Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Environmentality 10 August 2011

Dear Environmentality listeners.

Our guest today was Chris Ennis the Manager of the Organic Farm and Fair Food project at the CERES Environment Park.

CERES is situated on a reclaimed quarry and landfill site on the banks of the Merri Creek in Brunswick. The park is 30 years old next year.

CERES is funded from a number of sources including philanthropic and government support but also the day to day efforts of its own enterprises such as a nursery, organic market and shop, fair food project and restaurant.

Chris told us about how the Fair Food system works. Produce is seasonal, organic and resourced locally mostly within Victoria except for a couple of months in spring when interstate produce might be sourced. CERES packs the produce into a range of boxes which can be ordered online and picked up from one of about 50 local distribution hosts in Melbourne. There are up to 3000 customers and CERES packs about 600 to 700 boxes per week.

Seven different boxes are produced; small ($35) medium ($49.50) and large ($68) mixed vegetables and fruit, and four $30 boxes; fruit only, veg only, a basic box and a juices box. At each host there is a swap box where you can leave produce you might not use and exchange it with something left by other customers.

An additional benefit of the system is that you might get to meet some neighbours!

Read The Age review of CERES Fair Food.

CERES aims to get produce for the best price it can directly from organic farmers. Profits support the organisation. CERES uses people from disadvantaged backgrounds to pack the boxes which can improve their employment prospects and assist engagement with the community.

Another CERES project Chris told us about is Aquaponics which produces vegetables and fish by growing plants on waste from fish. Not unlike hydroponics except that nutrients for the plants come from the waste produced by fish. Led by CERES Green Technology Designer Stephen Mushin and Biologist Dr Wilson Lennard, construction of the first prototype aquaponics system began in June 2010 and is now in the final stages of testing. It is hoped that the systems can be produced as a unit which could even be run by schools and provide income from the sale of produce.

Finally Chris told us about the CERES organic farm. CERES has two certified organic market gardens located over two sites, Honey Lane Market Garden and the Merri Creek Market Garden. Volunteers assist with the gardens. The gardens are also used for training purposes by students doing Certificate II in both Horticulture and Hospitality. They get to grow and harvest the food and cook it!

Thanks to Chris for being on the show and providing us with a great insight into the work CERES is doing around food production and distribution. Click on links in the blog or go to the CERES website to find out more.

Smokey provided us with another selection of music which began with a 60’s song dealing with anarchy, its selection being influenced by the recent mob riot outbreak in the UK.

You got to hear;

Big A Little A by CRASS

Gigantic by The Pixies

The Red Telephone by Love

The Stars of Track and Field by Belle and Sebastian.

Our listener challenge for today was “what is the title of Chris’s position at CERES?” Correct answers sent by SMS during the show to 0447 777 989 receive a $10 gift voucher from the EnviroShop or answers can be left on our blog at

The show closed after a short discussion about organic foods, peak oil, and the impact of reduced consumption on our economic system.

Listen to the show!

Northwest FM is now streaming online so you can listen to the Environmentality broadcast on your computer. Go to for instructions about listening online.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the blog post Peter, and thank you North West FM for having Chris in the studio!


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