Oct 092019

More about rice hulls as mulch

Several people responded to the invite in last week’s newsletter to tell us about their experiences with rice hulls as mulch.

Julie French: “I recently visited a farm in Bali where they use rice hulls in their vegetable gardens. The hulls are first burnt, or scorched (see photo), left for 6 months, then mixed into their composting system. They are blessed with rich volcanic soils and plenty of rain but still need to constantly renew the soils that they grow with.

Jaime Edge: “I would love to be able to buy rice hulls (to use in my chicken coop, we have used this method for years with great success) but I can’t find a supplier with stock.

Thanks Julie and Jaime! Please email me if you know anywhere that Jaime can buy rice hulls.

Mitcham Community Meal is celebrating its first birthday

Mitcham Community Meal provides a free community dinner every Sunday. They have been going for a year so that is around 50 meals. Each meal is cooked by a different group of volunteers – around 300 volunteers in total! Read their Facebook post about their first birthday.

The world’s first ice cream served by a robot

Here’s something for our local food movement to be proud of: per Weekend Notes, Fed Square is apparently the location of the world’s first ice cream served by a robot! They say that “the robots create a unique customer experience and world-class? service by establishing meaningful interactions with each person.” And their video shows that these meaningful interactions don’t require you to actually say anything to the robots. As the robot says when you place your order, whatever that order is, “nice one!

The Warrandyte Garden Facebook group

The Warrandyte Garden Facebook group is one of the liveliest local gardening Facebook groups. Here is an example post from earlier this week: “I just wanted to share this experience with weed killing – it’s about a white vinegar /dishwashing liquid spray. I was really sceptical that it would work so I only applied to half the area. I did this about 3 weeks ago. I am converted! It actually worked.

Recycling has just re-started in Nillumbik

As part of the SKM debacle, recycling in a number of Councils in North East Melbourne started going into landfill. Nillumbik Council has just announced that it has re-commenced normal recycling. I think that means that it is only the Whittlesea Council area that has not yet re-established normal recycling.

North East Link wants to partner with local nurseries

Fay Loveland has written in to point out that the North East Link project wants to partner with local nurseries and social enterprises “to grow the first of at least 30,000 trees. For each tree that needs to be removed as part of the project, two will be replanted.Read and register your interest.

Ask the Victorian Government to adopt a container deposit scheme

Helen Hewitt has written in to point out that there is currently a petition to ask the Victorian Government to adopt a container deposit scheme. The petition starts: “Victoria is the ONLY state that has yet to commit to a Container Deposit Scheme (CDS). Every other state either has a scheme or will get one soon. We are missing out on an estimate $50 million a year in fundraising to community groups and charities.Read and sign up.

Eat a rainbow

Nutrition Australia has published an article about eating different coloured veggies and fruit. “Fruit and vegetables fall into five different colour categories: red, purple/blue, orange, green and white/brown. Each colour carries its own set of unique disease fighting chemicals called phytochemicals. It is these phytochemicals that give fruits and vegetables their vibrant colour and of course some of their healthy properties.

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

The wishlist for the Carlton Kitchen Library.

Joke of the week

Dad, do you like baked pears? Yes son, why? The orchard’s on fire.

Read more jokes.

New events – not cooking

Kids in the garden – tomato planting: Tuesday, 15th October, 10.30-11.30am; Diamond Valley Library.

What: A garden-themed storytime followed by tomato planting in the garden. Wear clothes that can get dirty.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.

Book launch – Islas Food of the Spanish Islands: Tuesday, 15th October, 6.30-9pm; Eltham.

What: Eltham Book Shop, Smith Street Books and Earthbound Bolton present an evening of tantalising flavour and soul to celebrate Islas: Food of the Spanish islands by Emma Warren. This book is a thoughtful, glorious engagement with the true heroes of Spanish cuisine – the traditional recipes and seasonal ingredients that make Spain one of the richest food cultures in the world.
Cost: $85 (includes a signed copy of the book, 2 course dinner and a glass of Cava).
Bookings: by phone (9439 8700).

Time to celebrate: Saturday, 19th October, midday-2pm; Watsonia Neighbourhood House.

What: Take along food to share at their community picnic and celebrate the year. Launch the Banyule re-think waste film project: a collection of community made films. Welcome to Country from Aunty Brenda.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.

Annual Spring plant sale: Saturday, 19th October, 1.30-5pm; Macleod Organic Community Garden.

What: Featuring tomato plants, cucumbers, zucchinis, pumpkins, herbs, flowers, figs, redcurrants, strawberries and rhubarb. Click here to read about the garden.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.

