For local organisations relating to ‘food justice’, click here.
The Whittlesea Food Collective supports people experiencing hardship with free food. This includes a ‘free food supermarket’ which provides healthy food to around 50 families each week. If you grow food at home, at a community garden or school and have too much to eat, please help them by donating your excess. Donations can be dropped off on Wednesdays or Fridays at Building D, Melbourne Polytechnic, Epping Campus, on the corner of Dalton Road and Cooper Street, 3076. Alternatively, contact Charlotte by phone (0481 945111) or email to discuss. (posted April 28 2021)
Source of the Earth are a new meals delivery service based in Lilydale who deliver to Lilydale, Northcote and all suburbs in between. You order meals online from Monday to Sunday and then they deliver on Wednesday. All their food is either vegan or vegetarian and they change their menu weekly. (posted April 21 2021)
Kitchen 55 are a new meals delivery service based in Eltham who deliver to postcodes 3088, 3094, 3095, 3106 and 3109. You order meals online and then they deliver around 48 hours later. Their menu includes both classic and Persian dishes, with a total of 25 different offerings. (posted April 14 2021)
The Edible Forest in Dixons Creek: You might have noticed that many of our newsletters include notification of wild fermentation classes in Dixons Creek (these classes now happen on the first Saturday of each month). You might also have noticed that these classes end with an ‘edible forest tour’. The ‘edible forest’ in question is a 1-acre block devoted to food production using hügelkultur and permaculture methods (read more). Guided tours of the edible forest happen 6 days a week at 10am (midday on Saturday), take 45 minutes to 1 hour and cost only $15. There are also options which include tastings and eating. Read more and book your tour. (posted April 7 2021)
Growing Farmers is a new group based in Moreland whose mission is “to support regenerative farming in urban communities“. Their main initial project, called Backyard Farmers, aims “to match aspiring urban farmers and volunteers with people who wish to maintain the productivity of their gardens“, starting in Fawkner. Click here to read a recent ABC article about the project. (posted March 31 2021)
Young Farmers Connect (YFC) – Melbourne is “a group to connect young farmers in the Melbourne region. The group is for sharing ideas, stories, tools, equipment, skills, time and knowledge, and to create a network of young farmers in the region who are interested in promoting the local food movement.” Its members include a number of newsletter readers. The Melbourne branch is part of a national YFC organisation.
[In passing, one newsletter reader who is also a member of YFC – Melbourne recently said to me that the young in their title means ‘relatively new to farming’, not ‘young in age’!] (posted January 20 2021)
Seeds of Plenty is an Eltham-based online seller of untreated, non-GMO, heirloom, open pollinated and select hybrid seeds, including a lot of vegetable and herb seeds. Its owner is newsletter reader Dan Ross. (posted September 9 2020)
Did you know that The Eltham and District Winemakers Guild is one of the largest amateur wine making guilds in Australia and runs an annual Amateur Wine Show (in November) that is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere? It has been publishing monthly newsletters for many years. All of these newsletters are available on their website. In recent months, these newsletters have included interviews with notable local winemakers under the heading my vintage year. August’s interview was with Ken King, from Kings of Kangaroo Ground. July’s interview was with Karen Coulston, from Yarrambat, who has worked over the years with many of the local wine makers. (posted September 9 2020)
Virginia Solomon, from Research, is a Director of Permaculture Australia. She also has her own website. It’s rather well written. For example, here is what she says about the current lockdown (which she calls ‘Iso 2’): “Iso 1 came during harvest time for us … We considered ourselves lucky and looked forward to lovely days in the garden and less lovely ones doing crafts and sorting jobs around the house. But Iso 2 is different … It is mid-winter, it is dank and depressing outside … I can feel myself, almost literally, sinking – deflated, unmotivated, drifting into inertia. So I decided to only do what I normally do, and to share it. By focussing on the simple repetitive tasks that keep my ‘system’ ticking along, I hope to focus on what I can have an influence over. Small successes, little gestures for my co-inhabitants, fellow creatures and me. I can’t cure the pandemic, I can’t cope with the statistics and hyperbole, but I can maintain my resilient permie ecosystem.” One of Virginia’s ‘little gestures’ has been articles about kefir and sourdough cultures, naturally brewed vinegars and sourdough crackers. (posted July 29 2020)
Led by STREAT, a number of social enterprises have got together to create a food response to the current pandemic based on the principles of “justice, sustainability and resilience“. Over the coming months, they will “grow, cook and deliver meals to the most vulnerable Victorians“. The response is called Moving Feast.
They envisage three phases in their response:
- Relief: immediate food relief for the state’s most vulnerable people.
- Recovery: mass production and distribution of food boxes and backyard growing kits.
- Rejuvenation: creating integrated and resilient local food systems.
The organisations involved include STREAT, 3000acres, ACRE, ASRC Catering, CERES, Collingwood Children’s Farm, Common Ground Project, Community Grocer, Cultivating Community, Free to Feed, Fruit2Work, Good Cycles, Kinfolk, Laneway, Melbourne Farmers Markets, Open Food Network, RMIT’s Bowen Street Press and Whittlesea Food Collective.
Read more on their website. (posted April 29 2020)
You can now buy Joes’s Market Garden veggie boxes online on the Open Food Network. $40 worth of mixed veggies in a box that you can pick up from the farm in Coburg on Tuesdays and Saturdays. (posted March 17 2020)
Newsletter reader Chelsea McNab has written in to tell us about Yarra Valley ECOSS, where she works. “ Yarra Valley ECOSS is a not-for-profit community organisation based on a 18 acre permaculture-designed farm at Wesburn, near Yarra Junction. Our aim is to demonstrate sustainable living solutions for the community of the Yarra Valley and beyond. We promote local food production, earth education and multicultural living. We organise lots of events, which you can find listed on our Facebook page.“. (posted February 26 2020)
Milk from farms where the male calves aren’t killed. Presumably you know that a) for a cow to produce milk, it has to give birth; and b) around half of the calves (including most of the male ones) are deemed surplus to requirements and killed shortly after birth – around 500,000 calves per year in Australia.
