Nov 302013

Join a vibrant food culture, growing and eating local

Covering all matters food across North East Melbourne

Whether you are a local food producer, want to eat local food, grow veggies in your garden or just want to meet like-minded folks, Local Food Connect is for you. Join now.

Eltham Farmers’ Market, a Local Food Connect initiative, is held every Sunday.

The purpose of this website and associated newsletter is twofold: to promote all aspects of local food around North East Melbourne and to make people around North East Melbourne feel part of a local food community.

The material is centred on 5 databases:

  1. Upcoming local food-related events: all the upcoming events of various types, around 400 per month.
  2. Local food producers: pages on each of around 130 producers, both farmers and makers.
  3. Local community gardens: pages on each of the 60 community gardens in the area
  4. Local food swaps: details of the 30 food swaps in the area.
  5. Local food justice organisations: including ‘food is free’ sites, free food distribution organisations and free community meals.

These databases are brought together into an overall Local Food Directory which contains pages for each of 300 or so local food organisations.

In addition, there are articles written by a variety of local people on:

Oct 052022

Thanks to the people who have contributed to this week’s newsletter: Ann Stanley, Anna Matilda, Bev Middleton, Gayle Parkes, Jess Ness, Jo Buckle, Mahira Sobral, Natalie Nigol and Sarah Mathers.

Now more than 3,900 subscribers! Yay!

More on no cost veggie gardening

A couple of you have written in in response to Robin Gale-Baker’s article last week on no cost veggie gardening.

One of Robin’s paragraphs was: “Free seeds are available through some seed libraries and veggie swaps. For the veggie swaps, take something to contribute.” As Natalie Nigol has pointed out, people should (of course) also be contributing to the seed libraries. Per Natalie: “The concept of seed libraries is that people borrow seeds to grow at home, but they should leave their healthiest plants to go to seed, and return saved seed at the end of the season. They can also donate/swap with other seeds. At the Darebin seed libraries, many people are borrowing seed but not returning seed so the libraries are always empty. We have developed a seed saving booklet and stock our seed libraries with envelopes for people’s convenience.

Jo Buckle: “Yarra Council has free mulch for residents; pick up from Yarra’s Clifton Hill Depot, 168 Roseneath Street, Clifton Hill. Other Councils might have this too. If you’re in an apartment and don’t have room to set up your own compost area, you can find a place to drop off food scraps with Sharewaste, and owners of these compost facilities sometimes have spare finished compost.

Every newsletter needs a good picture

Konekono Kitsune embroiders vegetables. As she has apparently said, “Embroidery threads are great for expressing vegetable fibres.

Urban farming in Eltham

Did you know that there used to be an urban farm in Eltham?

Fabbro’s Fields, the large creek-front paddock on Bell Street, is a piece of land with historical significance for Eltham. It was once the site of a thriving market garden, Fabbro’s Farm. Fabbro’s Farm included almost the entire hill on the corner of Falkiner and Ely Streets, and most of the farmland situated along the Diamond Creek opposite the hill on Falkiner Street, now called Barak Bushland.

Eltham resident, Hans Gregory, recalls: “‘Many people remember the rows of artichokes that Maurie Fabbro grew in the Bell Street paddocks. The rows were hand-hoed and watered with the help of the pump located on the bank of Diamond Creek. Maurie had two tractors. Each tractor had its own shed, the newest of which is still standing on Fabbro’s Fields. We hear about the famous Italian restaurants and farmers across Melbourne. The Fabbro family is part of this legacy of local food production.

Local Food Connect is now working to reactivate Fabbro’s Farm as an urban farm for the Nillumbik Community. Join their Fabbro’s Farm Interest Group.

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

The most popular link in the last newsletter was Robin’s article on no cost veggie gardening.

b33e661f-c100-4ebe-9ffa-847952e0da4e.jpgJoke (or pun) of the week

Submitted by Bev Middleton:

Two trees were passing the time and chatting. They could see a small group of people walking in the distance and one tree turned to the other and said “Do you think they communicate with each other?

The other tree shook his head and said “Nah – no way- they haven’t got roots.

Read more jokes.


Regular activities over the coming week

Farmers’ markets
Food swaps
Community gardens

Not face-to-face but interesting

Open Gardens Victoria – Growing a successful edible garden; Tuesday, 11th October, 7.30-8.30pm; $30 ($35 per hour); Zoom.

Every gardener at one point or another faces a few common problems when growing a vegetable garden because it attracts pests and disease by its very nature. Craig Castree will show you how to maximise your existing garden as a place to grow food organically, making it highly productive, attractive and weed free at the same time.

Not food-related but interesting

Sustainability hub community day; 3rd Sunday of every month, 10am-12.30pm; free; Ringwood.

Explore the many ways that plants can be propagated with horticulturist, permaculturalist and all-round plant enthusiast Liz Rowe.

Propagating workshop; Tuesday, 15th November, 10am-midday; free; Ringwood.

The various sessions will cover such subjects as: bike care and repair program; clothes swap; food swap; wares for sale from their upcycling program; and knife/scissors/tools sharpening.

