Apr 252018
 

Marina visits the garden of Mary and Robert Stringer

Many of you will know Mary through her leadership of Transition Banyule (watch this video where she is interviewed) and some of you will know Robert through his role as auctioneer at the annual Macleod Organic Community Garden fundraiser. Marina Bistrin has now visited Mary and Robert’s garden in Rosanna. Here is how Marina introduces her write up: “On a hot morning in Summer, I went to the cool, shady oasis of Mary and Robert’s garden. Mary was watering her back garden, where most of the food is grown. Robert had to dash out to do something with bees – looking like an astronaut in a white beekeeper suit. Mary and Robert have made a permaculture food forest in their backyard from the kikuyu and couch grass lawn that existed when they moved there in 2004. They only retained an orange tree and an old peach tree.Read the full interview.

Robin’s tip of the month

Pomegranates and figs are ripening beautifully at this time of year but must ripen on the tree (they do not continue to mature once picked). How do you know when they are ready? In the case of pomegranates, look for split skins. Once this happens to a few on the tree, all will be ready. It is worth investing in a pomegranate press (available online for less than $60) to extract the juice as the press will avoid inclusion of any of the bitter pith which ruins the taste. In the case of figs, look for wilting of the stem and give a gentle squeeze for softness. Note that pomegranates and figs that look like they are ready by colour often still have a way to go.

Editor’s note: fruits that continues to ripen after being picked are called ‘climacteric’, whilst fruits that stop ripening after being picked are called ‘non-climacteric’. The archetypal climacteric fruit are tomatoes and bananas. Avocados, peaches and plums are also climacteric. The archetypal non-climacteric fruit are citrus. Grapes and all the curcubits (cucumbers, pumpkins, etc) are also non-climacteric. For each fruit, our North East Melbourne fruiting schedule lists whether it is climacteric or not. Climacteric fruit will typically only continue to ripen if kept at room temperature so you can defer this by putting them into the fridge until you want them to ripen.

Editor’s second note: have you ever seen the flower of a fig tree? The answer is ‘no’ because the flowers are actually inside the fig (and the fig is therefore not technically a fruit). Whilst common figs do not require pollination, they do not taste that good. Rather, the best tasting type – Smyrna – does require pollination. But it only has female flowers so needs to be pollinated by a wild/caprifig (whose fruit are inedible). As the flowers inside the fig are inaccessible to all normal pollen vectors, pollination is done by tiny wasps. The wasps hatch in the caprifig, then mate, then the females leave to find new figs to lay their eggs in. As they leave, they get covered in pollen, and pollinate the next fig that they enter. If it is a caprifig, then baby wasps are born but no edible fruit results. If, however, it is a Smyrna, then edible fruit results but no baby wasps are born (the Smyrna flowers are too long for the wasp to lay its eggs in). Luckily for you, the female fig produces an enzyme that digests the dead wasps completely and so the crunchy bits inside a fig are seeds, not wasp parts. For more info, watch this video.

Read all of Robin’s tips.

What to plant in May

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

Cool season veggies

Broad beans
Chickpea
Coriander
Fennel
Garlic
Peas

Leafy greens

Lettuce
Mizuna
Mustard greens
Pak choy
Rocket
Silverbeet
Spinach

Other

Carrot
Chives
Onion
Parsley
Radish
Shallot

The list of what can be planted begins to grow shorter, with most of the brassicas dropping off the list. For something different, you could try chickpeas.

Someone asked me what herbs it would be sensible to plant in their raised garden bed this month. After consulting a local gardening guru (Robin Gale-Baker of ‘Robin’s tip of the month’ fame), this is what we came up with:

Plant now?
Why?
What?
Yes Standard perennial Marjoram, Oregano, Rosemary and Thyme
Yes Cool season annual Coriander
Yes Will grow ok Parsley
No Doesn’t like the winter Sage and Tarragon
No Warm season annual Basil
No Invasive Lemon balm, Mint and Vietnamese mint

News about local food producers

Yarra Valley Dairy, from Yering, will be at the MOULD – A Cheese Festival on Friday, 4th May and Saturday 5th May.

3000acres need volunteers

Events volunteer, communications volunteer and volunteer photographer.

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

The article about the chicken nuggets truck crash.