There are several ways that dairy farms can avoid this slaughter. One way is the use of ‘sexed semen’ such that all the calves are female and can, in time, join the dairy herd. This is the approach of the How Now farm and you can read about their approach on their website.
Another way is simply to keep the male calves and let them live out their lives. This is the approach of the Mother Cow Dairy and you can read about their philosophy on their website. I spoke with the farmer at Mother Cow Dairy and he said that his philosophy comes from his Hinduism, in which cows are considered sacred. [Editor’s note: when I emigrated from the UK, I was really surprised that many of the Indian restaurants here serve beef, something that didn’t happen in the UK.]
You can buy How Now’s milk at: Boccaccio SUPA IGA, Balwyn; Cannings Butchers, Hawthorn; Cannings Butchers, Kew; Ceres Fair Food, Preston; Eastfield Natural Foods, Croydon South; Fredricks Grocer, Richmond; Rhubarb Organics, Preston; Mt Evelyn IGA; Natures Harvest, Hurstbridge; Paul’s IGA Ringwood; Quinton’s SUPA IGA, Warrandyte; Rhubarb Rhubarb Organics, Preston; St Andrews General Store; SUPA IGA, Brunswick; and The Vegetable Connection, Fitzroy.
You can buy the Mother Cow Dairy milk at: Apples And Sage Organic Wholefoods, Balwyn; Arora Spices, Brunswick East; Ashok’s Bombay Supermarket, Blackburn South; Bombay Music And Cafe, Box Hill South; Colonial Fruit Co, Forest Hill; Colonial Fresh Market, Doncaster; Foodworks, Fitzroy; Indian Spice And Organics, Balwyn North; Little Vegetable, Ivanhoe East; P & C Groceries, Epping; Shoppers India, Hawthorn; Shri Ram Groceries, Reservoir; Shri Ram Groceries, Thomastown; Shriji Grocery, Mill Park; Strawberry Point, Forest Hill; Wholefood Merchants, Greensborough; and Wild Things Food, Fitzroy North.
So, you can now buy ethically produced milk if you live in any of the following suburbs: Balwyn, Balwyn North, Blackburn South, Box Hill South, Brunswick, Brunswick East, Croydon South, Doncaster, Epping, Fitzroy, Fitzroy North, Forest Hill, Greensborough, Hawthorn, Hurstbridge, Ivanhoe East, Kew, Mill Park, Mt Evelyn, Preston, Reservoir, Richmond, Ringwood, St Andrews, Thomastown and Warrandyte (posted November 27 2019)
City of Yarra Council has published a zero waste map, which is an online directory of places around City of Yarra relevant to “reducing, reusing, repairing and recycling“.
Rather a useful list, I think.
Idly musing about the list whilst I was weeding the other day, it struck me that there was something a bit odd about it. In some cases (reuse, repurpose, regift, recycle), the word means to do something again, where the ‘re’ prefix means ‘again’ (e.g. reuse = re-use = to use again). But that is not true of all of them (e.g. how can one ‘duce’ again?). So, I’ve looked up the etymology of each of the 8 words. In the other 4 cases (refuse, reduce, repair, recover), the original Latin was indeed re-something, meaning to do something again, but the something never made it into the English language. So, for example, ‘refuse’ comes from the Latin ‘refundere’, which means ‘to pour back’, and which in turn came from the concatenation in Latin of ‘re’ (meaning ‘again’) and ‘fundere’ (meaning ‘to pour’). (posted November 13 2019)
16(!) community gardens around North East Melbourne recently received grants to improve their composting facilities. The monies were provided by Australian Ethical Super, who apparently want to reduce food waste in landfill, and administered by 3000acres. Morgan Koegel, from 3000acres, says “the funds were put towards everything from raw materials for new compost bays, through workshops for the public on composting, to demonstration worm farms to show people how they could bring their food scrap management home.” Here is the list of the 16 community garden recipients: Brunswick Neighbourhood House; East Reservoir; Fawkner Food Bowls; Kevin Heinze GROW, Doncaster; Newton Street, Reservoir; North Carlton Railway Neighbourhood House; Northcote; Pentridge, Coburg; Reynard Street, Coburg; Rushall, Fitzroy North; SEEDs, Brunswick; Sunnyfields, Northcote; Thrive, Diamond Creek; West Brunswick; Whittlesea; and Your Community Health, Reservoir. (posted July 17 2019)
Farmwall, who are based in Alphington, are an “urban farming startup on a mission to transform our cities into food producing ecosystems. [They] design and implement technology enhanced, food producing solutions in urban spaces, with the goal of enhancing the built environment with positive social and environmental outcomes“. Their main business appears to be leasing out indoor vertical, aquaponic farms to hospitality, workplaces and schools. (posted June 19 2019)
Meet Sonya, a local plant fibre weaver. Sonya Everard writes in: “I am a plant fibre weaver and harvest from anyone in north Melbourne gardens. I am always looking for thick and thin vines to make ribbed baskets: NZ flax to make maori style baskets; palm inflorescence to make random weave baskets and sculptures; lomandra to coil and twine; jacaranda leaf spines for colour; and ginger, crocus and banana for wrapping and weaving.” If you have any of these that you would be happy to give to Sonya, email her. (posted June 12 2019)
