Feb 122020

Josie Andrews from 3000acres has a reading list for you

We know that your shelves are already probably stocked full of books about how to grow food, but what about books about why we grow food? Here are some of our favourite reads about the broader food system:

  • Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe: a re-defining of pre-colonial, Aboriginal Australians as hunter-gatherers. An awe inspiring book full of historical agricultural evidence.
  • Call of the Reed Warbler by Charles Massy: a truly inspirational and radical read, exploring the grass-roots revolution of transformative and regenerative agriculture for the survival of our health, communities, soils, the Australian landscape, and our planet.
  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma: a natural history of four meals by Michael Pollan: an inquiry into how the answer to the simple question of ‘what should we have for dinner?’ can affect our species’ survival. Learn how the right thing to eat often turns out to be the tastiest thing too.
  • Reclaiming the Urban Commons: the past, present, and future of food growing in Australian towns and cities – Andrea Gaynor and Nick Rose (editors): a collection of chapters from some of Australia’s leaders in the urban agriculture space. Their stories of what they’re doing, how they’re doing it, and why are surprisingly diverse.
  • Supermarket Monsters by Malcolm Knox: a hard-hitting investigative piece on the rise of Australia’s mega-retailers to dominate the food market. Is the price of a cheap carton of milk worth the devastating loss of quality, diversity and community we see today?
  • Wilding by Isabella Tree: a true story of how an economically unsustainable piece of degraded agricultural land was transformed into a functioning ecosystem once again by letting nature take over.
  • Retrosuburbia: the downshifter’s guide to a resilient future by David Holmgren: a must-read 500 page manual by Australia’s very own co-originator of permaculture, on how to retrofit your home, garden, community, and self to become more resilient in this uncertain future we’ve designed for ourselves.

Going Green Solutions also has a recommended reading list. In addition to Retrosuburbia, their list includes Live Green: 52 steps for a more sustainable life by Jen Chillingsworth, Grow Harvest Cook: 280 recipes from the ground up by Meredith Kirton and Mandy Sinclair, Slice of Organic Life by Sheherazade Goldsmith (editor), Less Stuff: simple zero – waste steps to a joyful and clutter-free life by Lindsay Miles and Root to Bloom: a modern guide to whole plant use by Mat Pember.

Read more articles by 3000acres.

A new food swap in Blackburn North

4th Saturday of the month, 10-11am, Community Kitchen, NewHope Baptist Church, Dale Court, Blackburn North.

That makes a total of 34 regular food swaps in North East Melbourne – see the map on our website.

Community garden news

Sunnyfields Community Garden in Northcote is no more.

Local food producer news

Choco’s Hut celebrated its 25th birthday this month. The hut is the road side, self-serve, honesty box sales part of Weeping Grevillea Nursery in Kangaroo Ground. It mainly sells lemons and limes, with a few herbs, flowering plants and grevilleas as well.

The Really Really Free Market Preston is returning

After a hiatus of two years, the Really Really Free Market Preston is back! Sunday, 1st March, 10am-4pm, Hp Zwar Reserve, Jessie Street, Preston. Note the new venue. If you have never been, it is a unique event – everything is given away for free!

Queensland Fruit Fly

Queensland Fruit Fly has recently been reported in parts of North East Melbourne. Bron Koll, newsletter reader and Queensland fruit fly coordinator for Yarra Valley Agribusiness, has added some comments to Penny Grose’s Queensland Fruit Fly article on our website (see the red rimmed box).

Do you know?

Louise Nolan writes in: “I heard somewhere that you can freeze herbs in oil? Chop up the herbs, place in ice cube trays, fill with olive oil and then place in the freezer. When wanting to use place the oil cube into your cooking. Has anyone tried this? Any problems with this method?Email me with your answers.

Anyone else want to ask any questions? Email me.

Our recent giveaways

Around 50 of you entered the Imbue Distillery gin competition and all 50 answered the question correctly! The randomly drawn winner was Lauri Widdup. Commiserations to the other 49 and better luck next time.

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

Judy’s interview with Mel and Mick Sheard from Imbue Distillery.

Joke of the week

Why did the nectarine have a hair transplant? Because it wanted to be a peach!

Read more jokes.

