Category Archives: Highlands food

Growing and buying food that comes from the Highlands

Community gardens: old skills for a new world

Southern Highlands News, 29 May 2013, Author, Jill Cockram. More articles from the CANWin column.

Upgrading the shade house at Moss Vale Community GardenThink Eat Save That’s the theme for this year’s World Environment Day, next Wednesday 5th June.

It sounds good, but where can you learn how to make it work?

One place is at a community garden. It can give you experience with skills that Nannas and Grandpops learnt as a matter of course, and work out how to combine them with new information and technologies for a better life in the digital age.

The Highlands now has two community gardens, at Moss Vale and Bundanoon. They can be great demonstration sites for:

  • Eating with the seasons for fresher food and to reduce imports
  • Knowing what will grow locally
  • Growing lots of organic food in our own backyards and town green spaces
  • Understanding the cycles of life (saving seed for next season’s crops)
  • Learning how to build structures using renewable materials (strawbale, mudbrick)
  • Strategies to lower your environmental footprint – solar energy, recycling, sustainable transport, chemical-free food production, preserving the harvest

Community gardeners are developing ways to cope well with disruptions to familiar food growing cycles. Plants thrive within their own range of temperatures, as we find out when we try to grow things outside their comfort zone – mangoes in the Highlands?? As our climatic zones change, the staple foods that farmers can grow are also changing. More catastrophic weather events could also cause food shortages. Remember the banana shortage a few years ago?

And at a community garden you can re-learn something extra that Nanna knew: a job like bottling a tree’s worth of apples is fun and efficient with a group of friends, but hard yakka if you’re beavering away for hours alone at home.

The Highlands has two community gardens, at Railway Street, Moss Vale ( and Ellsmore Street, Bundanoon ( Check the websites for opening times, or come and meet people at next week’s events.

Environment week events

Tuesday June 4: CANWin Speaker Night with climatologist Dr Blair Trewin from the Bureau of Meteorology. 7pm at the Council Civic Centre Theatrette in Moss Vale.

Wednesday June 5: Moss Vale Community Garden workshops worm farming. 1.30pm at the Garden

Friday June 7: Open Garden at the Quarter Acre Farm, 18 Hood St, Mittagong

Sunday June 9: Bundanoon Community Garden presents the premiere of “Symphony of Soils”. 3pm at the Council Civic Centre Theatrette.

2013 WED Logo

Eat Better, Live Better: From Farm to Fork

Wednesday, 9 November 2011, 7-9pm

Bowral Library (Henrietta Rose Room)

A free seminar on healthier eating, with Maria Mitzikis of The Food Muse and Jill Cockram of Moss Vale Community Garden.
All proceeds to Southern Highlands CanAssist and Moss Vale Community Garden.

Moss Vale Farmers’ and Flea Market

On the fourth Saturday of every month. Moss Vale Showgrounds, from 8.00am to 1.00pm

Southern Highlands Harvest project update

The Southern Highlands Harvest project aims to contact all growers and producers in the Wingecarribee region – both large and small – to collate a description of their produce, along with information as to where the produce is locally available, whether by farmgate, local markets or local retail outlets. A resulting directory would link consumers, both local and visitors alike, more directly to local growers and raise the profile of the rich agricultural heritage of our region. The outlets for local produce would be mapped (we realize that not every farmer runs a farmgate) and could also form the basis of a local Food Trail. For an idea of possible future opportunities resulting from participating in such a project, see the Hawkesbury Harvest website


There is no cost to register with the Southern Highlands Harvest program, and the benefits are many – not the least being significant promotion and publicity for your business, as well as networking opportunities for value-adding and diversification.

Contact Sandra Menteith for more information or complete the registration form and return to her. Sandra’s contact details: 4883 7687 or email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Southern Highlands Harvest is a collaborative project of Transition Shire Wingecarribee, Slow Food Southern Highlands and Harmony Community Farm Inc. supported by Tourism Southern Highlands and seed-funded by Wingecarribee Shire Council.


Spring is springing and frozen puddles are a thing of the past. Now is the time to get active in the garden.

If you’re stumped, you can get out to the Moss Vale Community Garden Monday and Friday mornings to help out and get some tips.

Aussie Organic Gardening is a great website, maintained by a very wise woman.

Aussies Living Simply is an online forum with 6600 members. There you’ll find lots of advice and answers to any questions you may have.

Of course, the local libraries have a fabulous range of books to help you get started.

Whatever you grow and however experienced you are, there is nothing like sitting down to a meal from your own garden. It also entitles you to announce it at every such meal. Enjoy it.

Southern Highlands Harvest farm gate Survey

Transition Shire Wingecarribee has received seed-funding from Wingecarribee Shire Council to carry out a survey of locally grown and produced food that is available either at farmgate, local markets or other local retail outlets. This is a collaborative project with the team coordinated by Sandra Menteith, partnered by Jill Dyson, Convivium leader of Slow Food Southern Highlands and Jill Cockram, Coordinator of Moss Vale Community Garden.  Tourism Southern Highlands is also supporting the project, as it is anticipated that the mapping of local food outlets will provide the basis for a ‘Southern Highlands Harvest’ Food Trail guide.

The benefits of such a project are many:

  • improved access to fresh local food for consumers (both residents and visitors alike) and increase direct sales of produce from farms and sales of retailers stocking local produce;
  • increased food security for our region by supporting local farmers and encouraging them to diversify with potential for expansion of jobs in this field;
  • contribute to the local economy of the region by making it easier for people to buy local produce from local producers, ensuring that money spent stays in the region;
  • a more resilient and self-sufficient Wingecarribee as we face increasing prices of fresh food and transport costs associated with peak oil and climate change;
  • decreased carbon emissions as residents increase purchase of locally produced goods;
  • improved health and well-being as people eat more fresh, in season food; and
  • increased networking and knowledge exchange among local growers and producers.

Within the next month letters will be sent out to all local growers and producers, inviting them to join this exciting new venture. For more information contact Sandra Menteith via email email hidden; JavaScript is required or telephone 4883 7687.

Food Inc at the movies

The Empire Cinema in Bowral is showing Food Inc for a very short time.

From the cinema’s website:

The current method of raw food production is largely a response to the growth of the fast food industry since the 1950s. The production of food overall has more drastically changed since that time than the several thousand years prior. Controlled primarily by a handful of multinational corporations, the global food production business – with an emphasis on the business – has as its unwritten goals production of large quantities of food at low direct inputs (most often subsidized) resulting in enormous profits, which in turn results in greater control of the global supply of food sources within these few companies. Health and safety (of the food itself, of the animals produced themselves, of the workers on the assembly lines, and of the consumers actually eating the food) are often overlooked by the companies, and are often overlooked by government in an effort to provide cheap food regardless of these negative consequences.
Main cast: Gary Hirshberg, Michael Pollan, Troy Roush, Joel Salatin
Visit the official website (includes trailer)

Session times:
Thursday 1/7, Friday 2/7, Saturday 3/7, Sunday 4/7, Monday 5/7, Tuesday 6/7 & Wednesday 7/7 at 7.45pm

BWF Sourdough workshop

Workshop: The Secrets of Sourdough Bread Making

Paddy ran an acclaimed wood fired oven bakery for many years and now offers to share his skills in a one day sourdough bread making class in his purpose built training kitchen in Bundanoon. Cost $130 pp and includes tuition, lunch and resource CD to take home. For more details P. 4883 7830 or 0427 837 830 or see Paddy’s website.

Check the Bundanoon Community Web for more events.