The new South Morang Farmers & Makers Market includes an important innovation by Whittlesea Council called ‘wash against waste‘: returnable, re-usable cups. It works like this: vendor Cafe Soleil served their coffee in unbreakable plastic cups. There were numerous ‘return stations’ throughout the market. People walked around the market drinking their coffee and, when finished, dropped the cup off at the nearest station. As Thomas Huxley said about Darwin’s theory of natural selection, “how extremely stupid of me not to have thought of that” – in other words, it is obviously a great idea once you know about it. The market’s organiser from Whittlesea Council, Randa Almushcab, writes: “We call it the ‘wash against waste’ initiative and we now do it at many of our community events. It both reduces waste and saves money. We were so happy to see that it was well received by the community on the day. The secret is to find a coffee vendor (in our case, Cafe Soleil) that is totally supportive of the initiative and willing to learn along the way.” Melbourne Farmers Markets operate a similar scheme, with washable cups, plates, bowls and cutlery. Someone called Din manages the program. Read more. (posted May 29 2019)
Nina Gormley has written in: “Fantastic news for cheese lovers – St Andrews now has a cheese room! It is located in a cluster of mud-brick huts just next to the Wine Room behind A Boy Named Sue and A Local Baker St Andrews. The cheese room is run by Hajo Tanck and his wife Petra. It is open every Saturday and Sunday and enjoys particularly good trading on a Saturday morning when the St Andrews Market is on. They stock a wide range of artisan cheeses, preserves, meat and ice-cream. Some of the goats and blue cheeses are actually made by Hajo himself! Before you make your purchasing decisions, Hajo lets you try anything which might take your fancy – you shouldn’t be time poor when visiting because it takes some time to chat and try the various cheeses. If you have a function, you can order a cheese platter. They are also thinking of organising some cheese making workshops (send them an email to register your interest).” (posted May 22 2019)
Open Gardens Victoria have put together a list of 33 public parks and gardens in Victoria that you can visit. (posted May 1 2019)
Steam Weeds (aka Kieran Foley) is an ‘eco weed management company’ based in Whittlesea. They would like to use their steam weeding technology to help you get rid of your weeds. If interested, contact Kieran by phone (0484 694482) or email. (posted April 3 2019)
Diamond Valley Greenwaste Share is a new Facebook page which aims “to connect people with compostable waste – e.g. cafes/restaurants – with people who want it – e.g. community/home gardeners.” (posted March 27 2019)
Dinner Drop Warrandyte is a new, local community initiative to provide pre-cooked meals for families in hardship. Read more in the article from the Warrandyte Diary on the right. They are asking members of the community to donate store-bought or homemade pre-cooked frozen meals. The guidelines for both the cooking and the labelling can be found on their Facebook page. If you are interested in participating, email Patricia. (posted March 13 2019)
Doncaster Garden Club meets in the evening on the 2nd Wednesday of the month, start at 8pm, but with a food swap 7.30-7.55pm. Doncaster Senior Citizen Centre, 895-901 Doncaster Road, Doncaster East. Everyone is welcome. At their next meeting, on 13th March, Mike Dodson from Betta Grower Organic Fertilisers will talk about potting mixes. At their 10th April meeting, Seila Hierk will talk about how to grow Winter Asian vegetables. (posted March 6 2019)
In mid-2018, Sarah Watson, newsletter reader and Wattle Glen resident, took over Nillumbik Nursery (235 Main Hurstbridge Road, between Diamond Creek and Hurstbridge) in partnership with Bulleen Art and Garden. There is a new range of both food plants & natives and the nursery now sports new colourful walls & garden sculptures. A fern room is being built and a palm corner is being planned. As Sarah says: “Our team – Felicity, Kate, Allison and Sarah – are sharing our love of plants and nature, encouraging healthy local food production, and passionately working to create a greener future for Nillumbik.” Sign up for their newsletter which, inter alia, entitles you to 5% off plants. (posted January 23 2019)
Got a coffee pod machine? If so, you might be interested to know that re-usable coffee capsules exist and that one of the major suppliers of such capsules is local to us: Mitcham-based Creama Joe. For those of you who prefer to get your information by video rather than by the printed word, click here. (posted January 2 2019)
Alternatively, Nespresso pods can potentially be recycled. Around North East Melbourne, there are 13 places where such pods can be dropped off for recycling:
- Briar Hill: Sweet Pea Florist, Shop 2, 111 Mountainview Road.
- Clifton Hill: Terrace Gardens, 338 Queens Parade.
- Croydon North: Scentsational Flowers, 9 Exeter Road.
- Hawthorn: Budz Flowers, 211 Riversdale Road.
- Ivanhoe: Gloriosa Garden, 14/149 Upper Heidelberg Road.
- Kew: Dandelion Floral & Foliage Design, 242 High Street.
- Kilsyth South: Colchester Nursery, 315-317 Colchester Road.
- Lilydale: Jumping Jonquils Florist, Yarra Valley Shopping Centre, 311 Main Street.
- Mooroolbark: Blooms on Brice, 10 Brice Avenue.
- Thomastown: Giardino di Fiori, Shop 3/132 Alexander Avenue.
- Wandin North: Wandin Florist, 384 Warburton Highway.
- Yarra Glen: Flowers of Yarra Glen, 7D Bell Street.
