Nov 202019

Michelle Calleja from 3000acres on biophilic design

Recently I (Michelle) attended a lecture on biophilia by Dr Neil de Wet at the Melbourne School of Design. If the concept is new to you (as it was me), biophilia is the innate human tendency to seek connections with nature. Or, more simply put, a love of living things!

This concept is intuitively relatable to urban dwellers as we find ourselves seeking out every available crumb of nature in our daily lives. However, as our cities grow more dense and urban, our contemporary daily experiences of place are at threat of becoming increasingly disconnected from nature.

The intent of biophilic design is to restore or weave nature back into places as a kind of antidote to urban living. As described by Dr de Wet, this ‘urban greening’ employs a diverse range of passive and active interventions or ‘patterns’ to connect people with nature, place and one another. The aimed-for restorative side effects are improved natural environments, and better health and wellbeing for people and the communities (both human and little critters) that inhabit them.

So, what is the role of urban food production in biophilic design? It was interesting to learn that urban food growing is an important component of biophilic design’s multilayered approach given its ability to connect people to local, seasonal foods while supporting active engagement with nature, living organisms, and community.

If we measure our cities and the places we inhabit by their biophilic qualities, then urban food growing sits comfortably at the ‘nature loving’ end of the biophilic design spectrum.

Read more issues analysed by the people from 3000acres.

Another new food swap

Heidelberg Food Swap. 4th Saturday of each month, 10-11am (except for the inaugural swap on this coming Saturday – 23rd November – which is 11am-midday, after the composting workshop). At St Johns Riverside Community Garden, St Johns Anglican Church, 1 Burgundy Street, Heidelberg, 3084. Organised by Transition Warringal. Congratulations to Penny and Christine for making this happen.

That brings the total number of local food swaps listed on our website to 34.

Every newsletter needs a good picture

Some cranky capsicums.

Some more collectors of bee swarms

Claire Smith; 0425 700 280; based in Mooroolbark; anywhere from Box Hill to Lilydale; won’t climb ladders.

Peter Dyer; 0425 873 555; based in Surrey Hills; anywhere from Abbotsford to Templestowe; both bees and swarms.

Yvonne Ashby, 0409 225 774, based in Yallambie; anywhere within a 20km range.

Thanks for writing in Claire, Peter and Yvonne!

That brings the total number of local bee swarm collectors listed on our website to 22.

Yvonne has also drawn my attention to a website called Swarm Patrol, where you can report a bee swarm and it will automatically notify the three nearest bee swarm collectors who are registered with the website.

Do you know?

Any resources for recycling corks? Asked by Vicki Jordan. Email me and I’ll pass your email on to Vicki.

Do you know of any classes on maintaining goats or any farms or local sites that provide workshops? Asked by Amanda Gutierrez. Email me and I’ll pass your email on to Amanda.

It would be good to have a regular do you know? section in the newsletter. Is there anything you would like to know? Email me.

Do you want?

Do you want to harvest, and then take away, some olives from a tree in Brunswick? Stefan, whose tree it is, says that it has lots of olives still on it and but that he can’t eat any more! Presumably we are discussing olives from last season whose picking is therefore overdue. If potentially interested, email me and I’ll put you in contact with Stefan.

Corrections and clarifications

Nonna & Mum’s homestyle cooking class at the Furland Club in Thornbury has been moved to Thursday, 21st November, 7.30-10.30pm (from 28th November). The cost will be $20. After the cooking class, there will be a Christmas party and tastings. Thanks for the heads up, Lily Angel!

Miscellaneous news

Felicity Gordon is the new coordinator of the Doncaster Hill Conmmunity Garden.

Healthy D’Lights, from Epping, make vegan and gluten free bliss balls. You can now buy their bliss balls online.

Reground’s minimum delivery quantity of spent coffee grounds appears to have gone up to 12 wheelie bins (roughly a van load) and they currently have a waiting list of 2+ months. Thanks for the update, Tracey Bjorksten.

State Government Small-Scale and Craft grants

The Small-Scale and Craft Program is a four-year program that that aims to support small-scale and craft food & beverage producers looking to scale-up operations, diversify product lines and expand outreach. Grants range from $25K to $200K. Applications for the first round of grants close 6th December and applications for the second round close 31st December. Read more and apply.

