Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Peppertree Place Incr-Edible Food Swap Saturday June 6th

512 Sydney Road Coburg
EXTENDED HOURS with lunch served!

WORKSHOP with Tasha van Velzen 10.30-11.30am
Balcony and Container Gardening - learn how to get the best out of small spaces.
$10 full price, $5 concession. 
Please book for this workshop by emailing: or call Tash: 0431 494 773.

CHAIR YOGA with Trudy Radburn 1.10-1.30 free
Trudy Radburn has The moving room yoga studio in Brunswick. The moving room specializes in small group and private

Chair yoga is a gentle style of yoga incorporating breath with movement to improve balance, coordination and focus. Relieve tension as you stretch your body feeling relaxed, revived and rejuvenated.

Volunteer-Powered Nursery
Featuring balcony garden plants.

Pop-up Peppertree Cafe
Scrumptious freshly baked treats, coffee, teas and lunch served using ingredients from the Peppertree community garden!

SWAP TABLE - a place to share your garden's harvest, tips and questions.

PING PONG - kick away the winter chills on our newly renovated ping pong table!

You are also invited to help create a World Environmental Day installation with Judy Allen.

Photo: Workshop presenter Natasha van Velzen with a thriving potted lemongrass!

Breakthrough! Moreland Council developing Urban Agriculture & Food Production Strategy. How you can help shape our city.

Over the last 6 months we've seen a significant, positive change in City of Moreland Council's stance towards urban agriculture and local food growing with three major developments:
  1. Council's agreement to develop a strategy for this area of policy
  2. Allocation of $30,000 towards doing this
  3. Inviting community members to join an advisory committee to assist with development (invitations close June 4)
These things are important because: a strategy should give aims, responsibilities, actions and timeframes and replace the ad-hoc response we've seen to-date; funding recognises that it requires special skills and real effort to get this done; the community is being invited to participate in the scoping so we have a chance to make sure it covers what it needs to.

Read on for some background on how we got here and some ways you can now help deliver the kind of strategy we really need to support food growing and urban agriculture in Moreland.

How did we get here?

In 2013, when Moreland City Council committed to developing a community food growing policy we saw an opportunity to ensure that the City of Moreland took a long term approach to growing food in Moreland, a considered, innovative, progressive policy with vision and one that was of a quality what our community deserves. Something that would address a broad range of areas including employment, social capital, environment and health.

On seeing their draft policy it was clear to us that this policy was not what it needed to be so a small group of network members worked strategically to influence its direction. We went out and spoke to councillors armed with our call to action. After many emails, letters and face to face meetings (including a group of us attending and speaking at the December council meeting), a breakthrough resolution was carried including this item:
Consult further with stakeholders on the elements required to extend this draft policy into a comprehensive ‘Moreland Urban Agricultural and Food Production Strategy’ and consider establishing a time limited Community Advisory Committee that would meet up to 3 times in 2015 to guide the development of the strategy.
Source: Moreland Council December 2014 meeting minutes (page 25)
We count this as great news.

Essentially the inadequate draft policy was withdrawn and it will be replaced by a strategy with a wider view on urban agriculture and local food production and the community will have a meaningful opportunity to contribute its the scope. Cr Rattnam deserves recognition for engaging with the community on this and for her part in achieving this outcome.

You can help build momentum

We're getting towards the middle of the year already and the strategy scoping has yet to start, you'll now find item 8 has just been addressed here but more importantly, as already mentioned, the community advisory committee is now being formed.

It's vital that Moreland Council don't waste this opportunity to establish a solid, supportive and comprehensive foundation for urban agriculture and local food for our future. We want to make sure council keeps moving.

Here's how you can help:

1. Put your name down to be on the advisory committee by June 4th (details here)

2. Email, call or meet your Moreland councillors.
Those for your ward or all of them - their email addresses are below. Not sure which ward you are in? you can check here and find their numbers.

Tell them your local food story, why you want more food grown in Moreland and why you support a ‘Moreland Urban Agriculture and Food Production Strategy’. Ask them what Council's position is, what they think, what the council's plans are.

Every contact counts. Please take a few minutes to support this, regardless of whether or not you live in Moreland.

This is Council's opportunity to:
  • State that local food growing can improve our health, reduce our carbon emissions, connect our community, create jobs and stimulate our local economy.
  • Provide a clear vision for local food growing and explain how they will help us to get from where we are now to where we want to be.
  • Fund a role that will own this at council and support community-led programs to increase local food production and composting and work across council departments to help get things done.
With your help we have the opportunity to provide input into a strategy that can really support local food and urban agriculture initiatives.