- Yarrambat: Rivers of Yarrambat, 28 Kurrak Road. (posted January 9 2019)
Listed below are the 5 food-related Pick My Project projects in North East Melbourne that obtained enough votes to be approved. (posted October 31 2018)
|City of Yarra||Abbotsford||200,000 free, nutritious meals for vulnerable Victorians|
|Darebin||Alphington||We Love Bees! Bee School & Darebin Bee Shed|
|Preston||The Compost Depot|
|Thornbury||Solar panels for Melbourne’s first pay-as-you-feel rescued food market|
|Moreland||Brunswick||Brunswick Food Forest: Growing Strong Communities|
Listed below are all 50 of the food-related Pick My Project projects in North East Melbourne, most of which were not approved. (posted August 15 2018)
|Banyule||Bellfield||Waratah Urban Farm Fundraiser|
|Heidelberg||Community growing and sustainability hub – Yarra Trail, Heidelberg|
|St Helena||‘The Veggie Empire’ Community Food Plant Nursery|
|Boroondara||Camberwell||Young Foodie Game|
|Kew||Willsmere Kitchen Garden – resurrecting a historic community garden|
|City of Yarra||Abbotsford||200,000 free, nutritious meals for vulnerable Victorians|
|An inclusive food growing hub for Abbotsford|
|Community Vegetable Garden in Abbotsford for families and residents|
|Wurundjeri Bush Food & Bioceuticals Business|
|Carlton North||Community dinners from around the world|
|Fitzroy||A Fitzroy Community Garden for everyone!|
|Community Market Champions|
|Fitzroy Food Forest|
|Open Table community food hub|
|Fitzroy North||Celebration of Community and Culture|
|Darebin||Alphington||We Love Bees! Bee School & Darebin Bee Shed|
|Northcote||School lunch program|
|Preston||Coffee Cups to landfill? NO MORE! Share the knowledge.|
|East Preston Community Garden|
|The Compost Depot|
|Reservoir||You’re welcome for dinner: eating the food we grow together|
|Thornbury||Solar panels for Melbourne’s first pay-as-you-feel rescued food market|
|Manningham||Donvale||Community Industrial Kitchen|
|Templestowe||Cultural Food Festival|
|Moreland||Brunswick||Brunswick Food Forest: Growing Strong Communities|
|The Wheelie Good Fleet – tools for community on wheels!|
|Wellbeing and Food Produce Garden|
|Brunswick East||Growing Our Community Gardening Future|
|Spring Fling Festival at the Veggie Spot|
|African Australian friendship garden|
|Fawkner||Community Market Champions|
|The Hothouse – A Food Hub for Fawkner|
|Maroondah||Bayswater North||Update our Community Cafe|
|Ringwood||Bedford Park Garden & Sustainability Hub|
|Ringwood East||MMIGP Indigenous Foods & Cultural Presence at Local Community Events|
|Nillumbik||Diamond Creek||Build a bespoke community eco-building at Thrive Community Garden|
|Eltham||Kids in the Kitchen – Eltham Primary School Kitchen Garden|
|Hurstbridge||Hurstbridge Community Garden|
|St Andrews||Open Farm Day|
|Whitehorse||Blackburn North||Kitchen Garden Education Program|
|Whittlesea||Lalor||Links Sustainability Park (Lalor)|
|Thomastown||Thomastown Community Garden and Gathering Space|
Beales Road Farm is an urban agriculture project on an acre site in Greensborough. It is operated by a local food gardening team called The Veggie Empire. The Veggie Empire is a collective of horticulturalists (one of whom is newsletter reader Rachel Bishop) that includes two trainees with intellectual disability who aspire to be employed in the urban agriculture sector. Currently the farm has no irrigation, making year round vegetable production unachievable. Click here to contribute to their crowding funding for an irrigation system.
Click here to read more about Beales Road Farm and The Veggie Empire (an updated version of the pitch that they gave to the Local Food Launchpad for 2018). Click here to read about, and potentially vote for, their Pick My Project ‘The Veggie Empire’ Community Food Plant Nursery. (posted August 22 2018)
Home compost doctors in area 3081: iIf you live in postcode 3081, you can receive free advice on how to set up and improve your composting system. Contact (newsletter reader) Mikoto Araki by phone (0421 654934) or email. (posted August 8 2018)
The Inconvenience Store is Melbourne’s first rescued food, vegan, pay-as-you-feel grocery store. All the food stocked will be food rescued by their Food Without Borders team, mostly donated by local businesses, shops and markets who want to make a change in their food waste. All contributions will be on a pay-as-you-feel basis, and will go towards supporting their food rescue operation. The antithesis of a convenience store. Located at the back of Lentil as Anything, 562 High Street, Thornbury. Open every Friday to Monday, 11am-3pm. If you would like to get involved as a volunteer, email them. (posted July 11 2018)
The Eastern Region Food Co-Operative, a longstanding co-operative with its collection points in Croydon South and Heathmont, is seeking new members to join up and benefit from a combined buying power. Five times a year, non-perishable food like dried fruit, nuts, grains, flour, sugar, beans, lentils, and also honey and peanut butter, are bought in bulk, mainly from NSM in Brunswick. Co-op members order what they need – the quantity can be small or large. There is a roster for members to help out with the logistics. For more information, or a list of the food products available, email Lloyd. (posted July 4 2018)
The Stationeers program, which is managed by Keep Victoria Beautiful, aims to improve improve railway station landscapes by removing litter, installing murals, and establishing gardens. There are currently Stationeers groups for the following railway stations in North East Melbourne: Brunswick, Dennis, Fairfield, Merri, Mooroolbark, Northcote, Surrey Hills, Westgarth and West Richmond. (posted May 23 2018)
The Vegan Market of Melbourne is held on the first Saturday of each month at Abbotsford Convent. I went to the October 2017 market (the market only started in September). There were 19 stalls, 13 selling food and 6 selling other things (shoes, soap, etc). Of the 13 selling food, 8 were primarily selling food to take home and 5 were primarily selling ready-to-eat food to eat there. It wasn’t very busy. Whilst this might not be good for the stallholders, it is good news for the punters as it makes the experience more enjoyable. And, as you will know if you ever go to the Slow Food Melbourne Farmers’ Market, the convent grounds are a nice place to stroll around. The one downside is that car parking costs money: $3 for the first 30 minutes, and then $2 per hour. Dogs are allowed and there were quite a lot of them. My dog Oscar was very interested in a bag that a woman was carrying. Then she unzipped the bag and out popped … a chihuahua! There were a number of chihuahuas at the market – is this a vegan thing or an inner city thing? (posted October 11 2017)