Transition Darebin 10 year celebration!: Saturday, 19th October, 6-10pm; Northcote.

What: For the past decade, Transition Darebin has swapped food, bush danced, made sourdough, preserved olives, made boomerang bags, repaired good, had discussions, and supported the building of a greater resilience in their community. Go and join them to have some food, be entertained and share some memories of our last ten years. Includes live music and a three course rescued dinner; drinks available for purchase.
Cost: $10 (includes dinner).
Bookings: EventBrite.

Vegan day out in Melbourne: Saturday, 19th October, 10am-6pm and Sunday, 20th October, 10am-5pm; Fitzroy.

What: Local cafes and businesses in Fitzroy will be reducing prices, giving away samples and putting special vegan products on the menu. Here is how it will works: a map of all the participating businesses will be created. Collect your map and vouchers from the Cruelty Free Shop. Then enjoy spending the weekend walking around redeeming the vouchers.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.

Preparing a Spring/Summer garden: Sunday, 20th October, 11.30am-1pm; Bellfield Community Garden.

What: There are groups of vegetables that comprise the spring/summer veggie garden. Each needs different soil preparation and pH, some are planted from seedlings and some direct, and they have different watering requirements. This workshop will cover soil preparation which is a key to success, demonstrate how to test and rectify pH problems and give tips for the successful growing of each family of spring/summer vegetables. The workshop will be led by Robin and Paul Gale-Baker.
Cost: $17.
Bookings: Humanitix.

Introduction to horticulture (8 sessions): On Thursdays from 24th October to 12th December (8 weeks), 12.30-3pm; Melbourne Food Hub, Alphington.

What: Do you wish you could grow your own food but you’re not sure where to start? This course is designed for people wanting to gain the practical skills necessary to design, plant and maintain productive gardens. You will learn all the steps involved in creating a garden, from how to select the best site, through to soil preparation, different types of growing methods, organic pest management, companion planting, irrigation, maintenance and harvesting.
Cost: $40 (ACFE subsidised), otherwise $278.
Bookings: by phone (9480 1364), where you can also check your ACFE eligibility.

Bubbles and sparkling wine tasting: Thursday, 24th October, 6.30-8pm; Balwyn.

What: There will be around 40 wines and bubbles on taste. The evening will also include discounts on purchases, giveaways and light refreshments.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

World Vegan Day Melbourne: Sunday, 10th November, 10am-6pm; Ascot Vale.

What: This event offers a broad and exciting range of examples of what it means to live vegan. Whether you are passionate about health and wellbeing, fitness, cooking, beauty and body care, fashion, kids and family activities, politics, business, animal rights, sustainability, self-sufficiency, music, creativity, or just love devouring delicious food and drinks – this event is for you. Regardless of whether you are already vegan or simply curious to find out more about the lifestyle, this event is an opportunity to explore what is on offer in this ever-more accessible lifestyle. The main attractions include: hundreds of exhibitor stalls; local, interstate and international speakers; food and drink vendors; and cooking demo stage. See their website for more details.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.

BarterJar: Sunday, 10th November, 2-4.30pm; Thornbury.

What: Are you a seasoned or newbie maker of home produce and homewares inspired by sustainability and zero waste and want to share your story with others? If so, then take your creations along and, for each one, you bring you will receive a different one in return. You can bring almost anything. The only requirement is that you have made it yourself, with some of the ingredients being homegrown and/or locally/ethically sourced. Each item should have a perceived value of $5-$10. Ideas for swaps include but are not limited to: jams, preserves, chutneys, fermented products, bread, honey, beer, cordials, soaps, cosmetics, potions, pastries and cakes, eggs, beeswax wraps, produce bags, beanies, arts & crafts, seedlings and plants.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.

Bee a pollinator! Native bee hotel workshop by Buzz and Dig.: Sunday, 17th November, 11.30am-12.30pm; Preston.

What: This workshop, by Katrina Forstner from Buzz and Dig, will introduce you to our native bees, how to spot a native bee, nesting types, buzz pollination, what materials are great to get you started with your own bee hotel and, no matter what type of green thumb you are, how to set up a bee friendly garden. Enjoy a cuppa whilst you make your own bee hotel using natural and upcycled materials.
Cost: $21.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Beeswax wraps: Friday, 22nd November, 6-8pm; Surrey Hills.

What: Join Emma Grace for a Christmas-themed beeswax wraps session. Learn how to make and take home two wraps. Includes complimentary bubbles, cheese and all materials.
Cost: $65.
Bookings: their website.

