- Arts and Social Hub
- EcoHouse Project
- Family Activities
- Gio's Nest-box Forum
- Port Phillip Baykeeper
- Tawny Frogmouth sightings
- Affiliated Groups
Port Phillip Urban Fresh Food Network (PPUFFN) News
To subscribe to PPUFFN's monthly E-Newsletter, please fill in your details here
Call for expressions of interetest in PPUFFN Steering Group
Port Phillip Urban Food Network (PPUFFN) connects people throughout Port Phillip who want to grow, access, cook, save and share affordable fresh food.
From edible balconies to food and garden swaps; from community kitchens to community gardens, PPUFFN represents a wide range of interests across the food spectrum.
The EcoCentre is looking for [further] inviduals to sit on the PPUFFN Steering Committee and help guide Network's priorities and focus over the coming 12 months.
If you're interested in community food initatives and/or food security within the City of Port Phillip and would like to make a constructive contribution to the Network, please contact Bede Doherty: firstname.lastname@example.org
Melbourne's urban fringe-housing vs food?
posted 1 June 2012
During a 'small footprint' tour of South Melbourne Market, I learned that 90 per cent of Australia's asparagus is grown in Koo Wee Rup in the peri-urban agricultural region of Casey. This picture is set to change if plans come into effect to extend suburban Melbourne to existing vegetable growing areas.
Part of the "Bunyip Food Bowl", Casey accounts for one quarter of Melbourne's vegetables and the bulk of its spinach, celery, leeks, spring onions and herbs, includng parsley and basil. Like its market gardening counterpart on the Western fringe of Melbourne, Werribee, this area is facing mounting pressure from development.
Casey Council believes that these sandy loam soils in Melbourne's south east should be protected for food-not allocated to housing.The Council, in fact, wants to strengthen the role of agriculture in the region and see Clyde's vegetable growing area excluded from Melbourne's urban growth boundary, which the State Government is seeking to realign.
As peri-urban farmland is being eclipsed by the spread of new suburbs on Melbourne's outer fringe, food security advocates, water authorities, local government bodies and urban planners are demanding a re-think of this trend.
Planning expert Michael Buxton, quoted in The Age in May, neatly sums up the risks of relinquishing productive farmland to suburban sprawl.
"We've already built over the best soils in this state — the soils around Melbourne. Why would you keep building over it and subdividing it when in the next 50 years we're facing an era of incredible uncertainty and major changes to climate, to fuel supplies and to energy markets?"
Planning for local food systems is a critical tenet of safeguarding food security. The concept of evolving modern cities that can feed people relies on the preservation of farmland close to markets and transport.
The alternative is a food system where farmers are driven ever further from markets only to become more reliant on expensive, unreliable irrigation and long-haul transport. "This is the 19th century unbounded-continent thinking, which is unfortunately still endemic in some of our government departments," says Michael Buxton, also quoted in the Age.
Read an in depth report on this topical issue, including the sometimes surprising perspectives of farmers who are capitalising on high market prices for their land; selling up and moving on.
In response to these types of land use issues, the EcoCentre has formed an urban design working group. For more info and meeting dates, contact David Rayson at email@example.com
Community gardening - taking it to the streets
posted 14 April 2012
A street-side garden behind the Alma Road Community House (ARCH), has filled a gap in East St Kilda - both literally and figuratively.
The new trio of beds have been snugly installed on a perimeter garden strip at Te-Arai Reserve; displacing little but East St Kilda's status as the Port Phillip suburb arguably most in need of a new community garden.
Planned from the outset as a true neighbourhood garden, the instigators of the project - Port Phillip community group - aptly launched the garden at this year's ARCH Park Party. Imagine a picnic in the park with friends, writ large!
And when I say launched, I mean launched. A core group of neighbours, most of whom had only met for the first time weeks before at garden consultation meetings, dusted off their blundstones and installed, filled, plumbed and planted the beds to 'wicking' design specifications that very day..from whoa to go.
The EcoCentre complemented the crew with additional brawn and brain power.