Although Coldstream is only a small place (population around 2,500), it actually has a large number of food producers, including: Adams Farms; Australian Harvest / Bio Grape; Coldstream Dairy; Cunliffe & Waters; Domaine Chandon; Garlic N More; Maroondah Orchards; Napoleone Brewery & Ciderhouse; Oakridge Wines; Pimpernel Vineyards; Punt Road Wines; Rochford Wines; The Functional Beverage Co.; Tokar Estate Winery; and Yarra Valley Tea Company. (posted August 9 2017)
CafeSmart is an annual one-day fundraising initiative to support local not-for-profit organisations and Australians in need. Each participating cafe donates $1 from every coffee sold on the day. In 2016, the initiative raised $160,000. 73 cafes from North East Melbourne are participating in 2017. Click here to view the list by suburb. (posted July 26 2017)
John Ferris, owner of Edible Forest Gardens nursery in Wonga Park, has started posting regular videos on his Facebook page. The videos are effectively mini growing guides and the subjects covered to date include: turmeric, canna lily, yacon and society garlic. (posted July 19 2017)
Transition groups in North East Melbourne (posted July 12 2017):
|Collingwood||Friends of the Earthemail@example.com|
|Fitzroy||Fitzroy Urban Harvestfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Fitzroy||Yarra Climate Action Now (YCAN)||email@example.com|
|Fitzroy North||North Fitzroy Community Gardens Groupfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Heidelberg West||Transition email@example.com|
|Maroondah||Transition Town Maroondahfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Montmorency||Montmorency Community Groupemail@example.com|
Going Green Solutions: is one of the liveliest, local Facebook pages, with most of the content being about eco-friendly food-related equipment. They are based in Hurstbridge (929 Main Road) and you can also buy their products online on their website. Furthermore, you can subscribe to their newsletter. Their owner is newsletter reader, Lucinda Flynn. (posted June 28 2017)
Kevin Heinze GROW are based in Doncaster. They “work with children and adults of all abilities to provide, enhance and promote the benefits of horticulture based therapy.” and their “activities promote social inclusion, laughter and friendship.“. (posted June 28 2017)
Nillumbik Healthy Schools newsletter: If you are involved in any food-related activities at your local school, you might be interested in receiving the quarterly Nillumbik Healthy Schools newsletter distributed by healthAbility. Whilst some of it is specific to Nillumbik (and Banyule), around half of the material is more general. To subscribe, email them. (posted June 28 2017)
The Eastern Region Food Co-Operative (ERFCO) is seeking new members to join up and benefit from a combined buying power. Five times a year, non-perishable food like dried fruit, nuts, grains, flour, sugar, beans, lentils, and also honey and peanut butter, are bought in bulk, mainly from NSM Food Wholesalers in Brunswick. Food co-op members order what they need – the quantity can be small or large. The collection point is in Croydon South or Heathmont. You bring your own containers or bags, plus scales, and weigh out the food you have ordered. For more information, email Lloyd. (posted May 17 2017)
Leaf, Root & Fruit is one of our best local blogs. They have recently published three articles about potting mix and fertiliser:
- The importance of soil where one of their conclusions was: “despite one bagged potting mix being 5 times more expensive than the cheap bagged potting mix, there was virtually no difference in performance“.
- Which potting mix is best? As they concluded: “There is a huge variation in the performance of each of the potting mixes.” and thus “Never underestimate the importance of good quality soil in growing your fruit and veggies. Interestingly, price isn’t always a good indicator of quality.“
- Which commercial fertiliser is best? Interestingly, their main conclusion is that: “even with the best quality fertilisers, terrible soil is difficult to improve“. (posted April 26 2017 and May 10 2017)
‘Crop Swapping’ has come to North East Melbourne: Yarra Valley Crop Swap is a closed Facebook group which started in December and which already has 770 members. As they say “if you have fruit, veggies, eggs, honey, crafts, plants, etc that you’d like to swap, post your offerings and trade for something you need.” Its two co-founders live in Croydon North and Wandin East. They were interviewed in the 7th April edition of The Leader.
Crop Swap Melbourne is a public Facebook group which started in February and currently has 320 members. As they say “We are building local community, reducing food waste & eating better, for less. Join us to meet your neighbours, swap excess produce and fairly barter with other like-minded people for fresh, local and delicious food, edible plants, seeds or gardening goods. (posted April 12 2017)
So, if you are a home grower with a surplus, you now have a plethora of options:
- The crop swaps on Facebook – Melbourne and Yarra Valley.
- The 29 food swaps in the area.
- The Community Market Stall at Eltham Farmer’s Market.
- The food swapping websites – RipeNearMe and Spare Harvest.
- The Food is Free places – Reservoir, Ringwood East and Warrandyte. (posted April 12 2017)
Critter identification: Last week, I saw a strange spider on my apple tree. I like to know the identify of all the animals in my garden so I took advantage of the free ‘ask the experts’ facility of Museums Victoria by sending them a photo. Within a few days, they provided a comprehensive reply, not only identifying the spider (garden orb-weaver, Eriophora biapicata) but also telling me all sorts of things about it. What a fantastic service! (posted April 12 2017)
Vegetarian Victoria promotes the benefits of vegetarianism and provides support and information to vegetarians, vegans and the general community. They also organise social events and some workshops. (posted March 29 2017)
Reground: if you want lots of coffee grounds at zero cost and you live in Melbourne, then Reground may well be the organisation for you. They will deliver to your door(!) and as often as you want. As far as I can make out, the only potential issue is their (large) minimum delivery quantities: 2 bins if you live in inner Melbourne or 7 bins if you live in outer Melbourne. Thus far, they have re-purposed 26 tonnes of ground coffee into gardens around Melbourne. If you want some, contact Ninna Larsen by phone (0466 242575) or email.
