauce one, don’t stew on the decision and stock up now.

Editor’s note: incidently, bay laurel is dioecious, like kiwifruit and carob.

Read all of Mac’s tips.

Eltham Farmer’ Market to be every Sunday?

With the current two monthly markets well established, Local Food Connect (LFC) is now exploring the option of operating the Eltham Farmers’ Market every week. With more stallholder opportunities, LFC would be pleased to hear from any local growers or food product makers with an interest in trading at the market. The main rule is that stallholders must grow or make what they sell. Preference will be given to how local the stallholder is and how well the products fit with the existing stallholder mix. If you would like to learn more, contact Chris by phone (0407 431366) or email.

A lovely story

In the 5th July newsletter, Nicole Johnston asked if anyone had some kefir grains that they could give her. Here, in Nicole’s own words, is what has happened since: “When you first sent me the list of names and email addresses from people offering grains, I was delighted and heartened by the gesture of generous strangers. Then I was a little nervous about making contact – after all, these are strangers and I’m asking them to do something for me, for nothing. But writing an email is a fairly safe place to start, so I picked a name from the list and wrote. It turned out that this person had milk kefir grains and I was looking for water grains. So I had to pick another name and try again. I didn’t get a reply for a while and forgot about my search. Then a reply came from someone called Doris and that got the ball rolling again. After a series of text messages, we agreed to meet at the library. I asked her if she’d like some lemons and she said yes. A trade!

We cautiously introduced ourselves. I didn’t even have to wear a white carnation or a bright scarf to be identified by! She gave me a little bag with enough grains to make my first batch, a bottle of kefir water she had made for me to try, and a full page of instructions and tips on making water kefir. I gave her some of my lemons in a handmade produce bag as I wanted to offer something for her generosity. We had a little chat and then went our separate ways. She seemed happy with her lemons. It was so satisfying to give and to receive, no money changed hands and I met a lovely, generous stranger.

The kefir is quite delicious and easy to make. Once my grains start to multiply, I’ll give some to someone else.

Do you want some quality gelato?

Some of you might remember that, in the 19th July newsletter, I listed the winners from North East Melbourne in the 2017 Australian Food Awards. Afterwards, I invited some of the winners to become part of the Local Food Directory. As a result, there are now two new makers of gelato and sorbet in the directory.

Billy van Creamy were a gold medal winner. You can buy their gelato and sorbet from their shop (27-29 Best Street, Fitzroy North) or order it online via UberEats. As they say “The creaminess doesn’t come from any secret ingredients, synthetic stabilisers or emulsifiers, or in fact anything that you wouldn’t find in a regular pantry at home; rather, it simply comes from balanced recipes made with organic milk, fresh cream, raw sugar and free range egg yolks. We make everything from scratch using real, whole ingredients. This means roasting and grinding organic nuts, making honeycomb, jams, coulis, caramels in their own kitchen.

Fritz Gelato were a silver medal winner. You can buy their gelato and sorbet from their shop (334 Bridge Road, Richmond). They sell their
low-fat, healthy, organic gelato in 132(!) flavours.

Community gardens in Whittlesea

Over the past few weeks, I have been talking to the various community gardens in Whittlesea. The net result is that 6 of the gardens now each have their own page on our website and have also been included on the map of where the community gardens are. Another way of viewing the material is via the community gardening section of the Local Food Directory. Of the 6 gardens, 1 is open to the public and a further 2 have free membership.

Thanks for the community gardens for responding to my requests for information and photos. And thanks to Emma Bennett, Adele Mifsud and Annemaree Docking at the Council for providing some of the information and for the online Whittlesea Community Directory.

Creeds Farm Eucalypt Mernda
Mernda Seed, Sow & Grow Triple G Whittlesea

Local food news

The Living & Learning Nillumbik Community Veggie Garden in Eltham have recently added some beds and four metres of beasley mix soil. But they are still looking for new members (membership is free). If you are potentially interested, contact Trevor by phone (0401 710997) or email.

There is an article in the Leader about the Links Community Group’s plan to build a community garden in Lalor.

Bomba Wood Fired Pizza, from Eltham, will be a vendor at the Vegan and vegetarian weekend at Preston Food Truck Park on the weekend of 13th October.

