Archive for the ‘Models’ Category

Models refer to existing sustainable models or frameworks of action that are occurring in Melbourne. A model could possibly be applied elsewhere in a different context. For example, “permablitz” is a model of urban agriculture installation that many people are applying in different parts of Victoria. Sustainable Melbourne strongly encourages environmental organisations and institutions to post their own environmental initiatives (ie. “models”) on the site to share with others. To do so visit the “How to use this site” page and follow the prompts.



Coffee for crops: Cafes joining the swap movement

Posted in Models, Movements by Jessica Bird on January 11th, 2013

Source: Good Food via GreenNationAus

Photo by Joseph Feil (Good Food)
Photo by Joseph Feil (from the Good Food article)

From ‘Swapping herbs for lattes in the new suburban good life‘ by Justine Costigan.

When Helen Howard drops into Melbourne’s Lady Bower café for a coffee, she’ll sometimes ask for a free bag of coffee beans to take home. No, she’s not being cheeky – Lady Bower co-owner Vanessa Nitsos is happy to oblige. It’s an informal trade for the bunches of herbs Howard drops off to the cafe regularly. A coffee, breakfast, maybe even a three-course dinner, are some of the trades regularly made between local gardeners and savvy café owners with both a desire to source local products and an eye on the bottom-line. After all, what could be better than sourcing fruit from a garden just down the road? Usually harvested the day it’s eaten, trading excess fruit, herbs, vegetables and flowers for a meal, or coffee or a jar of jam, is a deal that seems to work beautifully for both the local gardeners and the restaurants.

James Hird, co-owner of Buzo and Wine Library in the Sydney suburb of Woollahra, keeps an eye on what’s growing in his local neighbourhood. If he knows it’s a good year for lush rosemary, plump backyard lemons or juicy mulberries, he’ll put out the word to his customers that he’d love to have any excess from their gardens. As well as sourcing locally, he also has his own rooftop garden and a beehive. Hird says his garden, plus local backyard produce, can only ever supplement his stockroom needs. But he says the effort to source produce which doesn’t require anyone to get into a car is worth it. “It’s a huge untapped resource. We go through about six market bunches of rosemary a day. To take out the cost of this alone has an effect on the bottom-line.” There’s a benefit for the growers too. Hird always offers something in return, but says there are no hard-and-fast rules to the exchange. “I might offer dinner for the harvest from a whole mulberry tree – that’s three months worth of jam for us – or it might be an offer of coffee or breakfast. It’s pretty fluid.”

In Melbourne, Nitsos alerted locals to her interest in local produce before the café even opened, and by the time it was ready for business in February 2012, she already had a couple of nearby gardening enthusiasts willing to share. When Helen Howard started dropping in bunches of herbs from her garden, Nitsos would always offer a cup of coffee in return. “When I started bringing in stuff, Vanessa would ask me to stay and have a coffee, but as I was usually on my way to work, I couldn’t stop. So I asked them if I could have a 250g bag of coffee every couple of weeks in return. It’s a handy arrangement. I (wouldn’t) do it for money, but it’s good to do a trade.”

Kate van der Drift donates figs and lemons from her garden to Lady Bower and loves to see “Marchant Avenue figs” on descriptions of the café’s jam. “It’s just giving for the pleasure of giving. Plus, I like seeing the things that Lady Bower does with my ingredients – it’s often something I would never have thought of.” Nitsos says that in the hospitality game, every little bit helps. “The local produce helps us to put things on the menu we couldn’t usually afford, such as micro-herbs. And it reinforces our commitment to seasonality. Although, a customer did come in once and asks us why every cake we had was made with orange.” […]

Cafes are only now catching on to a trend that has been quietly flourishing in Australian suburbs for decades. Canberra nurse and blogger Bec Pollock swaps fruit and vegetables with other members of the Urban Homesteading Club. At its monthly meetings a swap table is filled with produce, homemade preserves, seeds and seedlings to share. “We also trade details of potential urban foraging sites, including blackberries, quince and apple trees, and have been wanting to develop a local Food Foraging Map,” she says. […]

>>> You can read the full article and discover cafes already swapping produce on Good Food.

 


Tassivore tasting trail – for bike riders and foodies

Posted in Models, Movements by Jessica Bird on December 14th, 2012


Photo from the Tassivore Tasting Trail Map.

From the Tassivore Eat Local Challenge:

If you live in southern Tasmania, or are just passing through, and love eating fantastic local food and zipping around on your treadlie (bicycle) then this is the trail for you!