Proverb of the month

Curry favour. Meaning: ingratiate oneself with someone through flattery or obsequious behaviour. Or, more colloquially: suck up to. This is a phrase that illustrates the complexity and obscurity of the English language. First, the word ‘curry’ has nothing to do with Indian/spicy food, pre-dates such usage, and originally meant ‘to prepare’ and then ‘to groom’. Second, the word ‘favour’ has nothing to do with the current English word but is instead a corruption of ‘fauvel’ (or ‘favvel’), which was the name of a horse in a poem dating back to 1310. In turn, ‘favvel’ is thought to be a French acrostic of a variant of the 7 deadly sins: flattery (aka pride), avarice (aka gluttony), vilanie (aka wrath), variété (inconstancy), envy, and lacheté (aka lust). In the 1310 poem, the rich and powerful humiliate themselves by bowing down and stroking the coat of the horse named Favvel who was their supposed leader, thereby ‘currying favvel’. The phrase ‘currying favour’, to mean the same thing, first appeared in a book in 1510.

Read all the proverbs.

Gardening quote of the month

No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.” by Thomas Jefferson.

Read all the quotes.

Joke of the week

What do you call a sad raspberry? A blueberry.

Read all the jokes.

New events

Chinese vegetarian cooking demonstration and picnic lunch

What: Helen Chen and her friends will be demonstrating home-cooked Chinese food (which is very different from Chinese restaurant food). Bring a picnic lunch. If it’s cold, you we will eat in the polytunnel which is warm and sheltered.
When: Saturday, 28th April, 11.30am-1pm.
Where: Macleod Organic Community Garden.
Cost: free.
Bookings: TryBooking.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Mullum Mullum Festival

What: The 18th Mullum Mullum Festival will be held over the weekends of Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th April and Saturday 5th & Sunday 6th May. Read the brochure. As detailed in the brochure, the various events are at various locations in Mitcham, Doncaster East, Donvale, Park Orchards and Templestowe. There will be over twenty expert-lead walks and presentations that will leave you with a greater understanding and appreciation of our beautiful native bushland. On the evening of 28th April, there will be a spotlight tour in search of nocturnal wildlife. On the 29th April, there will be a celebration of Aboriginal culture plus some nature walks. On the 5th and 6th May, there will be 18 presentations and walks on a range of topics.
When: Saturday, 28th April, 6.30-9pm, Sunday, 29th April, 10.30am-8pm, Saturday, 5th May, 8.30am-8pm and Sunday, 6th May, 8.30am-8pm.
Where: various locations in Mitcham, Doncaster East, Donvale, Park Orchards and Templestowe.
Cost: $2 donation per session.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Transition to a safe climate conference

What: Would you like to do something concrete with others to tackle climate change? On the Friday evening, Ian Dunlop, a climate change expert and former executive in the oil, gas and coal industries, will give a presentation to set the scene. On the Saturday, Gilbert Rochecouste, from Village Well, will facilitate a discussion to develop big ideas for community projects in Banyule.
When: Friday, 4th May, 7-9pm and Saturday, 5th May, 9am-5.30pm.
Where: Macleod College.
Cost: $25 for both days or $15 for just the Friday.
Bookings: TryBooking.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Vietnamese cooking demonstration (bilingual)

What: Nga Diep from BANH Cultural Catering will demonstrate how to make Vietnamese vegetarian noodle dishes. Visitors will have the opportunity to practice and also sample the dishes. Vietnamese cooking books & DVDs will be displayed too.
When: Saturday, 5th May, 10.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Richmond Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Yarra planter box revitalisation – Clarke Street, Abbotsford

What: This workshop will offer gardening locals, knowledge, skills, and resources to revitalise local planter boxes. Participate in activities like soil conditioning, mulching, crafting worm towers, and planting out new seedlings for the current and approaching seasons. At the end of the day, they hope to give you the skills and knowledge to fix up planter boxes in your own area with a little help by offering a starter kit of seedlings, mulch, soil, worms and your own worm tower.
When: Sunday, 6th May, 10.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Abbotsford.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Yarra planter box revitalisation – Mark Street, Fitzroy North

What: This workshop will offer gardening locals, knowledge, skills, and resources to revitalise local planter boxes. Participate in activities like soil conditioning, mulching, crafting worm towers, and planting out new seedlings for the current and approaching seasons. At the end of the day, they hope to give you the skills and knowledge to fix up planter boxes in your own area with a little help by offering a starter kit of seedlings, mulch, soil, worms and your own worm tower.
When: Sunday, 13th May, 10.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Fitzroy North.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Sourdough bread making workshop

