Kitchen Gardens | FareShare Food Charity

Kitchen Gardens

VOLUNTEERING IS A BREATH OF FRESH AIR FOR MARG

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After a career spent working indoors as a librarian and editor, Marg Wanklyn decided it was time to head outdoors.

She now volunteers at our Abbotsford kitchen garden where she co-supervises the Wednesday morning shift. While Marg grows vegetables alongside Victoria Park station, husband and fellow FareShare volunteer Russell prepares them in our kitchen.

Marg on harvesting duty at our Abbotsford kitchen garden

When Marg was photographed this week, it was a perfect autumn day. “Where else would you rather be?” she asks. “On a sunny day outside, with a good group of people – doing something really worthwhile.”

But the weather isn’t always kind to our volunteers. Marg notes that our gardeners are hardy folk who are happy to put their backs into the work whatever the weather. Today’s tasks include harvesting capsicum and eggplants, and planting carrot, celery and leek seedlings.

Marg appreciates the team spirit shown by her colleagues and their compatible, cohesive, and self-directed approach. With a few volunteers also working in the kitchen, the crew fully understands the value of homegrown veg to our meals.

A home gardener and potterer, Marg has increased her knowledge immensely. At FareShare she has learned about composting, soil microbes, propagation techniques and crop rotation. All this has been applied to her own garden with excellent results.

Thanks to Marg, and all 180 of our garden volunteers, who helped us grow 38 tonnes of fresh vegetables last year at Abbotsford, Moorabbin Airport and on the Baguley family farm.

FARESHARE GUIDE TO GROWING VEG IN MELBOURNE

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Zucchini flourishing in Melbourne

Interested in growing food in Melbourne? The FareShare garden manual could be just the tool you need.

FareShare’s kitchen garden program has shared its experiences of urban food production at its three Melbourne garden locations – Abbotsford, Moorabbin Airport and Clayton South.

The 74-page manual covers everything from crops grown and yield, to soil, composting, integrated pest management, crop rotation and companion planting.

You can download the publication here.

UNVEILING THE SECRETS OF URBAN FARMING

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FareShare will conduct tours of the Baguley farm on 28 October where we have grown 21 tonnes of vegetables to feed Victorians in crisis.

Urban veggie farming on the Baguley farm.

The large plot in Clayton South, generously provided by local flower and herb grower Les Baguley, has proved a productive oasis.

All veggies grown by FareShare are used to add nutrition to our meals. Over the past 12 months, the kitchen garden has yielded more than eight  tonnes of zucchini, five tonnes of pumpkin and four tonnes of carrots.

FareShare will conduct tours of the farm which boasts Les’ famous tropical house, a lavender project and orchard, as well as our own kitchen garden and other plots run by community groups.

The free tours will commence at 10 am, 11am,  12pm, 1pm and 2pm on Saturday, October 28. Booking essential. See here for details. Continue reading

OPEN GARDEN SHARES ADVICE ON GROWING URBAN VEGGIES

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Big things are happening underground at FareShare Kitchen Garden, Abbotsford and we’ll be opening our gates to the community on Saturday, October 14 for an insight into urban food production.

FareShare volunteers harvest carrots grown on a former waste ground at Victoria Park

Come and explore the garden and learn how FareShare is utilising small plots of urban land to grow vegetables for our nutritious meals.

Hear from gardening experts and volunteers on everything you need to know about growing food in Melbourne. Topics include edible plants, urban agriculture, bee keeping, worm farming, composting and spring gardening.

Pippa French of 3000 Acres who helped us secure the former waste ground as a kitchen garden, and Chris Williams, from the University of Melbourne’s Burnley horticultural campus, are among the guest speakers.

There will be guided tours, activities for kids and seedlings available by gold coin donation.

Gates open on Lulie St (between Victoria Park station and Victoria Park oval) from 10am to 1pm.

 

FARESHARE BREAKS GROUND WITH RECORD SWEET POTATO HARVEST

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The first harvest of Melbourne’s largest planting of sweet potato commenced today at our Abbotsford kitchen garden.

The cultivation of a global staple, rarely seen in Melbourne gardens, is part of an innovative partnership between FareShare and the Burnley Campus of the University of Melbourne. The bulk of the sweet potatoes have been planted on the Baguley family farm in Clayton South where Les Baguley has generously provided a substantial area for FareShare to grow veggies.

Yes! Volunteer Kit shows sweet potatoes can thrive in Melbourne

Dr Chris Williams’ Novel Crops Project, based at the Burnley Campus, is investigating around 30 new food plants and varieties for Melbourne. Its aim is to broaden crop choice for home and community gardeners, local councils and nurseries with plants such as sweet potato, taro and ginger.

“This is the first time sweet potato has ever been planted on this scale in Melbourne,” said Dr Williams. “Some of the varieties we are trialling at FareShare don’t even have a name yet.”

The Novel Crops Project promotes the concept of “edible landscapes” – attractive gardens that also provide food.

Our five varieties of home-grown sweet potatoes

“The low GI, versatile and easy-to- prepare sweet potato is a welcome ingredient for FareShare’s nutritious meals,” said Kellie Watson, FareShare’s general manager. “It will enable to us better support migrant groups and develop more culturally-appropriate recipes. The sweet potatoes will be used in a variety of FareShare dishes including curries and soups.”

