Aug 232017

A new, exciting project in Eltham

A number of us have begun a project to develop an edible food garden on the platform of Eltham railway station, with the idea that any commuters can freely harvest the produce whenever it is ready. In the initial phase, we are planning to install two wicking beds (see ‘artist’s impression’ right). If you want to be kept in touch with developments, or contribute ideas, join our new Facebook group, Incredible Edible Eltham.

If you join the Facebook group, you will also be invited to the official opening of the garden, to be held later this calendar year. Local notables and nibbles will both be present.

The wicking beds are being built on site on Sunday, 17th September, starting 9am. The builders are Paul Gale-Baker from Macleod Organic Community Garden and Paul Moreland from Bellfield Community Garden. They will need helpers on the day. Ideally, these helpers will stay the whole day but, alternatively, you could arrive and leave at any time and still be helpful. Any people who bring cordless drills with screwdriver attachments, spades or wheelbarrows will be particularly welcome! Periodically during the day, one or other of the two Pauls will give a talk about how to build wicking beds. So, if you are able to help, and/or want to see how wicking beds are built, and/or just want to say hi on the day, email me.

More greenery at railway stations

Meg Montague has written to tell us about Merri Stationeers, a group committed to re-planting and improving the amenity of the land around the Merri Station in Northcote. She says “we have transformed the surroundings from bare gravel banks to green slopes, created a native garden (with some hiccups when a VicTrack contractor dug it up on one occasion, and sprayed and mowed it on another), planted trees, and have 4 working bees per year.” According to the Keep Victoria Beautiful website, there are also local Stationeers groups for Brunswick, Dennis, Fairfield, Northcote and West Richmond stations.

Merri Northcote

Mac’s tip of the week

It’s still very cold outside but a great warm up activity is to start preparing your produce beds for spring. In other words, it is a good time to dig in cow manure and/or mushroom compost to add nutrients and condition your soil in readiness for planting.

Read all of Mac’s tips.

‘Food justice’ leftovers

Nina Kerr has written in to say that she helped cook some of the Food Not Bombs Melbourne meals last week: “it’s a real fun and chilled environment where you can cook what you like or help someone else cook“. They would welcome more people to help them cook the meals and the cooking takes place at 5 Pitt Street, Brunswick, starting 2 hours before the serving times. So, that is 10.30am Mondays, 5.30pm Mondays, 5.30pm Tuesdays, and 5.30pm Thursdays. Thanks for the info, Nina!

Foodbank board member, Meg Montague, has written in to suggest some changes to the words about Foodbank Victoria, which are now: Foodbank Victoria is a major organisation whose purpose is “to source and distribute healthy food to assist Victorians experiencing hardship.” Each year, around 500,000(!) Victorians receive food that came from the Foodbank – a total of 6 million kilograms or 12 million meals each year. This food is supplied to around 500 registered charity food relief agencies around Victoria who, in turn, distribute it to members of the community. Foodbank is also funded by the Victorian Education Department to support breakfast clubs in 500 disadvantaged primary schools. And it runs the ‘Farms to Families’ program, which supports the provision of fresh fruit and vegetables direct from farmers to local families via pop-up markets.

Meg has also pointed out that The Bridge (Preston) have a free community lunch every Friday lunchtime. There are also a number of places that have cheap meals, including The Salvation Army (Preston), every Thursday at midday for $2, and Northern Community Church of Christ (Preston), every Monday through Thursday at 12.30pm for $4. Thanks for all the info, Meg!

Larry Page has told me about a number of monthly community lunches operated by Open Table: Brunswick (1st Thursday); Carlton North (4th Saturday); Coburg (3rd Friday); Coburg North (1st Wednesday); Fawkner (2nd Saturday); Fitzroy (3rd Sunday); and Richmond (3rd Saturday). Larry also told me about a number of community dinners: at Croydon, every Tuesday and Wednesday; at Lilydale, every Thursday; and at Ringwood, every Sunday.

The web page discussing free community meals has been updated for all of the above and a map has been created of where all the meals are.

Growing tomatoes in August

In the 26th July newsletter, I said that it was ok to plant tomato, capsicum, chilli and eggplant seeds in August so long as they were under cover. Angelo Eliades apparently agrees and has blogged about growing these seeds indoors.

Local food producers in the news

AVS Organic Foods, from Watsonia North, are now a stallholder at Park Orchards Farmers’ Market.

As discussed in The Leader, Aumanns at Warrandyte has re-opened under new management.

Hanh Truong, from Warrandyte-based Poppysmack, recently guest-blogged on the Medium website.

Crop Swap Melbourne recently featured on SBS.

Joke of the week

Submitted by Rowan Loveland: What do you get when you cross a sad cauliflower with a sad melon? Melon-cauli.

As a bonus, here is the ‘2017 joke of the year’ in the UK: I’m not a fan of the new pound coin, but then again, I hate all change.

Read all the jokes.

New events

Vegan mini market

What: A new monthly market. Their aim is to present a quality assortment of local vegan owned and operated businesses on a regular basis to help vegans better support each other and to establish a stronger presence in the community. Their vegan food stallholders include 99th Monkey, Girl Made Chocolate, Good Freakin’ Food, Lady Rawsome, R.A.W by Rochelle, The Pham Sisters, Woking Amazing and Yay! Foods.
When: Saturday, 2nd September, 8am-2pm, and every 2nd Saturday of the month thereafter.
Where: Abbotsford Convent.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
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: caesar bruschetta; sage pesto gnocchi; and puff pastry eclairs.
When: Thursday, 7th September and Friday, 8th September, both 7-9pm.
Where: Templestowe.
Cost: $70.
Bookings: 7th September and 8th September.
Further information: their website.

FEASTival – making sourdough

What: Go along to this sourdough making demonstration by Marie from Rie’s Kitchen. Have a taste of freshly-made sourdough. Marie’s home-made jam will be available for purchase on the day.
When: Monday, 18th September, 1-2.30pm.
Where: Mill Park Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Growing veggies from seed

What: Spring is the time to propagate vegetable and herb seedlings to ensure a bumper summer harvest. Learn how easy it is to grow your own vegetables from seed.
When: Saturday, 30th September, 2-4pm.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: free.
Bookings: TryBooking.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Fermenting with the seasons

What: An immersive hands-on workshop exploring fermentation as a creative practice that connects us to our food, our well-being and the land around us. Learn about the principles behind the ancient art of fermentation, exploring the ways to preserve food to enrich our modern day diets. Discuss the benefits of lacto-fermented foods and how they support good gut health and well-being. Prepare your own sauerkraut and fermented seasonal vegetables using traditional dry salting and brine methods. Includes morning tea, farm lunch, tastings of home-made ferments, three jars of vegetable ferments and recipes to take home. Bring your favourite kitchen knife and chopping board, closed shoes and apron.
When: Saturday, 21st October, 10am-4pm.
Where: Gembrook.
Cost: $145.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the next month

View the complete calendar of upcoming events.

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