Cooking With Koji do Japanese homestyle cooking, based on fermented foods, and mostly vegetarian and vegan. The beauty of fermentation is that it enhances the flavor of ingredients and increases their nutritional value while at the same time making them less perishable. The Japanese have traditionally made full use of the technique of harnessing micro-organisms to produce and preserve diverse foods. At the foundation of this culture is koji, (the fungus Aspergillus oryzae).
At markets, they sell miso-based products, where miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji. They also sell ready-to-drink miso vegetable soup.
Cooking With Koji hold regular cooking workshops in Preston, and their current schedule of workshops can be found on their website. Common topics include: miso paste making; shio koji making & cooking (shio koji is a fermented seasoning made with rice koji, which is cooked rice that has been inoculated with koji); nuka zuke (nuka zuke is a fermented pickling technique using rice bran); and amazake making & cooking (amazake is a fermented energy drink).
Darebin Information Volunteer Resource Service (DIVRS) is a non-profit organisation that offers a variety of resources which aim to protect and support vulnerable members of the Darebin Community. Its Urban Food Program is the practical application of goals in home food growing, community gardening, urban food production and integrated approaches to planning urban food programs.
One of DIVRS' initiatives is the growing and selling of trees and seedlings by volunteers. By purchasing and planting these products, you are supporting DIVRS' activities to protect and preserve the urban orchard for your community and for future generations and increasing your own food security and those who you share with.
Another DIVRS' initative is The Darebin Fruit Squad, which is a group of trained volunteers who harvest excess fruit from households in Darebin. Once collected, these otherwise wasted resources are made available to members of the community who struggle to access fresh, nutritious food. Since their establishment in 2013, they have collected around 6 tonnes of fruit. Whilst some tree owners simply offer their surplus fruit, others are provided with maintenance services (fertilising, pruning, etc) in return for their surplus fruit.
Based on this experience, DFS and DIVRS are now encouraging others localities to develop similar initiatives. To assist with this, they have published a booklet entitled Harvesting the Urban Orchard, whose aim is "to provide practical information, tools and tips that you can use in establishing your own fruit-harvesting project." Click here to view or download the booklet.
Casa Iberica Deli, Alphington
Casa Iberica Deli, Fitzroy
Leo's Fine Food & Wine, Heidelberg
Leo's Fine Food & Wine, Kew
Notes (in their own words):
All of Juanita's products are vegan, with no preservatives, dairy, gluten or sugar. They include a range of Mexican sauces & salsas, West African sauces & marinades, and beverages (chai, hibiscus tea and a smoothie mix). Her aim is to share flavours and ingredient combinations that she has discovered, stumbled accross and loved over the years, producing products that are as close to home cooking as they can be.
Juanita also operates a cafe, the menu of which is designed around, and uses, the Juanita's Kitchen products.
Sweets & Treats By Michael make chocolate fudge, rocky road, diy cookie jars, cookies and variety of other seasonal treats. The fudge flavours include: caramel, pistachio, cookies & cream, tim tam, mint, cherry ripe and marble.
What: Sylvester Hive community garden was built in partnership between Darebin Council, The Pavilion School and local residents on land generously provided by the school. The garden was launched in November 2016. With a border of fruit trees, 14 raised wicking beds for vegetables and herbs, storage container and shelter, seating, composting bays and a children’s sand pit, the garden has been designed as a welcoming space to meet with friends and neighbours.
Who: A group of local residents have formed to take care of the garden which they have named 'Sylvester Hive' ('Sylvester' is derived from the Latin for woodland and 'Hive' denotes a place where people meet and connect). The group meet regularly to discuss and agree on how the garden is to be managed, used, planted and harvested. The raised wicking beds are all cultivated communally and the harvest is shared at regular communal meals and celebrations.
When: The garden is open all week. Members meet regularly at the garden every Saturday, midday-3pm.