May 242023

Thanks to the people who have contributed to this week’s newsletter: Alex Childs, Ann Stanley, Anne Duncan, Bev Middleton, Sarah Watson and Vic Langsam.

Want to be part of a new, local radio show – ‘Local Food Connections’?

Our very own Ann Stanley will be hosting a weekly new show called ‘Local Food Connections’ on 3CR on Sunday mornings, 10-10.30am from 25th June onwards. It will cover such topics as local food systems, community supported agriculture, urban farming, food justice, indigenous food knowledge, foraging, edible weeds, community gardens, food swaps and permaculture.

The program needs some on-air presenters, panel operators and producers to join Ann and her team of volunteers. Training in radio broadcasting is available. If potentially interested, contact Ann by phone (0423 431745) or email (

The program also needs more guests to be interviewed. Again, if potentially interested, contact Ann by phone (0423 431745) or email (

And, obviously, the program needs listeners. So, tune in to 3CR every Sunday morning, 10-10.30am from 25th June!

Want a job?

Business Leads Melbourne Farmers Markets

The Business Lead of our markets will be responsible for overseeing day-to-day market staff and operations, managing stallholder relationships, identifying new income opportunities and managing budgets. Initially focussed on supporting the growth of Carlton Farmers’ Market, this role will report to the Chief Executive Officer.” Full-time position. Based in Alphington. Submit your resume and cover letter to

Facilities Manager at Melbourne Farmers Markets

The Facilities Manager will be responsible for managing infrastructure use, maintaining the infrastructure and grounds and being the point of contact for tenants at the [Alphington Community Food] Hub. The Market Facilities Manager will also be responsible for managing and maintaining the infrastructure used at our off-site locations.” Part-time (0.6FTE) position. Based in Alphington. Submit your resume and cover letter to

Sustain’s 2022 annual report

Sustain’s 2022 annual report has just been published. Amongst their various activities, Sustain operate a food hub in Alphington and an urban farm in Preston.

Every newsletter needs a good picture

Ukrainian artist Yulia makes fabric dolls whose heads are vegetables or other food items.

Your weekly fact about earthworms

[Over the next few months, Bev Middleton will be supplying us with weekly facts about earthworms.]

Earthworms don’t have teeth. Instead, they swallow soil, organic matter and dead microorganisms and their strong muscles and digestive juices then break it down.

As previously reported, Bev’s organisation Soil Week Australia is currently running a competition for school students on the topic of ‘wonderful worms’. Entries can be in any digital format, including video, making a magazine, drawing a picture, recording a speech, writing a play, painting a mural, designing a video game or writing a book review. There will be a number of cash prizes. Closing date: 15th September. Read more and potentially enter.

Random food-related observation of the week

Apropos of nothing, Vic Langsam has sent in the following: “May I suggest a simple clean way to cut a birthday cake or any other. Before you start, prepare a large mug ⅔ full of boiling water. Make sure that no young child is close by. Each time you slice, put the knife back into the boiled water.

In reaction, I thought we could potentially start a regular section in this newsletter on random food-related observations. If you have any food-related observations that you would like to share with our readership, email them to us.

Its pomegranate harvesting season

How to choose and cut pomegranates

Melbourne-based fruiterer Thanh Truong’s videos are always worth watching. His latest video is about how to choose and cut pomegranates.

A new mural at Reservoir Library

Features pomegranates (see photo right). Created by local artist Textaqueen. Thanks for the heads up, CERES Fair Food.

Some suggested viewing

Edible gardening for renters

Leaf, Root & Fruit, an edible gardening, design and landscaping service based in Kyneton, have produced an 18-minute video on edible gardening for renters. They have also written an article on the same subject.

Short videos on food growing

Big Little Farm, a permaculture homestead based in (I think) Silvan, produce lots of short videos on a wide range of food-growing subjects. [Note: in Instagram, videos are distinguished from posts by having a ‘play’ icon in the top right corner.]

Pumpkin soup (by Sarah Watson)

[Sarah Watson is the owner of Nillumbik Nursery and this recipe first appeared in their May newsletter.]


1kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes
500g potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 large onion
finely chopped / crushed garlic and ginger to taste
1 cup red lentils, washed
3-4 teaspoons curry powder
3 teaspoons veggie stock
8 cups water
half a celery, finely diced
pepper to taste
2 bay leaves
serve with natural yoghurt, fresh coriander and crusty bread toasted


Fry the onion in oil, then add the garlic, ginger and curry powder and fry on high heat for a couple of minutes.

Add the pumpkin, potato, water (6 cups), lentils, veggie stock, celery, pepper, bay leaves and boil until the potato and pumpkin are soft (30-40 minutes).

Remove the bay leaves and mash (it takes a lot of mashing) but you can blend if you like no texture.

Then add more water and put the bay leaves back in.

Put it in the slow cooker for a few hours (but this is not really necessary to slow cook).

