May 152019
 

How much food does urban agriculture produce? Morgan, from 3000acres, discusses

Many of the benefits of urban agriculture are distinct from the amount of food it produces – such as gains around human health and sustainability. Even if growing food in urban spaces were to produce a negligible contribution to gardeners diets, it would still justifiably be a beneficial pursuit and a policy driver. But for many policy makers and detractors there is that nagging question – how much food does urban agriculture really produce?

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations estimates that 800 million people worldwide are practising urban agriculture. In Australia, the Grow Your Own report asserted that around half of all Australian households grow some amount of their own food.

For all of its benefits, urban agriculture is often criticised for being inefficient in terms of energy and labour use compared with conventional agriculture. But some dedicated urban farmers have worked to interrogate this assertion by taking meticulous notes of their inputs and yields, including Angelo Eliades (from Preston) and Kat Lavers (from Northcote). Over in the UK, one man even set out to prove that his entirely concrete courtyard could provide significant yield. These are impressive statistics that, in my experience, are often surprising to policy makers.

The Victorian Eco Innovation Lab is currently trying to create an urban agriculture dataset. It would be great if you could participate in their survey.

Morgan Koegel is the General Manager at 3000acres. Read more of Morgan’s issues.

Community gardening news

St Johns Riverside Community Garden, Heidelberg now have a composting teapot (see picture). How cool is that! Thanks to Heidelberg and East Ivanhoe Bendigo Bank for the grant.

Local food producer news

Just a reminder that the first South Morang Farmers & Makers Market is on Saturday, 9am-1pm, Civic Centre Car Park, 25 Ferres Boulevard, South Morang.

Free chocolate factory tour tickets

Just a reminder that between 10.30am and 11am on Saturday at the Lygon Street Community Garden working bee at 119A Lygon Street in Brunswick, I will be giving away tickets for a tour of Ratio Cocoa Roasters chocolate factory in Brunswick. You receive the tickets and then choose whichever Wednesday or Sunday you want to do the tour.

I’ve also still got some tickets that can be picked up at Eltham Farmers’ Market. Email me to claim and arrange pick up.

A map of the public gardens in Victoria

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that Open Gardens Victoria had put together a nice page about 33 public gardens that you can visit in Victoria. Inspired by this, I decided that I would develop a map showing where these gardens all are. And I managed to find another 20 botanical gardens in the Government’s Directory of Australian Botanic Gardens. Plus I happen to know a few gardens that are very specky, which brings the total up to 60. View the resulting map and list of 60 gardens.

As a bonus, view a map and list of the 67 national parks in Victoria.

Not local but interesting

Sustainable Table and Ripe for Change small grants

Sustainable Table is a Melbourne-based not-for-profit that “provides Australians with the tools and information to make ethical eating easy“. They have recently launched the Ripe for Change program which “offers community grants of up to $10,000, to improve our local food system and deliver health and sustainability outcomes for the population and environment“. This program is currently focused in Casey, Cardinia and the Mornington Peninsula.

Protecting Melbourne’s strategic agricultural land

Protecting Melbourne’s strategic agricultural land is a Victorian Government initiative, working with Agriculture Victoria and Deakin University’s Centre for Rural and Regional Futures, to better understand the suitability and capability of land across Victoria. Most of the areas for investigation are in rural Victoria, but two (Whittlesea and Kangaroo Ground) are in North East Melbourne. Initial consultations have taken place and further consultations are envisaged for later in the year.

The Vegetable Orchestra

The Vegetable Orchestra, from Vienna, play music using instruments made of fresh vegetables. Thanks for the heads up, Vicky Shukuroglou!

Not food but interesting

Learn to DIY – ditch the toxins!: Sunday, 26th May, 1-2.30pm; Eltham.

What: If you have been looking for ways to reduce your exposure to chemicals and toxins in your environment, this is the workshop for you. Sharda Sethi will demonstrate 10 easy-to-make, cleaning and personal care products using essential oils and a few basic ingredients. You will learn how easy and cost effective it is to make these products and how to stop using chemicals based products from shops. You will take home: all the recipes (e.g. perfumes, spray cleaners, room freshener, reed diffuser, hand sanitiser, and hand & body wash); information on where you can buy the ingredients; one roll on perfume of your choice; and vegan treats.
Cost: $19.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

A three-way tie between the Organic Fix page in our Local Food Directory, the picture of edible flowers and the picture of male gardeners.

Joke of the week

What did the bottle of water say to the spy? The name’s Bond … Hydrogen bond.

Read more jokes.

New events – not cooking

Behind the bar – Four Pillars Gin: Friday, 31st May, 5.30-7.30pm; Nillumbik Cellars, Diamond Creek.

What: Go along and meet Four Pillars Gin Head Distiller, Cameron Mackenzie. There will be drink specials on the night and tasting of the 2019 vintage release. Free to attend, free to taste, and no bookings required.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.

New events – cooking

Tapas – taste of Spain: Sunday, 9th June, 11am-12.30pm; Kitchen Warehouse, Preston.

What: Learn how to prepare and perfect the flavours of a variety of Spanish tapas, from the traditional to the modern.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: their website.

Seafood paella: Sunday, 9th June, 1-3pm; Kitchen Warehouse, Preston.

What: Learn to develop Spanish paella using traditional ingredients and equipment straight from the experts at this workshop. Get to know the history of Spain’s most iconic dish and its place in Spanish culture while you indulge your senses in its flavours and aroma.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: their website.

Cacao, cocoa and chocolate: Thursday, 13th June, 6.30-7.30pm; Eastland, Ringwood.