Eight of our best eateries and Hobart’s fabulous Farm Gate Market will be showcasing at least one Tassievore dish (see definition below) for four months from the first of January until the end of April 2013. […]

How does it work? The venues listed on the map are all passionate about Tasmanian produce and have committed to supplying at least one Tassievore dish for the duration of the trail. How you follow the trail is up to you. You can aim for a big day and ride the length of the trail to MONA and back (a 50km commitment) and drop in at the venues that suit your need to rest and eat, or you can pick and choose, and take your time to visit a range of the fabulous establishments involved. Equally you can take pot luck with what Tasmanian delights await you or phone ahead to work out what type of dishes there are to suit your mood.

What is a Tassievore dish? A Tassievore dish is totally Tasmanian (exceptions for minor ingredients such as spices and raising agents) and will be identified by the Tassievore logo or enquiry with staff at the venue. Updates about dishes on offer will be posted on the Tassievore Eat Local Challenge facebook page and Tassievore twitter feed.

Riding notes: If you are an inexperienced rider, or don’t have many gears on your bike, stick to the restaurants around the waterfront and along the bike path to MONA. If you have a bit more experience, and more gears, then the whole trail is up for grabs. […]

>> You can find out more on the Tassivore blog.
>> You can also download the Tasting Trail map and notes.


Social Traders GOOD gift Guide

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on December 13th, 2012


Photo by Jilligan86 via flickr cc

From the Good Gift Catalogue by Social Traders:

The Good Gift Christmas Catalogue is Social Traders’ initiative to encourage people to support social enterprise by facilitating online Christmas shopping.

The strategic power of purchasing is becoming one of the most effective ways that organisations and individuals can achieve social change.  To harness this collective purchasing power, earlier this year Social traders launched The Social Enterprise Finder – the first online directory of social enterprises in Australia with over 5000 listings.

An extension of The SE Finder, the GOOD Gift Catalogue enables people to browse products and services offered by over 50 Australian social enterprises and to learn about the different purposes of these organisations.  A social enterprise gift gives good to more than just the recipient.  Purchasing these goods supports businesses that exist for a community benefit.

This Christmas, why not give a gift that gives a stuff?

>> View the Good Gift Christmas Catalogue online.


Moreland Community Solar: Looking for a Roof

Posted in Models, Seeking by Kate Archdeacon on December 6th, 2012

Source: Moreland Energy Foundation


Solar engineers from the Barefoot College: Photo by Barefoot Photographers of Tilonia via flickr CC

From Moreland community solar:

As we have reported previously, solar electricity panels are sprouting on roofs all around the country. However, not everyone has the ready cash, or a suitable roof space, to install solar. That’s where community solar comes in. Instead of having your own small solar array, you can invest in a larger communally-owned facility. This model has been used successfully in many communities worldwide. The photo shows a community solar installation on a church roof in the appropriately named town of Greenbelt, (Maryland, USA). Closer to home, Hepburn Wind has applied the same model to a wind-power facility.

The Moreland Community Solar project is an initiative of Climate Action Moreland (CAM) and supported by MEFL, to establish a medium-scale solar photovoltaic array in the Moreland community. The solar panels will be installed on the roof of a local building.

Project capital costs will be funded by members of the community in a cooperative-type arrangement, for which investors will receive a return. The project supports the generation of locally produced renewable energy.

Community involvement

The project supports the generation of locally produced renewable energy. The Moreland Community Solar project will offer Moreland community members the chance to make a significant, collective contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Community members will be able to purchase shares in the project and receive returns on their investment. Importantly, the board of Moreland Community Solar will be made up of those who have invested in the project.

We need a roof

Moreland Community Solar is currently seeking a business partner to form an agreement with to host the solar panels on their roof. The roof owner will buy the power generated by the panels at an agreed price, and ideally will use all of the power on site. Moreland Community Solar will install panels on their roof at no cost and will take responsibility for maintenance. If your business is interested in hosting, feel free to get in touch.

The Moreland Community Solar Project will:

  • Reduce greenhouse emissions in the Moreland municipality
  • Provide an inclusive opportunity for community investment in and ownership of solar energy.
  • Increase community awareness about the viability of solar energy compared to traditional generation.
>> Go to the website to find out more and get involved.


From Woody Weeds to Biochar: Mobile Biochar Unit

Posted in Models, Research by Jessica Bird on November 13th, 2012


Screen grab from Central West CMA’s YouTube film .

From the Central West Catchment Management Authority media release “New technology for old problems – mobile biochar unit demo in Nyngan” :

 

[26/10/12] Nyngan district farmers saw first hand technology which turns invasive native scrub (INS, also known as woody weeds) into an agricultural resource at a Central West Catchment Management Authority (CMA) field day on Thursday last week. The mobile biochar plant was on demonstration on ‘Wilgadale’ and transforms woody waste material into biochar without the conventional costs of chipping and transport. This breaking technology has many potential applications in the Nyngan district and other parts of NSW according to Central West CMA Coordinator Michael Longhurst. ‘Woody weeds are a problem in central west and western NSW and their management is a significant cost to landholders,’ said Mike. ‘This machine transforms woody waste left over from INS treatment into biochar in a smoke free environment. This product can be used locally to improve soil health and sequester carbon.’