[Editor’s note: There are lots of different recipes for pumpkin soup. Some years ago, two of my best friends made some pumpkin soup and the two tasted completely different. I organised for them to taste each other’s soup and, interestingly but on reflection perhaps not surprisingly, both thought that their own soup was superior. I much preferred one but decided that it would be diplomatic to state that they were both equally as good.]

If you have any recipes that you would like to share with our readership, email them to us.

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

The most popular link in the last newsletter was Alys Fowler’s guide to laid-back gardening in the Guardian.

b33e661f-c100-4ebe-9ffa-847952e0da4e.jpgJoke (or pun) of the week

A jumper cable walked into a bar. The bartender said, “I’ll serve you, but don’t start anything!

Read more jokes.


Regular activities over the coming week

Farmers’ and other food markets
Food swaps
Community gardens

Not food-related but interesting

Zero Waste Victoria; various dates; free; Chirnside Park, Kilsyth and Mount Evelyn.

From now until the end of June, Zero Waste Victoria are organising numerous free events in Chirnside Park, Kilsyth and Mount Evelyn on all aspects of waste.

Guided walk in Maranoa Gardens; Sunday, 28th May, 11am-12.30pm; free; Balwyn.

Meet at the front entry gate to Maranoa Gardens, if entering off Parring Road..

Upcoming face-to-face events – not cooking

Songs in the garden; Thursday, 25th May, 3-6pm; free; Heidelberg West.

Local musician Alcides Neto will perform live – go enjoy some Brazilian music plus some nibbles. Also, see what is growing Buna Reserve Community Garden.

Permaculture Design Course (10 sessions); Tuesdays 9am-3pm, 6th June to 8th August; $595 ($6 per hour); Ringwood.

Learn how to read the landscape and design a productive ecosystem in partnership with nature to create natural abundance. You will also learn how to regenerate degraded landscapes and ecosystems, and apply the principles to design for a property of any size. Organised by Central Ringwood Community Centre.

Food photography; Sunday, 25th June, 9.30am-12.30pm; $109 ($36 per hour); Eltham.

This class is for food bloggers, bakers or restaurant/cafe owners. It will focus on taking great images of food using your own, or easily obtainable, equipment. It will cover such aspects as the right lens, composition, exposure, lighting and software.

Beeswax wrap workshop; Sunday, 2nd July, 11am-1pm; $55 ($28 per hour); Brunswick.

Emma will show you how to make beeswax wraps. All materials will be provided, though you can BYO fabric to be waxed and transformed into wraps. Organised by Brunswick Neighbourhood House.

Weight loss and gut health workshop; Friday, 7th July, 10am-midday; $99 ($50 per hour); Mount Evelyn.

In the first part of this workshop, you will learn about the importance of health as the foundation of any weight loss program. It will cover such topics as the benefits of exercise, the importance of sleep and stress management techniques. You will also learn about the role of hormones, gut health, and inflammation in weight loss. In the second part you will learn about the role of movement in weight loss and how to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives. It will cover such topics such as different types of exercise, how to create an exercise routine and how to stay motivated. You will also learn about the benefits of strength training and how to build muscle mass. In the final part, you will learn about the role of nutrition in weight loss and how to make healthy food choices. It will cover such topics as the benefits of whole foods, how to read nutrition labels, and how to create a balanced meal plan. You will also learn about the benefits of specific diets, such as the Mediterranean diet and the ketogenic diet. Presenter: Angela Gioffre. Organised by The Food School Yarra Valley.

Make your own reusable produce bags; Friday, 7th July, 10am-12.45pm; free; Croydon Hills.

Make your own reusable produce bag. No prior sewing skills are required. Organised by Zero Waste Victoria.

Pruning and care of fruit trees; Saturday, 15th July, 10am-3pm; $120 ($24 per hour); CERES.

What you will learn: how to grow a variety of fruit and nut trees in your backyard; pruning techniques; and pest and disease management. Presenter: Carol Henderson.

Plants and permaculture; Sunday, 16th July, 10am-3pm; $120 ($24 per hour); CERES.

The subjects to be covered include: regenerative garden design; practical gardening skills and tips; how to increase plant and food diversity in your garden; self cycling garden systems; nutrition and properties of plants; plants for food, medicine, fodder, nectar and habitat; and forest garden systems. Presenter: Taj Scicluna.

Winter/waring fruit tree pruning; Sunday, 16th July, 10.30am-12.30pm; $20 ($10 per hour); Preston.

You will learn how to: carry out formative pruning to shape young trees; maintenance prune to maintain the size of established trees; and renovation prune to tidy up overgrown trees and reduce their size. You will also learn how to prune trees with special pruning requirements (such as figs, pomegranates and persimmons) plus winter fruit tree pest control. Presenter: Angelo Eliades. Organised by Oakhill Food Justice Farm.

In May
In June
In July
Regular events

Upcoming face-to-face events – cooking

In May
In June
In July
Regular classes

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