For a step by step pictorial on how to install raised wicking beds, contact paula: firstname.lastname@example.org
Veggie Growers Competition draws out the best
posted 20 February 2012
'Top honours' in the inaugural PPUFFN veggie growers competition all went to community gardeners, with winners hailing from Park Towers,South Melbourne, Dig In, Port Melbourne, and Port Phillip EcoCentre, St Kilda.
Anna from Park Towers community garden (pictured far left) aroused some interesting taste bud sensations with her Russian spinach, which was nominated the most unusual food plant in the competition. An avid seed saver, she explained that this leafy green (not the same as sorrell, if you're wondering), makes a great soup.
The most hotly contested category of the day was 'best tasting tomato'. The 10 entries resulted in a draw, and even after a second round of votes, it was a very close margin for the award, which went to a 'Tommy toe' tomato grown by Ecocentre garden volunteers. As you'll see from the winning specimen (that's if you can spot it..) size really doesn't matter after all!
Both the healthiest and biggest veg categories were taken out by a long-standing gardener at Dig In, John B, who impressed everyone with his all-out efforts to walk away a winner. John also managed to win the raffle, drawn by our generous host from SKYS, and was last seen heading to Circa, The Prince, to claim his prize!
South Melbourne Commons launched
posted 13 December 2011
Click here to seen an Animoto of the South Melbourne Commons Launch
“Thank God for Friends of the Earth being as resilient as nature itself”, Father Bob Maguire concluded on 10 Dec, at the proud launch of the unique urban development that is the South Melbourne Commons.
He was referring to the journey shared by F.O.E and the Fr Bob Maguire Foundation in developing the Commons, from the very early days when Friends of the Earth put forward a vision for converting the old parish primary school from an empty shell, to a neighbourhood hub comprised of public open space and social enterprises.
Announcing his gratitude and pride in the completed project, FOE’s Dave West described some of the Commons food related enterprises, including the Commons cafe, which extends out amongst permaculture food gardens, from where some of the menu produce is sourced.
Then there’s ‘The Pantry’ – a community run, sustainable alternative to the supermarket, where locals can cater to their needs affordably. Of special note, this enterprise aims to provide the wider community access to healthy food and embraces a model where members are encouraged to volunteer at the Commons to receive credit towards their purchases. Being cooperatively run, anyone can enjoy a discount by becoming a financial member of volunteering.
Linking in with a more traditional approach to food security, the Commons also provides support for the Father Bob Maguire Foundation’s program providing emergency food relief to the most disadvantaged members of the community. Wrapping up the launch speeches, Fr Bob unsurprisingly had the last word...which was directed to the crowd which filled up the heritage listed hall: "The property is now in your safekeeping”. Ho to that!
posted 22 October 2011
'Convivial Kitchen' formed in St Kilda
Get out your rolling pins, sieve cloths and presses!
'Convivial Kitchen' is a newly formed group, established under the Transition Towns banner, aimed at learning how to make pantry basics using time honoured techniques and comradely instruction.
Sourdough bread, cheese and preserves are all to be tackled - as are more exotic foodie items, if the inclination so arises!.
Think fruit liquers, sauerkraut, nut butters, pesto, cider and tonics. Any ideas welcome!
The recipe couldn't be simpler: Each week, a different group member will have an opportunity to demonstrate how to prepare a particular food and coach others in preparing it themselves.
Sessions will take place at the Port Phillip EcoCentre Kitchen; fortnightly Wednesdays, from 7pm to 8.30pm.
Fittingly, the group started its first session in late October by honing in on sourdough bread and methods for the making a dough 'starter'
The idea is or people to try their hand at making their own 'starter', then bring it along to the next session to compare results, both before and after baking.
Chooks + the City
(and other snippets from Port Phillip community gardens)
posted 19 August 2011
Dig In Community Garden has welcomed its first resident animals into the garden: Three look-alike Isa Browns, who have yet to be named as they can't be told apart. The chooks have settled in well to their new digs and become rather fond of climbing on the back of one of their keepers!. Their table manners, however, leave much to be desired.
