Dec 132013
 

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Local food-related events

Open garden

This weekend, permaculturist Virginia Solomon is opening her garden in Research to raise money for young Australian, Jock Palfreeman who has been jailed in Bulgaria. See www.freejock.com for more details. If you want to see a pretty garden with lots of ideas to try at home, especially in relation to food growing, visit 103 Thompson Crescent, Research, Sat, Dec 14, 9:30am – 4pm, $10 entry.

Jostaberry

My bush has fruit on it for the first time in many years. (photo beside). I was surprised to see that they look like mini gooseberries, although you need to wait until they are red! Does anyone else have a fruiting jostaberry?

Tomatoes

Are you preparing for the Great Tomato Taste Off happening in Were St, Montmorency on the first Sunday of Feb 2014 at the first Food swap in Monty.

Foodshare

If you are wishing to give food to those families who are struggling this Christmas, here are some suggestions. You can leave food at Jenny Macklin’s office in Heidelberg, Whitings Advisors in Were Street, Montmorency, and I noticed in the local paper that the Uniting Church in Diamond Creek provide Christmas lunch for many on Christmas day. There are probably other groups which some of you know about. I recommend that you contact the organisations first.

Home Harvest Feast, 2014

If you still haven’t enrolled for the Home Harvest Feast on March 16 2014, it is still not too late. Those enrolled are invited to an evening workshop about veggie propagation, Thursday evening (tonight), at Edendale, 6 -7:30pm. For planning purposes, rsvp by phone 9433 3711.

Other food activities/information

Organic waste

Metropolitan waste management group has opened a new state of the art composting facility in Bulla. This will shortly be accepting material from Nillumbik(not sure about Banyule).  The compost from this facility will be used primarily on broad acre farms in Western Victoria to help replenish the soil and retain moisture. But its really important that people use the bin correctly- eg. no plastic of any kind – including plastic bags (as this keeps the standard of the compost high enough for sustainable agricultural use). This is good news because Nillumbik’s green waste has been going to landfill for a number of years now.

Backyard and small farm egg producers being attacked

Proposed state government legislation limiting the sale of eggs by small-scale producers has the potential to favour big poultry business and disadvantage smaller producers. The legislation would make illegal trading in eggs not stamped according to the Australian and New Zealand Standards Code. It would also prohibit the informal selling of small numbers of eggs produced by backyard poultry flocks. Producers and people selling a few eggs from their backyard chooks will have to obtain a license, lodge a food safety plan and pay to have that plan audited at $244 per hour, minimum two hours auditing fee regardless of how many birds they have. Egg stamping machines start at $4000. Hand stamping each egg individually involves a prohibitive labour cost.

Pick your own

Even though it is lovely to grow and pick your own produce, sometimes you need more for preserving. There a number of ‘Pick your own farms’ around which you may want to visit over the holiday period. See this site for details. Not all are organic, but many are.

State of Environment Report 2013

This report was released last week. This report is an audit of Victoria’s sustainability and includes recommendations, one of which is that the State Government develop a comprehensive sustainable food strategy.

Best wishes to you and your families during the coming festive season!