Here is what Ninna says: “Reground is a sustainable waste management service for used ground coffee. We re-direct organic coffee waste away from landfill, re-distributing it to gardens city-wide, reducing the carbon impact of coffee consumption. There are around 2,600 cafes in the City of Melbourne. These cafes produce around 160,000kg of coffee-ground waste every month, contributing around 260 tonnes of methane gas to our atmosphere. Ground coffee is exceptionally nutrient-rich material, making a powerful soil amendment and a highly sought after organic matter for community gardens, farmers, and home-gardeners alike. By collecting the used coffee grounds from cafes and roasteries, Reground provides an innovative and dynamic service, creating a positive impact on the environment and their communities. We now also pick up chaff, which is high in carbon, and deliver it for free.“
Stuart Rodda says: “I am exceptionally pleased with how it has worked out with Reground. They have brought regular deliveries of bulk amounts of coffee grounds, virtually free of any rubbish, and I am already starting to see beneficial effects in my garden. Where I have placed pure coffee grounds in the garden (but not directly into soil where I am about to plant because of known inhibitory properties of fresh grounds on plant growth), the coffee has become a seething mass of earthworms. By the time the worms are finished with it, it will be that ‘black gold’ of gardening, worm castings.“
Bev Robertson says simply: “Reground are doing a great job.” (posted March 8 2017)
Cultivating Community is a local (Abbotsford) organisation which “offers a range of services to assist in the development of sustainable community food projects” and whose mission is “to work with diverse and low-income communities to create fair, secure and resilient food systems”. (posted February 8 2017)
MADGE is a local (Fitzroy) organisation which “researches the food system to allow people to choose food that is good for those who eat it, grow it, produce and sell it.”. (posted February 8 2017)
Your Council’s policies on urban agriculture: In 2016, Henry Crawford, from Sustain, mapped out the plans, policies and strategies of various local councils across Greater Melbourne that relate to urban agriculture. The Councils include Banyule, City of Yarra, Darebin, Moreland, Nillumbik, Whittlesea and Yarra Ranges. (posted February 1 2017)
The City of Melbourne’s Community Food Guide is a booklet for anyone who wants information about how to access affordable fresh and healthy food. Whether it’s affordable meals, food vouchers, community kitchens in which to cook in a supportive setting or community gardens to grow your own produce, the guide captures the services that offer these things within inner Melbourne. (posted February 1 2017)
Some important local organisations/websites not discussed elsewhere on this page:
- Darebin Food Harvest Network.
- Edendale Farm.
- Going Green Solutions.
- Montmorency Community Group.
- Moreland Food Gardens Network.
- Outer Eastern Permaculture Swap.
- Sustainable Macleod.
- Transition Banyule.
- Transition Darebin. (posted December 31 2016)
Some other local organisations not discussed elsewhere on this page:
- Edible Forest Gardens.
- The Heritage Fruit Society.
- Tamil Feasts.
- Whitehorse Urban Harvest.
- Watsonia Home Gardening Group.
- Eltham & District Winemakers Guild.
- Merri Mashers.
- The Worthogs.
- Australian Plants Society Yarra Yarra.
- Hurstbridge Sow and Grow Garden Club.
- Bee Rescue.
- Bob’s Beekeeping Supplies.
- The Practical Beekeeper.
- The Beekeepers Club. (posted December 31 2016)
Some important Melbourne-wide organisations:
Some local projects:
- The Farmer Incubator, including their pop-up garlic project.
- DIVRS Grafting the Urban Orchard project.
- Melbourne Water’s Our Space Your Place program. (posted December 31 2016)
Some Melbourne-based individuals who sometimes run workshops:
- Edible Eden Design (Karen Sutherland).
- Libby Shaw, Naturopath, Herbalist and Nutritionist.
- The Sage Garden (Natasha Grogan).
- Teasense (Sarah Cowell).
- The Perma Pixie (Taj Scicluna). (posted December 31 2016)
Some Melbourne-wide or Victorian organisations:
- Save Our Citrus Melbourne.
- Victorian Apiarists Association.
- Victorian Cake Decorating Society.
- Cake Decorators’ Association of Victoria.
- City of Melbourne food policy. (posted December 31 2016)
Beales Road Farm and The Veggie Empire: Beales Road Farm started three years ago in response to the social isolation being experienced by the leaseholder of the land in Greensborough where it is based. The leaseholder, Hayden, has autism and needed to meet new community members to help him feel safe and connected to his community. Gardening was something that he was interested in. Eighteen months after it began, a small community gardening team known as The Veggie Empire’ joined the original gardeners and have helped develop the food system into a vibrant and viable local food system. (posted November 30 2016)
Victorian Pleasurable Food Education Package: Pleasurable Food Education is what the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation (SAKGF) call their food education program. The Victorian Government are subsidising the program, to reduce the cost to a school to $550. healthAbility has a further, Nillumbik-only subsidy, which reduces the cost to a school to $275 – click here for details. Schools in Whitehorse can obtain subsidies from Whitehorse City Council – email Amanda Swayn for more information. Click here to read about the program. (posted November 30 2016)
Melbourne’s vegetarian and vegan street food vendors include:
- Babou Juice.
- Babu Ji.
- Bites On Wheels.
- Boho Blends.
- Bomba Wood Fired Pizza.
- CALIKO BBQ.
- Cheese & Bread.
- Crispy Chickpea.
- Dolly’s Sister Vegan Cafe & Bar.
- Grace Cafe, Fitzroy.
- Happy Camper Pizza.
- Jerry’s Vegiburgers.
- Lekker Lekker Snackbar.
- Manny’s Doughnuts.
- Mr Burger.
- Nem N’ Nem.
- Pasta Face.
- Pierogi Pierogi.
- Pookie May Coffee.
- Rice and Dice.
- Señor Churro.
- Shiva Indian Cuisine Food Truck.
- Sweet Forbidden Journey.
- The Butter Thief.
- The Real Jerk Food Truck.
- Two Fat Indians.
- Von’s Vegan Bake House.
- VUTU Nepalese.
- Woking Amazing.
