Monday, October 31, 2016

2016 Urban Agriculture Forum 20-21 Nov

Cities feeding themselves is an idea that can change the world. An idea whose time has come...
— Dr Nick Rose, Executive Director, Sustain

The 2016 Urban Agriculture Forum on Sun 20 - Mon 21 November at the Burnley campus of the University of Melbourne is bringing together practitioners and policy-makers from across the urban and peri-urban food landscape to build a shared understanding of what urban agriculture is, and the benefits and opportunities it can offer in the Australian context.

It also aims to:
  • Acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of the urban agriculture movement over the past decade (and in some cases before) in Australia, both at the community and local government levels.
  • Share lessons of good and best practice urban agriculture models, as well as failures and successes, from across the globe.
  • Share the results of the research undertaken by Sustain and partner organisations, and reflect on the lessons for future practice and policy development.
  • Identify and discuss the legislative, regulatory and resourcing barriers to the further expansion of urban agriculture in Melbourne and beyond.
  • Develop a common platform and set of proposals to the State government to address the identified barriers.

Go for one or both days, they aim to have different emphases:

Sunday is aimed mainly at the people on the ground making urban ag happen and will provide an chance to hear and talk about the successes, challenges and opportunities.

Monday is aimed at policy and decision makers and influencers from all levels of government, and as well as many local and national figures with expertise, feature a couple of international speakers who bring a different perspective and experience.

If you share our interest in delivering on the promise of urban agriculture then come along, it's open to everyone. Go here for more information or to book your ticket!

See you there!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Palestinian Cooking Workshop with Rasha Tayeh

© Rasha Tayeh. All Rights Reserved. 2016

Inspired by my grandmother’s kitchen, this two-hour workshop will take you on a sensory journey into Palestinian cuisine.

During the workshop we will focus on:
– an introduction to herbal medicine, from selected herbs and spices used in Palestine and the Levant
– cook a delicious 2 course vegetarian lunch & discuss nutritional benefits of seasonal produce
– learn about herbal infusions for good sleep, digestion & immunity

Participants will go home with:
– a jar of their personally crafted herbal infusion
– recipes of the meal shared on the day
– a deeper understanding & curiosity for delicious foods from Palestine

Workshop limited to 12 spaces. So, book early to avoid disappointment!

Vegetarian lunch included – please contact me asap if you have any allergies (vegan options also available on request).

Cost: $65 , to book click here.
When: 10am – 12pm, Saturday 12th November 2016
Where: CERES Community Kitchen, cnr Roberts & Stewart St Brunswick East VIC 3057

If you have any questions, please contact me on

About Rasha Tayeh:

Nutritionist, artist and co-founder of Moreland Food Gardens Network.
From a very young age, I was fascinated by the way we produce and prepare our food. How we grow, harvest, cook and share. And of course, how it makes us feel. Over the years, my curiosity led me to study photography, nutrition, public health and herbalism – developing a holistic approach to my practice.  For more info visit:

Our 6th Birthday Party & End of Year Gathering!

We just turned 6!

To celebrate this milestone we invite you to join us at our end of year gathering:

When: Friday 4th Nov 6:30 - 8:30pm
Where: East Coburg Community House 32 Nicholson Street, East Coburg

Bring a plate to share or some nibbles.

Let's toast to six years of community gardening and collectively making Moreland a greener, more sustainable place to live & love. 

We will also be hearing from Amelia Downie (Melbourne University) about the Burnley Plant Guide database & making this resource more accessible to everyone!

Cheers x


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Kids event at the Jewell Garden, Brunswick, this Sunday

Calling all kids to come and get your hands dirty* at Jewell Garden!

Kids will learn the basics of taking cuttings and will take them home in their own mini greenhouses made from recycled materials - please bring along a plastic soda bottle for re-purposing.
We will also be rolling up our sleeves and getting our hands dirty with clay and compost to make SEED BOMBS. Kids can take part in beautifying their community by dropping their seed bomb anywhere they feel needs some greening!
Laura the face painter will also be there, painting faces for just a gold coin donation! There will also be games! The garden is fully equipped for play: hula hoops, ring toss, chalk and bubbles.
Parents, don't forget that Phase One Coffee is right next to the garden for all your Sunday morning coffee and bagel needs.

When: 23 October at 11:00–13:00
Where: Jewell community garden, rear of 15a Union St, Brunswick
Who: ages 4 to 14.

RSVP here:

*hands might not be the only things to get dirty - Sunday best is not recommended on this occasion.

Urban Ag Forum Open Gardens Day 19th November

In the run up to this year's Urban Agriculture Forum, several community gardening locations are opening up to welcome visitors.

Saxon Street
You find full details on the website but here's who is opening so far:

  • 3000 Acres SAXON STREET GARDEN, Brunswick - 1pm - 3pm
  • CERES ORGANIC FARM, East Brunswick 11am - 3pm
  • FARESHARE GARDEN, Abbotsford - 10am - 1pm

New addition!