Biochar is a type of charcoal which improves soil health by storing water and nutrients when applied to the soil. The process, known as pyrolysis, is the high temperature treatment of biomass such as woody waste converted into biochar. ‘The woody material leftover from INS treatment would have been otherwise raked, burnt into the atmosphere and wasted,’ said Mike. ‘A biochar plant means the costs of an INS management program can be partly offset through creating agricultural by-products. ‘This mobile system also means that the woody material can be processed into biochar without chipping and transporting costs traditional associated with biochar production.’

Fourth generation Nyngan landholder Anthony Gibson hosted the CMA field day on his property ‘Wilgadale’. ‘Woody weeds are a headache for landholders for a number of reasons. They are nightmare to muster through; reduce groundcover and biodiversity; and out-compete useful grasses,’ said Anthony. ‘The machine we’ve had a look at today is turning woody weeds into something much more useable – something we can lock carbon up in and ameliorate the soil. I can see quite a few benefits of it spreading around the landscape. ‘The unit makes good use of something that just gets pushed up into a heap and burnt otherwise at great expense. By turning it into something useful it is a real win-win situation.’

The system was originally designed by the company Earth Systems through a North East CMA (Victoria) project to manage willow removal and dispose of the waste material. The Central West CMA worked in partnership with Earth Systems and the North East CMA to demonstrate the system in central west NSW. […]

You can read the full media release or learn more on Central West CMA’s Youtube channel.


PlantCatching: Website for sharing garden stuff

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on October 29th, 2012


Ever wonder what to do with all your spare herb cuttings, or plants that have outlived their time in your limited garden space?   Nicolas Cadilhac, in Montreal, has developed a website to help with just these issues – PlantCatching.

PlantCatching connects you with gardeners in your area and lets you do two very simple things:

1. Find plants, seeds and bulbs, gardening materials and even fruits and vegetables given by fellow gardeners, either anonymously in a public area, or personally at or near their property.

2. Share your passion by giving your plants, seeds, bulbs and your own harvest crops so that existing members of the site or even passers-by can catch, plant and admire them, or eat them.

The site works here in Melbourne, although it’s sparsely populated at the moment.

http://plantcatching.com/en


Raingardens popping up at tram and bus Stops

Posted in Models, Movements by Jessica Bird on October 25th, 2012

Source: Melbourne Water


Photo by Melbourne Water via flickr CC

From the Melbourne Water media release ‘Be part of the count toward 10,000 Raingardens

A new public awareness campaign is encouraging Melburnians to build stormwater-filtering ‘raingardens’ to prevent pollution from entering our rivers and creeks. As part of Melbourne Water’s 10,000 Raingardens campaign, commuters will sit among larger-than-life raingarden simulations at tram stops across Melbourne, showing how easily they can help protect local waterways at home.

General Manager Waterways, David Ryan, said stormwater pollution was the biggest threat to the health of the region’s 8400km of rivers and creeks, with the problem increasing the more Melbourne grew. “Stormwater damages our waterways in two ways: by picking up and transporting pollutants and causing erosion,” said Mr Ryan. “Stormwater run-off is the number one polluter of rivers and creeks because of the pollution it carries, such as litter, chemicals and excess nutrients. In urban areas, stormwater runoff flows much faster and there is a lot more of it, compared with undeveloped areas, which causes river bank erosion and threatens the habitat of native animals such as platypus and fish. Raingardens capture stormwater and filter it through layers of sandy soil and plants, which helps slow the rate of runoff to reduce erosion and absorb pollutants that would otherwise end up in rivers and creeks,” he said.

Melbourne Water’s Raingardens campaign aims to see 10,000 raingardens built across Melbourne backyards by 2013.

You can read the full media release here. For more information on raingardens, or how to build one visit raingardens.melbournewater.com.au

 

[Keep an eye out for the raingardens at tram and bus stops across Melbourne. Good places to start include, St Kilda Road, Chadstone Shopping Centre, St Kilda Junction, near Camberwell Market, and the bus exchange in Moonee Ponds. – JB]


Community-Supported Agriculture + Supermarket: Cairns

Posted in Models, Movements by Kate Archdeacon on October 19th, 2012


Real Food Network produce at a local farmers’ market

The Real Food Network in Cairns, North Queensland, has been providing members with weekly boxes of locally-grown, mostly organic and biodynamic fruit and veggies for a couple of years in a community-supported agriculture (CSA) model.  This effort alone benefits a community that is regularly cut off, by cyclones and floods, from a food supply chain that depends on north-south travel along the coast.

