Using permaculture ethics & design principles to transform an old energy guzzling bungalow into a showcase of sustainable design. It's about energy cycling, building community, self-reliance,creatively using & reusing materials... all without spending heaps of money.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

the food eXchange

Principle 8: Integrate rather than segregate



An exciting initiative has started in Seymour - the food eXchange, building on the local Black Market group. It's the brainchild of Cynthia and Nick from Blue Tongue Berries in Seymour. It's all about... well, you can read their explanation below.

THE FOOD EXCHANGE - Taungurung Country

We don't buy food from strangers!
The food eXchange is a local, ethical food interest group and food swap for small scale farm and home grown produce in Seymour and surrounding Taungurung Country. Local food swaps are a great way to be better connected to your food, get to know your local community, reduce food miles, consumerism, packaging, waste and environmental impacts from certain types of agriculture and food production. The food eXchange website contains links to local food producers, suppliers, markets and community groups in the Seymour and surrounds region. If you live locally why not get involved and join our facebook group.

Cynthia also hosts a radio show on local radio station Seymour FM - called: the food exchange (of course), and invited me on to talk about Abdallah House, permaculture and the Black Market with co-ordinator Paul McGregor. We also chat about BEAM: Mitchell Environment Group and the Bulk Food buying group. Have a listen.


    For more about the food eXchange check out...

    Saturday, March 15, 2014

    The inaugural "Pop Up Picnic"


    The inaugural “Pop Up Picnic” at Abdallah House. 15 local people made it for an event to remember, as wild weather stormed in as we began to eat.
    Our desire to connect with our local community by hosting the 'worlds' first' Pop Up Picnic got off to a stormy start as lightening, wild winds and torrential rains kicked in soon after these photos were taken. Still, 15 people turned up, which was about perfect for our limited undercover outdoor space - bringing with them some delicious locally made (and mostly grown) foods.

    The idea of the Pop Up Picnic got a boost after I posted this note on the recently created food eXchange facebook page.
    Kunie and I have been talking about informal local catch-up / pot luck lunch / dinner, as a way to enjoy the values we share and community that we live in. Anyone interested?
    It got a huge response with 26 comments and 17 likes from a group of just 122.

    We decided to give it a test run and sent out an email to some people that we know locally just 4 days before the event, with a short description of how we envisioned the afternoon (4:30 onwards):

    Kunie and I are excited to announce a world first…? the 'Pop Up Picnic’. An opportunity to share a meal with people in your local community.

    We think that building community should be fun and have been discussing how good it would be to connect with other local people and share a meal. We wanted to be able to do this in a more spontaneous and low stress way than a formal meal and wanted it to be a way to connect with people in our local community that we might not catch up with that often. Perhaps the idea will catch on?

    So, bring some food and drink to share (home grown/made encouraged), your own eating equipment (as you would a picnic) and we’ll provide the venue and little display and explanation of some of our fermented delights. Feel free to bring some of your own.

    No need to RSVP - turn up if you feel like it and we will see what happens on the day. Children most welcome, hence the earlier start.

    Perhaps we will see you here?
     

    A small taste of the home made, and mostly locally grown, food on offer - including kimchi and saurekraut.
    There were a number of home fermented dishes and drinks on offer, including home-brewed beer, Jerusalem artichoke wine, Wild cherry plum / white peach and boysenberry wine, Prickly Pear wine, water kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, feta cheese, lemon ricotta cake, prosciutto and sour dough bread. This didn't become a focus of the dinner, just a part of a fun social event.

    While we intended the event to be easy going on the hosts, there was in fact quite a bit of preparation work - mainly in cleaning up and preparing our own dishes. The contribution by our guests was quite extraordinary, and it seemed to me that everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

    Our outdoor kitchen got it's first real work out, as a space to wash dishes. It was great to be able to do this outside, amongst guests, so it didn't feel so much like work. Having a place to leave them to dry off meant that they were on display for the owners to pick up when they were ready to leave.

    In thinking about guests, our feelings at the moment are to keep it fairly small and very local. Kunie and I have discussed having a email list of people that we regularly invite when we host, not expecting that they would all turn up - so that we build stronger bonds with people that we know in our community. We did have one guest who asked about bringing a friend, and we were happy to accommodate. We think that it would be good to ask guests to RSVP if they intend on coming to get some idea of numbers - which would help with preparation.

    Would we do it again? Yes, and probably soon. We do hope that other people adopt the idea, and host their own event - putting their own spin on how it would work best for them.