  • WEST BRUNSWICK COMMUNITY GARDEN & FOOD FOREST - 10am-4pm (drop by to see a Permablitz in action, no formal tours)

Participate  - Open your garden
All community, school, backyard, rooftop and balcony gardeners, urban and peri-urban farmers are invited to form a part of this day showcasing the rich diversity of gardens, projects and initiatives that exist within the City of Melbourne and form part of our a city-wide Urban Agriculture Open Garden Day

We are looking for ALL gardeners and farmers across Melbourne to get involved and open up their gardens to the public on Saturday 19th November so that anyone and everyone can come and learn about urban agriculture initiatives in their neighbourhood.

Make an event of it!! Tell stories! Serve Tea! Have a bbq! Do some fund raising! It is up to you - but we would really love to hear about it so we can promote it here and via our networks! Gardens can be open for a couple of hours or all day depending on what gardeners, farmers or garden groups can manage.

Register for a chance to will win FOUR x ZEA organic cotton t-shirts for your garden team (each tee transforms 10 kilos of food waste into soil!). Share with your network and friends on Facebook.

If you would like to organise an event at your garden or farm provide a photo and short description of your garden along with the times of your open hours on Saturday 19th of November, as well as your address and contact details. This information will be added to an Urban Agriculture Open Day events page on this website, which will then act as a place for people to plan their experience on the day towards specific interests or locations. Please go here to provide your info.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Whatever happened to Moreland's Urban Agriculture and Food Production Strategy? Why not ask our Council election candidates!

Back in May 2015 some of us thought we were witnessing a local food policy breakthrough in Moreland.

Council were seeking volunteers to join a Community Advisory Committee that would help develop an Urban Agriculture and Food Production Strategy for Moreland by 30 September 2015. Consulting with the community in this way was a key strand in Council’s December 2014 resolution to upgrade from a proposed draft Community Food Growing policy to this broader strategy. This resolution was the result of pressure from community members who wanted Council to strive for something better when it comes to local food growing.

Soon it’ll be 2 years since we first saw the Community Food Growing Policy and started to advocate for something more. Where are we now, how did we get here and what can you do to help get things moving?

So where’s our strategy and what’s happened over those 2 years?

Well, by April of 2015 Council had allocated $30,000 for the development of a draft strategy and engaged consultant. Over the middle of 2015 he worked with a group of 30+ community volunteers who met three times. A great deal of goodwill, time and thought was invested by this group in what was one of the largest community consultations that Moreland Council has undertaken according to Council staff. This consultative approach to developing the strategy reportedly made some within Council nervous.

The output of that advisory group was a "framework", three admirable and worthwhile goals with measurable, observable outcomes and concrete statements of intent designed to guide Council activity.

These goals are, to achieve:
  • A sustainable food system that contributes to a more resilient community and a healthier environment 
  • A just food system that ensures food is socially and economically accessible to everyone in the community 
  • A vibrant food system that protects and nurtures food culture, celebrates diversity and builds community 

Completing a strategy was an ambitious aim for that group given the time they had so it was unsurprising that it didn’t happen. The framework they produced was a good, solid base to work from but there was still the expectation that it would become a strategy. As it stood, it lacked details of who would do what by when to make these outcomes happen.

Fast forward a year and this diminished version of the framework (in lieu of the requested strategy) presented for approval at the August 2016 Council meeting no longer contains any Council commitments. These were removed during the course of the “extensive consultation” after it left the community advisory group. Minutes from the August Council meeting imply that this framework (not a strategy) was the intended outcome. Actions proposed to support the framework (see page 185 of the agenda - careful it’s BIG) are narrowly focused, unambitious and will do little to advance any of the framework’s goals let alone move closer to a substantial strategy.

It’s hard to say why we find ourselves in this situation. Is it a result of accidental, gradual, bureaucratic dilution? Perhaps Council departments are overstretched and doing what they can to avoid being even more overburdened? Maybe there is a concerted effort to squash the local food growing agenda? Regardless, we have no strategy despite the wishes of the community and the Councillors.

Two years on the reasons we gave for growing more food locally and the need for a robust local food production strategy remain. The case for supporting urban agriculture and local food production is stronger than ever and other local Councils are introducing or extending their commitment. On 9 September the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), the statutory peak body for the 79 local governments in the state, endorsed the Urban and Regional Food Declaration

At Moreland Council however, little has changed. Thankfully we still find pockets of support and individuals who will help but there seems to be no executive support or Councillor sponsorship. What activity there is doesn’t address the broader agenda described by the framework. Moreland Council has squandered the community’s goodwill, money, time and effort and is yet to address this need and opportunity.

There were those in the community who warned that, by challenging the proposed community food growing policy, we might end up with nothing. They’ve been right so far but the story isn’t over. In late July 2016 Councillors were approached by the community to help get the strategy back on track and to give it some momentum and oversight. At the August Council meeting they deferred the report and challenged some of the assumptions that are contained in it. Now, more work is being done to progress towards a strategy not framework.

So what can you do?

