Monday, January 30, 2012

PepperTree Place Swap Saturday, Feb 4th, Coburg

It is SWAP TIME again!!! Bundle up those enthusiastic zucchinis and share your wealth of tomatoes this Saturday, Feb 4th, 10am to 12noon.

The swap table will be laden with goodies and the air a-buzz with recipe exchange and nerdy conversation about heirloom varieties... if lunchtimes at PepperTree Place are anything to go by!? So pop past for a moment or a while and enjoy good company, good food and summer in the garden.

Remember to save your coins for coffee and cake at the Cafe Cooperative and pop past the Community Nursery for some salad greens, kitchen herbs and/or an unusual edible for your home patch.

AND if you'd like to 'get down and dirty with us' then stay for our summer working bee and vegetarian BBQ (12 - 3pm)

When: Saturday, Feb 4th, 10am and 12noon (working bee 12 - 3ish)
Where: PepperTree Place, 512 Sydney Road, Coburg (corner of Sydney Road and Bell Street)
Cost: FREE!
Contact: chetzel(at) or Claire on 0431 494 773

Friday, January 27, 2012

Discuss gardening with Jane Edmanson (Feb 23, Coburg Library)

Jane Edmanson (from ABC Gardening Australia)
Meet Jane Edmanson, formerly a partner in the Bell Street Garden Centre, has been involved in horticulture for over 35 years and is one of the most well respected gardeners in Australia.

A long-time presenter on ABC's Gardening Australia and radio host, Jane also contributes to numerous magazines and has published six bestselling books.

When: 2.30 pm, Thursday 23 February
Where: Coburg Library

A great opportunity to receive practical tips and advice about gardening.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Paving our market gardens: choosing suburbs over food (from The Conversation)

Paving our market gardens: choosing suburbs over food
(This article was originally published at The Conversation. Read the original article.)

Lecturer, Human Geography at Flinders University
In 1947 the Sydney Basin produced “three quarters of the State’s lettuces, half of the spinach, a third of the cabbages and a quarter of the beans; seventy percent of the State’s poultry farms were in the [Basin] and more than eighteen percent of Sydney’s milk came from the [Basin]”.

Sixty years later, the Metropolitan Plan proposes reducing the area of Basin farms to about 600 hectares, through the residential development of 220,000 homes in the north-west and south-west growth areas. The development will pave over 52% or 603 hectares of Sydney’s remaining fresh produce farms. The area devoted to greenhouse vegetables could decline by as much as 60%.

In 2006, of the 90% of the vegetable growers who produced 90% of Sydney’s fresh vegetables, 40% had market gardens located in the designated urban growth areas with no apparent strategies for their relocation¹.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Employment Opportunity - Garden Project Worker

Position Available – Garden Project Worker, 0.2 EFT (1 day per week) for 6 months
(February 2012 – June 2012)

Merri Community Health Services is currently seeking a Garden Project Worker to assist in the development of a garden at St. Thomas More Primary School, Hadfield. The position will involve working with students, teachers, and the school community, to build on and enhance the existing school garden, with funds received from School Focused Youth Service (SFYS). Tasks will include; running skill development sessions with students, teachers, and parents, facilitating working bees and events to promote school community engagement in the garden, and working with teachers and school staff to integrate the school garden program into ongoing curriculum.

The school will have dedicated staff assigned to working on the garden program who will support and work with the successful applicant, and project support will also be provided from the Health Promotion Team Leader at Merri Community Health Services.

We are currently seeking expressions of interest in this position. To register your interest or for more information, please contact:

Maryanne Tadic
Health Promotion Team Leader – Merri Community Health Services
Ph: 9389 2270

Food Swap at Mulberry Gardens this Saturday 21st January

Come & join us for a cuppa, a catch up & a food swap to kick off 2012!

Bring any excess produce from your garden.

When: every 3rd Saturday of the month

Time: 11am - 12noon

Where: Mulberry Gardens at Glenroy Secondary College. 120 Glenroy Rd, Glenroy.

Happy swapping!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Retrofitting the Suburbs for Sustainability, by David Holmgren

Retrofitting the Suburbs for Sustainability, by David Holmgren

Thursday Feb 16, 2012, at 12.45

The Wheeler Centre Auditorium,

176 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne,Victoria

Retrofitting the Suburbs for Sustainability

Are the 'burbs an unsustainable wasteland and best put in the 'too hard basket? Or is there a way to make the suburbs sustainable?

David Holmgren has got an answer and he is going to tell you about it at the Wheeler Centre on Feb 16.

In recent years, as we have become more aware of the negative effects of our high-impact lifestyles, a number of environmental responses have been introduced – such as increased insulation and energy-efficiency requirements for buildings, improvements to public transport, conservation of urban green space, and more water-sensitive urban design. At a personal level, a few individuals are also adapting by, taking in boarders, sharing backyards, or returning to the multi-generational family unit.

We have barely scratched the surface, however, of the profound improvements that the application of permaculture principles and strategies could deliver for the sustainability and livability of today’s suburbs.

David Holmgren, the co-founder of Permaculture, will explore how suburbs can, and are, responding to the converging economic, energy and climate crises. He will show how household and community resilience can be stimulated in the face of these pressures.

David’s encouraging and thought provoking talk coincides with Melbourne’s month long Sustainable Living Festival.

We would appreciate you informing as many people as possible about this rare opportunity to hear David talk.

Please contact HDS for further information or for arranging for interviews and excerpts from his talk may be available.

Rick Tanaka (media liaison)

Holmgren Design Service(

Ph: 03 53483636


Friday, January 6, 2012

Kitchen gardening as radical, subversive social activity (video)

Apparently, we will need to grow more food in the next 50 years than we've grown in the last 10,000 years combined. That's quite a stunning fact.

In this 20 minute TEDx video, Roger Doiron (founding director of Kitchen Gardeners International) talks about:
  • How gardening and growing our own food locally can redress the balance of power around food production, tackle rising food prices, the obesity epidemic and growing hunger around the world.
  • How we must work out how to grow more food with less money, energy, water, genetic diversity, farm land and how community gardening can help,
  • How Kitchen Gardens International try to use the gardens and the gardeners out there already to inspire others to act, long-term gardens strategy and their roadmap to deliver it.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A food forest in West Brunswick? What? Where?

Once upon a time (about 15 years back) in West Brunswick beside a sports ground some right-minded locals built something that showed great foresight.

They showed one way that sustainable, productive urban horticulture can work on publicly owned open space. They established a food forest.

The concept of food forests isn't something I propose to explain. Others have conveniently done this already here (Wikipedia) and here (Permaculture Research Institute).

From Why Food Forests? by Angelo Eliades
In short it's a "system" for growing food that borrows from the principles of a forest. It uses "stories" or layers of planting starting with underground plants (those we grow for their roots) through ground-cover, shrubs up to mature trees and climbers. A key attribute of forests generally and one that food forests seek to achieve is their low maintenance: no mowing, weeding, digging, spraying etc. They tend to include edible perennials too so less planting/replenishing of plants is required. They just grow and produce food.

Around this forest, they built pergolas for vines to grow on, swales to manage water and had a fantastic iron sign constructed which announces that this place is - the food forest. It must have looked amazing (anyone got any pics from the old days?).
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