AVS Organic Foods, from Watsonia North, will be a stallholder at World Vegan Day at Flemington Showgrounds on 12th November.

Frio Cafe and Restaurant, in Eltham, has closed down. So, there are now ‘only’ 26 cafes in Eltham.

Want some ideas for indoor plants?

Indira Naidoo’s top five plants for indoor living.

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

Backyard Honey.

An ode to a simple onion

Maria Nechwatal thinks that you might like this ode to a simple onion by Naomi Shihab Nye:

When I think how far the onion has traveled
just to enter my stew today, I could kneel and praise
all small forgotten miracles,
crackly paper peeling on the drainboard,
pearly layers in smooth agreement,
the way the knife enters onion
and onion falls apart on the chopping block,
a history revealed.
And I would never scold the onion
for causing tears.
It is right that tears fall
for something small and forgotten.
How at meal, we sit to eat,
commenting on texture of meat or herbal aroma
but never on the translucence of onion,
now limp, now divided,
or its traditionally honorable career:
For the sake of others,
disappear.

If anyone else would
like
to contribute some poetry, that would be
good.

Joke of the week

What did the queen say when someone threw cheese at her? How dairy!

Read all the jokes.

New events

Official opening of Pentridge Community Garden

What: You will have an opportunity to explore, talk to them about the plans for the garden and visualise how it will develop over the coming months. They will also have composting and planting in action for anyone who wants to roll their sleeves up, a produce swap and free seed and seedling planting for kids.
When: Sunday, 17th September, 1.30-3.30am.
Where: Coburg.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

‘Buzz inn’ bee hotel making

What: Native bees are good friends in the garden, performing the valuable service of pollination. Learn more about solitary native bees, and the advantages of attracting these to your garden, as well as how to make bee hotels. The workshop will include an introduction to native bees, how to spot a native bee, the nesting types, buzz pollination, what materials are great to get you started with your own bee hotel, and how to set up a bee-friendly garden. Katrina Forstner, founder of Buzz and Dig, is a local gardener, native bee enthusiast and maker of insect hotels.
When: Sunday, 24th September, 2-4pm.
Where: Thornbury.
Cost: $15.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Seasonal eating and nutrition workshop

What: Are you getting enough serves of veggies into your diet? Young Australians definitely find it hard – only 5% of them do. Student Dietitian, Sascha Bull, will be facilitate a nutrition education session focussing on student friendly tips and tricks to boost veggie intake. You’ll be learning about how to save $$ with seasonal eating, take a little garden tour, then harvest and cook the produce from the garden – gaining some cooking skills along the way.
When: Thursday, 5th October, 3-5pm.
Where: La Trobe University.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Vegan and vegetarian weekend

What: Showcasing the best in meat-free and plant-based street food, their lineup will include: Bomba Wood Fired Pizza; Cheese & Bread; Jerry's Vegiburgers; Pok n Kok; Rice and Dice; Señor Churro; Shiva Indian Cuisine; The Pham Sisters Vegan Eatery; Tiramisu’ Lift Me Up; Vegilicious; Von's Vegan Bake House; Woking Amazing; and YAY Foods.
When: Friday, 13th October, 5-10pm; Saturday, 14th October, midday-10pm; and Sunday, 15th October, midday-9pm.
Where: Preston Food Truck Park.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up
Further information: their Facebook page.

FareShare kitchen garden – open day

What: Go along for an insight into urban food production. There will be guided tours, activities for kids and seedlings available by gold coin donation. Hear from gardening experts and volunteers on everything you need to know about growing food in Melbourne, with topics including edible plants, urban agriculture, bee keeping, composting and spring gardening.
When: Saturday, 14th October, 10am-1pm.
Where: FareShare, Abbotsford.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Rushall Community Garden – open day

What: This event will feature: members actively gardening and chatting with visitors; a compost workshop; self-wicking seed raising; garden tours; stalls (including plants and seedlings, fresh produce from the garden, home-made goodies and ‘odds and ends’); a raffle; a BBQ; and refreshments.
When: Saturday, 14th October, 1-4pm.
Where: Fitzroy North.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Nunawading Community Gardens 40th birthday celebrations