New events – Darebin Backyard Harvest Festival

All the events below are $12 (or $6 concession) unless otherwise stated. The overall website is Fusion Darebin.

Bee a pollinator! Native bee hotel workshop for families.: Saturday, 14th March, 10-11am; Preston.

What: This session will aim to bring joy and wonder to children in as they discover insect biodiversity and urban sustainability on a micro level in the garden. Families will be introduced to native bees, pollination and increasing urban biodiversity. Attendees will make a bee-friendly hotel with natural and recycled materials to take home.
Bookings: their website.

Grafting and grafting aerial layering propagation: Saturday, 14th March, 11.15am-12.15pm; Northcote.

What: Clever grafting methods yield citruses, apples, pomegranates and stone fruits. Harry will show you the tools, equipment and seasonal timing requirements for each grafting/propagation technique as well as how to take care of grafts and propagated plants during their initial growing period.
Bookings: their website.

Open Garden at Reservoir Views Primary School: Sunday, 15th March, 10-11am; Reservoir.

What: Join local gardener Chard to explore the food garden at Reservoir Views Primary School. Go along and see what the kids have been growing.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.

Guided tour of Robbie’s aquaponics garden: Sunday, 15th March, 12.45-1.45pm; Thornbury.

What: Robbie’s front and back yards are both devoted to food production, and feature two aquaponics systems in which trout and vegetables are grown in a mutually dependent relationship, enabling both to thrive. One system is homemade while the other is a purchased kit, and both are seamlessly incorporated into rest of the garden, which produces a huge variety of vegetables and herbs. Composting and free-range chickens also contribute to this garden’s sustainability credentials.
Bookings: their website.

Guided tour of Lena’s courtyard garden: Sunday, 15th March, 2-3pm; Thornbury.

What: Lena has a permaculture-inspired garden in her 40 square metre courtyard, the aim being fill this space with as many productive plants as possible whilst attracting bees and other beneficial insects. A fascination for making the best of small spaces for gardening motivates this project, and Lena will provide tips to maximise production and small space gardening resources. Re-localisation of food production, the facilitation of social connection, the rethinking of the economy of consumption and improved care for the natural environment have become a prism through which Lena’s decisions are made in all aspects of life.
Bookings: their website.

Guided tour of Damian’s permaculture garden: Saturday, 21st March, 10-11am; Reservoir.

What: Damian has been practicing permaculture since he attended a talk by permaculture co-founder Bill Mollison in 1977. He is also involved in replanting native vegetation on Herring Island in inner suburban Melbourne. What permaculture and bush regeneration have in common is that they both aim to establish biodiversity whether building up microbes in the soil, integrating chooks and fruit trees or attracting wildlife to the garden. The complex mix of species forms mutually beneficial relationships, all performing multiple functions such as nutrient cycling, pollination or pest control. Damian’s garden reflects his love of growing food for both humans and local native species.
Bookings: their website.

Guided tour of Monique’s rental abundance garden: Saturday, 21st March, 11.15am-12.15pm; Northcote.

What: Monique’s rental garden features fruit trees, veggie growing and chickens, all with a permaculture focus. The household puts an emphasis on eating and trading what they grow, as well as saving seeds for use the next season. With Monique’s experience as a market gardener, the space is productive and demonstrates that, even if you’re a renter, growing food is possible. In this tour, Monique will share her knowledge about taking crops from seed to table, crop rotation, how to apply market garden lessons to the backyard, and permaculture principles for the home and garden.
Bookings: their website.

Open Garden at Sylvester Hive Community Garden: Saturday, 21st March, 12.30-2pm; Sylvester Hive Community Garden, Preston.

What: This garden has 14 wicking beds and surrounding fruit trees that members of the local community manage and share produce at regular communal meals and events. The garden welcomes new members and is an inclusive and welcoming space to meet friends and neighbours. Light BBQ lunch will be provided. Click here to read about the garden.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.

Guided tour of Maya’s fruitful garden: Saturday, 21st March, 1.30-2.30pm; Preston.

