Jun 172015

Warrandyte Diary 3Lara takes the locavore challenge

Four Warrandyte families recently took the locavore challenge. In a major article in the Warrandyte Diary (a double page spread plus the front page!), Lara McKinley, from one of those families, has written up their experiences. Here is how she starts the article: “It was day three into our week-long challenge to eat locally. It was a mad, crazy thing to do and I’d been researching my little socks off just to get food on the table. My family were having dinner. It was all smiles – with a family of five that’s the first miracle – then it got better: My son Billy said, ‘Tell us the story of the food.’ And just like that we had shifted from anonymous supermarket shopping to something more connected and authentic; our second little miracle. Make yourself a coffee and read the full article.

For another of Lara’s articles in the Warrandyte Diary – on the ‘Food is Free’ initiative at The Rotary Club of Warrandyte Donvale Op Shop – click here.

Genuine free range

Whereas some parts of the world (e.g. the European Union) regulate marketing standards for egg farming, and thus what can be described as ‘free range’, Australia does not. Rather, the theory in Australia is apparently “The producer is bound by consumer expectations and perceptions of what constitutes free range. Producers are generally thought to be bound to Model Codes of Practice of Animal Welfare: Domestic Poultry published by the CSIRO.” (see Wikipedia).

freerangeeggsThe (hardly unexpected!) problem is that, in practice, many producers do not feel themselves bound by the CSIRO code and the public is none the wiser. This is clear from the graphic (click it for a full size version): whereas the CSIRO code specifies an upper limit of 1,500 chickens per hectare, many of the major ‘free range’ egg producers have up to 10,000 chickens per hectare. To find out more about this issue, read CHOICE’s recent report or their
associated Facebook post
. Thanks to Wendy Moore for pointing out these links to me.

It may well be that proper regulation will be introduced in the new year (e.g. see recent news reported by the ABC). But in the meantime what can you do about the situation? The obvious solution is to buy your eggs from a producer who is actually certified against some actual, defined standards. There are two such standards: Free Range Farmers Association in Victoria (maximum 750 chickens per hectare) and Humane Choice (maximum 1,500 chickens per hectare). There are a total of 11 egg producers in Victoria who have one of these two certifications. And one of these – Top Hundred Acres from Yan Yean – is local to us and has several local outlets, including Eltham Farmers’ Market. The eggs of one other (Family Homestead Genuine Free Range Eggs) are apparently available from Coles.

Volunteering opportunity at Eltham Farmers’ Market

As many of you will know, Local Food Connect has an information stand at every Eltham Farmers’ Market. We also have a schedule of ‘booth bosses’ to set up and man the stand. But these booth bosses ideally need company, both to allow them breaks and for someone to talk to. Would you be interested in helping out at any market? In particular, would you be interested in helping out on any of 28th June, 12th July or 26th July? If interested, email us.

New events

Pasta making

What: Hilda and Laurie of Yarra Valley and authors of Wow! It’s Italian Gourmet Cook Book are first generation Italians, passionate about their recipes and would love to share them with you. Learn how to make perfect pasta using the correct ratio of liquid to flour.
When: Tuesday, 14th July, 11.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Thomastown Library.
Cost: free.
Enquiries/Bookings: gwest@yprl.vic.gov.au.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Sourdough bread making

What: Tutor – Kylie Moppert. Suitable for novices and those who want to expand their bread making repertoire. Making bread is as much about the pleasure of the experience as the delight of eating the product. Includes the theory, hands on and take home.
When: Saturday, 18th July, 10.30am-1pm.
Where: Living & Learning Nillumbik at Panton Hill.
Cost: $45 or $40 concession.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Soil matters

What: Learn about the soil food web and how you can recycle household and garden organic waste by setting up a worm farm or backyard compost system. This workshop would suit learners wanting to recycle household and garden organic waste in order improve soils. Please wear sturdy shoes and dress for the outdoors as part of the workshop will be hands-on around the farm.
When: Saturday, 18th July, 2-4.30pm.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: free.
Enquiries/Bookings: Edendale website.
Further information: Edendale website.

If you know of any events that could usefully be included in the newsletter and website, email us. If you have a flyer, we can also include that. Just one request: please make sure that the details are in a form that we can copy/paste (i.e. not just a jpg).

Upcoming events from previous LFC News

Over the next week
Over the next month

Click here for the complete calendar of upcoming events.

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