Monday, April 29, 2013

Symposium: Edible Landscapes: Challenges and Opportunities for Growing Food in Cities (Melbourne, Thu 6th June 2013)

Interest in urban agriculture, from home vegetable gardens to city farms, has increased rapidly in recent years. What are the next steps needed to make urban agriculture successful, both technically and socially? This symposium focuses on edible landscapes in parks, streets, schools and private gardens. Issues to be explored include: the role of local government in facilitating urban agriculture; design, management and maintenance of food growing spaces; and the work of entrepreneurs in private, school and corporate edible landscapes.

Speakers include Jodi Jackson (Lemon Tree project); Jason Summers (City of Hume); Mark Sanders (West Brunswick Community Garden/Moreland Food Gardens Network); Peter Huff (City of Yarra/Cultivating Community); Dr Peter May (May Horticulture Services); Karen Sutherland (Edible Eden Design); Fabian Capomolla (the Little Veggie Patch Co); Michelle Rayner (the Patch Primary School); and Dr Chris Williams (Burnley Campus, University of Melbourne). 

A panel discussion on edible landscapes will be facilitated by Clear Horizon.

This symposia is suitable for:
Landscape designers, community activists, permaculturists, green space managers, architects, landscape architects, garden designers, horticulturists, urban ecologists, environmental managers, vegetation and tree managers, garden superintendents, community organisations, land use professionals, planners, community gardeners, food activists, public health planners, teachers, developers, local government councillors
Topics to be covered:
  • Relationship between local government and community activists in creating edible landscapes
  • Issues such as food plants for streetscapes, improving the aesthetic appeal of edible landscapes, and exploring the horticultural and maintenance skills required to make urban agriculture really work
  • Increasing the use of perennial food plants, multi-cultural edible plantings, designing food spaces for maximum yield, and food growing businesses
  • Case studies from organisations working in partnership across business, local government and the community for urban agriculture - such as the Lemon Tree project
  • Managing community gardens and orchards
  • Edible landscapes in schools: design, maintenance and management
Where: University of Melbourne's Burnley Campus
When: Thursday, 6 June 2013, 9.30am – 4.30pm
Cost: Full price $250, Concession $150

Flyer and Registration Form

Friday, April 19, 2013

Forging a Fair Food Future: getting energised by Melbourne's EcoCity Food Forum

Although we call ourselves a "food gardens network" our subscribers, followers, members and supporters include all manner of people with much more on their minds than just food gardens including food growing, food security and access, distribution, consumption as well as adjacent fields like research, sustainability, community building, health, government, education and so on. For me at least, this network is a terrific source of ideas, inspiration, solutions and support.

Like many of you I know there's a groundswell of effort in and around greater Melbourne towards establishing a sustainable, resilient food system that helps to build healthy, engaged communities.

Until Friday 22nd March though I had no idea of the scale of this groundswell.

Announced barely two weeks before, all 150 places for the EcoCity Food Forum in Melbourne were snapped up in 3 days (with another 50 on the waiting list). Participants came from an impressively diverse range of interest groups and backgrounds including residents, designers, community health, community gardens, social enterprises, software developers, business, agriculture, local government, academia, fair food advocacy groups. Between us we lead and contributed to an inspiring array of nearly 36 sessions that covered topics like:
  • mapping community food assets - 
  • fostering a new generation of farmers
  • open source software development
  • buying clubs
  • urban agriculture for resilient cities
  • the People's Food Plan
  • City of Melbourne's lean collaboration Citylab initiative
  • scaling up small scale community projects
  • changing attitudes to waste
  • backyard farmers co-op
  • threats to peri-urban agriculture resources
  • connecting farmers to the local food movement
  • food production in the City of Melbourne
  • the economics of urban farming
Have a squiz at this storify page which gives a bit of a flavour of it.

Avoiding a traditional conference model in favour of an 'unconference' that used Open Space Technology we shared our stories, explained our visions, sought answers, proposed and promoted projects, challenged preconceptions, gathered support, stimulated debate and more.

We were hosted by the fantastic folks at Doing Something Good with sustenance prepared by social Kinfolk using food donated for the event. An amazing show of volunteer power and goodwill.
enterprise cafe

All this in the name of forging a fair food future for our society.

Seeing this many people in one place vigorously connecting (or reconnecting), engaging with each others ideas and building upon each others' enthusiasm was energising and inspiring. I can't wait to see the efforts that emerge from all the committed people who attended.

Let's do it again! SOON.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The VicHealth Seed Challenge - Up to $100,000 available for the brightest ideas

In an exciting and new approach, VicHealth is sowing the seed for innovation by calling for people from across the nutrition sector, fruit and vegetable industries, researchers, social innovators/entrepreneurs and the digital world to collaborate and seek solutions to a wicked problem.

"How do we improve fruit and vegetable supply and access, as well as develop and promote a culture of healthy eating in Victoria?"

The VicHealth Seed Challenge is about innovation, developing new ways of working together, and prototyping the brightest ideas, using digital technology to make it happen.

At the heart of the challenge is cultivating fresh ways to improve local fresh food production and distribution so that nutritious food is sustainable, available and affordable for all Victorians to enjoy.

We need to revive the value once placed on fruit and vegetables, so that the healthy choice is the easiest – and the most desirable choice.

So we’re calling on your support to seek solutions — where no idea is considered too small for action.