What: Tutor Jenna Farrington-Sear. This workshop will cover basic theory as well as the tactile pleasure of all the steps of making bread from milled flour. Suitable for both novices and those who want to expand their bread making repertoire. Topics to be covered: the essential ingredients and tools of the trade; the principal steps of bread making; Baker’s percentage and hydration; mixing, kneading and folding dough; shaping loaves, scoring and baking; and maintaining a starter. You will take home: a piece of dough which can be baked at home; and a sourdough starter.
When: Saturday, 19th May, 10am-1pm and again on Saturday, 30th June, 10am-1pm.
Where: Living & Learning, Panton Hill.
Cost: $59.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Fawkner Food Bowls launch

What: The Fawkner Food Bowls Launch will be a celebration of what they have achieved so far in the garden and an opportunity to share with you what they hope to achieve in the future. As well as kids activities, garden advice, barefoot bowls, live Gypsy music by Vardos, and local food, they will be outlining the future running of the garden and how you can be involved.
When: Sunday, 20th May, 2-5pm.
Where: Fawkner Food Bowls.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Mooroolbark Growers & Weeders present: “preparing your garden for Winter”

What: Autumn is a time of harvest, but also a time to prepare the garden for Winter. Although many Winter crops will have been planted earlier in the year when soils were warm, there are others that can be sown in late Autumn and through Winter. In this session, you will discuss these, as well as the other important jobs to be done, to keep the garden flourishing through the colder months, and in preparation for the next Spring/Summer growing season. Olwyn Smiley has been growing food in a suburban garden for 30 years, and runs a small business, The Backyard Vegetable, with the aim of encouraging backyard food growing through consultation, mentoring and workshops.
When: Tuesday, 22nd May, 2-3pm.
Where: Mooroolbark Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their 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: roast sweet potato & smoked chicken salad; red curry; and chai apple crumble.
When: Thursday, 24th May, 7-9pm.
Where: Gourmet Living, Templestowe.
Cost: $42.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Ask Costa: gardening forum hosted by Costa Georgiadis

What: Join Costa for an opportunity to ask him any questions relating to gardening, in particular how you can be more sustainable in your garden. Following Costa’s session, there will be three workshops available to attend: Attracting beneficial insects and pollinators to your garden with Karen Sutherland from Edible Eden Design; homemade garden sprays with Angelo Eliades from Deep Green Permaculture; and small space gardening with Sustainable Gardening Australia.
When: Sunday, 3rd June, 9.45am-1.30pm.
Where: Box Hill Town Hall.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Social Food Project: sustainable food practices

What: Join Ben McMenamin, the founder of the Social Food Project, for a cooking demonstration which will include his five top tips for improving sustainable food practices at home. Meal planning, purchasing food, techniques to reduce waste, storing and preserving food and growing and composting will be discussed while sampling some of Ben’s dishes.
When: Thursday, 7th June, 7-8.30pm.
Where: Box Hill Town Hall.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Pantry 101 with The Kitchen Whizz

What: Join Min and Thea from The Kitchen Whizz where they will show you how to save money buying in bulk, kitchen & pantry organisation tips and weekly shopping prep strategies. They will also demonstrate two whole food, gluten free & dairy free recipes: bliss balls and savoury pumpkin loaf.
When: Wednesday, 13th June, 6.30-8pm.
Where: Camberwell.
Cost: $34.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Backyard chickens

What: Always wanted to have your own chickens for pets or to enjoy your own fresh eggs? Join Maria McCarter from Sunset Valley Chicks and learn all about how to keep chicks in your very own backyard.
When: Tuesday, 19th June, 11.30am-12.30pm
Where: Diamond Valley Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Authentic Indian cooking

What: Each region of India has its own style of cooking and distinct flavours: the north is known for its tandoori and korma dishes; the south is famous for hot and spicy foods; the east specialises in chilli curries; the west uses coconut and seafood; and the central part of india is a blend of all. Join cook, Anitha, as she blends spices and ingredients to prepare authentic Indian dishes.
When: Tuesday, 19th June, 7-8.30pm.
Where: Hawthorn Community House.
Cost: $20.
Bookings: TryBooking.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Green at Kathleen: thrifty gardening