What: What you will learn: the process of bean to bar chocolate making; what makes fine couverture so special; and various flavour characteristics in single origin chocolates sourced from around the world. What you will get: 20 varieties of chocolate to taste and a box of your favourite chocolate to take home. You will taste chocolate made with cacao beans grown in countries such as Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Madagascar, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Vietnam and even Australia. You will look at the process of turning cocoa beans into chocolate.
Cost: $38.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

Pickling basics and techniques: Saturday, 15th June, 10-11.30am; Kitchen Warehouse, Box Hill South.

What: They will show you food preservation, canning, and brine making. Save on food costs while adding new layers of flavour to your dishes with tips and tricks from this workshop.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: their website.

Power puff – pastry favourites: Saturday, 15th June, 10-11.30am; Kitchen Warehouse, Preston.

What: Learn how to make quick and easy puff pastry that you can recreate at home. Also learn how to transform your basic laminated dough into buttery and delicious twists, turnovers, tarts, and more.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: their website.

Pies, pies, pies: Saturday, 15th June, 12.15-1.45pm; Kitchen Warehouse, Preston.

What: From lining the right pie dish to blind baking to making a lattice top, learn the skills you need to bake a perfectly cooked pie every time.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: their website.

Homemade preserves and jams: Sunday, 16th June, 10-11.30am; Kitchen Warehouse, Box Hill South.

What: Learn the fundamental canning techniques you need to master to make homemade jams, pastes, and jellies you can enjoy year-round.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: their website.

Cooking master class – ‘quick & simple Italian’: Thursday, 20th June, 7-9pm; Gourmet Living, Templestowe.

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: tomato bruschetta; simple chicken cacciatore; and pear & raspberry tart.
Cost: $42.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Power puff – pastry favourites: Saturday, 22nd June, 10-11.30am; Kitchen Warehouse, Box Hill South.

What: Learn how to make quick and easy puff pastry that you can recreate at home. Also learn how to transform your basic laminated dough into buttery and delicious twists, turnovers, tarts, and more.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: their website.

Knockout gnocchi: Saturday, 22nd June, 10-11.30am; Kitchen Warehouse, Preston.

What: Time to broaden your culinary expertise and meet pasta’s famous pillowy brother: gnocchi! They will show you how to make gnocchi at home through simple ingredients. From traditional potato to creamy ricotta and spinach, learn every nook and cranny that makes this classic Italian dish a favourite.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: their website.

Handmade pasta workshop: Saturday, 22nd June, midday-1.30pm; Kitchen Warehouse, Preston.

What: They will show you how to make pasta dough by hand and turn it into a variety of pasta types. They may even throw in sauce-making secrets for good measure.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: their website.

Pies, pies, pies: Saturday, 22nd June, 12.15-1.45pm; Kitchen Warehouse, Box Hill South.

What: From lining the right pie dish to blind baking to making a lattice top, learn the skills you need to bake a perfectly cooked pie every time.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: their website.

Fresh cheesemaking workshop: Sunday, 23rd June, 11am-1pm; Kitchen Warehouse, Preston.

What: Sasha, from Mad Millie, will show you how to make halloumi and ricotta while teaching you how you can incorporate homemade cheeses into everyday cooking. Take home your own Mad Millie fresh cheese making kit valued at $65.
Cost: $90 (includes $65 cheese making kit).
Bookings: their website.

Italian cheesemaking workshop: Sunday, 23rd June, 1.30-3.30pm; Kitchen Warehouse, Preston.

What: Learn to use homemade cheese to create a combination of mozzarella stuffed with creamy mascarpone as well as other delectable cheesy delights. Take home your own Mad Millie Italian cheese making kit valued at $40.
Cost: $60 (includes $40 cheese making kit).
Bookings: their website.

Tapas – taste of Spain: Saturday, 29th June, 10-11.30am; Kitchen Warehouse, Box Hill South.

What: Learn how to prepare and perfect the flavours of a variety of Spanish tapas, from the traditional to the modern.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: their website.

Pickling basics and techniques: Saturday, 29th June, 10-11.30am; Kitchen Warehouse, Preston.

What: They will show you food preservation, canning, and brine making. Save on food costs while adding new layers of flavour to your dishes with tips and tricks from this workshop.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: their website.

Seafood paella: Saturday, 29th June, midday-2pm; Kitchen Warehouse, Box Hill South.

What: Learn to develop Spanish paella using traditional ingredients and equipment straight from the experts at this workshop. Get to know the history of Spain’s most iconic dish and its place in Spanish culture while you indulge your senses in its flavours and aroma.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: their website.

Homemade preserves and jams: Saturday, 29th June, 12.30-4pm; Kitchen Warehouse, Preston.

What: Learn the fundamental canning techniques you need to master to make homemade jams, pastes, and jellies you can enjoy year-round.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: their website.

Fresh cheesemaking workshop: Sunday, 6th July, 10-midday; Kitchen Warehouse, Box Hill South.

What: Sasha, from Mad Millie, will show you how to make halloumi and ricotta while teaching you how you can incorporate homemade cheeses into everyday cooking. Take home your own Mad Millie fresh cheese making kit valued at $65.
Cost: $90 (includes $65 cheese making kit).
Bookings: their website.

Italian cheesemaking workshop: Sunday, 6th July, 12.30-2.30pm; Kitchen Warehouse, Box Hill South.

What: Learn to use homemade cheese to create a combination of mozzarella stuffed with creamy mascarpone as well as other delectable cheesy delights. Take home your own Mad Millie Italian cheese making kit valued at $40.
Cost: $60 (includes $40 cheese making kit).
Bookings: their website.

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.

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