What: Nunawading Community Gardens was the first community garden established in Australia. Activities at the 40th birthday celebrations will include tours of the garden, food trucks, children’s entertainment, live music, seedling sales and gardening tutorials.
When: Sunday, 22nd October, 11am-3pm.
Where: Nunawading Community Gardens, Forest Hill.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Indian cooking – Punjabi (two sessions)

What: Tutor Taariq Hassan. Learn how to cook a healthy North West Indian vegetarian meal from scratch using authentic ingredients. Menu: basmati rice with peas and cumin seeds; daal tadka (spice lentils); aloo ghobhi (dry stir fried potatoes and cauliflower); chappatti (Indian flat bread); raita (yoghurt-based side dish); dry roasted pappadums; and milk-based dessert.
When: Monday, 23rd October and Monday, 30th October, both 6.30-8.30pm.
Where: Hurstbridge Hub.
Cost: $89.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Home brewing with Paul Rigby

What: What you will learn: make your own beer; all about full grain brewing; and the fermentation process. What you will get: samples of different beers; and recipes to take home. The workshop will be a practical demonstration of full grain brewing covering ingredients (including malt, hops, yeast and water), equipment, brewing theory, and (most importantly) the brewing process (including mashing, lautering, boiling, sanitation, fermentation and packaging). Samples will be available for tasting.
When: Sunday, 12th November, 10am-2.30pm.
Where: CERES.
Cost: $75.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Building veggie beds from pallets

What: Have you ever wanted to learn how to make things for your garden, how to use hand tools or how to re-use wooden pallets as a building material? In this workshop, you will learn about: how to source used timber pallets; using hand tools safely; how to breakdown timber pallets to basic building materials; veggie box design options; how to build a veggie growing box; wicking boxes — what they are and how they work; and how to convert a plain box into a wicking box. Presenter: Drew Barr. Workshop participants will be split into teams of 3 or 4 to build the veggie boxes.
When: Sunday, 12th November, 12.30-4pm.
Where: Templestowe College.
Cost: $55.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Indian cooking – Southern region (two sessions)

What: Tutor Taariq Hassan. Learn how to cook a healthy North West Indian vegetarian meal from scratch using authentic ingredients. Menu: sambhar (spiced lentil soup with tamarind and vegetables); iddli (steamed savoury rice /lentil flour cakes); fresh coconut chutney; tamarind rice with peanuts and curry leaves; dry roasted papadums; plain yoghurt; and milk-based dessert.
When: Monday, 13th November and Monday, 20th November, both 6.30-8.30pm.
Where: Hurstbridge Hub.
Cost: $89.
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.

Sep 062017
 

Mac’s tip of the week

So it’s officially Spring according to the calender. However, to state the obvious, it’s still like Winter out there. Although you can now purchase tomatoes and other Spring seedings in certain outlets, my tip is not to rush in yet. To get growth you need a run of warmer days to heat the soil and, from a person with dirty hands, I can tell you that the soil is still very, very cold. Let’s wait and see but maybe this year Spring planting time should be closer to Melbourne Cup. It’s a great time to prep. the patches though.

Local food news

My Little Country Kitchen, from Kinglake West, will have a stall at the Diamond Creek Rotary Town Fair on Saturday, 9th September.

Backyard Honey’s pure, raw, natural beeswax is currently for sale at $16.50 per kilo (not $15 per kilo, as previously stated).

Going Green Solutions, from Hurstbridge, have blogged about Eco friendly disposable catering ware: a contradiction in terms?.

Volumes Cafe, in Eltham, has closed down.

More on your salt intake

Tilly Velthuis has written in to suggest that not all medical scientists agree that high salt intake is a health hazard, citing this article.

For those of you who, like me, are interested in the underlying statistical issues, have a look at the Wikipedia articles on correlation does not imply causation and the Hill’s criteria for causation.

Incredible Edible Todmorden (continued)

Last week, I said that the two co-founders of Incredible Edible Todmorden, Pam Warhurst and Mary Clear, are both brilliant public speakers and provided a link to a video of Pam. Here is a link to a video of Mary giving a very amusing talk (13 minutes).