Upcoming face-to-face events – not cooking

Growing plants in small spaces (11 sessions); on Fridays, starting 7th October, 9.30am-1.30pm; free; Fawkner.

If you have a balcony, a courtyard or a patio, there are ways you can maximise space to create your own little oasis. In this course, you will learn about how to grow food in pots or containers, what plants to grow and when. Organised by Brunswick Neighbourhood House.

Tomato growing workshop; Saturday, 15th October, 10am-12.30pm; $25 ($10 per hour); Coburg North.

Karen Sutherland will share her tips on how to grow tomatoes, followed by a seed sowing activity, which will also be suitable for children. At the end, you will take home a punnet of freshly sown heirloom tomato seeds. Organised by NECCHi.

Open Cellars Weekend; Saturday, 15th October and Sunday, 16th October, both 11am-5pm; free; various in Nillumbik.

Visit any or all of the family-owned wineries in Nillumbik. This is a chance to sample wines at wineries not always open to the public. You will also find 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 participating wineries include: Buttermans Track, Easthill Estate, Hildebrand Ridge Organic Vineyard, Kings of Kangaroo Ground, Nillumbik Estate, Panton Hill Vineyard & Winery, Punch Wines, Shaws Road Winery, Wedgetail Estate and Yarrambat Estate Vineyard.

Hit the deck with Nikki: DIY bee hotels; Friday, 21st October, 1-3pm; $15 ($8 per hour); Greensborough.

Join Nikki and learn some basic construction techniques, how to use a drill and make a bee hotel that you can take home. All materials provided. Organised by Greenhills Neighbourhood House.

Working with water with Dan; Saturday, 22nd October, 10am-3.30pm; $45 ($10 per hour); Edendale.

The workshop will explore the human relationship with water, how it fits within our ecology and moves through the land. It will cover: principles and patterns for catching, storing and distributing water; reading water’s behaviour in the landscape; how to work with rainwater, grey water and mains supplies to bring more life to our surroundings; and principles and design approaches to improve your management of water at home. It will also involve walking, talking and designing to explore living examples of water management around Edendale’s buildings, gardens and nearby waterways. Presenter: Dan Milne.

Urban foraging; Saturday, 22nd October, 1.30-4pm; $85 ($34 per hour); Forest Hill.

Anna, the Urban Nanna, will help you find and identify a range of edible fruits, greens and flowers found in ‘wild’ urban spaces across Victoria. You will learn about the basic principles and protocols of foraging, and then move on to plant specifics. You will observe and interact with many types of fruit trees, edible green weeds and useful flowers. You will examine examples of trees bearing late summer fruit, and also be shown the physical features you can use to correctly identify useful trees even when they’re not fruiting. You will discuss the types of locations where you can hunt for wild edibles in the future, and finally how to safely prepare and enjoy eating many of the foods we find. Overall, there will be around 1-2km of walking over grassy terrain involved.

Arthurs Creek Mechanics Institute’s annual garden walk; Sunday, 23rd October, 9.30am-5.30pm; $30; Arthurs Creek.

7 gardens to visit. Light lunches and Devonshire teas available. Various art/craft items to see including Jane Annois pottery, Tara Stubley paintings and Melissa Thomas garden sculpture. Plants also available for purchase. Purchase tickets at the hall on the day. All proceeds will go towards the upkeep and restoration of the hall.

Waste reduction workshop; Wednesday, 26th October, 7-8pm; free; Ringwood.

Ellen, from Simply Sustainable, will teach you sustainable tips and tricks for cleaning up and dealing with waste in the kitchen. Organised by Central Ringwood Community Centre.

Intro to sustainability (6 sessions); on Fridays, starting 28th October, 11am-2pm; $98 ($5 per hour); Preston.

This course is designed to deepen and build on your knowledge of the systems that we rely on, such as our energy, food, water and waste systems, and will explore how they can be more sustainable and resilient. You will discuss concepts such as circular economy, build on your knowledge of climate change, ecological justice, and better understand the reasons behind why Australia is a substantial waster of food. Organised by Bridge Darebin.

Healthy productive compost and worms; Thursday, 10th November, 6.30-9pm; $50 ($20 per hour); Bulleen Art & Garden.

What you will learn: the importance of compost for soil health; how to fix common composting problems; and setting up and looking after a worm farm. Presented by Kirsteen Macleod. Learn how to make compost, the essential ingredient for a thriving and healthy garden. Look at worm farms and Bokashi as other options. They will also show you how to make a DIY worm farm using recycled products.

Beeswax wraps with Ben’s Bees; Saturday, 12th November, 10am-midday; free; Ringwood.

Ben, from Ben’s Bees, will help you make your very own beeswax wraps from locally sourced beeswax. You will have a beeswax wrap to take home.

Beeswax wraps; Saturday, 12th November, 10am-midday; $75 ($38 per hour); CERES.

What you will learn: how to make and maintain their own beeswax wraps; learn skills that are transferable to the home environment; and bundling techniques. This is a hands-on workshop where participants will make their own washable and re-usable ready-to-use beeswax wraps. Presenter: Emma Grace.