Balcony garden workshop: Saturday, 23rd November, 10-11.30am and again at 2-3.30pm; Collingwood.

What: Led by Stephen Read, tour of a balcony garden in a Collingwood factory conversion replete with edible herbs, fruit and veggies.
Cost: $45.
Bookings: TryBooking.

The art of espalier: Thursday, 28th November, 6.30-9pm; Bulleen Art and Garden.

What: What you will learn: growing espaliered fruit trees; different techniques to make the most of all available space for espalier; and improve your general gardening skills. Presented by Diana Cotter. “Go vertical” is the cry when garden space is limited. Gardening in two dimensions is what espalier is about and this class will cover the different types and how to get them started and then continue to train them into the desired shape. Topics covered include suitable fruit trees, pruning and training techniques.
Cost: $55.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

Summer fruit tree maintenance: Saturday, 30th November, 9.30am-12.30pm; Bulleen Art and Garden.

What: What you will learn: how to prune to keep trees to a manageable size; how to prune to maximise fruit production in the coming season; and keeping espaliered shapes in check. Watch and ask questions of Angelo Eliades, as he prunes both traditionally shaped trees and espaliered varieties. Convention had us pruning deciduous fruit trees in winter but now the thinking is swinging to doing it straight after fruiting, in late summer or autumn. Techniques are slightly different, so it is wise to see the pruning in action on actual trees.
Cost: $50.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

Bees wax wraps: Saturday, 30th November, 10am-midday; Mount Evelyn.

What: Holly from Holly’s Backyard Bees will show you how to make bees wax wraps and will have a selection of Christmas fabrics for you to choose from.
Cost: $50.
Bookings: by phone (9736 1177).

New events – cooking

Plant-based (vegan) Mediterranean cooking: Friday, 8th November, 6-8pm; Surrey Hills.

What: Arzu will show you the health benefits of both Mediterranean and plant-based cooking by demonstrating how to make three vegan dishes. Arzu’s techniques also incorporate Middle-Eastern influences.
Cost: $70.
Bookings: their website.

Love food hate waste workshop: Monday, 11th November, 10.30am-12.30pm; South Morang.

What: Make the most of the food you buy before it becomes waste or compost. With some know-how, a little planning and a touch of creativity, there are simple ways that you can make the most of food scraps and leftovers to turn them into meals or more. Presenter Kirsty Bishop-Fox, from Sustainable Pathways, will share her simple tricks to make the most of the food you purchase. Go and be surprised at what small changes you can make to reduce food waste, save money and feel good playing your part in the war on waste.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Be healthy class: Tuesday, 26th November, 2-4.30pm and again on Sunday, 8th December, midday-2.30pm; Dixons Creek.

What: Louise will lead you through the techniques and importance of incorporating good gut health into your diet. You will sample and learn how to make fermented foods such as pickling, exploring the art of fermenting your own vegetables, and how to easily introduce these and other fermented foods such as miso into your diet for better gut health.
Cost: $60.
Bookings: their website.

Mediterranean Summer feast: Friday, 29th November, 6-8pm; Surrey Hills.

What: Join Arzu to learn how to cook a Mediterranean summer feast of three dishes. The workshop will also explain the health benefits of using olive oil, garlic and fresh herbs.
Cost: $70.
Bookings: their website.

Fermented beverages: Saturday, 30th November, 10am-midday; CERES, Brunswick East.

What: What you will learn: do’s and don’ts of fermenting beverages; and the process of fermenting beverages. What you will get: recipes to take home; a jun scoby to take home; and samples in class of all three beverages. Presenter: Monique Miller. You will learn the basics of fermenting kombucha and jun kvass (a relative of kombucha) at home.
Cost: $50.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

Amazake making and cooking: Saturday, 30th November, 11am-1.30pm; Preston.

What: Amazake (aka ama koji) is a traditional Japanese fermented energy drink. Rich in digestive enzymes and nutrition, amazake is also a seasoning for cooking. Learn about amazake and enjoy the flavour, beauty and health benefits.
Cost: $95.
Bookings: Book by email (hello.cookingwithkoji@gmail.com).

Shio koji making and cooking: Sunday, 1st December, 11am-1.30pm; Preston.

What: Shio koji is a Japanese fermented seasoning made with rice koji (cooked rice that has been inoculated with the fungus Aspergillus oryzae).
Cost: $95.
Bookings: Book by email (hello.cookingwithkoji@gmail.com).

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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