What: This workshop will demonstrate how you can get away with not spending a fortune on your garden by utilising things you may already have and by learning some clever techniques to save money.
When: Saturday, 23rd June, 12.30-1.30pm.
Where: Kathleen Syme Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Blogger Cat Woods explores resources around plant-based living

What: Cat Woods will discuss blogs, websites and library resources dealing with plant-based diets and health.
When: Saturday, 23rd June, 2-3pm.
Where: Fitzroy Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry. Continue reading »

Apr 192018
 

Alphington Food Hub

Sustain and Melbourne Farmers’ Markets are jointly establishing a community food hub at Alphington (at the Melbourne Innovation Centre, 2 Wingrove Street). Each has made announcements in the last week or so.

Sustain has announced four new jobs:

  • Food Hub Manager: to create a successful and viable multi-functional and multi-stakeholder community food hub over the medium- to long-term; also, to establish the food hub’s activities, partner and customer relationships and to manage the day-to-day operations of the food hub’s activities. This is a part-time position (0.6 FTE, equivalent to three days). Funded at $42K per annum over two years, commencing 15th May 2018. Closing date for applications: 20th April.
  • Business Development Manager: to establish the foundations for a successful and viable multi-functional and multi-stakeholder community food hub over the medium- to long-term. Funded at $30,000 over two years, commencing 15th May 2018. Closing date for applications: 24th April.
  • A Communications Coordinator: to develop and implement a communications strategy. Funded at $25K over two years, commencing 15th May 2018. Closing date for applications: 24th April.
  • An Urban Agriculture Facilitator: to develop and implement an urban agriculture strategy for the site. Funded at $16.5K over two years, commencing 15th May 2018. Closing date for applications: 24th April.

Melbourne Farmers’ Markets has invited individuals, organisations and businesses to submit their expressions of interest in renting commercial office space at the site, with the types of organisation mentioned by them including primary food producers, local food businesses and local community groups. Tenancies are scheduled to start in June 2018. If you would like to see the space, or express interest, please email Prue.

Corrections and clarifications

Last week, we discussed a job opportunity at Span Community House (Thornbury). The hours are actually 12 hours per fortnight rather than per week as stated. As this might affect who is interested in the job, the discussion is repeated below with the correction added.

Span Community House (Thornbury) are looking for a Garden Coordinator to lead, supervise and support people within a community garden setting. The role will be to develop Span’s community garden, develop a long term plan, engage a diverse range of community members and volunteers, and create learning opportunities. 12 hours per fortnight. $25 per hour. Read the position description (pdf). Apply by email. Contact Colleen Duggan by phone (9480 1364) or email for further information. Closing date Friday, 27th April.

Another new community garden, this time in Ringwood

Transition Towns Maroondah and Central Ringwood Community Centre are working together to build a community garden and sustainability hub in Ringwood. The community garden is called Bedford Park Community Garden. After years of work, the Council has signed off and they are breaking ground on 21st April with the planting of an orchard. They will be making a bit of a day of it with stalls and a BBQ. The Council wants to see the demand for the garden to reassure them of its validity moving forward, so they are hoping for a good turn out. See the event details below. Also, see their Facebook page.

Later down the track, they hope to have food swaps, seed swaps and classes. They already have a pruning class and a grafting class planned. Again, see the event details below.

If you want to know more, contact Jess by phone (0413 846227) or email.

The Basin Food is Free project and community garden

A small group has just started this project in The Basin (foothills of the Dandenong Ranges, just past Boronia). It will be both an open food forest garden (where local people, including homeless people, who need fresh fruit and veggies can come and pick them for free) and a locked section of garden plots for lease to local community members. Currently the group is trying to raise funds to set up the gardens (wicking beds, fruit trees, a tool shed, etc). Any small or larger donations to help get this project off the ground would be gratefully appreciated – www.gofundme.com/the-basin-food-is-free-project. Also, join their Facebook group.

Incredible Edible Eltham news

Despite the continuing lack of rain, we decided to go ahead with our autumn plantings at the edible gardens at both Eltham Railway Station and healthAbility. Following a vote on our Facebook group page, we planted coriander, lettuce, mizuna, mustard greens, oregano, rocket, silverbeet and spinach.

News about local food producers

My Little Country Kitchen, from Kinglake West, will be showcasing their mini meals and finger food at the Valley Loves Wedding Fair on 22nd April at Yarra Glen Racecourse.

