Sunday, June 12th, 2016 at 2:10 pm
In the Fair Food car park a delivery truck returns from a run with its back step dangling off in an alarming angle. Andrew, the driver, gives it a few tugs and the whole thing breaks off, hitting the concrete with a clang. The call goes over to the CERES Site Team and Vic Cardemone wanders over to take a look. Vic looks over the broken step and under the truck where it came off. The truck disappears over to the Site workshop and returns later, the step not just fixed but totally redone, held together with strong clean welds, reinforced with a piece of recycled box steel. The whole thing made better than before.
Vic Cardemone has been fixing things around CERES for the past 14 years, he started volunteering not long after he retired from his job in the workshop at Caterpillar, the heavy machinery company. Working through a never-ending list of things needing building or fixing, in his own way Vic has kept CERES going and perhaps CERES has kept him going too. Vic turned 80 the other day, (that’s him above watching on uncertainly as his 80 candles are ignited with a blow torch).
When it comes to recycling things CERES is a place of huge optimism but the gap between the dream and the reality of making some pile of old rusty steel into something useful is regularly summed up by Vic’s well-worn refrain, “What is this f#*!ing s#%t!?”. Invariably however, what emerges is quite the opposite. The results of Vic’s patience and skill can be found all over CERES in resurrected gates, bike racks, meter cages, fortress-like steel cupboards and endlessly repaired wheel barrows, trolleys and vehicles.
And like so many “no longer required” people and things that come to CERES, Vic’s story is another line in the universal CERES song – a mantra sung to our throw-away world. In an old unwanted rubbish tip, there is an old unwanted man, making old unwanted things, new again.
Happy Birthday Vic
Monday, May 30th, 2016 at 6:13 pm
For the most part CERES generates its money through social enterprises like Fair Food, but there’s a gap (there’s always a gap). Once a year we put it out there and ask for your help. It’s a one time thing – we hit you up and then let everybody get on with it. See our spiel below, normal newsletter transmission resumes next week.
Dear CERES supporter,
In the beginning, back when CERES was an unused rubbish tip, when the Merri Creek was a sewer for Kodak and all the other factories upstream. Back when Brunswick was a suburb of closing shoe and textile factories and people were losing their jobs. Back when there wasn’t a single tree between the Roberts Street front gate and the Merri creek – there was a small group of neighbours who came to this small piece of polluted land and wanted to do something good.
There was no master plan; they just cleaned up, they planted trees, made fences out of hard rubbish, cobbled together garden plots and chicken coops and they started teaching school kids how to look after our land and water better. Years passed and slowly a beautifully chaotic, leafy sanctuary of veggies and chickens and school kids and young parents and bike fixers and solar geeks and preservers and community gardeners seeking respite from a busy, concrete world coalesced from this primal community soup and emerged as CERES.
There was no leader, no charismatic visionary, people just played their parts, gave their time, came and went, came and went. Thirty-four years later CERES remains – this hopeful little piece of land surrounded by a city with its eyes glued to screens, its mind filled with property development, its belly wracked by an insatiable appetite for material things.
And each year around this time we ask for your help to keep CERES – CERES. Because every year almost half a million of you come through the front gate to learn, to grow, to meet, to share ideas, to just span time watching the chickens. You come to this special, chaotic, hopeful oasis in the middle of the city that couldn’t have been made by a government or a corporation. And we ask you to give because together you made CERES and only you can keep on making it.
CERES plays a long game; one day the 60,000 school children who come to learn at CERES will run this country. They come to use green technology, to work in food gardens and to talk with indigenous teachers about cultures who live in harmony with the world around them. And there’ll be things they see, hear, smell, touch and taste at CERES that will help them understand that our needs and desires for food, shelter and energy are intimately connected with the fates of our creeks and rivers, our insects and tadpoles, our chickens and our kingfishers, our gardens and forests.
Take a look around Australia and the world, there’s no place quite like CERES. The money you give today helps CERES work with hundreds of volunteers each month (people like Pete below on the left). It helps put thousands of plants in the ground. Helps workers like Ellie (below on the right) welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, people who just want to do something good, something hopeful like the neighbours who came here more than 30 years ago and began cleaning up an old rubbish tip.
