Mac’s tip of the week
“All produce gardeners should have a clump of bamboo. Be it potted, contained in an old bath, or a controlled clumping form, these plants can be very useful. No, I don’t mean eating the shoots. I mean for homegrown stakes, climbing frames and edging. If you want to be sustainable, why buy stakes when you can grow your own? And the plants look good too!”
The 2017 Golden Seedling awards
Maybe there should be a judging panel, or maybe voting by the readership, but at the moment it is just my 2 cents.
Awards to organisations
- Community garden of the year – a difficult award as I only visited a minority of the community gardens but I’m going to give it to St John’s Riverside Community Garden (Heidelberg): they have clearly gone from strength to strength over the year. Honorary mention – SEEDs Communal Garden Brunswick: regular working bees, food swaps and workshops plus a lively Facebook page.
- Food swap of the year – another difficult award as I only visited a minority of the food swaps but I’m going to give it to the Forest Hill and Box Hill South food swaps, both run by Whitehorse Urban Harvest: free talks at many of their swaps and, importantly, they tell people by email about the talks before they happen. Honorary mention – Warrandyte Food Swap: a great ambience and they actively recruit people to receive this newsletter.
- Library of the year – Watsonia (for the second year running): for their free, monthly events on different topics and their hosting of a community garden.
- Innovation of the year – Really Really Free Market Preston: yes, everything is free and there are no catches.
- Villain of the year – Microsoft: for classifying this newsletter (and all other MailChimp newsletters) as spam for no reason in November, admitting this, but then effectively saying that they can’t be bothered fixing the problem.
- Newspaper of the year – not awarded: The Weekly Review now has no local stuff and The Leader’s search facility has, for some reason, been crippled.
Awards to individuals
- Overall contributor of the year – Paul Gale-Baker, of Sustainable Macleod: always indefatigable, energetic, obliging, and helpful to others. Honorary mention – Felicity Gordon: also indefatigable, energetic and obliging plus a wonderful painter of plants and veggies.
- Newsletter contributor of the year – Helen Simpson (for the third year running): for her interviews of local home growers; her growing guides from previous years are also some of the most popular pages on our website. Honorary mention – Mac McVeigh: for his weekly tips, which are always informative and often witty.
- Workshop presenter of the year – Maria Ciavarella, from My Green Garden: for her 20 or so workshops during 2017 at her own home plus many others at various other locations. Honorary mention – Rasha Tayeh: for her workshops on unusual topics.
- Council officer of the year – Lee Tozzi, of both Darebin and Moreland: for her leadership of the Homemade Food & Wine Festival, the Backyard Harvest Festival and other food initiatives. Let’s hope there is more competition in future years.
- Entrepreneurial spirit – shared between Cath Lyons (aka Tiny Trowel), for her Crowd Harvest initiative, and Deb Graham (from Blue Pantry): entrepreneurial spirit is difficult to define but you know it when you see it.
- Most popular recurring event link – Home Harvest Manningham (for the second year running): these were also the best attended events.
- Most popular specific event link – Living & Learning’s sourdough breadmaking workshop.
- Most popular website link – the Eltham cafes.
- Most popular external link – The Incredible Edible Eltham Facebook group.
- Most popular newsletter image – different salad leaves.
An extra Warrandyte Food Swap + extra Warrandyte Riverside Market
They had to cancel on 2nd December due to the weather so they are both having extra ones on 16th December.
News about local food producers
PoppySmack, from Warrandyte, now sell a kit to make rice paper rolls.
Local food production in the news
Which link was clicked most times in last week’s newsletter?
Joke of the week
What did the skeleton order for dinner? Spare ribs!
In last week’s newsletter, I said that I would include January events this week. In practice, however, hardly anyone has yet announced their January events.
Really Really Free Market Preston end of year celebration
What: Join the Really Really Free Market (Preston) community for an end of year celebration lunch which will replace the market for the month of December, as it falls on New Years Eve and many of them are busy. Bring some food to share (but only if you can, no obligations, there will be plenty for all!). There will be a kitchen you can use if you want to join the communal cook-up beforehand at 11am.
When: Sunday, 17th December, 12.30-2.30pm.
Bookings: just turn up.
How to make sense of food labels
What: Tour a supermarket and learn how to accurately read and understand food labels and choose healthy foods that are suitable for the whole family. You will also receive a show bag with information sheets and a healthy shopping guide booklet. The tours are led by healthAbility’s qualified dietitian and open to anyone interested in healthy eating.
When: Thursday, 11th January, 9.30-11am.
Where: Woolworths, Eltham.
Cost: $15 (includes a healthy shopping guide booklet).
Bookings: by phone (9430 9100).
Further information: LFC calendar entry.
Summer fruit tree pruning
What: Traditionally orchards are pruned during the dormant winter months, but there are benefits to pruning after the harvest in summer. Learn and practice your pruning skills with expert supervision, working in the farm orchard. Merrin Layden is a horticulturalist who has spent the past 5 years working at The Orchard Project in London teaching urban fruit tree skills. The skills that you will learn from Merrin will be put to use on the day in the farm’s orchard. Morning tea provided. BYO lunch, secateurs and gardening gloves.
When: Sunday, 21st January, 9am-midday.
Where: Bundoora Park Farm.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.
Summary of upcoming events
- Petty’s Orchard – collection, maintenance and discussion: Wednesday, 13th December, 9am-midday.
- Mulching for Summer: Thursday, 14th December, 11am-midday.
- Cooking master class: Thursday, 14th December, 7-9pm.
- Indigenous plants for food and medicine: Saturday, 16th December, 9.30am-12.30pm.
- Veggie patch 101: Sunday, 17th December, 10am-12.30pm.
- Gourmet guests at Eastland – Justine Schofield: Thursday, 28th December, 10am-midday.
- How to make sense of food labels: Thursday, 11th January, 9.30-11am.
- Summer fruit tree pruning: Sunday, 21st January, 9am-midday.
- Beekeeping workshop: Saturday, 27th January, 9am-11am.