Urban agriculture’s role in resilient city food systems

Sophie Jackson, from the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab (VEIL) at The University of Melbourne, is working on project that asks home or community gardeners to answer a simple survey about what food they grow, how much they grow, and what kind of inputs they use to grow it. Your garden doesn’t need to be amazing to participate, they are interested in all food gardens, of all sizes, and of any level of productivity. For more info, and to complete the survey, visit their website.

Nillumbik’s draft Health and Wellbeing Plan is out for consultation

Nillumbik Council’s draft Health and Wellbeing Plan is out for consultation until 28th September. Both Local Food Connect and healthAbility had input during its development, particularly into the Healthy and Sustainable Food section. You are invited to make comments via email, submission or by answering a series of questions at www.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/healthandwellbeingdraftplan.

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

Unpack the salt.

Every newsletter needs a good picture

Giuseppe Arcimboldo was an Italian painter who, although he lived during the Renaissance, painted in a completely different style, focussed on portrait heads made entirely of fruits and vegetables. Many of his paintings are reversible, meaning that they look completely different upside down.

This painting, plus others from previous newsletters, have now been brought together into a food art page.

Gardening quote of the month

Submitted by Sue Sedelies: To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow., by Audrey Hepburn.

Joke of the week

Why was the cheesemonger lopsided? Because she only had one Stilton.

Read all the jokes.

New events

Making waxed food wraps

What: Apart from protecting food, what can they be used for? Suggested donation $5 if you are taking home a few wraps. You can bring your own favourite materials or use those provided.
When: Wednesday, 13th September, 7-9pm.
Where: Watsonia Neighbourhood House.
Cost: gold coin donation.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Teen cooking – gingerbread house

What: Learn how to make your own gingerbread cookie dough. Build a great gingerbread house and decorate it yourself. Take it home with the recipe and share the eating with your family and friends.
When: Thursday, 28th September, 9.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Living & Learning Nillumbik at Diamond Creek.
Cost: $43.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Australian City Farms & Community Gardens Network annual gathering

What: The Australian City Farms & Community Gardens Network (ACFCGN) organises an annual gathering of city farmers and community gardeners to share stories, network and renew friendships. Program highlights: 10:00am — What is ACFCGN — benefits and history; 10:20am — Garden introductions from those present; 11:45am — Workshop session 1 (options – bees in the community garden; chooks in the community garden; and governance style session to be decided on in the morning) and 2:00pm — Workshop session 2. On the following day (Sunday), there will be a tour of community gardens around Geelong. On the previous evening (Friday), there will be a Tamil feast, at which Costa Georgiadis will be present.
When: Saturday, 7th October, 9.30am-4.45pm.
Where: CERES.
Cost: $48.
Bookings / Further information: Eventbrite.

Span Community House open day

What: A new community compost program will be launched in Span’s community garden. Free workshops and taster classes will be held (bookings required – ring 9480 1364), including a workshop on making an insect hotel as well as health and wellbeing activities such as yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates. A dog show will be held at midday. There will be market stalls, cooking demonstrations, food, a sausage sizzle, art exhibitions, kids activities and tennis coaching. Also, check out Span’s community garden and learn more about what Span has to offer. If you wish to run an activity or a free stall please contact Span.
When: Saturday, 14th October, 10am-2pm.
Where: Thornbury.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

The age old art of preserving – bottling, jams, pickles & chutneys

What: What you will learn: how to select, re-use and sterilise suitable jars; 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; and small (new) jars of the 4 preserves made on the day. Learn how to preserve the seasonal abundance of 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 beautiful seasonal produce. Dehydrating is also demonstrated.
When: Saturday, 21st October, 10am-1.15pm.
Where: Donvale.
Cost: $75.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

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: Mondays, 23rd October to 18th December, 9.30am-3pm.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: $130 for all 9 sessions ($73 concession).
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.

Aug 292017
 

Dana’s monthly ‘nutrition bite’: unpack the salt

Dana Thomson, Health Promotion Officer at healthAbility, has written her second article for the website, this time on the subject of salt in processed foods. As she says: “If it’s packed, chances are it’s packed with salt. The Heart Foundation has recently launched an awareness campaign about the excessive amount of hidden salt in processed foods. The campaign website www.unpackthesalt.com.au has some great tips, recipes and campaign materials. For example, the top 10 salt shockers are: 1. bread; 2. cooking sauces; 3. ready meals; 4. processed meats; 5. dips and crackers; 6. dressings and condiments; 7. pizza; 8. cheese; 9. baked goods; and 10. Aussie favourites: baked beans, instant noodles, etc.” She then goes on to give some tips for cutting down salt intake and a host of other facts. Read the full article.