- Yo India. (posted October 26 2016)
The 10-year history of Permablitz: Adrian O’Hagan has written in (using the valediction ‘warm rhubarbs’!) to provide a potted history of Permablitz to mark its 10-year anniversary: “For ten years, Permablitz Melbourne has helped people grow their own fruit and vegetables, all by transforming people’s yards and lawns into edible oases. It has now transformed almost 200 gardens Melbourne-wide. The Permablitz movement started in Dandenong back in 2006, and has thrived due to its reciprocal nature – recipients of a permablitz will first have volunteered their time to two or more other permablitzes. This, in turn, attracts new volunteers, and the cycle begins anew. The permablitzes are almost always designed by volunteers with a Permaculture Design Certificate. This gives the designer real-life experience working with a ‘client’ and the recipient (or ‘host’) gets a design tailored to their preferences, lifestyle and environment. Each permablitz event also contains workshops, which teach new skills to the volunteers, as well as having lots of fun. The concept has proven so successful that it has spread all over the world, with blitzes as far away as Hong Kong, Canada, the UK, India, Italy, Uganda and several other countries – as well as permablitzes held regularly across Australia.” (posted October 19 2016)
The Kitchen Garden Program at Montmorency South Primary School offers students the opportunity to grow and harvest food from their own school garden and then prepare that food, sharing it with their class. Their established garden and kitchen facility make this both an enjoyable and a rewarding learning environment for the children in years 3-6. The continuation of the program relies on the support of volunteers. You do not have to be a green thumb or a masterchef! You will work with a small group of children guiding them with either a garden task (1 hour) or cooking from a recipe (2 hours). The program runs Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday over a fortnight rotation. You may want to volunteer once a week – or once a term. Note that a valid working-with-children check is required. If interested, contact either Jenna Farrington (garden) by phone (0406 738220) or Cathryn Hulme (kitchen) by phone (0419 322782). (posted October 12 2016)
Warranwood Primary School food forest garden: Warranwood Primary School is establishing a permaculture designed forest garden which will enhance the education program and create a productive area where the children can explore the life cycles of nature. They are currently seeking funding to plant a Japanese garden, construct trellises, and plant a range of edible and beneficial shrubs groundcovers and climbers. (posted August 10 2016)
Hurstbridge Primary School’s kitchen garden: a few weeks ago, healthAbility ran a workshop on kitchen gardening for schools in Nillumbik. As part of this, they interviewed Hurstbridge Primary School. Here is a summary. In 2014, Hurstbridge Primary School joined the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation (SAKGF), whose food education philosophy is that of promoting pleasurable food education and building positive food habits through fun, hands-on learning. Since then, changes at the school include: new garden beds, compost bays and a chook pen; assigning gardening and cooking specialist roles to staff; recruiting parents as volunteers; and incorporating gardening and cooking sessions into the weekly timetable. The benefits of having students excited about the program, sharing meals cooked with the produce and gaining positive food experiences clearly outweigh the ongoing challenges with storage space, budgeting and not having a designated kitchen. If you would like to know more, contact Chris Tatnall or Diane Brown by phone (9718 2386) or email. (posted August 10 2016)
Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation (SAKGF) schools in North East Melbourne: here is a list of the schools in North East Melbourne which are part of the SAKGF program, followed by a list of those who are classroom members. (posted August 10 2016)
|Banyule||Montmorency Primary School|
|Montmorency South Primary School|
|St Thomas the Apostle Catholic Primary School|
|Viewbank Primary School|
|City of Yarra||Fitzroy Primary School|
|Learning Centre at Collingwood College|
|Yarra Primary School|
|Darebin||Findon Primary School|
|St Francis of Assisi School|
|Westgarth Primary School|
|Manningham||Templestowe Valley Primary School|
|Wonga Park Primary School|
|Maroondah||Croydon Special Developmental School|
|Dorset Primary School|
|Kalinda Primary School|
|Melbourne||Carlton Primary School|
|Nillumbik||Hurstbridge Primary School|
|Whitehorse Primary School|
|Whittlesea||St Peter’s Primary School|
|Yarra Ranges||St Richard’s Primary School|
|Banyule||Edward Street Preschool|
|Boroondara||Auburn Primary School|
|Carey Baptist Grammar School|
|Greythorn Early Childhood Centre|
|Hawthorn Early Years|
|Trinity Grammar School|
|Darebin||Merri Community Child Care Centre and Kindergarten|
|St Joseph the Worker Primary school|
|Manningham||Creative Play Early Learning Centre|
|Maroondah||Eastwood Primary School|
|Melba College Senior Campus|
|Milestone Childcare and Kindergarten|
|The Village School|
|Yarra Valley Grammar School|
|Murrindindi||Ellimatta Youth Inc|
|Middle Kinglake Primary School|
|Nillumbik||Early Learning Centre Diamond Creek|
|Eltham High School|
|Eltham Primary School|
|Whitehorse||Old Orchard Primary School|
|Orchard Grove Primary School|
|Our Lady’s Primary School|
|Roberts McCubbin Primary School|
|Whittlesea||St Joseph’s Primary School|
|Yarra Ranges||Lilydale High School|
|St Peter Julian Eymard School|
Middle Kinglake Primary School garden: see the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation website for the story. (posted July 6 2016)
‘Your indigenous garden’ booklet: Whittlesea’s latest edition of its ‘Your indigenous garden‘ booklet is now available. Here’s the blurb – “with information and advice on local plants, animals, climate and soil conditions, it also includes: garden design tips; how to grow gardens that children will love; planting techniques and maintenance; plants and garden features that attract wildlife such as butterflies, frogs, lizards and birds; and tips for managing common weeds and pest animals.” For a hard copy, contact the Council by phone (9217 2042) or email. (posted July 6 2016)
Do you live in Darebin and want some free seeds? Kerrie Ludekens and the Northcote Library Food Garden are offering seeds to Darebin home gardeners free of charge. Collect them from: Northcote Library Food Garden at their working bees (next door to Northcote Library, second Sunday of the month at 10am, except long weekends); Northcote Library (32–38 Separation Street, Northcote); Preston Customer Service Centre (274 Gower Street); Kiln Cafe (85C Clyde Street, Thornbury); or the Darebin Information and Volunteer Resource Service (285–287 High Street, Preston). For more info, contact Kerrie by phone (8470 8888) or email.
