Apr 072021

Thanks to all the people who have contributed to this week’s newsletter: Angela Cheung, Julie O’Brien, Lucinda Flynn and Melanie Rankin-Smith.

We would love to hear from more of you and include some of your words about any food-related matters in future newsletters. Email us with your contribution(s)!.

Going green with Lucinda – composting solutions for everyone

Lucinda Flynn, from eco shop Going Green Solutions, has written an article for our website about different composting solutions. As she says in her introduction, when it comes to organic waste, “there is no such method as ‘best’; rather, it is about what ‘best matches the situation’. Each home and each person will have different capacities to collect waste and may also have different preferred outcomes for their waste, so there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. The important thing is choosing a method or group of methods that work for you. This means choosing the method(s) that match what you want to compost, how much outdoor space you have, your living situation, and your lifestyle.” She then goes on to discuss 8 possible methods, namely:

  1. Compost bays: a good way of processing larger kinds of wastes, such as garden wastes, but they require both space and time.
  2. Chickens: “I can’t recommend chickens highly enough.“.
  3. Black compost bins with lids: good for kitchen food scraps.
  4. Bokashi bins: suitable for people with a smallish amount of kitchen scraps (e.g. a 2-person home) and can include meat, dairy, citrus and onion waste.
  5. Worm farms: a great option for smallish amounts of kitchen scraps, but not including meat, dairy, citrus or onion.
  6. Weed tea buckets: for noxious weeds that you need to keep out of compost.
  7. Council green waste bins: depends on your council.
  8. Give away your organic waste: e.g. via ShareWaste.com.

Read the full article.

The Edible Forest in Dixons Creek

You might have noticed that many of our newsletters include notification of wild fermentation classes in Dixons Creek (these classes now happen on the first Saturday of each month). You might also have noticed that these classes end with an ‘edible forest tour’. The ‘edible forest’ in question is a 1-acre block devoted to food production using hügelkultur and permaculture methods (read more). Guided tours of the edible forest happen 6 days a week at 10am (midday on Saturday), take 45 minutes to 1 hour and cost only $15. There are also options which include tastings and eating. Read more and book your tour.

Community composting is back in Thornbury

Span Community House in Thornbury have announced that their community composting program has re-started and that they are now accepting food waste from local homes to convert to compost for their community garden. They have also broadened the items that they can take to include citrus, onion and garlic. Read more on their website.

Want a job?

Manager of Urban Horticulture, Streat, Collingwood

Manager of Urban Horticulture working for Streat. A 2 year contract, full time. “Oversee and lead the development of an urban agriculture training hub in Collingwood designed to support trainees and viable urban agriculture business models. In the longer term, play a key role in developing a range of urban farming sites across inner Melbourne, supported and tended by a roaming team of horticulturalists.” Closing date: Monday, 12th April. Read more and potentially apply.

Garden Co-ordinator, Span, Thornbury

Part time (12 hours per fortnight). “To lead, supervise and support people within a community garden setting, the role will be to maintain and further develop Span’s Community Garden, develop a long term plan, engage and support a diverse range of community members and volunteers and create learning opportunities.” Closing date: Sunday, 18th April. Read more and potentially apply.

Three new videos from Karen Sutherland

Karen, who lives in Pascoe Vale South, specialises in growing native bush tucker. This week, she has published another three videos:

A recipe for Winter warmer spicy beef silverbeet soup

I’m really pleased to introduce a new person to our roster of recipe providers. Angela Cheung lives in Macleod and is a member of Sustainable Macleod. She has recently started her own small business called Pop-Up Pantry, which is an online store delivering pantry and household cleaning products direct to homes within 10km of Macleod.

Angela’s first recipe is her version of the Korean yukgaejang.

Ingredients (serves 6)

1½ kg beef bone for broth
500g beef rump steak (if beef bone doesn’t have much meat)
2 onions
1 bag of silverbeet
1 leek or 5 spring onions or 2 onions
4 garlic glove, crushed
2 tablespoons dried red chilli
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon black pepper, ground
salt for season
fish sauce


Make the beef broth. Clean the beef bones in cold water. Boil up the beef bones, the onions half cut and 5 litres cold water in a stock pot. Skim off scum and shimmer for 2-3 hours until the meat pulling apart.

Remove the stock pot from the heat, drain the stock and set aside.

When the meat cools down, discard the bones and fat, keeping the lean meaty part. Shred the meat and add the soy sauce, sesame oil and cracked black paper for seasoning. Set aside.

Clean the silverbeet and leek and chop to small pieces.

To make the chilli oil, fry the grapeseed oil and red chilli powder in a pot for 2-3 minutes.

Add the beef broth and boil up. When boiling, add the chopped leek, garlic and stock of silverbeet. Cook for 5 minutes until soft.

Add the seasoned shredded beef meat and silverbeet leafy parts. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until everything comes together.

Taste and season with fish sauce and salt. Serve with steamed rice.

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

The most popular link last week was Angelo Eliades’ article on whether or not to compost eucalyptus leaves.

The history of this newsletter and the website: 2019

My first entree into the fascinating, and somewhat mysterious, subject of ‘food justice’ was way back in 2013 when I visited the Diamond Valley FoodShare in Greensborough. It was a much bigger, and a much more altruistic, enterprise than I had envisaged. In subsequent years, I tried, but failed, to help the Eltham FoodShare and I tried, but failed, to set up a Food is Free venture in Diamond Creek, so my interest waned. It was partly revived in 2016 by my discovery of the extensive network of free local community meals but it was only in early 2019, when I was fortunate enough to visit the extraordinary FoodShare operation in Abbotsford and also became aware of the equally extraordinary Mitcham Community Meal, that I fully realised the width and breadth of the food justice activities around North East Melbourne. I then decided to pull all the strands together into a proper food justice section on the website – see the various subject areas in the right hand sidebar.

In passing, the subject of food justice has a rather different political context in Australia than in the country that I have spent most of my life in (the United Kingdom). This difference is illustrated by the differing attitudes towards ‘food banks’: in Australia, food banks appear to be simply seen as worthy enterprises to be supported if possible (e.g. see this article in the Guardian); by contrast, in the UK, the very existence of food banks is controversial, as many people view them as akin to a sticking plaster hiding government failure to take proper action on the subject of food justice (e.g. see this article in the Guardian). This difference is part of a wider difference whereby the UK, together with the rest of Europe, have a tradition of universal benefits whereas Australia apparently has more means-testing than just about anywhere else in the developed world. This is a subject about which I might write more in the future (according to my wife, this should be viewed as more of a threat than a promise!).

Read the earlier history.

Joke (or pun) of the week

What is worse than finding a worm in your apple? Finding one in your caramel apple, which costs about 35 cents more, on average.

Read more jokes.

Upcoming events – introduction

Website calendars

By type of event: All once-off events, Cooking, Everything else, Garden tours, Free.

By Council area: Banyule, Boroondara, City of Yarra, Darebin, Manningham, Maroondah, Moreland, Nillumbik, Whitehorse, Whittlesea and Yarra Ranges.

Upcoming events – not cooking

Newly announced

Upcoming events – cooking

Newly announced
In Richmond

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