Mac’s tip of the week

With the chilly weather still upon us, hold off on tip pruning any plants that have already suffered frost damage during the past few months. As I’ve said before, damaged foliage, although brown and unsightly, will protect the growth nodes lower down. You can trim and tidy from mid September onwards.

Read all of Mac’s tips.

What seeds to plant in September

Here is a list (see the planting guide for more detail):

Warm season veggies

Basil
Beans
Capsicum
Chilli
Cucumber
Eggplant
Gourd
Pumpkin
Rockmelon
Sweetcorn
Tomato
Watermelon
Zucchini

Perennial herbs

Lemongrass
Mint
Oregano
Sage
Vietnamese mint

Other veggies and herbs

Asparagus
Beetroot
Carrot
Celery
Chives
Coriander
Globe artichoke
Jerusalem artichoke
Leeks
Lettuce
Mustard greens
Parsley
Parsnip
Potato
Radish
Rhubarb
Rocket
Shallot
Silverbeet
Spring onions

 

The biggest planting month of the year. I try and plant all my summer veggie seeds in September – that way, if they fail to germinate, I can try again in October.

Helen Simpson has previously written ‘how to grow’ articles about many of the warm season veggies, namely: basil, chilli, cucurbits and tomatoes. Robin and Paul Gale-Baker have previously written about how to grow eggplants and capsicums. And Helen has written more generally about Spring veggie garden preparation.

Incredible Edible Todmorden

Some people have asked why we are calling our project to develop food gardening in Eltham, Incredible Edible Eltham. The answer is that we have taken our inspiration from Incredible Edible Todmorden. Todmorden is a town in Yorkshire, United Kingdom where the Incredible Edible project has been growing edible produce on public land throughout the town. The two founders of the project, Pam Warhurst and Mary Clear, both happen to be brilliant speakers. Here is a video of Pam giving a TED talk (13 minutes).

If you want to be kept in touch with developments of Incredible Edible Eltham, or contribute ideas, join our new Facebook group.

Community gardens in Darebin

Over the past few weeks, I have been talking to the various community gardens in Darebin. The net result is that 8 of the gardens now each have their own page on our website and have also been included on the map of where the community gardens are. Of the 8 gardens, 4 are open to the public and a further 2 have free membership.

Much of the material came from The Darebin Food Harvest Network website and I also met many of the people at a recent meeting of Darebin’s ‘Sustainable Food Leaders’. It makes a big difference when there is a person at Council who is clearly responsible for organising such meetings and websites. In this case, the person is Lee Tozzi, Darebin’s Sustainable Food Officer. Thanks, Lee!

All Nations Span Community House Sylvester Hive

Local food producer news

Backyard Honey, from Surrey Hills, currently have pure, raw natural beeswax for sale at $15 per kilo.

AVS Organic Foods, from Watsonia North, will be at the Vegan mini market at Abbotsford Convent on 2nd September.

That’s Amore Cheese, from Thomastown, and Yarra Valley Dairy, from Yering, will both be at MOULD – A Cheese Festival in the CBD on 2nd September.

Screaming Waffles, from Park Orchards, will be at the Dutch weekend of the Tesselaar Tulip Festival in Silvan on 22nd to 24th September.

Darebin Community Leaders in Sustainability course – applications now open

Each year, the Sustainable Homes & Communities program holds Community Leaders in Sustainability‘ courses in both Darebin and Banyule. The course provides training and leadership opportunities to create change in your community, including project management, leadership, grant writing, working with groups and marketing and communication. You are then mentored to run a local environment project. Applications for the 2017/18 Darebin course are now open. It will comprise 8 Tuesday evening workshops in Preston and 2 field trips “to discover some of Darebin’s most beautiful natural and cultural places”. Attend an information session on 19th September at 6.30pm to find out more. Applications close on 26th September. Read more.