Mary & Basil Organic Community Garden, picture above, are progressing their garden installation in Albert Park. Rain tanks have been filling up; raised beds built; pergola completed and working bees co-ordinated for August.The garden has elected to a be a trial site for the Port Phillip Community Compost Project. (The other trial site is Dawkins Reserve,Elwood).
St Kilda community garden stalwart, Veg Out, has been the subject of a "Fringe TV" short video. Capturing interviews, special events and the kind of regular fun and mayhem that make Veg Out so loved by the community, check out the video on YouTube.
At the south Melbourne Commons, the garden team, with help from over 100 volunteers, have finished constructing over 60 metres of garden beds using earthbag techniques. Current volunteer opportunities include learning about drip irrigation set-up, laying pavers, helping propagate seedlings and helping progress plans for the food co-op. Contact email@example.com/0403 440 996.
Simply Living Community garden in Port Melbourne is continuing its social, Open Garden Wednesdays throughout August and September, between 1pm-3pm. Don’t forget there’s a community composting station at this garden!
Poets Garden, at the rear of the St Kilda Elwood Neighbourhood Learning Centre, is also under construction. Anyone interested in joining Poets Garden can email firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively, request membership to the Groupsite. There is currently a short waiting list for individual plots.
Community composting debuts in Elwood
posted 13 July 2011
Matching Sydney in a creative approach to community composting, Elwood community composting is here!. Read about the launch
PPUFFN co-hosts a 'Kitchen Symphony'
posted 25 May 2011
May's 'Kitchen Symphony' event, hosted by PPUFFN and Transition Town Port Phillip, proved to be a culinary 'tour de force'. The carefully crafted menu saw participants get together to prepare a banquet of affordable vegetarian delights: Tibetan Pie; a raw-food biriani and pomegranate chutney; felafels; Moroccan casserole; battered eggplant in Aussie seeds and pumpkin pie. For recipes and costings, e-mail paula: email@example.com.
Fair Food debuts in Port Phillip
posted 22 March 2011
An organic, fair food delivery service which is setting out to create a healthier and happier food system has debuted in Port Phillip, with host outlets in St Kilda, Albert Park and Ripponlea.
One of the outlets is the Port Phillip EcoCentre. Jane, a fair food box recipient, signed up for the EcoCentre’s Wednesday evening collection after investigating what this fairly new distribution network was all about. “I like that its about strengthening supply networks,” she says, adding “and you can order extra goodies too, like fair trade chocolate!”
Operated by CERES in Melbourne’s North, the purchasing and distribution method behind these food boxes utilises significant buying power to support sustainable agriculture, small farm families and strong local economies. On their website, CERES declare: “We are farmers ourselves and know in the long term the only way everybody wins is if we commit to supplying and buying consistently and setting fair prices for farmer and retailer”
This buying power also means that healthy and tasty organic grub is supplied as affordably as possible. Members can choose from eight different fruit & veg box sizes, plus they can order other ‘extras’ such as organic bread, milk, honey and dry goods. Orders are placed on-line and there is no joining fee.
Produce is sourced from inner city market gardens, backyard growers and other Victorian producers, as well as organic wholesalers. Information on producers is available to members and food miles carefully accounted for. There are even future plans for farm tours.
All this is part of a bid to reconnect the community with where their food comes from. Says Ceres: “Since the start of the industrial age people have become increasingly disconnected from the land, the source of their food and the natural systems that support its production... as supermarket and convenience shopping replaces our local butchers, bakers, milkmen and fruit & veg stores.”
Food hosts are another part of what makes this system unique. Hosts provide a contact point to meet like-minded people in the neighbourhood when your food box is collected.
Community Composting Pilot planned
posted 28 Feb 2011
Above: Aerobin at a community composting trial station in Sydney
A plan by a group of Elwood residents to introduce community composting to Port Phillip on a broad scale - neighbourhood by neighbourhood - is about to be brought a step closer to fruition.