The sweet potato plants were propagated by urban horticulture students from Burnley and by refugees and migrants doing English language courses at the Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre (CNLC). The CNLC students also received basic horticultural training at Burnley focused on food plants. As a result, 1000 tubes of five different sweet potato varieties were given to FareShare last December. Continue reading

FARESHARE KITCHEN GARDENS REAP NEARLY 20 TONNES OF VEG

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The exciting program to grow our own veggies is delivering in spades. Less than a year after we sowed the first seeds, our three kitchen gardens are making a meaningful contribution to our meals.

“So far this year we have managed to grow 36 per cent of the veggies we need for our meals,” said FareShare general manager Kellie Watson. “At times we’ve even been able to share our homegrown vegetables with other food rescue agencies.  The extra veg has helped us redistribute around 40 tonnes of rescued veg to charities. A fantastic result for the community!

“Before we started, we experienced whole months of severe veg shortages, slowing production and cutting the nutritional value of our meals. We now have a great insurance policy to tackle the inevitable shortfalls.”

Volunteers Linda and Russell prepare the beds for our winter veg

Thanks to more than 100 garden volunteers led by garden manager Susie Scott, our kitchen gardens at Abbotsford, Moorabbin Airport and the Baguley family farm in Clayton South have harvested nearly 10 tonnes of zucchini, four tonnes of carrots, and more than two tonnes of pumpkin. The generous provision of land on the Baguley farm has facilitated the bulk of our harvest.

There are significant crops to come including a trial planting of sweet potatoes. Our second rotation of root crops including turnip, carrot and parsnip is now going in.

Our first garden in Abbotsford, supported by RACV,  was recently featured on Gardening Australia. Watch segment here.

A DATE WITH GARDENING AUSTRALIA

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FareShare Kitchen Garden, Abbotsford made its television debut on March 11 on ABC TV’s Gardening Australia.

Presenter Jane Edmanson visited  our first garden back in September last year as we were pulling up carrots. Garden

Jane Edmanson inspects our home grown carrots

manager Susie showed Jane around the 70 beds alongside Victoria Park railway station and explained our strategy to plug gaps in our supply of rescued veg, with a focus on root crops such as carrot and turnip.

The ABC film crew then followed our garden ute back to the kitchen to see how we are incorporating the home-grown veg in our meals for people in need.

No story about FareShare is complete without cooking so general ops manager Kellie Watson led Jane on a tour of the kitchen where our chefs and volunteers served up veggie pasta and lamb casserole using ingredients harvested in the garden.

The kitchen garden, supported by RACV, was established in January 2016 on a waste ground between the train tracks and Victoria Park oval. Since then it has produced 3.3 tonnes of fresh vegetables including zucchini, carrot, parsnip, turnip, leek, capsicum, eggplant, silverbeet, peas and parsley.

You can see all the action here. Watch out for a number of garden volunteers who have cameo appearances and interviews. Happy viewing.

 

OPEN GARDEN HIGHLIGHTS WASTELAND TO WONDERLAND

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gardenwebFareShare Kitchen Garden, Abbotsford is opening its gates to the public on Friday, 24 February as part of the Urban Agriculture Series for the 2017 Sustainable Living Festival.

The urban veggie garden was created on a strip of wasteland between Victoria Park Railway Station and Victoria Park oval in 2016 to grow vegetables for FareShare.

Less than 12 months later it boasts 70 beds created by volunteers. The garden is currently growing eggplant, zucchini, carrots, silverbeet, capsicum, beans, Jerusalem artichoke and a trial crop of sweet potato varieties.

Visitors will be able to tour the site and learn about growing food in Melbourne. The Backyard Honey beekeeper will also be at the garden to highlight the important role healthy, local bees play in edible gardens.

Discover the world of vermicompost

You can find out how to generate worm castings from Colin Leitch who will be on hand to provide visitors with advice and demonstrations on worm farms and the most suitable system for you. Colin collects around 150 kg of organic waste from cafes in Lorne each week for use as a feedstock in worm farms at the Lorne Community House. He supplies the resulting vermicompost to FareShare as a soil amendment for our garden beds.

There will also be information on composting to help you tackle unavoidable food waste and generate your own “black gold” to feed your plants.

FareShare Kitchen Garden, Abbotsford supported by RACV, is one of three urban sites producing vegetables for FareShare. All food grown at the garden is taken to the FareShare kitchen where it adds vital nutrition to our meals for people in crisis. In January this year the garden produced almost half a tonne of fresh veg.

 

Event details:

Date: Friday, 24 February 2017

Time: 12.30pm to 3.30pm

Address: FareShare Kitchen Garden, Lulie St, Abbotsford

There is no need to book and attendance is free.

NOVEL SWEET POTATO CROP PLANTED AT ABBOTSFORD

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FareShare Kitchen Garden, Abbotsford, will soon be carpeted by a novel crop of sweet potatoes.

The unusual planting of five varieties of sweet potato is part of a collaboration with Burnley Campus (University of Melbourne) and Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre (CNLC) with support from SUSTAIN and the City of Yarra.

Lia de Gruchy, Susie Scott, Chris Williams and Craig Baille prepare to plant

Lia de Gruchy & Chris Williams from Burnley with FareShare garden manager Susie Scott and Craig Baillie from Urban Agronomist.

Sweet potatoes are particularly valued by some migrant communities and charities which FareShare supports with meals. They are robust plants and Burnley’s Dr Chris Williams is confident they will provide excellent ground cover as well as nutritious tubers.

The vegetables, which are not available commercially, were grown by horticulture students at Burnley and CNLC students as part of a University grant to provide horticultural training for propagating culturally-appropriate food.

The Novel Crops Project is exploring the potential of neglected plants for use in domestic, community and public food gardens. The varieties planted in Abbotsford come from PNG, New Zealand and America and should produce their first crop in about three months.

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