Angelo Eliades has written a comprehensive article on this Free Public Seed Bank Project. (posted April 27 2016)
Some local mailing lists: the list below comprises those local newsletters that I subscribe to. Its purpose is twofold: first, to give you a checklist of newsletters that you might like to subscribe to; and, second, so that you can tell me if there are any other newsletters that I should subscribe to. In many cases, it is actually quite difficult to subscribe online so the links below are the email addresses from whom the newsletters emanate.
- Banyule Sustainable Homes and Communities.
- Banyule Council – Greenwrap.
- Bulleen Art and Garden Sustainable Gardening and Living Classes.
- Darebin Sustainable Homes and Communities.
- Darebin Council – Sustainability News.
- Going Green Solutions Newsletter.
- Nillumbik’s Fringe Focus.
- Sustainable Gardening Australia Open Gardens and Tours.
- Sustainable Macleod Newsletter.
- Transition 3081 – Grapevine.
- Transition Banyule Events.
- What’s happening at Diamond Valley Library.
- Whittlesea Council – What’s Happening – Your Environmental Update. (posted April 20 2016)
Three places to buy preserving equipment:
- Costante Imports, located at 377-379 Bell Street, Preston.
- Going Green Solutions, located at 929 Main Road, Hurstbridge.
- Home Make It, located at 265 Spring Street, Reservoir. (posted February 17 2016)
Public Fruit Melbourne’s fruit tree map: this map has been developed by someone, or some group, calling themselves Public Fruit Melbourne, but we have no idea who they are. It lists getting on for 1,000 fruit trees. For example, in Eltham it lists:
- Loquat: behind a wooden bench in Alistair Knox Park.
- Olive: next to the pedestrian path, Main Road.
- Plum: large tree growing next to the corner of Eucalyptus Road and Mount Pleasant Road.
Another map of this data, with better search facilities, can be found on the Falling Fruit website. Here the data is combined with some other data, particularly about dumpster diving(!). So, for example: “Aldi Warringal (in Heidelberg): If I’m driving through, I always stop here 🙂 It’s usually full of food, including beer! Unlocked, go any time.” (posted February 3 2016)
Darebin – some useful links
- Darebin Food Harvest Network.
- Darebin Fruit Squad. The Fruit Squad are always looking for new volunteers to help harvest fruit or householders with excess fruit on their trees. If interested, contact Martin O’Callaghan, the Urban Food Program Leader at DIVRS by phone (9480 8207) or email.
- Transition Darebin.
- The latest edition of Darebin Council’s quarterly Sustainability News newsletter. To subscribe to this newsletter, contact Samantha Green, Environmental Education and Promotions Officer, by phone (8470 8373) or email. (posted December 16 2015)
Food Know How – a recipe for taste, not waste: if you live in Darebin, Maribyrnong, Moreland, Whittlesea or Yarra Ranges council areas, you can, at no cost, join the Food Know How program to learn how to reduce food waste, save money and make a positive contribution to the environment. Food Know How members will have exclusive access to:
- Free workshops to learn handy tips on preparing, cooking and storing food to avoid waste.
- Handy tools to help reduce food waste: kitchen food caddies, menu planners, food storage guides, etc.
- Contribute to the online Food Know How members’ recipe book.
- Share food saving tips and ideas with the Food Know How community.
Find out more about Food Know How by email or visit their website. (posted October 7 2015)
Some Facebook pages:
- Edendale Community Environment Farm: will keep you in touch with their upcoming activities and what the animals are up to.
- Food Swap / Share Banyule, Nillumbik & Surrounds: it is a closed group so you have to join it and be approved. As the page description says: “There are a lot of people struggling to put food on the table. Do you have spare tins or packaged food, fresh fruit & veg, etc that you won’t use? Let’s help others in need. Nothing is too big or small … someone will use it.” (posted July 22 2015)
Hurstbridge Organic Fruit and Veggie Co-operative is seeking new families: would you like a new way of weekly shopping for your organic fruit and veggies? This is a long running co-op of local families who order and buy bulk organic fruit and veggies at wholesale prices each week. Key points:
- Each week a selection of fruits and veggies are offered.
- Order only what you want and need – not a price per box system.
- Each family has a job in the co-op. They are currently seeking hosts and packers – the time commitment required is about 2-3 hours every 5-6 weeks. Hosts get the veggies delivered to their house and, using an excel spreadsheet, print off packing slips. Packers then come along and pack the veggies into boxes for members to collect. They have 5 host houses. Packing is easy and is mostly done in pairs, at the host’s house. Children are welcome but need to be supervised.
- Ordering and payments are made via email/internet banking.
- By using a co-op, you are supporting a great organic food industry – better for you and the planet. And with the money you save, you can continue to support the local organic shops for anything that isn’t in the selection each week, as well as other organic goodness!
For more information, contact Michelle Clayton by phone (0425 756345) or email. (posted June 3 2015)
Montmorency Primary School Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program: Montmorency Primary School is looking at recruiting new volunteers to work in their Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program. As a volunteer you would assist a group of 4–5 students with either their cooking or their gardening lesson. You are not expected to be a master chef or a green thumb, but just have a willingness to help out whilst learning alongside the students and having fun along the way. If you could spare one to two hours on a Tuesday once a week or every fortnight they would love to hear from you. Gardening is 10-11am and cooking is 9-11am or midday-2pm. If you are interested, please email Keryn Johnson or phone the school on 9434 5944. (posted April 15 2015)