‘Crowd harvest’ – seeds for Christmas

During the first half of December, send your seeds to one of the not-for profit organisations listed below, each of whom employs a horticulturalist who will germinate, store or distribute the seeds to those facing food insecurity. Please package the seeds in individual and labelled packages. Open pollinated seeds if possible. Read this Facebook post for more information. DIVRS in Preston, Carrington Health (ask for Alex Salmon) in Box Hill or STREAT in Collingwood.

Welcome to Eltham’s baklava drive

Help Welcome to Eltham raise funds to support their work with refugees and people seeking asylum by buying some baklava. $10 for 10 pieces or $16 for 16 pieces. Made by Abla’s Patisserie in Preston. Pick up in Eltham on Tuesday, 3rd December or on Wednesday, 18th December. Read more and purchase.

Robin on broad beans

Read Robin’s short article from last week’s Leader newspaper.

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

The recycling drop off points for prescription glasses.

Joke of the week

Submitted by Lyn Richards:
Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Philosophy is wondering if a bloody mary counts as a smoothie.

Read more jokes.

New events – not cooking

Tomato training session at KABUU: Sunday, 24th November, 1-5pm; Research.

What: You are invited to a hands-on tomato training session at the KABUU urban farm. The session will include adding some additional purlins to the frames of the poly tunnels above each row of tomatoes, attaching strings and training the already-established tomatoes up the strings, while pinching out unwanted growth. You will learn about growing vegetables in poly tunnels, how to maximise the productivity of tomatoes in small spaces, and how to optimise the form of the plants.
Cost: free.
Bookings: TryBooking.

Composting workshop: Saturday, 30th November, 9.30am-1.30pm; Brunswick Neighbourhood House.

What: This workshop will help provide you with all the information you need to set up and maintain a healthy compost bin, worm farm and Bokashi system at home.
Cost: $45.
Bookings: by phone (9386 9418).

Say hello to the Melbourne Arboretum: Sunday, 1st December, 11am-1pm; Mernda.

What: Go along to hear about the project in its early stages, meet likeminded people and have a walk around the site. Snacks and refreshments provided. A donation in exchange for your attendance would be appreciated ~ all donations will go to support the trees. Read their return brief.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Either check ‘going’ on the Facebook event page or email

Wicking bed workshop: Saturday, 7th December, 10am-midday; Brunswick Neighbourhood House.

What: Very Edible Gardens will teach you everything you need to know to make your very own wicking beds at home.
Cost: free.
Bookings: by phone (9386 9418) or email (

Christmas beeswax wrap gift and wrap rejuvenation: Saturday, 7th December, 2-4pm; Central Ringwood Community Centre.

What: Create a Christmas gift set of three wraps of various sizes with Ben from Ben’s Bees using his own locally made beeswax. Also, if you have well loved wraps at home that are looking a bit tired, bring them along and Ben will teach you how to give them a second life.
Cost: $35 (includes all materials).
Bookings: by phone (9870 2602).

Lasagne garden to food forest workshop: Sunday, 8th December, 10am-1pm; Edible Hub, Hurstbridge.

What: NERP and Edible Hub, Hurstbridge are holding a hands-on workshop to create a no-dig lasagne bed for a future food forest at the Hurstbridge Hub. Learn about the design principles behind the proposed garden, the lasagne method of bed preparation, and techniques to improve water capture and retention in the garden. The workshop will start with a presentation and briefing over a cuppa and then move outside for the hands-on activity. Click here to read about the garden.
Cost: free.
Bookings: TryBooking.

Note that most organisations are not yet advertising any of their 2020 events. Those that are known to us can be found on our website non-cooking calendar.

New events – cooking

Christmas cupcake decorating workshop: Saturday, 14th December, 1-3pm; Chirnside Park.

What: Join Jess, from Norma Rose Cakes to make 12 cupcakes with 4 different designs to take home. Learn various piping techniques including small stars, fine line and large swirls. Create white Christmas tree decoration, snow icing and how to place decorations.
Cost: $65.
Bookings: TryBooking.

Note that most organisations are not yet advertising any of their 2020 events. Those that are known to us can be found on our website cooking calendar.

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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