Want some worm wee?

Tamara Koelmeyer currently has an excess of worm wee. If you want some, contact Tamara by phone (0458 148231) or email.

‘Death to Nuggets’

Dana Thomson, Health Promotion at healthAbility, has written in: “while the name ‘death to nuggets’ may sound a bit extreme, their push for better kids’ menus is much needed, and it’s great to see this being supported by those within the restaurant industry. I like how they say ‘Food is a system. If everyone does a little more — whether at home, eating out or in Government — we can improve what kids think is normal’.” See their website and their Facebook page. They are also asking you: to encourage significant numbers of parents to ask eateries for the food they would like to see; and/or to encourage eateries to participate so that they play a positive role.

Coincidentally, nuggets have recently made news in Epping.

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

Angelo Eliades’ article: seed-raising mix: does it work?.

Joke of the week

Patient: Doctor, I think I need glasses! Waiter: You certainly do, this is a restaurant!

Read all the jokes.

New events

Orchard planting festival

What: Transition Towns Maroondah and Central Ringwood Community Centre are working together to build a community garden and sustainability hub in Ringwood. They will be breaking ground in the community garden with the planting of an orchard. They will also be making a bit of a day of it with stalls, a BBQ and live music. The Council wants to see the demand for the garden to reassure them of its validity moving forward, so they are hoping for a good turn out.
When: Saturday, 21st April, 10am-12.30pm.
Where: Central Ringwood Community Centre.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Compost bay building workshop

What: This hands-on workshop will be led by Paul Gale-Baker from Urban Shepherd. The theory behind compost development and the bay will be explored as well as the construction of a compost bay. Lunch is included. You are welcome to pop along for part of it if you are unable to stay for the whole time.
When: Sunday, 22nd April, 11.30am-2.30pm.
Where: St Johns Community Garden, Heidelberg.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Fruit tree pruning workshop

What: Join Troy Dawes of Jeltro Cottage Permaculture to learn all about fruit tree pruning for the home orchardist. The subjects to be covered will include: pruning techniques, summer vs winter pruning, preventing disease transfer and tool selection.
When: Wednesday, 25th April, 10am-midday.
Where: Central Ringwood Community Centre.
Cost: free.
Bookings: by phone (9870 2602).
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Autumn fermentation workshop

What: Are you wanting to deepen your connection to your health, food and the environment around you? If so, join a community of fermenters and learn how to ferment vegetables for yourself. This classes will give you an opportunity to connect with others while learning some basic skills in fermentation and build your confidence to ferment at home. Throughout the class, you will have the opportunity to use what is growing in the garden and discover ways to ferment these vegetables and herbs as a traditional food practice. You will learn how to use fermenting techniques and go into depth about the fermentation process and principles.
When: Friday, 27th April, 2-4pm and again on Friday, 11th May, 2-4pm.
Where: PepperTree Place, Coburg.
Cost: $27.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Native plant sale

What: Organised by Australian Plants Society – Yarra Yarra, there will be sales of native and indigenous plants plus books. The plant sellers will include: APS Yarra Yarra growers (see plant list); La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary nursery; Natural Plantscape Nursery (see plant list); Sunvalley Plants Nursery (see plant list); and Vaughan’s Australian Plants.
When: Saturday, 28th April, 10am-4pm.
Where: Eltham Senior Citizens.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Fresh food ideas exchange – nutrition workshop

What: Join local nutritionist Melanie Lionello as she dishes out tips and tricks for healthy eating and answers the age old question “what healthy meals can I feed the family that they will still enjoy?”. Workshop topics include: nut-free lunch box snack; cooking for fussy eaters; healthy meals to suit the family budget; benefits of eating the rainbow; and a cooking demo or two.
When: Saturday, 5th May, at 11am and again at 1pm.
Where: Greensborough Plaza.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Dry climate edible gardening

What: Links Community Group are building a new community garden in Lalor and want to develop their site further using dry climate gardening techniques. Attend this workshop, led by Paul Gale-Baker from Urban Shepherd, to learn about: site and soil preparation; bmicroclimate assessment and creation; in-ground strategies (swales, mulching, in-ground wicking, etc); above-ground strategies (wicking beds, etc); and plant choice.
When: Saturday, 12th May, 9.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Links Community Garden, Lalor.
Cost: free.
Bookings: by phone (0431 896347) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