VicHealth, with support from The Australian Centre for Social Innovation, will initially select and fund the most promising ideas with a one-off investment to further refine and develop a business case. From here, the two most promising ideas that demonstrate a fresh way of thinking will be selected to receive ongoing mentoring, coaching, business development and financial support of up to $100,000 as a means to propel these inspiring proposals off the ground.

VicHealth in conjunction with The Australian Centre for Social Innovation will be conducting Sowing the Seed: information exchange to provide further information about the challenge and to facilitate collaboration between interested parties:

Event Details
: Wednesday 1 May
Time: 9.30am to 1.15pm
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
Level 2, Meeting Room 219
1 Convention Centre Place
South Wharf

Morning tea and light lunch provided

RSVP essential by Tuesday 23 April. RSVP at

You are in a unique position to help make healthy and sustainable food choices the easy choice, now and into the future.

For more information about the VicHealth Seed Challenge, visit

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Merri Corner Community Garden - Veg In Veg Out Native Propagation Workshop

Come down to the next Veg In Veg Out on Sunday 14 April.  We'll have a workshop on how to propagate local native plants with special guest Ann McGregor from Friends of Merri Creek.  

We'll also sow seeds for autumn crops to share - peas, coriander, lettuces and broccoli just to name a fewSeeds, cuttings and seed-raising mix provided, just bring your curiosity! 

Veg In Veg Out is a free monthly event at the Merri Corner Community Garden on the second Sunday of each month and all are welcome!

Sunday 14 April, 2013 
11am - 12pm
Merri Corner Community Garden, cnr Donald & Harrison Streets, Brunswick East 

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Growing Food Project: a short documentary

There is a thriving energy of empowered local communities responding to food access & sustainability issues that aim to strengthen the way we produce & distribute local food.  Community food projects improve the way we eat, reconnect us with nature, build relationships between neighbours & enhance our food culture.


The Growing Food Project is a documentary exploring some of Melbourne’s urban agriculture practices & alternative food systems, particularly those existing in the city’s inner north. By documenting & telling these amazing stories, this short film will capture the possibilities and practical solutions that lie in people’s hands & strengthen our local food system.

The story so far...

This project has been a labour of love by a team of committed volunteers who spent the summer filming at various community gardens and local food initiatives.  Now, a big job of editing awaits!  So... a Pozible crowd funding campaign has launched to bring this film to life.   

Money raised from this campaign will go towards post-production & help pay someone do a brilliant job at it. Costs include: a professional editor, grading, sound design, sound mixing & other costs associated with entries to film festivals etc.   

Please support this project & help bring this film to life.  It would also be awesome if you could circulate this to your family & friends!  

Cheers to a fair, sustainable & resilient food system!  Let's make this happen!   
For more info, visit the film's website  

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Warm n Fuzzy it up in Coburg this Saturday morning 6th April!

The sun will be shining, the coffee and tea will be brewing, the kids will be frolicking, the Bollywood dance workshop will be cranking and the tomatoes will be crushing and bottling... what more incentive do you need?

Come along to our monthly Home grown edibles swap and community gathering this Saturday 6th of April from 10am 12pm at 512 Sydney Road Coburg at...
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  • Barter and admire the last cherished harvests of Summer at the swap table
  • Come along and help out and learn some skills in the art of tomato preserving in the community kitchen (this will run between 11am and 2.30pm) You can also take a peek at our a whiz bang new tomatoe crusher which will soon be available for hire in the Community Kitchen.
  • Snack on delicious baked goods from around the world at the Cafe Co-operative
  • Browse the edible, bright and colourful plant selection of the Community Nursery including our range of winter veggie seedlings and bags of sheep poo!
  • Be inspired by unique handmade crafts at the visiting Craft Co-operative and find out how you can join.
  • Explore the diversity of our local community by celebrating Holi, the Hindu festival of colours.  This event is brought to you in collaboration with the Multicultural womens Sewing Group as part of 'Food, Faith & Fabric Fun' a series of events which showcase the fun activities, foods and stories of how different people live life and practice their faith... by fun activities we mean Bollywood dance workshop, colourful weaving and mural painting and drinking pommegranite Juice.
 All proceeds from Swap Saturdays support the growth of people-plant projects at PepperTree Place. Please help spread the word by forwarding this email to friends and family.


PepperTree Place, 512 Sydney Road, Coburg, VIC 3058 Phone 0414 507 311 Email 
Can't find us? Have a look on the Local Treasures of Coburg North map c/o Victoria Walks
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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Coburg will host new farmers' markets from Saturday 27th April

For anyone who loves buying fresh food from the people who make or grow it, some very exciting and welcome news arrived a little while back. In addition to the farmers' market held every 3rd Sunday at Pascoe Vale Primary School, Moreland will soon host farmers' markets on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of every month!

The market will be hosted by Coburg North Primary School and is organised by Melbourne Farmers' Markets, the same crew behind Veg Out (St Kilda), Slow Food Market (Abbotsford Convent), Collingwood Children's Farm, Gasworks (South Melbourne). The market is accredited by the Victorian Farmers' Markets Association so you can be sure the person selling the produce either grew it or made it.

Starting date: Saturday 27th April
Where: Coburg North Primary School, 180 O'Hea St, Coburg, 3058
When: 8am-1pm, 2nd and 4th Saturdays of every month
Entry cost: Gold coin (for school projects)

Spread the word, BYO shopping bags and we'll see you there!

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