Sep 272013

Local food-related events

Eltham Farmers’ Market

At Tuesday’s Council meeting, Local Food Connect’s application for a ‘licence’ from Council to use the council-owned land in Commercial Place for a Farmers’ Market was considered (once we have agreement from a landlord we can then apply for a planning permit). We had submitted a lot of material to support our application, including numerous letters of support from local organisations. The Council Officers recommended that our licence application be approved. However, rather than consider our application directly, certain councillors chose to propose an alternative motion. The meaning of this alternative motion is not obvious but its net effect is to defer a decision on our licence application.

In the meantime, another site on private land has been offered to us. That site is the car park above the Eltham Mall. The prospect of working with a supportive landlord is very attractive.

Nillumbik Health

The planter box is now full of herbs and veggies thanks to a merry band of willing workers last Sunday. Let’s hope that the plants grow well in their shady position and are able to be shared by members of the community. If you are passing 917 Main Road Eltham any time, can you please check on the plants, see if they need water, nourishment or replacement, etc? There is a watering system attached. Please help yourself to the produce once the plants are grown.

Coffee grounds

Last week I mentioned that someone from Watsonia was looking to share grounds from a cafe. This week, there is a group in Diamond Creek looking for 1 or 2 people to share picking up of coffee grounds from a couple of cafes, especially on a Tuesday or Friday afternoon. If interested, please contact Jenny, phone 94381909. Not only does it save food waste from going to landfill, but it increases greatly the worm population in your compost.

How many lettuces to plant?

According to Clive Blazey in The Australian vegetable garden; what’s new is old, 33 oakleaf lettuces should see you through Summer and Autumn! In fact, a plot 4.2m by 10 m should feed a family of three for 12 months. Some other quantities suggested are 6 Tigerella tomato bushes, 2 Armenian cucumber plants, 6 heirloom capsicums, 100 western red carrots and 33 golden bantam sweet corn. See page 19 of the book for a full list.

Asparagus growers

Some beautiful asparagus spears are growing in the garden at the moment, however with the ever changeable weather, you need to check daily, if not at least every two days, in case they grow too tall!


Other food activities/information

Festival of Ideas, Oct 1-6, Melbourne University

Sessions on Thursday October 3 are about Food and Nutrition and include: Developing a Love of Seasonal Fresh Food From Childhood with Stephanie Alexander and others; Eating Ourselves To Death; Feeding 10 Billion People and Sustaining The Planet; Imagine 2033, and How We Achieved A Healthy and Sustainable Post-Carbon World. Many sessions are free.

VicHealth’s Seed Challenge

The two winners of VicHealth’s Seed Challenge will each receive $100,000 to roll out their initiatives over the next 12 months, which will connect community members, farmers and fresh food distributors in an approach never tried in Victoria before. They are:

3000acres – by Planisphere

This initiative will use an online platform to connect people with unused urban, suburban and rural spaces for food gardens – providing access to land for people who can’t or don’t own it. The vision of 3000acres is that every resident in Melbourne will have access to the environmental and health benefits of growing spaces within easy walking distance of home and work. By 2050, neighbours working together will create hundreds of community gardens, mini-parks, urban farms and green markets.

Open Food Network – by the Open Food Web Foundation (includes Eaterprises)

This initiative aims to grow a network of local food markets online, reducing barriers to trade for local producers and consumers. Online marketplaces for local and regional food will make it easier for farmers, consumers and independent food enterprises to connect, trade and manage their business. Ultimately the community will have easier access to affordable local food.  The idea is to put control over food back into the hands of farmers, the community and local enterprises.

Congratulations to the winners!