David Holmgren: RetroSuburbia

What: David Holmgren will present his multi-media talk ‘Aussie Street’, a speculative eco-narrative seen through the microcosm of four adjacent houses. The event coincides with his recently launched book, RetroSurburbia: the downshifter’s guide to a resilient future.
When: Saturday, 12th May, 1-2pm.
Where: North Fitzroy Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.
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: caramelised onion & sweet potato tart; caramelised garlic & red wine beef; and baby fig & apple compote.
When: Friday, 18th May, 7-9pm.
Where: Gourmet Living, Templestowe.
Cost: $42.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Fruit tree grafting workshop

What: Join Troy Dawes of Jeltro Cottage Permaculture to learn all about heritage fruit tree grafting. The subjects to be covered will include: starting a home orchard on a budget, grafting multiple varieties to one tree, grafting techniques, tools and choosing the right rootstock.
When: Saturday, 19th May, 10am-midday.
Where: Central Ringwood Community Centre.
Cost: free.
Bookings: by phone (9870 2602).
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Thermomix – use it beyond the kitchen

What: Think of all the uses your Thermomix could have outside of the kitchen. In this class, they will show you how to make dog biscuits, laundry detergent, slime, play dough, lip balms and much more.
When: Wednesday, 23rd May, 7.30-9.30pm.
Where: Kilsyth.
Cost: $21.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Hobby beekeeping

What: Christos Tonovich will draw on 20 years’ and 40 hives’ worth of experience to discuss how to set up a courtyard garden hive. A variety of honeys will be available to taste and purchase.
When: Tuesday, 5th June, 10.30-11.30am.
Where: Collingwood Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Food for thought – cake making and decorating

What: Local chef, Mellissa Strachan, will present some ideas for home-baked celebration cakes. She will provide two go-to cake recipes and show you how to prepare your cake for decorating. She will then explain how to make a mirror glaze and chocolate ganache, and how to use fondant. Participants will make these delicious treats and, at the conclusion of the workshop, be able to taste the final products. Apart from sharing some recipes, Mellissa will give some tips and tricks that will help even inexperienced cooks gain confidence in the kitchen.
When: Saturday, 16th June, 10.30am-1pm.
Where: Ringwood Uniting Church.
Cost: $60.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry. Continue reading »

Apr 112018
 

Angelo’s tip of the month

Newsletter reader Angelo Eliades (from Preston) runs the Deep Green Permaculture website. His latest blog is about seed raising mix. “Want to sow seeds in pots? What do you need? Seed raising mix? Guess again! Working part-time in the garden nursery industry, I meet many gardeners who have had problems sowing seeds in seed raising mix – they find that their seeds sprout but their seedlings only reach a very small size and then completely stop growing, and the resultant seedlings are very thin and spindly! That’s because seed raising mix has absolutely no nutrients in it, and is totally unsuitable for growing seeds in. It’s actually misnamed, it really should be called ‘seed covering mix’ or ‘seed germination mix’, because that’s what it’s designed for, and does well.Read more

Want a part-time paid job?

Span Community House (Thornbury) are looking for a Garden Coordinator to lead, supervise and support people within a community garden setting. The role will be to develop Span’s community garden, develop a long term plan, engage a diverse range of community members and volunteers, and create learning opportunities. Part time 6 hours per week. $25 per hour. Read the position description (pdf). Apply by email. Contact Colleen Duggan by phone (9480 1364) or email for further information. Closing date Friday, 27th April.

News about local food producers

Carlton Farmers’ Market now takes place twice a month, on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays.

The entrance to Coburg Farmers’ Market has moved slightly north: enter via Jersey Street.

Local food producers in the news

Chocolatier Australia (Heidelberg West) featured in a video produced by the Herald Sun.

That’s Amore Cheese (Thomastown) featured on the Discover your own Backyard website.

Arrivederci Maria

Maria Ciavarella (aka My Green Garden) has landed the job of Food Technology assistant at a school and, from end April, will no longer be running workshops from her home in Donvale. For the time being at least, she will continue to run talks and workshops for councils and community groups. Best of luck with the new job, Maria!

Do you have a female carob tree?

If so, you will know that carob trees are mostly dioecious (separate male and female plants). Unusually, they flower in autumn (i.e. now) and, also unusually, the flowers are near the middle of the tree (so you can only see them if you part the branches and peer in).