‘Crowd harvest’ – Father’s Day

Anyone growing produce in their own backyard inevitably produces excess – more than one family can consume. Why not take some down to your local Food Relief provider and help those facing food insecurity and homelessness. Up until 5th September, you can drop your excess fruit or veggies at any of The Alphington Community Centre, CERES or Surrey Hills Neighbourhood Centre (the Facebook event provides details of opening times). Any questions, contact Cath Lyons (aka Tiny Trowel) by phone (0401 814679) or email.

Thanks for the thanks

Carol Woolcock has written in. “I would like to thank you for my prize of attending the sourdough workshop at My Green Garden in Donvale. Maria is a generous host, supplying morning tea, pizza lunch, tea, coffee and cold drinks. Anne, a sourdough guru, explained each step and walked us through making a loaf to take home, with dough ready to prove and bake at home and our own sour dough starter. I have already made a further two loaves which I took to the Eltham food swap. I understand that is another sourdough workshop scheduled for 11th October; if you are interested in ‘making your own’, I highly recommend it.

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

The re-usable food wraps blog by Going Green Solutions.

Proverb of the month

You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. Meaning: One cannot accomplish something without causing adverse effects.

The earliest citation in English is a 1796 publication which translated a French quote by someone called François de Charette. Monsieur Charette led a rebellion in France and his ‘broken eggs’ were dead human beings. In 1897, The Times used the same metaphor when discussing why so many local support personnel died when the British army quashed a rebellion in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Ditto a sidekick of Stalin in 1932. And ditto again by Colonel Mustard in the 1985 film, Clue (Cluedo is called Clue in North America). So, a rather macabre history, particularly given that there is nothing actually adverse in breaking eggs to make an omelette. Incidently, three different versions of Clue were released, with three different endings: in one, Miss Scarlet was the murderer; in another, Mrs. Peacock; and in the third, all bar Mr. Green.

Joke of the week

How do you make a milk shake? Give it a good scare!

Read all the jokes.

New events

Growing and eating less common veggies

What: In this workshop they will look at how to grow them less common veggies typical to Mediterranean or Asian cuisines. You will them cook them together for some soups and snacks. At the end, you will enjoy lunch from some recipes that they have prepared.
When: Thursday, 31st August, 10am-midday.
Where: Whittlesea Community Garden.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Whittlesea Community Garden by phone (9716 3361) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Taste of Thomo Food Festival

What: Go and learn about Thomastown food from the actual producers. Bertocchi, That’s Amore Cheese, Plough to Plate and many many more. See the article in The Leader.
When: Saturday, 2nd September, 10am-1pm.
Where: Thomastown Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Bees, beekeeping and healthy eco-systems

What: Peter Dyer, from Backyard Honey, will talk about bees, beekeeping and healthy ecosystems at the Surrey Hills Neighbourhood Centre AGM.
When: Thursday, 7th September, 2-3pm.
Where: Surrey Hills Neighbourhood Centre.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

FEASTival: Dehydrating fruits and vegetables

What: Learn the basics of how to dehydrate food easily and safely without preservatives with Pam Jenkins and Bev Robertson. Bountiful crops of fruit and vegetables can be home-dried for use all year and provide healthy snacks for the family.
When: Wednesday, 13th September, 6.30-7.30pm.
Where: Watsonia Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Companion planting for vegetables (two sessions)

What: Some plants are better together. Find out what vegetables and flowers can help boost each other’s immunity, have similar needs, and encourage helpful insects.
When: Saturday, 16th September and Saturday, 23rd September, both 10am-12.30pm.
Where: Brunswick Neighbourhood House.
Cost: $35 ($30 concession).
Bookings: Contact Brunswick Neighbourhood House by phone (9386 9418) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Eltham railway station wicking bed installation

What: A project has begun to develop an edible food garden on the platform of Eltham railway station, with the idea that any commuters can freely harvest the produce whenever it is ready. In the initial phase, two wicking beds will be installed. If you want to be kept in touch with developments, or contribute ideas, join the Facebook group, Incredible Edible Eltham. The wicking beds are being built on site on Sunday, 17th September, starting 9am. The builders are Paul Gale-Baker from Macleod Organic Community Garden and Paul Moreland from Bellfield Community Garden. They will need helpers on the day. Ideally, these helpers will stay the whole day but, alternatively, you could arrive and leave at any time and still be helpful. Any people who bring cordless drills with screwdriver attachments, spades or wheelbarrows will be particularly welcome! Periodically during the day, one or other of the two Pauls will give a talk about how to build wicking beds. So, if you are able to help, and/or want to see how wicking beds are built, and/or just want to say hi on the day, come along.
When: Sunday, 17th September, 9am-5pm.
Where: Eltham railway station.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Contact Guy Palmer by phone (9444 1400) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