Today CERES is a symbol for hope, embodied by the land it sits on: because the damage we do can be fixed – if we choose to fix it. Some people have their walking groups or sporting clubs, some their churches – if you want to be part of something meaningful, something to belong to, to barrack for, to believe in, then make CERES your group, your club, your church, your place.
If you donated, thank you. Your donation is tax deductible.
Have a great week
Sunday, March 13th, 2016 at 10:06 am
A few weeks ago in a newsletter I was digressing about the joy of discovering the cornucopia that’s depicted on our very own Victorian coat of arms. Seemingly mundane at first glance, on closer examination I was struck by its offbeat imagery; a kangaroo levitating in a lavishly decorated medieval jousting helmet while two toga-clad ladies nonchalantly showed off olive leaves and various agricultural products in a style reminiscent of a stand at a fresh food expo on a slow day. But beyond its offbeat wackiness there was something about this picture, something that’s been nagging away in the back of my mind for weeks now.
It was as our yearly harvest festival approached “that something” finally clicked into place. I was thinking about the origins of our name CERES and had been revisiting a poem of Ovid’s sent to me by an old friend with a very expensive and esoteric education….
Ceres was the first
to split open the grassland with a ploughshare,
the first to plant corn and nurse harvests.
She was the first to give man laws.
Everything man has he owes to Ceres,
so now I sing of her
and so I pray my song may be worthy
of this great goddess
for surely she is worthy of the song.
Then later while browsing for images of Ceres I happened upon this bronze statue on eBay (that’s her down there, she’s going for $120 btw). Instantly everything came together. The eBay statue and the woman on the coat of arms! They were the same! It was Ceres, her head crowned with a wreath of wheat, her harvest spilling out of her cornucopia. It was her right under my nose, all these years watching over us, the symbol of our state standing above that banner, proclaiming our motto, Peace and Prosperity.
I suspect that back in the day the Peace and Prosperity motto alluded to the enforcement of laws upon local populations, both indigenous, convict and poor, so that “gentlemen of the Empire” were unhindered to take as much from Ceres as she would give.
But today, in another age, an age of climate change and with an ecology ready to crack, Peace and Prosperity now requires us to care for Ceres – in fact more than care for her, to actually give back more than we take, so that future generations may follow us and tell their own stories of Ceres, celebrate their own harvests and draw their own funny coats of arms.
Each year CERES Harvest Festival celebrates and gives thanks to the good earth, our farmers and the cycle of the seasons. CERES Harvest Festival is happening this Saturday 19th March, 10am to 3pm Cnr Stewart and Roberts Sts Brunswick East. Entry $5 and kids free.
P.s. Don’t forget this Saturday to share your surplus on “Put a zucchini on your neighbour’s doorstep” Day.
Have a great long weekend
Thursday, January 28th, 2016 at 1:41 pm
|The Seven Stars have been making their delicious Turkish and Kurdish food at CERES since 2007. Starting as a social enterprise project with AMES, this passionate group of Alevi women who wanted to get out of the house and into the world have used their strong food culture as a springboard to do just about everything – from running a Turkish barbecue at CERES market to catering for weddings (including my own) to feeding Jack Johnson on his Australian Tours. Seven Stars have been making dips for Fair Food and the Merri Table Cafe for years now and at a very generous 250g (as opposed to those lightweight 200g supermarket dips) you get every chance to taste the love. Was $5.95, now $5.45More specials and things …|
Sunday, December 13th, 2015 at 1:55 pm
Sunday, September 13th, 2015 at 1:53 pm
Thursday, July 16th, 2015 at 5:45 pm
It’s easy to imagine the origins of soup – throwing everything you have handy into a pot of water on a fire – you can even envisage it’s onomatopoeic name popping into existence –
‘What’s in that pot?’
‘What that pot?’
‘Yeah that pot.’
‘Soup huh. Smells really good.’
You can see from this point the inevitable evolution of soup accompaniments like toast, bread sticks, croutons and in some parts of the world crackers.
So this week, in loving a nod to the US who have world series’s for things they just do among themselves, we’ve decided to meet the challenge of the Antarctic vortex we’re currently experiencing with an annual planet-wide/local soup celebration to be forever known as World International Soup Week. Please feel free to host your own global event, soup swap, soup group, consomathon or pop-up-toasty-dunkablitz. Email us and we’ll help you publicise it.