Anyhow, I have a male carob tree that is currently in flower. If you want a branch to pollinate your female tree with, just email me.

Stuart and Christine Rodda have already taken a branch and, in return, given me some pods from last year. They are surprisingly tasty. Thanks Stuart and Christine!

Permablitz’s hero of the month – onions

Onions are a simple to grow garden crop, and are used in a multitude of dishes worldwide. Some prime ministers have even been known to eat them raw! Read more

Read all Permablitz’s heros of the month.

Every newsletter deserves a good picture

Brazilian artist William Kass creates, and then photographs, miniature scenes using food.


Have a look at our food art page.

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

The Warrandyte permaculture property up for sale.

Joke of the week

How do you fix a broken pizza? With tomato paste.

Read all the jokes.

New events

Wholistic permaculture: a regenerative methodology for social change

What: Join Canadian expert, Jillian Hovey, in exploring the fundamentals of a whole systems design, and how to relate it to you, your studies, your life, and the world. Permaculture isn’t just about agriculture (permanent agriculture), it is about permanent culture. Its ethics give a framework for a responsible, regenerative society. This workshop will contain an overview of permaculture design, and a progression of exercises which will support participants to develop skills in the fundamentals of social permaculture.
When: Friday, 13th April, 11am-2pm.
Where: La Trobe University.
Cost: donation (e.g. $20 for waged non-students, $5 for unwaged).
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Yarra Valley Beer & Cider Festival

What: The festival allows you to sample some of the boutique beer and cider that Victoria has to offer, with many exhibitors being close to home. Food stalls will be in attendance, combined with entertainment.
The festival is an initiative by the Rotary Club of Wandin, in conjunction with some community beer and cider lovers.
When: Saturday, 14th April, 11am-5.30pm.
Where: Lilydale Showgrounds.
Cost: $16 ($32 with tasting tokens).
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Sustainable Greensborough – ‘share the inspiration’ meet-up

What: Go along to Sustainable Greensborough’s meeting to find some sustainable inspiration and meet other people in the area. Take along an excerpt from an inspiring sustainability video, book, website, blog or article, and briefly explain why you found it helpful. If you don’t feel like sharing, that’s ok too – just go along to listen and soak it all up.
When: Sunday, 15th April, 2-4pm.
Where: Watsonia Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Our local MKR stars

What: Join local MKR celebrities Ros and Karen as they cook smokey pork shoulder served with creamy polenta and a pickle on the side.
When: Tuesday, 17th April, 6-8pm.
Where: Diamond Valley Library.
Cost: free.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Thermomix fakeaway class

What: Using your Thermomix to make mouth watering, cost saving and healthy meals you would normally buy as takeaway meals. Their experienced consultants will show you how to make their favourites from the following cuisines: Indian, Thai, Greek, French and Italian. They will also go over our tips for storing meals.
When: Wednesday, 18th April, 7.30-9.30pm.
Where: Kilsyth.
Cost: $21.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Fair trade cocktail master class

What: Led by Noble Spirits. Taste 6 Fair Trade liqueurs. Learn the basics of cocktail making. Create your own unique cocktail while nibbling on their pizza!
When: Wednesday, 18th April and again on Thursday, 19th April, both 6.30-9.30pm.
Where: Northcote.
Cost: $59.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Wow it’s Italian – traditional pizza making

What: Enjoy a social evening of cooking demonstrations and food tasting. Take away healthy recipes and tips for entertaining, favourite family meals, simple sauces and pasta dishes. Menu: pizza with three toppings.
When: Thursday, 19th April, 7.30-9.30pm.
Where: Chirnside Park.
Cost: $20.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Cook healthier. Live better.

What: Learn how to cook a healthy and nutritious meal in 30 minutes.
When: Sunday, 22nd April, 2-4pm.
Where: Box Hill South.
Cost: gold coin donation.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Asian cooking with Shirley

What: Go and attend the class to see how to make Asian food out of your Thermomix. Learn practical tips on how to make the following popular Malaysian/Asian dishes: stir fry noodles, fried rice, curry kapitan chicken, sweet vinegar pork ribs, satay sauce and gado-gado. You will get to taste the food.
When: Sunday, 22nd April, 3-5pm.
Where: Blackburn North.
Cost: $36.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

