For those lucky enough to have the resources to grow their own food, excitement fills the air as trees begin to start fruiting, indicating the coming of another new month, and that it is time to plant different seeds in the ground for the season to come. In the summertime, we crave the vibrant foods rich in antioxidants, such as stone fruits and refreshing vegetables, and come wintertime we crave heavier foods to provide us warmth and nourishment. With the changing of seasons comes also the changing of a new wave of gorgeous new produce and an opportunity to recreate delicious old recipes. Our bodies are primed with the alternating nourishment that nature has to offer, with the changing of the seasons reflecting our cyclic shifts. Eating seasonally and eating as close to the source as possible and will provide heightened nutritional value as well as reducing your eco-footprint and save you money. From a nutritional perspective, fruits and vegetables are at their most nutrient-dense just before they drop. So you can imagine the amount of nutrients that the regular produce found in supermarkets is lacking after being picked early and sprayed to be transported across the country to its destination. When eating seasonally, we get the added benefits of sensational taste, color, texture, and juiciness you wouldn’t find any other way. It is why we notice that organic produce looks very different from that in the supermarkets, where we have become accustomed to believing that all fruits and vegetables should look the same. However, nature it is not uniform - like humans – and we need diversity in the produce we eat.
“Growing your food, when it is ready you have it in abundance,” says Mary Rose, local biodynamisist and seasonal eater in the Freshwater Creek region. The constant abundance of produce that is cultivated when you grow seasonally allows one the opportunity to share. “You can eat it, share it, dry it, dehydrate it, freeze it, eat it raw or cook it. It’s a creative outlet.” While it is not always so easy for many living in the suburban areas of Geelong to eat seasonally, fortunately enough there are many groups set up in Geelong and the surrounding region to make it possible for everyone to eat seasonally, regardless of your geographical situation. Some of these include:
• Food swaps Geelong
This Facebook page posts regular free meet-ups in the Geelong region (including Norlane, Portarlington, Lovely Banks) where you can trade anything homegrown or homemade and take anything with similar value, or leave a small donation.
• Farmgate foods – The box
The organization aims to provide an opportunity to access affordable, fresh, organic fruit and vegetables while encouraging connections between farmers and consumers, and educating about eating local, seasonal produce, sustainable farming and food security.
They provide boxes of organic produce for purchase with an option for small ($20) and large ($50) boxes to be picked up in Torquay on Thursday mornings.
• Transition streets Geelong –
“A grassroots initiative that focuses on connecting and supporting neighbourhoods around the issues of sustainability.” This organization aims to connect neighbours to help one another make local streets more energy efficient and less resource dependent, and encourage food self-reliance, less waste, and development of healthier and more livable areas.
• Geelong Organic Gardeners
A Group of people that share a common interest in gardening organically and working with nature. There are regular meetings in the meeting rooms of the Geelong Botanic gardens where members can trade and purchase produce, listen to guest speakers and join a supper meeting to share a plate of food with other members.
• The Diggers Club Geelong
“Today, The Diggers Club works to preserve the best plants and garden traditions to help Australians become better gardeners. Our independence allows us to speak out against climate change, genetically modified seeds and food, industrial agriculture and the corporatization of our food supply.”
• Geelong community gardens
Located in spaces all over Geelong, “community gardens are places where people come together to grow food and learn the skills of fruit and vegetable growing.”
• Community Orchid Grovedale
A gathering on the first Saturday of each month that is a model for an edible landscape and community involvement. Located in open space in Geelong, a group of like-minded individuals come together for a working bee and food swap.