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The Fair Food Almanac
January 2012

Dear Fair Foodsters,
Welcome back from your respective festivities, breaks, celebrations and sojourns to the International Year Of the Farmer. With a bit of fine weather we have farmers chomping at the bit to bring in some seriously good new seasons garlic, spuds, tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, beans, grapes, nectarines, peaches and plums to fill your next Fair Food box. Welcome to our new and returning Food Hosts in 2012 and thanks to everyone who has participated in our survey recently, it's really helped us build a to-do list of positive changes we'll be implementing this year - stand by. Now we need your help again - this time to name our delivery van - see the competition above, the winning name gets a fair food box and some goodies from the Fair Food Pantry. Enjoy a juicy blood plum this January and thanks again for being a part of the Fair Food Movement!

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No Fair Food delivery for Australia Day Thursday 26th Jan

Do you get a Thursday delivery? Then look out - there will be no deliveries Thursday the 26th of January Australia Day - our apologies if you got a reminder to place an order for this Thursday.  Here are a few things you could do instead of getting a Fair Food box; have a day out and shop at CERES Market and Shop - open Wed, Fri & Sat 9-2pm (Shop only Thurs 9am-2pm),  patronise your local fruit and veg shop or farmers market. Have a great Australia Day weekend and we'll be back to normal for the following week.

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News From Our Farmers

Look out for Madeline's Blue Sky Italian Garlic in a Fair Food box near you!
Madeline Watts  from Blue Sky Organics (see video) is one of our favourite farmers – she’s 20 and like any ambitious young person she could have become a doctor, she could have chosen marine biology as a profession, she could have even paid off a house in two years driving one of those giant dump trucks in a coal mine in Queensland - instead she got inspired after working on a garlic farm in Tassie and now she is growing her own on her farm near Bairnsdale.  With Australia crying out for a new generation of farmers take over family farms we think it's a great story and worthy our support -  so from this week we're putting Madeline's purple italian garlic in your boxes and also in our extra fruit and veg section in 100 & 200 gram packs.

Joe Sgro's spuds helped me see the light
Joe Sgro from Foothill’s Organics near Colac told me last week that the dutch cream, nicola and bison potatoes he dug last week are possibly his best ever.  Thinking Joe might be talking his taters up for a bigger sale I put some dutch creams to the taste test and steamed up a handful, added some butter, took a bite and had a root vegetable revelation.  Now I've eaten a lot of spuds in my time but the fresh, creamy, nutty texture took me to a whole new potato place.  This week when I saw Joe at the wholesale market I told him about my religious tuber experience and he was chuffed.  He puts it down to a well rested and green manured paddock, topped off with some well composted chook manure  and a bit of good weather.   Joe’s digging spuds every week for our boxes and they're on special in our  extra fruit and veg section  from this week.  Joe recommends cooking them simply and let the tater do the talking.

Talking leeks and hail storms with CERES farmer, Silke

If you want to know what CERES’ farmers are up to as a guide for your own garden – Silke Genovese (see video), our Merri Creek market gardener, in Coburg is getting the ground ready for winter crops like broccoli and leeks, planting quick green manures and putting leek seedlings into compost filled poly boxes to thicken up to pencil size for planting in March and April.   She's also madly replanting lettuce and bok choi after the Christmas day hail storm took out whole rows of bok choi and turned a big patch of Silke's lettuce to salad mix in the blink of an eye.  Look out for  Silke's lettuce, saladmix, bok choi, spring onions and herbs in your  boxes each week

Speaking of the weather -rainfall at the market garden for 2011 was over 800mm which means 2011 has been the wettest year in Melbourne since the mid-nineties about 150mm above the long term average and over 300mm above the 2005-09 average - Silke's hoping la nina stays with us a little longer minus the hail storms of course.
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Banks crash, countries default, the world as we know it ends.  Or does it?   Meanwhile down at CERES.....

International guest speaker, Nicole Foss, and Australia's own economic expert, Steve Keen, will be running a one day interactive workshop offering practical strategies that you can employ to combat the current precarious global economic situation.

A Compass for Turbulent Times

with Nicole Foss and Steve Keen

Sunday 19th february 2012

9am to 3:30pm

At Ceres Van Raay Centre

Practical strategies for you and your community with two globally renowned economic experts who have recently been appearing at community conferences and forums in the USA and Europe.

Nicole Foss, a.k.a Stoneleigh from the accalimed The Automatic Earth website,  is one of those big picture people who understands and explains the links between the converging pressures affecting the globe (peak oil, climate change, unsustainable debt) and the implications for our everyday lives.  Nicole explains strategies that you can implement to weather the storm and gain some control over the essentials of your own existence and build social capital in your communities.

Nicole will be joined by Australia’s own Steve Keen, who is widely recognised as one of only a handful of economists across the world who predicted the ongoing current financial crisis. 

In this workshop you will hear detailed presentations from both Nicole and Steve. This is an interactive workshop where we will test your real life situations and strategies with the experts with time available for questions.

This workshop is for everyone: people with money, people with no money, retirees, students, families, small business owners, property owners and renters.




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Welcome new and returning Food Hosts

Food Hosts and their verandahs, sheds and businesses are the backbone of Fair Food's distribution system - behind the scenes they do heaps of work to keep this beautiful thing up and going.  Here's a couple of new and returning food hosts to get behind or welcome back.   

Richmond Stewart St opp Richmond Station   - open Thursdays 4pm -6pm. Welcome Nathan.
Fitzroy North  Glenlyon Road -  open Thursdays 5-8pm.  Welcome Shawna
Kensington Weighbridge Lane  - open Thursdays 5-8pm (returning food host, formerly from Carlton) -Welcome back Phillip.
Thornbury Mansfield St - open Tuesdays 5-8pm (returning food host, formerly at McFarlane St Northcote)  Welcome back Bianca

If you’re keen to be a food host for Fair Food, please  contact Jesse Hull, our Food Host Coordinator, at

Is my box really my box?

Help out your Food Host and fellow customers by checking your box is really your box - taking the wrong box is something that happens at Fair Food Hosts from time-to-time and you can help by checking your box and extras match the box against your name on delivery  list.

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The book to read for 2012 Year of the Farmer

2012 is the international year of the farmer and there’s isn’t a better book to get you thinking about the way we farm and the way we eat than Meat, the Benign Extravagance by Simon Fairlie.   Like Michael Pollen's The Omnivores Dilemma,  Meat is one of those life changing books, well researched it does the maths on our many approaches to growing food  - from industrial agriculture to vegan organics -  and builds a compelling and sensible case for small scale mixed farming that integrates animals and crops and makes use of our food waste to sanely grow animals rather than landfills.

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