Well, Council elections are fast approaching (this Saturday, 22nd October). 
Lobby your local councillors! Exercise your democratic muscle.

Follow these four easy steps:
  1. If you don’t know which ward you are in check this map or enter your address details here.
  2. Once you know this, look below for contact details of all the candidates in your ward.
  3. Contact each of them, tell them you care about this and ask them what they will do.
  4. Whether they respond or not, spread the word! 
If you're wondering what to say, you could try something along these lines (use your own words and add personal experience to it to give it more impact):

I’m a Moreland voter and I’m getting in touch to find out where you stand on something before I vote at the council elections this weekend. 
It’s really important to me and lots of other people in the Moreland community that our food system should:
  • contribute to a more resilient community and a healthier environment, 
  • ensure food is socially and economically accessible to everyone in the community, and 
  • protect and nurture our food culture, celebrate our diversity and build our community. 
Food is a really important part of Moreland’s identity and I want our food system to help make people healthier, provide jobs, connect people, build capacity and resilience in our community and lots of other things. Council needs to help make this happen.
So here are my questions for you:

  1. If you are elected, what will you do to support the development of a vibrant, just and sustainable local food system for Moreland?
  1. How will you progress the continued development and implementation of Moreland’s Food System Strategy, and support the Social Development unit to undertake this work through the budgeting process?
Thanks in advance for getting back to me. I’ll share your response with all my friends and family help and spread the word for you!

Go on. You've got nothing to lose and a decent Urban Ag strategy for Moreland to gain!

Cantact details:

North-East Ward (4 vacancies)
Afshan Mian:
Ali Irfanli:
Paul Failla:
George Georgiou:
Darcey Kelleher:
Anthony Helou:
Natalie Abboud:
Annalivia Carli Hannan:
Danny Michell:
Adam Pulford:
Helen Pavlidis:
Francesco Timpano:
Gordon Gartside:
Sue Bolton:
Katerina Angelopoulos:
Alex McGilvray:
David Nunns:
Antonio Bonifazio:
Imogen Jubb:

North-West Ward (4 vacancies)
Raju Shakya:
Mark O'Brien: Mobile: 0422 561 320
John Kavanagh:
Alesio Mulipola:
Shaun Minehan:
Oscar Yildiz:
Alice Pryor:
Tony Astuto: Mobile: 0470 297 665
Mohamad Elmustapha:
Helen Davidson: Mobile: 0455 907 209
Rosie Collins:
Milad El-Halabi:
Dale Martin:

South Ward (3 vacancies)Ray Pastoors:
Chris Hansen:
David O'Brien:
Lambros Tapinos:
Dean O'Callaghan:
Joe Caputo:
Jess Dorney:
Kelly Maree Smith:
Samantha Ratnam:
Mel Yuan:
Mark Riley:
Meghan Hopper:

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Flower & Garden Market at Barkly Square

Barkly Square in Brunswick is ‘going green’ this October with a celebration of the botanical variety at the Flower & Garden Market.

When: Sunday 9 October, 10am – 3pm
Where: The Laneway

The day is jam packed with awesome events, including workshops by...

Plant Doctor
When: 11am – 11.30am & 2.30pm – 3.00pm
Are your plants looking a bit tired? Book sick and neglected plants in for a check-up, diagnosis and treatment plan with Barkly’s very own plant doctor, Ben Taylor, Ceres horticulturalist.

Limited spots available, book now.

Seedling Swap
When: 12.30pm – 1.15pm
Are you a budding gardener? Share and swap prized Heirloom seeds with your neighbours at our seedling swap. No bookings required.

Propagation Masterclass
When: 10.30am – 11.00am & 1.30pm – 2.00pm
You can learn all about planting, potting and caring for plants with our propagation masterclasses. Book on the day. Limited spaces.

When: 10.30am – 11.00am & 1.30pm – 2.00pm
A version of the propagation masterclass for the little ones! Book on the day. Limited spaces.

Terrarium Workshops
When: 10.00am – 10.30am, 12.00pm – 12.30pm & 1.45pm – 2.15pm
Master the art of terrarium making with the creative team from Home-Work. Book on the day. Limited spaces.

Pot Painting Classes
When: 11.00am – 11.30am, 1.00pm – 1.30pm & 2.30pm – 3.00pm
Embrace your inner-creative with pot painting classes from the colourful creative team at Home-Work. Book on the day. Limited spaces.

Spring Rhythm Masterclass
When: 11.45am – 12.30pm & 1.30pm – 2.15pm
Nutritionist & artist, Rasha Tayeh will be hosting a “Spring Rhythm” masterclass which will give ideas on how to restore, balance and renew energy with medicinal herbs and seasonal produce from the pantry and garden.

Book on the day. Limited spaces.

Flower Stall
When: 10.00am – 3.00pm
Treat yourself (or a special someone) and pick up a beautiful bouquet from Gangemi’s pop-up flower stall.

And last but not least, sample some of the finest produce from our fresh food retailers and kick back to some cool tunes from our local musicians. 

See you at the Flower & Garden Market!
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