What: Maya has created an edible garden that is as beautiful as it is fruitful. Decorative, productive hedges are formed from an extensive range of pruned and grafted fruit trees using a combination of espalier, cordon, ‘Bouche Thomas’ and dwarfing rootstock to create intriguing shapes and patterns. The garden features 32 apple trees of several varieties, cane and bush berries, persimmons, cherry guavas, feijoas and citrus. Mature grape vines are trained against the house, helping cool it in summer and yielding summer grapes. Maya practices organic and biodynamic gardening methods using recycled rain water and extensive composting systems. A netted chicken fence protects the rear garden from striking ‘Araucana’ chickens, originally bred in South America, who are kept as much for their wonderfully friendly nature as for their pale blue eggs.
Bookings: their website.

Maya’s pruning workshop: Saturday, 21st March, 2.45-3.45pm; Preston.

What: Maya’s garden includes 32 apples, persimmons, cherry guavas, feijoas and citrus. Using grafting and pruning techniques, she has created an edible hedge of her fruit trees with a combination of espalier, cordon and other interesting shapes. In this session, Maya will introduce you to the needs of different fruit trees and guide you on pruning and maintenance techniques for shape, health and fruit.
Bookings: their website.

Citrus care workshop: Sunday 22nd March, 10am-midday; Preston.

What: Presented by Kaye Roberts-Palmer. The workshop will cover citrus botany (i.e. different types of citrus, organic pest control strategies and nutrient deficiencies. It will also include a shape pruning demonstration.
Bookings: their website.

Productive gardening with kids workshop at Poppy’s Patch: Sunday, 22nd March, 11.15am-12.15pm; Reservoir.

What: Poppy’s Patch started as a father/daughter project when Poppy was aged three. The family decided to use the space on the front lawn to start an edible garden – to not only grow food but to teach her where food comes from. To save back-breaking work, they used the no-dig approach so that Poppy could directly layer it herself and learn about how soil is managed. This has helped transform rock-hard northern suburb clay soil into a rich organic loamy soil full of life and nutrients. More recent additions to the garden include multiple compost bins, worm farms and backyard chickens. To ensure Poppy can meaningfully participate in the garden, her father Chad has developed many strategies for her to work independently. In this workshop, Chad will share these strategies with a focus on making productive gardening meaningful for kids, and the rest of the family.
Bookings: their website.

DIY composting and worm farms: Sunday, 22nd March, 2-4pm; Preston.

What: This session will aim to bring joy and wonder to children in as they discover insect biodiversity and urban sustainability on a micro level in the garden. Families will be introduced to native bees, pollination and increasing urban biodiversity. Attendees will make a bee-friendly hotel with natural and recycled materials to take home.
Bookings: their website.

Happy backyard chooks, happy gardens: Saturday, 28th March, 10-11am; Northcote.

What: In this workshop, ABC Organic Gardener writer Jessamy Miller will focus on keeping chooks in a suburban environment as well as introduce you to her own flock. You will learn how to build an ideal home for chooks to protect them from weather and potential predators and what to feed your chooks to keep them healthy and laying well. Lastly, Jessamy will cover how you can use chickens to improve your garden and soil health and keep them busy, but without destroying your backyard.
Bookings: their website.

Quail keeping: Saturday, 28th March, 1-2pm; Northcote.

What: You will meet Kat Lavers’ covey of quails. You will learn all about quail care including housing, feeding and how they can work to support a garden system. Kat Lavers is a garden farmer, permaculture designer and facilitator whose 280 square metre block produces almost all the household’s herbs, veggies, fruit and eggs (428kg in 2018!).
Bookings: their website.

Propagation workshop: Saturday, 28th March, 2-3pm; Northcote.

What: Learn how to propagate your own plants from seed, cuttings and division, including tips on making your own seed raising and potting mixes for better results.
Bookings: their website.

Guided tour of the Plummery (garden tour): Saturday, 28th March and again on Sunday, 29th March, both 10-11am; Northcote.

What: Kat Lavers’ 280 square metre block produces almost all the household’s herbs, veggies, fruit and eggs (428kg in 2018). Kat is a garden farmer, permaculture designer and facilitator, and will discuss how she manages her system.
Bookings: their website.

Your Winter veggie patch: Sunday, 29th March, midday-1pm; Northcote.

What: This workshop will help you design and manager your garden through cooler weather, introduce you to the colours and flavours of winter crops and show you when to plant to ensure your veggies are ready to eat in winter.
Bookings: their website.

