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Local Food Tour

On Saturday 9th of October more than 30 people came on on a tour of local food sites, taking in community gardens, productive backyards, Preston Market and a talk on Preston’s rich food producing history, as publicised in the Preston Leader a couple of weeks ago.

See pictures here!

We met at Sprout, a community garden next to Thornbury station that helps people experiencing homelessness and mental illness get some hands-on skills. The garden plots are communal rather than private, and the garden throws open its gates to the wider community with a market on the first Thursday of the month.

Transition Darebin’s very own Kat Lavers opened our eyes to the useful weeds growing all around us on our way to Angelo’s house. Angelo’s house has an amazingly productive permaculture bursting out of his backyard and he was only to happy to give away tips and even seedlings and cuttings to people inspired to start growing their own.

At Costante Imports on Bell Street we found all kinds of food processing and preserving equipment – which is just what you need if you have a yard as abundant as Angelo’s!

Then we grabbed lunch from Preston market and walked to a nearby park to listen to tales of Preston’s food-producing past from Merv Lia from the Preston Historical Society. You can download a scanned copy of Merv’s notes (PDF, 292 KB).

Finally we had a well-deserved sit down at Motor Mower cafe on Murray Road where we heard about how a cafe can be set up in a low-impact way.

See the map below or download the schedule (PDF, 60KB).

food tour map

10 October, 2010 at 2:02 pm Leave a comment

Inaugural Transition Darebin Autumn Leaf Harvest

Do you have a garden, make compost or keep small animals? Stop paying a fortune for straw and bedding, and start using a free locally abundant resource. Now is the season when large European street trees in Darebin drop a bounty of leaves that are rich in carbon and fantastic for your soil.

Transition Darebin folks collected a leafy bounty on June the 6th on one of Alphington’s plane-tree lined streets.

Olivier, Sally & Angus

Olivier, Sally & Angus

The movie…

7 June, 2010 at 1:52 pm 1 comment

Permablitz #89 in conjunction with Transition Darebin and Permaculture Inner North

Short days, cool weather and a forecast for rain can’t keep keen blitzers indoors. Where there’s a yard to make over, they’re there in spades. Or is that shovels? That was just one of life’s more enduring questions to be debated on Saturday 29th May in Damian’s front yard as its gentle slope was engineered into swales to feed a future orchard. In between chai breaks and a hot vegie feast, an old bath tub was converted into a frog bog, surrounded by relocated rocks and plants, and a new ‘plucking garden’ laid out next to the back door.

There aren’t many social occasions where the guests are asked to bring a plate of rotting food. In this case the bounty of past-it produce went into the compost pile along with a healthy helping of manure, leaves, straw and grass. Paul the compost connoisseur demonstrated the Berkeley hot compost method, the result of which Damian will be able to spread on his new garden in a matter of weeks.

Pre-swales: Maximum run-off

Pre-swales: Maximum run-off

Water catchment for yet-to-be planted fruit trees

Water catchment for yet-to-be planted fruit trees

You can also see the whole day unfold on YouTube.

Thanks to everyone who dug, mulched and weeded. See you at the next blitz!

If you are a Darebin resident who has a balcony, courtyard, back or front garden ready to be transformed into an edible oasis, simply lend a hand at 3 blitzes then get in touch with Transition Darebin! Find blitzes happening near you at

31 May, 2010 at 12:44 pm Leave a comment

Chutney Workshop #1

They came, they chopped, they chutneyed!

On Sunday 28th February a team of dedicated Transitioners converted a box of locally-grown tomatoes donated by Yellow Box Organics into bottles of tasty chutney to be served at the Darebin Kite Festival.

While we are not much closer to understanding the difference between a relish, a pickle and a chutney, we did learn to chutneyfy almost anything using our taste buds, a simple sweet-acid-salt-spice formula and a very easy bottling technique that can also be used for jams, fruit and other preserves.

Check out these pictures as the workshop unfolded…


chopping tomatoes

Into the pot

onions cooking



full jar


Would you like to learn how to preserve, or perhaps have food skills to share? Contact Transition Darebin!

1 March, 2010 at 3:17 am Leave a comment

Eating Reservoir! Permablitz #82 in conjunction with Transition Darebin

Providing access to cheap, local, organic food? Check. Building local communities? Check. Getting some exercise outdoors? Check. Learning new skills? Check. Having a good time? Check. When you’re onto a good thing, run with it! Permablitz has been a hugely successful mechanism for bringing food production back to the burbs, and Transitioners have been working to get more blitzes happening in Darebin.

On Saturday 21st November more than 40 keen-as-mustard blitzers, fuelled by an unbelievable feast of traditional Greek food, transmogrified* Caro, Greg and Angelina’s little slice of Reservoir into a beautiful vegie patch with a rock wall terrace, a greywater mulch pit system to supply a future fruit orchard, and a multipurpose fire circle/sandpit/outdoor in-ground seating area.

During the day we learned how to make dolmades from Angela, string with cordyline leaves from Kat, and netting from Robynann. Caro also gave a tour of the Amazing Frog Bog (featuring a relocated frog that we rescued from the cordyline stump!), and the Transition Darebin team discussed our plans for 2010 and beyond with the locals.

But enough talk, check out these photos!

At the Pre-blitz design visit:

Site of the vegie-patch-to-be

Site of the vegie-patch-to-be

Caro and Kat admiring the "room for improvement"!

Caro and Kat admiring the "room for improvement"!

Nearing the end of the blitz:

The brand new vegie patch

The brand new vegie patch

Improvements accomplished!

Improvements accomplished!

You can also see the whole day unfold on YouTube.

Thanks to everyone who shoveled, mulched and weeded. See you at the next blitz!

If you are a Darebin resident who has a balcony, courtyard, back or front garden ready to be transformed into an edible oasis, simply lend a hand at 3 blitzes then get in touch with Transition Darebin! Find blitzes happening near you at

*Transmogrify: to transform, as if by magic!

23 November, 2009 at 11:55 am Leave a comment

Moving house on two wheels: Darebin Bike Move #1

Move over Man with a Van! Bicycles are going to be a critical technology when conventional oil goes into decline, but the challenge will be: how do we move really big stuff around? Enter the Bike Move as a reminder of the capability and versatility of the humble push bike. On Saturday 25th July 2009, a group of courageous Darebinites moved Russell’s entire personal effects from East Brunswick to West Heidelberg (through but not as originally planned within Darebin!). This 15 km trip took us a few pleasant hours, via a scenic route along backstreets, through parks, along the creek and past a storage facility where we picked up more (yes, more!) of Russell’s stuff.

Bike movers ready to go!

Bike movers ready to go!

Trailers on the trail

Trailers on the trail

Russell towing his gear

Russell takes in the scenery while pedalling his futon and frame, filing cabinets and bookshelf up the hill!

What’s the best part of a bike move? Is it the how-much-stuff-can-I-fit-on-my-bike challenge? Is it the smiles and waves from amazed pedestrians and drivers? Or is it the house warming party at the end?

Perhaps most people won’t ever undertake to move their whole house by bike (although let’s face it, it was pretty fun!), but hopefully this demonstrates that we don’t need a sports utility vehicle to pick up the groceries…

PS. The local paper even did an article about the bike move.

PPS. Check out this fascinating interview of Fatih Birol from the International Energy Association (IEA) by Guardian journalist George Monbiot on the status of conventional oil and its implications for transportation.

Are you a cyclist? Do you live in Darebin? Are you moving house? Get in touch with Transition Darebin and be moved by the power of two wheels!

27 July, 2009 at 2:52 am 2 comments

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