T for Thailand with Lemongrass Thai Restaurant

What: Join them for a culinary journey to Thailand in a three-course banquet feast. Learn all about Thai culture and cuisine from owner, Michael. Organised by FoodSocial.
When: Saturday, 23rd September, 6.30-9.30pm.
Where: Carlton.
Cost: $69.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Kombucha workshop – make your own probiotic drink

What: Presented by Shakuntla Gondalia. You will learn all the ins and outs of obtaining great gut health. This workshop will cover the history of kombucha, how to make it, what can go wrong with it, and how to fix it. You will also cover how to make it even healthier and more delicious with secondary fermentation flavours and health benefits such as detoxification, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and more. You will receive your own ‘scoby’ with starter tea and a pack of black tea, so you can get started brewing at home.
When: Saturday, 30th September, 6-7.30pm.
Where: Box Hill South.
Cost: $49.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Organic gardening for beginners (two sessions)

What: Want to grow your own healthy vegetables, herbs and fruits but don’t know where to start? Would you like to improve your family’s food security and increase your skills and garden productivity? Part theory and part hands-on, this workshop will help the beginner organic gardener develop the skills and knowledge to start a thriving edible oasis at home.
When: Wednesday, 4th October and Thursday, 5th October, both 10am-4pm.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: $120.
Bookings: Trybooking.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Sensational sourdough at home

What: What you will learn: how to start your own sourdough starter; how to maintain your sourdough starter without lots of waste; and how to use your starter to make, shape and score sensational genuine sourdough bread. What you will get: recipes sheets describing all of the techniques used; a sample of active starter for you to continue to maintain at home; a loaf that you shape, ready to take home to rise, score and bake; and batch of sourdough that you have mixed, for you to take home and continue the process on to baking. Anne, from The Mixing Bowl, will take you from the basics of making your own starter, through to our low-knead technique, using ‘stretch and fold’, the rising process and then the baking. In so doing, Anne will de-bunk a lot of the ‘rules’ surrounding making a good sourdough loaf.
When: Wednesday, 11th October, 11am-3pm.
Where: Donvale.
Cost: $98.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

FEASTival: Chinese cooking with Jenny Chua

What: Jenny Chua will demonstrate how to make three seasonal Chinese dishes, a vegetable stir-fry, noodles and dumplings. There will be audience participation and tastings.
When: Wednesday, 18th October, 6.30-7.30pm.
Where: Watsonia Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Partnering with chooks in the backyard

What: Are you interested in finding out how to partner with chooks in your backyard to help create and manage a sustainable garden / backyard farm? Topics in this workshop will include: definitions of Free Range and what you can do in a backyard; chook tractorings – what is it and how to use one in your garden; chook tractors – design options; re-claimed materials needed to make a chicken coop/tractor; chook behaviour and habits and how to utilise them in the garden; what chooks eat and where they get it from; chook feeding systems – fodder crops / slab culture / stick culture / sprouting grains; using hay as a bedding medium; managing weeds and running grasses with chooks; using chooks to make fertiliser and compost; and predator protection. Presenter: Drew Barr.
When: Sunday, 22nd October, 1-3.30pm.
Where: Templestowe College.
Cost: $47.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Herbal teas

What: What you will learn: learn about herbal teas; understand how to grow your own tea; and learn about using native plants for herbal teas. What you will get: tastings of several of the teas. Presented by Karen Sutherland, of Edible Eden Design. Herbs have been used for centuries for health benefits and one of the most common ways of taking them was through teas. Karen will guide you through their cultivation requirements and how to use them in herbal teas. Sip your way through some teas during the class to discover some new favourites, including some Australian native herbs.
When: Thursday, 26th October, 6.30-9.30pm.
Where: Bulleen Art and Garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the next month

View the complete calendar of upcoming events.