The group plans to launch a neighbourhood composting trial in Elwood; comprising up to 3 initial trial sites, each in locations that are accessible to the public 24/7 and in convenient walking distance from residences. This is in line with recent e-mail survey results indicating that people would consider taking food scraps to a local collection hub provided it was close (within 5 minute walk) and easy to access.
During a recent PPUFFN Forum presentation, it was reported that the Elwood Canal is one of the proposed pilot locations.
Provision of composting facilities are particularly relevant in Port Phillip, given the high population and predominance of apartment style dwellings.
The group has stressed that dedicated community teams would need to be assembled to manage the composting process at each of the trial sites, with "key composters" monitoring the contents, mix and health of the compost bins, once installed.
The Aerobin has been flagged as the preferred compost management system.
The next stage of the project will involve securing funding (in progress), developing operating procedures, installing facilities and instructions and monitoring and adjusting the sites.
To register your interest in getting involved in a trial site, contact Alex, Dane, Debbie and Sharon firstname.lastname@example.org.
Park Towers Community garden debuts in Open Garden Scheme
posted 12 Feb 2011
Photo gallery from the Park Towers Community Garden Open Day
Above left: a story board depicting Park Towers community gardener Jason, whose zen like garden plot (pictured above right) is not only edible, but beautifully arranged, with habitat value to boot!. The small space incorporates a water feature complete with gold fish. Jason's garden is inspired by the natural landscape, which is evident in his artful design.
Above left: Gardener Houda's story board tells how she once grew a pumpkin in her home country of Lebanon that was so large, it took 4 men to carry it! Above right: Houda displays a cucumber from this year's bountiful crop - at last count seventeen fruit!
The Park Towers Community Garden, established in 2008, is managed by Cultivating Community
St Kilda community kitchen wins Civic Project of the Year
posted 24 December 2010
The St Kilda Community Kitchen, a social group which meets weekly within a St Kilda public housing facilitiy to prepare a meal that's shared together, farewelled 2010 by taking out the City of Port Phillip's Civic project of the year award in December.
The project provides an affordable, mainstream social event that encourages engagement and interaction, whilst breaking down stigma surrounding public housing
The Civic awards recognise the contribution of Port Phillip volunteers, who were described by Mayor Frank O'Connor as "part of the glue that binds Port Phillip together." Weekly sessions at this kitchen are facilitated by local volunteer Kieran Joseph, who supports participants to make the most of the communal cooking and dining experience.
The kitchen is run on supplies of surplus, fresh food which are ‘rescued’ from South Melbourne market and redistributed by Second Bite. This supply channel is pivotal to keeping the project truly affordable to participants -so affordable, in fact, that dinners are free and open to anyone.
Community development worker Josh Morshead, from the Port Phillip Community Group which co-ordinates the project, said the dinners attract people from a range of backgrounds and are helping to bridge the gap between rich and poor.
It's not surprising that participant numbers have swelled to a regular gathering of around fifteen people, from both within and outside of the public housing facility.
Sessions are held weekly Mondays, 6.30pm, in the community room of 114 Inkerman Street. Contact: Josh 0437 006 420
Sustainable Table cookbook launched
posted 15 December 2010
Port Melbourne based environmental group Yaubula have proudly launched 'The Sustainable Table' cookbook at the Botanical restaurant in South Yarra. The book features contributions from restauranteurs, gardeners, winemakers, producers and others who shop locally, eat seasonally, purchase ethically and make backyard spaces productive. To watch a video on a behind-the- scenes look at the book's production, and the background issues that inspired it, follow this link. PPUFFN has one copy of this gorgeous book to give away to the first reader to respond correctly to these questions (answers can be found on this PPUFFN News web page)
- Where is food sourced for the St Kilda Community Kitchen, winner of the City of Port Phillip's civic project of 2010?
- Which group runs the project?
E-mail answers to: email@example.com, along with contact details.
