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.
Sunday, June 14th, 2015 at 6:53 pm
Sunday, June 7th, 2015 at 6:25 pm
Monday, December 15th, 2014 at 6:44 pm
Monday, June 2nd, 2014 at 10:36 am
On Wednesday the verdict came in on the landmark case of WA organic grower, Steve Marsh, who lost his organic certification after his land was contaminated by GM canola from his neighbour, Michael Baxter’s farm. Even though it was proved that GM canola plants had come from Marsh’s neighbour, Justice Kenneth Martin determined that Baxter was within his rights to harvest his crop in a way that would spread GM seed over his boundary and that it was the certifying body, NASAA, who was in the wrong for decertifying Steve Marsh’s land.
When GM crops were approved State Governments made no provision for scenarios where a non-GM farmer and a GM farmer were in dispute over contamination. They have simply left it up to the courts to decide and in this case where everyone believed they did the right thing it’s turned into a complete mess. The end result is a life-long friendship is ruined, Michael Baxter’s marriage has broken down under the strain, both parties have lost significant time and money and non-GM farmers across Australia have no idea where they stand in all this.
The rub to this decision is now some GM crops are legal in Australia organic certification bodies, like NASAA, and organic consumers are being pushed to accept a level of GMO contamination in organic foods and adjust their standards to fit. NASAA says they’re open to changing the standards but will be lead by consumer demands. The ball is in now our court and if you’d like to share your consumer demands with NASAA here’s their email address email@example.com We’ll keep you posted. If you’d like to know more about GMO’s in Australia check out Melbourne’s own MADGE
Thursday, March 22nd, 2012 at 2:31 pm
Original Released March 16th 2012
What’s the worst thing that can happen to an environment park that educates kids and grows food? A contamination scare that breaks in the city’s most trusted paper.
Appearing on page three of The Sunday Age, March 4th edition, just the week before CERES Organic Farm was given the all clear by Moreland City Council and the Department of Health, a feature article reported, “produce grown at CERES banned from sale” because of lead contamination. The timing of Steve Holland’s article could not have been worse or more mischievous.
If The Sunday Age had bothered to check their story, the real but far less newsworthy story would have revealed that Moreland City Council testing had found five privately leased community garden plots with lead levels slightly over ANZFSC limits and that produce from CERES Organic Farm had never been contaminated or banned from sale. Never let the facts get in the way of a good story they say.
When I read the article, including a quote from CERES chairperson, Robert Larocca, which seemed to back up the story, my first thoughts were, “That’s not right and why would Robert confirm it?”
And then I found out how some journalists work and it all became clear. At the time of the interview in January the final Moreland City Council test results hadn’t come out but Steve Holland obtained a leaked version of the preliminary results. The document had the test results but not the locations of the tests. Wrongly assuming the results referred to the CERES Organic Farm instead of the community garden plots, Holland used the report to ask Robert Larocca what he would say to people who could have eaten contaminated CERES produce? Larocca’s reply was, “It is unfortunate it has happened and we are sorry for that. A very small number of people will have purchased that [contaminated food], including myself.” It was an honest answer to a hypothetical question but Holland used the quote make it seem like CERES had actually been selling contaminated produce without ever checking his story was correct.
Two months passed before the article was finally published. It would have only taken a simple phone call to discover that Council test results had cleared produce sold at CERES and isolated the problem to a small number of 4x4m community garden plots not accessible to the general public. But no phone call was made, the story went to print and all hell broke loose.
I’ve been feeling sick about this for the last fortnight. I used to trust The Age. I read it every day, but now I feel like CERES’ good name has been destroyed by sloppy journalism and a paper eager for a controversial story. Two weeks later and it’s all old news; Moreland City Council came out with their test results clearing CERES Organic Farm, new articles have been written with the facts but fear is a powerful motivator and people are turning away from CERES. The damage has been done.
The outcome has been immediate for CERES; Fair Food orders are down, the Market is quiet. We are reducing what we buy from the 50 plus Victorian farmers and processors who depend on us for their income. Our packers and drivers are losing shifts and CERES will need to take money away from environmental education programs to cover the financial losses of Fair Food and Market. So much damage caused by a few careless words.
We can’t beat this alone. CERES has always lived and died on the support of our community, so we’re asking you to tell your friends the real story, to share it through your networks. We’re asking you to stand by our farmers and our packers & drivers by placing your Fair Food orders and by shopping at CERES Market. We’re asking you to stand up for CERES.
CERES Fair Food and Organic Farm
If you would like to read more information, please visit CERES Safe Food.