Sunday, May 10, 2015

Yarra Council budget betrayal cuts Urban Agriculture support (AGAIN!) Demand it back! Send an email by Wed 13th May (please share this)

"Time and again I talk to people who cite the progressive approach Yarra Council took in 2012 appointing a dedicated urban agriculture facilitator. They did what every council needs to do - established a dedicated resource to make it easier to grow more food in the city. They made it somebody's job to help and ended the urban-ag hand-balling that happens in councils everywhere. Yarra has managed to get so much done since putting this role in place. 
It was thanks to the hard work of lots of local food people in Yarra that this ever happened and they've had to fight hard to keep it. They and their council established a beacon for the rest of us.
Sadly, Yarra Council's draft budget has provisionally cut the funding for this position."

Sounds familiar right? Only a year ago Yarra threatened to remove funding for their urban ag facilitator. Following a record number of community submissions and petitions protesting against the cuts, the funding was re-instated into the final budget.

Funding dumped again

Yarra Council has once again dumped its widely recognised Urban Agriculture Program from their draft budget.

Current funding ($100,000 in total) for the Urban Agriculture Officer’s position and approximately $50,000 for public gardening projects have been cut, ending Council’s widely lauded support for residents wanting to green their streets and laneways, and set up innovative forms of community gardens. The operating expenditure budget is listed as $158.7 million.

What can you do?

If you oppose these cuts please email Council by next Wednesday May 13th to demand the program be refunded (see contact details below). We have it on good authority that if we can secure a vote to retain the Program we should not have to re-visit this same situation again.

To make this happen though your urgent support is needed to demand that Council reinstate the Urban Agriculture funding into their final budget. 

If we are to save Urban Agriculture in Yarra it is vital to provide your feedback to Council:

What can you say?

The following are some arguments you may wish to use in your comments to Council:
  • The budget cut betrays previous commitments to the Yarra community that Council would promote urban agriculture and support residents to develop gardens in public spaces:
The Council Plan (2013-2017) highlights the importance of Urban Agriculture and encourages a focus on it for the next four years.
The Yarra Environment Strategy (2013-2017) includes the implementation of an Urban Agriculture Strategy.  
Council’s Urban Agriculture Strategy was endorsed by Councillors only last December after a community consultation. Axing the officer’s position effectively abandons any strategy implementation. 
  • That the cuts will jeopardise Yarra Council’s recognised role as a leader in Urban Agriculture. 
  • There is widespread community desire for urban agriculture and an expectation that Yarra Council will support residents to be involved with initiatives on public land. 
  • The ability of residents to grow fresh and nutritious food in public spaces in times of increasing food prices is both a health and social justice issue. 
  • Many residents don’t have space for private gardens, and their only alternative is to grow food on public gardens on roads or laneways.  
  • Local food growing reduces food-miles, helps avoid over-consumption and encourages composting and less organic waste to landfill.
  • Growing food in street planter boxes, community gardens or gardens in laneways promotes social contact between neighbours, encourages the sharing of gardening skills and educates urban children where food comes from.   
  • Growing local food will help our city become more sustainable and liveable. 
  • That gardening is great exercise and Council should promote it for health reasons – its also good fun. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Celebrate International Permaculture Day at CERES and watch "Fair Food" Sun 3rd May

International Permaculture Day, in the Year of SOIL
Sunday 3rd May 2015, 12pm to 8.30pm
at Ceres Environment Park

Presented by: Permaculture North Central Victoria

‘A Celebration Connecting the Many Facets of a Permanent Culture’

with Soil Health Key to All…from the home garden, community space and small acreage farm to the management of crown land, large farm and broad acre property.

Speakers: Costa Georgiadis, Darren J. Doherty (aka Regrarians) and many others
MC: Lisa Heenan

+ A Special Screening of "Fair Food"- The Documentary - Featuring Costa Georgiadis, Colin Seis and other equally impressive Innovative Food Producers

Fair Food - The Trailer from The Field Institute on Vimeo.

12.00 - 12.30pm An Introduction to Permanent Culture: Presenter EOI Invited
12.30 - 1.00 pm Community Gardens - ***COSTA Georgiadis***
1.30 - 2.30pm Soil - it all begins here - Lyn Kelson
2.30 - 3.30pm Food Forests in the back & front yards & beyond - Angelo Eliades
3.30 - 4.30pm Broad Acre Regeneration - Darren Doherty
4.30 - 5.00pm Fair Food Buying Options - Kirsten Larsen and Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) Nick Rose

EVENING PROGRAM:5.00 - 5.30pm - meet, greet and eat - light refreshments available.
6.30pm - 7.30pm - Screening: Fair Food
7.30pm - 8.30pm - Panel Discussion and Q&A

Q&A Panel: 
Dr. Nick Rose - Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA)
Darren J. Doherty - Regrarians
Tammi Jonas - Jonai farms & President AFSA
Lyn Kelson - The Green Cocky
Kirsten Larsen - Open Food Network
Angelo Eliades - Deep Green Permaculture

Booking for the Fair Food screening:

+ A NOTE DONATION would be appreciated +

To find out more:
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