New community garden for Albert Park
posted 29 November, 2010
The green light has been given by City of Port Phillip to establish a community garden at the Mary Kehoe community centre in Danks Street, Albert Park. It's delightful news for a group of Albert Park and Middle Park residents who approached Council in mid 2009 about the prospect of developing a garden at this location, which has around 320 square metres of land at the rear.
Once established, it will be the first significant community garden to emerge in the Albert Park/Middle Park district. The closest neighbouring community garden is at the South Melbourne Commons/Parish of St Peter and St Paul-which is currently under construction.
Around 30 people have expressed interest to council in having a plot or being involved in the space, and an architect has now been engaged to consult with the community on the design process. If you would like to know more, please contact Sarah Wetherald on 9209 6210.
The Elwood St Kilda Neighbourhood learning centre in Tennyson Street, Elwood, is also getting a serious 'look-in' as a potential community garden site. Community consultations will be conducted on site at 85-87 Tennyson Street, between 5-6.3pm on Thursday 3 December and 1-3pm on Sunday 5 December. More information and link to on-line discussion can be found here.
The Danks Street and Tennyson Street sites are among fourteen locations flagged by Council as having potential for developing community gardens.
World Food Day captivates taste buds and minds
21 October 2010
"Green Foodies" converged upon the EcoCentre for PPUFFN's major event of the year: World Food Day at the EcoCentre on Saturday 16 October.
Despite stormy weather threatening to hamper organisers' best-laid plans, the Festival was in full swing right from the initial Welcome to Country by Boonwurrung elder and Indigenous restauranteur Carolyn Briggs, who captivated a full house with her story telling around food, land and connections. A series of talks by food advocates, covering fair trade, GM agriculture, ethical eating, food waste and the role of social enterprise in community food systems, complemented the scene set by Carolyn
Simultaneously, back-to-back food demonstrations were held in a nearby commercial kitchen, with unusual cuisines, such as Korean, getting a showing. Local traders, community food projects and caterers displayed their best stove-top techniques and local social enterprises such as Lentil as Anything and St Kilda Youth Service HEAT program contributed as well. Russian pancakes; Sezechuan chicken; scrambled tofu; home made pasta; souvlaki; fried polenta and Persian rice were amongst the raft of recipes generously demonstrated by participants.
As promised, the EcoCentre's Gathering Community Choir put on a performance to entertain the crowd, the EcoCentre kitchen fed the multitudes, organic food hampers were swapped, gourmet door prizes were won, food quiz questions were pondered and a great time was had by all.
Swinburne University community development students, who, along with local not-for-profit organisation Yaubula, helped arrange the day, were thrilled with the outcome.
Port Phillip residents vote for growing more food
posted 29 August 2010
Election weekend saw food gardening and growing get the thumbs up by punters in Port Phillip.
In St Kilda, the EcoCentre catered to many regulars and newcomers alike at the Eat Your Balcony 2 event. The day succeeded in living up to its practical agenda:
Adam from VEG mixed it up indoors and out by foraging for edible weeds, which were put to good use in a power-packed green smoothie. Elspeth put paid to a few pests with her armory of organic sprays and potions; containers of various shapes and sizes got the wicking treatment by Paula and Anna; Natalie delved into the secret life of worms; Paul produced a sample of his home grown mushrooms (yes, they can be tricky to grow but taste one raw and you'll make the effort!) and David, a.k.a "master sprout", impressed us all with his collection of indoor-grown sprouts, eliciting the comment "you must be the healthiest person in Melbourne".
Here is a sample of the feedback provided on the event:
"Thank you for the wonderful event yesterday! I really enjoyed it and felt empowered that with some creative thinking, urban-living can be greener, healthier and more playful." - Akina
And in a suburb not far away, the South Melbourne Commons garden team was out in force showing the public how to prepare and plant out a vegetable garden bed at the site's first mini blitz. The team prepared the beds by digging in manure and compost, and after one of their famous BBQ lunches, got back to work and planted out the beds with seedlings, grape vine cuttings and seeds that had been brought along. Finally, Angelo demonstrated several fruit tree grafting techniques, as the crew grafted fruiting cherry onto an existing flowering cherry tree.