Food photography; Saturday, 12th November, 2-5pm; $109 ($36 per hour); Eltham.

This class is for food bloggers, bakers or restaurant/cafe owners. It will focus on taking great images of food using your own, or easily obtainable, equipment. It will cover such aspects as: the right equipment; the best camera settings to make your food look good; choosing the right backgrounds; lighting; basic food styling; being creative; the perils of incorrect white balance; and using software to enhance colour and presentation.

Intro to urban farming (4 sessions); on the weekends of 12th/13th and 19th/20th November, 9.30am-2pm; $112 ($6 per hour); Preston.

This course will provide an introduction to the principles and techniques of urban agriculture, including how to design, build and maintain a productive farm in a limited space. You will gain a range of skills and knowledge including: understanding production systems such as ground growing, wicking beds, mushroom growing and hydroponics systems; crop planning; water/soil/pest management; plant propagation; and education and employment pathways in urban farming. This course was designed in partnership with Sustain. Organised by Bridge Darebin.

Dumpling deliciousness textile workshop; Tuesday, 15th November, 6.30-8.30pm; $50 ($25 per hour); Hawthorn.

Artist and maker Sai-Wai Foo will teach you hand sewing and finishing techniques with simple craft supplies to make these soup-er snacks. Treat yourself to some dumpling deliciousness – from wontons to sui mai. You’re gyoza be wrapped with this workshop!

Mushroom growing masterclass; Thursday, 17th November, 6.30-9.30pm; $145 ($48 per hour); Collngwood.

You will learn the practical skills to grow a never-ending supply of mushrooms yourself, gaining the knowledge to create a self-sufficient, closed-loop ecosystem. You will also learn the 4 step lifecycle of mushroom cultivation, tips for harvesting and alternative applications for different growing mediums and species. Tutor: Eric Fenessy from Uncle Steezy’s Hot Sauce.

Eltham Wine Show; Sunday, 20th November, 10am-2.30pm; $17; Bulleen.

Australia’s largest amateur wine show: hundreds of wines available for tasting; wine awards and presentations; artisan olive oil sampling and sales; and free tasting glass. If you want to enter a wine for the show, entries close on 22nd October. Here are the entry forms.

In October
In November
Regular events

Upcoming face-to-face events – cooking

The cook program (9 sessions); on Thursdays, starting 13th October, 9.30am-1.30pm; $40; Brunswick.

As well as enjoying delicious food and meeting new people, the objective of this course is to develop social connection and learn new skills – from knife handling to creating cost-effective meals. Cooking from different cultures and for different health considerations will be touched upon, as will planning and delivering a community lunch event. Presenter: chef, Tony Chiodo. Organised by Brunswick Neighbourhood House.

Craft taster – kombucha workshop with The Fermented Mumma; Tuesday, 18th October, 11am-1pm; free; Balwyn.

Join the Fermented Mumma as she details the process and benefits of brewing your own kombucha.

Italian kids cooking; Thursday, 27th October, 4.30-6.30pm; $35 ($18 per hour); Surrey Hills.

Your child will learn how to make Italian pasta from scratch. When they are finished cooking, the group will sit down to enjoy their home-cooked dinner. Teacher: Carmela. Organised by Balwyn Community Centre.

Advanced sourdough bread; Saturday, 29th October, 10am-12.30pm; $$80 ($32 per hour); Park Orchards.

You will make a seeded sourdough loaf, demonstrated by Nadine. There will be samples of different sourdough loaves to try, including a fruit loaf and olive and herb. You will need to bring a container to take home your dough to bake at home. Organised by Park Orchards Community House.

Julia Busuttil Nishimura: around the table; Wednesday, 2nd November, 6.30-7.30pm; free; Fitzroy North.

Julia Busuttil Nishimura will talk about her newest work, celebrating simple ingredients, seasonal produce and the joys of coming together at the table. Influenced by her Maltese heritage and Japanese family, Melbourne’s seasons’ distinctive ebb and flow, and her time spent living in Tuscany, Julia is the author of several cookbooks, including her latest, Around the Table.

One pot wonders of the World – laksa lemuk; Friday, 11th November, 5.30-10pm; $85 ($19 per hour); Panton Hill.

Presenter: Kelly Meredith from Under The Pickle Tree. Make a chicken broth from scratch, poach chicken to perfection, then make a laksa paste, blend the broth and the paste and learn to add in the coconut cream so it doesn’t crack. Add to the broth some prawns, tofu puffs, noodles, charred okra and then eat your creation.

Dumpling making workshop; Friday, 11th November, 6-8.30pm; $75 ($30 per hour); Park Orchards

Make Chinese dumplings from scratch. The dough you will prepare can be used for either boiled dumplings (shui jiao) or potstickers (guo tie). Then make vegetarian dumplings. Facilitator: Miki. Organised by Park Orchards Community House.

Mozzarella cheese making; Sunday, 13th November, 10am-4pm; $170 ($28 per hour); CERES.

What you will learn: how to make your own mozzarella cheese; how to make ricotta cheese; and about different cheeses. Presenters: Janet Clayton and Charlene Angus from Cheeselinks.

In October
In November
Regular classes