In this section:

  • Links
  • Local Business Discounts
  • Local Guides
  • Local Food Production
  • Twin Peaks Mountainbike Park
  • THINK GLOBAL – EAT LOCAL

    The Hub Plot

    The Hub Plot, MASG’s food production garden group, meets each Monday  from 9am to garden and to exchange produce, recipes and seedlings. We always have a cuppa at 11am.

    We also conduct garden/food related workshops and go on great field trips. Feel free to drop in and join in, or for further information:

    • email Peter
    • phone Heather on 0409 327791

    The Local Food Production working group was formed because MASG members were concerned by the large carbon footprint generated by our current food growing, processing, transporting and storage systems.

    Go to the Hub Plot Blog, to read a little more about what we do.

    One of our partners is Growing Abundance, a wonderful, innovative group that does great things with food.

    climberside

    WHY PRODUCE FOOD LOCALLY?

    foodcareWe owe it to future generations to reduce the climate-altering greenhouse gases we are responsible for, and we must all play a part to reduce our carbon footprint.

    We have become used to the year-round availability of food, regardless of where and how it is produced, how it is processed and stored and how it is transported. Every stage is dependent on non-renewable fossil fuels.

    Many of us have lost our appreciation of the “seasonality” of food.  Food harvested at its peak of ripeness, and eaten immediately, has a much ‘better flavour’ … just compare the tomatoes you buy in winter to home-grown tomatoes freshly harvested in summer.

    The industrialised food production cycle is:

    • inefficient
    • wasteful
    • energy intensive

    In many cases, the energy needed produce food is greater than the nutritional energy of the food itself.

     

     

    nasturtium

    Example 1: It takes 1000KJ of energy to transport a punnet of strawberries with a nutritional energy value of 170KJ, from the country of production to the country of consumption, and this doesn’t include the energy used in production. Think of citrus from California, garlic from China or grapes from Chile.
    Using a dollar analogy, this is the equivalent of making an article for $10 and selling it for $1.
    We need to factor in the true environmental cost of the non-renewable resources used in the food production process.

    Example 2 Food produced locally is often transported hundreds of kilometres to a market or packaging warehouse, only to be returned to a supermarket a few kilometres from where it was grown. Harcourt apples go to the Melbourne Market, only to be transported back to a Castlemaine supermarket. Some apples in our supermarkets have come from interstate or overseas, while apples in abundance are growing two kilometres down the road.

    Example 2
    Food produced locally is often transported hundreds of kilometres to a market or packaging warehouse, only to be returned to a supermarket a few kilometres from where it was grown. Harcourt apples go to the Melbourne Market, and are transported back to Castlemaine supermarkets.
    Some apples in our supermarkets have come from interstate or overseas, while apples in abundance are growing two kilometres down the road.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    By growing our own food we control what goes into it. Inorganic fertilisers and chemical pesticides and herbicides (all non-renewable resource based) are used in large-scale, monocultural food production.

    Growing our own food also reduces worker exploitation in poor countries.

     

    Local food production

    • Reduces CO2 emissions by minimising the distance food is transported
    • Reduces the energy needed for the processing, packaging and storing food
    • Reduces water used in food production

    By example we want to encourage people to be locally productive.

     

    hubmap

    MASG has a demonstration backyard food production garden at the rear of the Hub at 233 Barker Street, in the centre of Castlemaine

    We are a focal point

    • To demonstrate different ways of growing food with available resources
    • To demonstrate the latest ideas in dealing with grey water, collecting rain water and other water technology
    • To run workshops on topics of interest, such as composting, watering systems and seed propagation
    • To demonstrate ways of preserving surplus production

     

    The site: The Hub, 233 Barker St Castlemaine

    We started work on the site in August 2007. We now have two, 9000l rainwater tanks, which are filled from the roof of the Baptist Church and hall next door … some say our garden grows because we are using holy water!

    View through the hothouse

    View through the hothouse

    A glass hothouse with concrete blocks and bricks inside it for thermal mass extends the growing season.

    We have established a fruit forest using different rootstock varieties and demonstrating methods of pruning suitable for a small garden such as espaliering and cordon training.

    Members sponsored many of the fruit trees and the Diggers Club donated the six pear trees.

    We have been fortunate to have had valuable help from a Green Corp team, and of course, member volunteers.

    The last stage of the project on this site will be to develop a shady social space with a wood fired BBQ and pizza oven.
    Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

    Further plans

    • To have regular seed and seedling exchanges
    • To establish a community allotment garden on a site at the edge of town for those who have no suitable land or who like a social component to their food production.
    • To establish a demonstration integrated permaculture system on another local site.
    • To run classes on “how to deal with surplus” – techniques for preserving, making jams and chutneys, preparing food for freezing etc.
    • To hold regular fund raising “100 kilometre” dinners where all seasonal produce is sourced from a 100 kilometre radius (and drink of course too!)

     

    What can I do?

    • Join MASG
    • Become a garden volunteer
    • Resolve to put your green thumbs to work.

    You will be surprised how rewarding it can be – good for your physical, nutritional and mental health, and good for the health of our planet … a win-win-win-win!

    If you would like to know more, either contact Peter Sansom or contact the MASG office Ph:5470 6978 or email us

    Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

    •