The election day miniblitz was the first of many future opportunities for the public to get involved in building and constructing the Commons gardens.
Council survey reveals overwhelming support for
posted 29 August 2010
Results have been compiled from a telephone survey of 380 Port Phillip residents, indicating overwhelming support for community gardens in local neighbourhoods
Here are some of the key findings from the research survey, commissioned by City of Port Phillip in order to determine the current demand for community gardens.
-Demand for community gardens is strongest in St Kilda East, St Kilda and St Kilda Road.
40 per cent of respondents in these areas said they would be interested in applying for a plot if one became available. 17 per cent reported that they would definitely apply.
-According to the survey, the preferred suburb in which to locate a new community garden is Port Melbourne; a popular choice with its own residents as well as residents from other areas (an interesting result, as actual demand for community garden space in Port Melbourne was surveyed as being lower than in neighbouring suburbs.
-The preferred types of locations for establishing new community gardens are: schools (77 per cent in favour); light rail reserves (72 per cent); front yards in council halls or centres (65 per cent); existing parks (59 per cent); nature strips (46 per cent); vacant or industrial land (12 per cent); other (10 per cent).
Second Bite report exposes increased need for food relief
date of posting: 21 july 2010
Well known food re-distribution agency, SecondBite, has published a report titled "More Hunger More Waste", which exposes an increased need for food from emergency food relief agencies in Melbourne and Hobart in 2009.
The paper provides a snapshot of how SecondBite’s recipient agencies experienced the 2009 period, given the financial crisis, increased rates of unemployment and escalating food prices in these metro-centers.
-Almost 90% of the surveyed agencies agreed that they have experienced an increase in the need for food-related services over the last twelve months. Whilst some estimated that this increase was only ‘slight’, 21.3% said that the need had increased by at least 75 %.
-More than half of the agencies are interested in nutrition information for their staff and volunteers and education on cooking skills to improve their meal and food programs. Currently, however, very few organisations operate to provide such skills.
-Beyond the importance of redistributed food for health and environmental benefits, food relief agencies also suggest that food can be an excellent method of socially engaging their otherwise, often-isolated clients.
-Australians throw out more than $5 billion worth of food annually, which contributes to organic landfill and methane emissions
Follow this link to read more about the work of Second Bite
'Eat your balcony' draws big crowd
Thankyou to the audience of 55 guests who braved the cold on Saturday 26 June and turned up to PPUFFN's Eat Your Balcony event at the EcoCentre. We hope you left feeling inspired to "grow your own" in whatever space you can.
There's been such a buzz around the topic of gardening in small spaces that we've decided to run a follow up event, Eat Your Balcony Part 2, on Sunday 22 August. This program will be focused entirely on practical demonstrations and ways that people can put ideas from our first Eat Your Balcony session into action.
For full details of this event as they come to hand, visit our events calendar.
Meanwhile, keep reading for a brief run-down on presenters' ideas from Eat Your Balcony (Part 1!)
Elspeth Ferguson talked about the importance of understanding your balcony's microclimate in order to grow plants successfully. And if you want to influence your apartment's body corporate to embrace balcony and rooftop gardens, why not join it?
Presenter John Bench, pictured with a persimmon from his backyard (John's persimmon tree is pictured on the powerpoint slide behind him). John revealed that by spacing plants closely and using techniques such as espaliering, he and wife Margaret were able to fit an amazing number and variety of fruiting plants in their small urban yard.
City of Port Phillip and EcoCentre Project Worker Alicia Hooper convinced us all that container gardens can be as beautiful as they are functional. Alicia suggested expanding our horizons to consider the potential for edible container gardens to be established on city rooftops (after we run out of space on our balconies, of course!)
22 May 2013 - 6:30pmPort Melbourne Town Hall
26 May 2013 - 9:00am
1 June 2013 - 11:30amPort Phillip EcoCentre
2 June 2013 - 9:00am
2 June 2013 - 10:30amAlma Road community garden, Te Arai Avenue, St Kilda East