No Waste Cook Club Carlton

What: This workshop will help you to reduce food waste at home. You will cook a vegetarian lunch together and learn to save money, get creative with veggies, be more adaptable in the kitchen, and learn about the wonders of compost. The workshop is one of two free workshops held every month, with the other being on the 1st Saturday of the month at the Fitzroy Community Food Centre. If you are not able to attend the workshop in the morning, you are welcome to share a free lunch with them afterwards at 1pm.
When: Every 4th Saturday of the month, 10am-midday (so, next on 28th April).
Where: Carlton North.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Better brain food

What: Eating well can help to keep your brain in peak health. Join Ngaire Hobbins, dietitian and author of Better Brain Food to hear about the latest evidence-based information about eating to cheat dementia and cognitive decline. This new book provides the information you need as you or your loved ones grow older, including delicious recipes and lifestyle tips.
When: Tuesday, 1st May, 2-3.30pm.
Where: Lilydale Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: by phone (9800 6457).
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Lakeside Good Earth Group – book a chook

What: Bring a little country to your backyard. Poultry are rewarding, useful and entertaining pets. Fleur, from Book a Chook will tell you everything you need to know to successfully set up chooks in your own backyard, including breed selection, coops, runs, health and nutrition.
When: Saturday, 5th May, 10.30-11.30am.
Where: Lilydale Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: by phone (9800 6457).
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

No Waste Cook Club Fitzroy

What: This workshop will help you to reduce food waste at home. You will cook a vegetarian lunch together and learn to save money, get creative with veggies, be more adaptable in the kitchen, and learn about the wonders of compost. The workshop is one of two free workshops held every month, with the other being on the 4th Saturday of the month at the Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre. If you are not able to attend the workshop in the morning, you are welcome to share a free lunch with them afterwards at 1pm.
When: Every 1st Saturday of the month, 10am-midday (so, next on 5th May).
Where: Fitzroy.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Reduce your food waste – a budget-friendly recipe demonstration

What: Do you struggle to use all your leftovers before they perish? Do you often end up throwing away wilted veggies at the end of the week? Struggle no more! Gaby and Jen from Plan Buy Cook will show you how to cook some simple, delicious, budget-friendly recipes, minimise food waste and maximise your weekly shop.
When: Thursday, 10th May, 7-8.30pm.
Where: Preston Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.
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: caramelised onion puff pastry tart; wholemeal penne pasta; and apple spice pancakes.
When: Thursday, 10th May, 7-9pm.
Where: Gourmet Living, Templestowe.
Cost: $42.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Ostro: the pleasure of slowing down and cooking with simple ingredients

What: Julia Busuttil Nishimura’s cooking isn’t terribly fancy. Her approach to food favours intuition over strict rules and is about using your hands, rushing a little less and savouring the details. In conversation with Rachael Cilauro, Julia will discuss her love of uncomplicated food that is comforting and generous in spirit. Copies of Julia’s book, Ostro, will be available for purchase and signing at the event.
When: Wednesday, 16th May, 7.45-8.45pm.
Where: Brunswick Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

GABS Beer, Cider & Food Fest

What: Featuring 170 beers and ciders brewed especially for the event.
When: Friday, 18th May 11.30am-4.30pm and 6.30-11.30pm; Saturday, 19th May 11.30am-4.30pm and 6.30-11.30pm; and Sunday, 20th May 11.30am-4.30pm.
Where: Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton.
Cost: $46.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: their website.

Gardening for the bees

What: Native bees play an important role in your garden. They are superb pollinators and even better many of them don’t sting! Find out how to construct a bee hotel and which plants to grow. Their speaker, Patrick Honan currently works as a horticultural researcher for Gardening Australia on the ABC, and as a director for St Kilda Indigenous Nursery Co-op.
When: Thursday, 24th May, 7-8.30pm.
Where: Mitcham.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Native bee hotel

What: Buzz and Dig will talk about our native bee pollinators and their importance to the environment and will show you how to create a bee-friendly garden. The talk will also cover how to make your own bee hotel for the garden – materials provided.
When: Saturday, 26th May, 2-3pm.
Where: Watsonia Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Fun ferments

What: Learn how to make kombucha – the fermented tea – at home and add delicious natural herbs and fruit for flavouring. Tastings will be provided in the class. You will also learn how to use kombucha to create a sourdough starter and discover other easy home fermenting and pickling techniques.
When: Thursday, 31st May, 7-8pm.
Where: Preston Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry. Continue reading »