Now the Network has gone further in establishing local food systems, setting up a community based supermarket in collaboration with a disability employment service, Ostara.  Real Food Plus employs clients of Ostara, with the shop’s fit-out and decor built by the staff from recycled and reclaimed materials.  The supermarket is a pick-up point for CSA boxes, but also sells surplus from the farmers (and backyard growers) direct to the public and provides members with the opportunity to add a few extras as they go.

Reminding us once again that farmers are worth their weight in gold, below is the list of what’s available in the box and in the shop (and who grew it) this week:

IN THE BOX:

– Organic Sebago Potato, Kenneth, Kaban
– Homegrown Zucchini, Beetroots, Les & Bettie, Biboohra
– Biodynamic Russian Garlic, John and Adam, Kaban
– Organic Tomatoes, Lena, Koah
– Koah gold Oranges, Big Bulky Watermelon, Bruno and Carlo, Koah
– Cert. Organic Limes, Mint & Chokos Vi and Stan, Red Hill
– Basil, Vince and Kerri, Paddy´s Green
– Organic baby Bak Choi or Organic Baby Buk Choi or Organic Choy sum, (Asian Veggies)
– SkyBurry Red Paw Paw, Paddy´s Green
– Pineapple, Stephen, paddy’s Green
– White & also Red Onions, Arilo (Vince’s brother) Channal Road.
– Silverbeet, Vince, Spring Creek
– Organic Lettuce, Thom, Closey River

IN THE SHOP IN CAIRNS : (the list above PLUS the list below !)

– Organic Parsley
– Watermelons, Koah, Bruno.
– Organic Star Apple, Speewah, Chrystel
– Organic Black Sapote, Kuranda, Matt
– Organic Eggplant, Organic Tomatoes, Organic greens, Machans Beach, Jez
– Organic Kipfler, Kaban, Kenneth
– Organic Asian Veggies 3 varieties above(!), Organic Daikon, (and more Organic Thai Eggplant Faces),White Rock, Van
– Organic Spring Onions, Organic Sugar Bananas, Organic Spinach bagged, Organic Roma Tomatoes, Organic Choko’s, Tolga, Louie and Dianella (and Otto)
– Organic Tumeric, Ginger and garlic, various, Speewah.
– Yamagishi Happy Eggs, South Johnston, Yas
– Raw untreated Honey from Mareeba, John
– Butternut Pumpkin, Papa Miguel, Mutchilba.
– Discounted Oranges, Tomatoes, Bananas and Pawpaws and more coming in from your backyard.
– Plus lots more dried local fruit in the Pantry.
– Organic & Permaculture Eggplants, Organic Tomatillos, Organic Herbs and Salad Greens, Machans Beach, Jez & Allister.
– PLUS more of course.

>> www.realfoodnetwork.com.au

(Sadly they don’t service the Melbourne area, but you can join a local CSA – check out CERES’ Fair Food.)


Agroecology versus Industrial Agriculture: Infographic

Posted in Models by Jessica Bird on September 27th, 2012

Source: Nourishing The Planet

Infographic by The Christiansen Fund

From the Infographic ‘Soil to Sky: of agroecology versus industrial agriculture’ by The Christiansen Fund

In order to feed our world without destroying it, an holistic type of agriculture is needed, and we have a choice. Here we compare the current high-input industrial system with a renewed vision for agriculture: the agroecolocial system. […]

Agroecological strategies can better feed the world, fight climate change and poverty, and protect soil and water while maintaining healthy, liveable communities and local economies. Industrial agriculture contributes to climate change, malnutrition and ecosystem degradation around the planet. It has not delivered on its promise to feed the world.


Free Guide to Saving Energy and Money

Posted in Models, Research by sashashtargot on September 17th, 2012

From curtains to LCD monitors, taking showers to making toast, the Alternative Technology Association’s new guide examines all the ways to save money and improve energy efficiency around the home.

The Guide to reducing your energy use and saving money is available now as a PDF and is completely free.

This booklet is designed to help low-income households reduce their home’s energy use without the need for big spending on appliances or home renovations. Many actions can be done at zero or low cost, or through small changes in behaviour.

To make it easier, we have tips for each room of the house. These range from the simplest tweaks, to improvements that may require permission from your landlord if you are in a rental property.

The guide was developed by the Alternative Technology Association and the Victorian Council of Social Service, with support from the Melbourne Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.

Click here to download.

To order multiple copies email ata@ata.org.au