Organic pest and disease management: Sunday, 29th March, 2-3pm; Northcote.

What: Kat Lavers will explain organic pest and disease management techniques relying on permaculture principles. You’ll have the opportunity to explore these techniques in practice in Kat’s permaculture garden which features fruit trees, intensive vegetable growing and quails. Kat’s 280 square metre block produces almost all the household’s herbs, veggies, fruit and eggs (428kg in 2018!).
Bookings: their website.

Emanuela’s tips for cooking and preserving homegrown produce: Sunday, 29th March, 2.30-3.30pm; Reservoir.

What: Listen to Emanuela and Luigi as they regale you with food preserving knowledge and stories from what they’ve grown in their Mediterranean inspired garden. Features include intensively cultivated vegetable beds, a home built hothouse, a food preserving area and a backyard pizza oven.
Bookings: their website.

Guided tour of Luigi’s Mediterranean inspired garden: Sunday, 29th March, 3.45-4.45pm; Reservoir.

What: From the moment you arrive, your gregarious and hospitable hosts Luigi and Emanuela will entertain you with gardening and food preserving knowledge and stories as they showcase their abundant Mediterranean inspired garden. Features include intensively cultivated vegetable beds, a home built hothouse, food preserving area and backyard pizza oven.
Bookings: their website.

New events – not cooking

Queensland fruit fly community workshop: Monday, 17th February, 7-9pm; Greenborough.

What: Nillumbik and Banyule Councils invite you to learn more about this horticultural pest and help develop a community approach to prevention, control, surveillance and eradication. Working together, Nillumbik and Banyule residents can prevent the Queensland fruit fly (QFF). This workshop will provide practical ways to reduce the risk of the QFF finding a suitable home in our area. The workshop will be facilitated by Andrew Jessup, a consultant in fruit fly management and a fruit fly educator.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Buzz and Dig workshop: Sunday, 23rd February, 2-4pm; Sylvester Hive Community Garden, Preston.

What: Katrina Forstner, from Buzz and Dig, will introduce you to the amazing world of native bees and how to attract them into your garden as valuable pollinators for flowers and edibles. You’ll learn about the co-evolution of bees and native plants, what common bees look like, native bee nesting behaviours and get to make a bee hotel to take home. Click here to read about the garden.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Connecting Moreland Community Gardens: Thursday, 27th February, 6.30-8pm; Pentridge Community Garden, Coburg.

What: Meet members plus board members of both Pentridge and West Brunswick community gardens for a catch up and presentation. Jess (the gardening coordinator) will talk about her role and future plans. Bring a plate for dinner to share if you wish.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.

Really Really Free Market Preston: Sunday, 1st March, 10am-2pm; Preston.

What: It’s a community gathering where participants give away usable items, skills, food, entertainment, games and many others things that a community can come together and share. The market is a 100% free and non-commercial event (no bartering or advertising). It includes movie screenings, bowen therapy, clothes repair (sewing, etc), jewellery repair, bike repair, arts space, mosaic, music, clothes, bric-a-brac, yoga, veggie seedlings, zines, food, ‘class-less room’ and haircuts. Just go along, no obligation to bring anything.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.

Heritage apple tasting: Monday, 9th March, 5-7pm; Petty’s Orchard, Templestowe.

What: Sample the seasonal flavours of the heritage apple collection. Around 15 varieties will be available for tasting. An orchard tour is included. All funds received go toward the maintenance and expansion of the collection.
Cost: $15 ($8 per hour).
Bookings: their website.

Introduction to therapeutic horticulture workshop: Friday, 27th March, 9.30am-1pm; Coburg.

What: This workshop will cover the history and rationale of therapeutic horticulture, the importance of nature for our well-being, some practical tips and how to design a program using therapeutic horticulture principles. The workshop will be presented by horticultural therapists, Dr Chris Reed, Mel Holmes and Kate Eekhof.
Cost: $150 ($43 per hour).
Bookings: TryBooking.

Summary of upcoming events – not cooking

Over the next week
Over the next month

Summary of upcoming events – cooking

Over the next week
Over the next month

View the complete calendar of upcoming events.

Read some help on how to view the calendar selectively. For example, search for events in a given suburb or set of suburbs. Or search for events of a given type (such as markets).

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