A Melbourne Weekend

A couple of weekends ago I snuck away to Melbourne, leaving The Husband on the farm to hold the fort (and eat fried eggs all weekend). I was off on an excellent and exciting visit, brought about by my very favourite social media inspiration, Instagram. You see, I don't understand the arguments thrown around about social media making us un-sociable. In fact, in my adult life I've probably never been so surrounded by like-minded people - all thanks to the wonders of the internet, this blog and Instagram. One of those like-minded people (or 'Good Humans', to steal her phrase), is the hilarious and wonderful Arlene Sachon.

Arlene is a free-lance photographer, animal lover, #faceholefood devotee, and a woman after my own heart. She so very generously offered to play host to me for a long weekend, and proceeded to take me to some very cool spots - a local organic cafe with the cutest, functioning kitchen garden ever, The Patch - her own local community garden space, CERES Brunswick (where I've been busting to go for months and months), a tour of some very Melbourne rooftop and riverside bars, culminating with a visit to two super inspiring farms in the Macedon Ranges region and a famous Malmsbury pie (yep, worth it). And while she organised and ferried me around, she also managed to casually snap a few amazing photos to share with you all (because there was no room in my brain for taking photos of all this, I was in serious immersion mode). 

Arlene - thank you for sharing your photos, and thank you for being both a Good Human and a wonderful friend! 

The first property we visited is the home of the truly inspiring A Plot In Common. Tasha Shoo, her husband Ben and their three children live and work on a beautiful little farm, learning the skills they need to grow a life of self-sufficiency. Tasha gave up a few hours to show us around and chat about why and how they came to be where they are, and I have to say I was seriously inspired by her desire to simply share what they have with others - which is how A Plot in Common was born. With the motto of "Farm. Share. Grow", A Plot In Common is about bringing people together, to share a love of food and a desire to know where {and how} our food comes from and about. Currently, Tasha has prepared 6 plots in her garden for others to come and grow in, completely free of charge. Her 'plotters' are a varied crew, all united by a pull to experience growing their own food - abit like a community garden on private land, with the added advantage of a unifying inspiration in Tasha and her family. Do yourself a favour and go check out their website.

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Farm number two was equally inspiring - Seven Hills Organic Farm. The story behind these guys is incredible, with a little hobby of a few eggs being sold by Josh, an 11 year old (seriously entrepreneurial) kid growing into a multi-streamed business run by everyone in the family! What started out as a desire to provide a healthy and beautiful environment for their children has led James and Tamsyn down a road close to self-sufficiency and allowed them to provide ethical, organically produced food for their community. Another aspect of this story comes from the fact that the land that is now so bountiful for them was once entirely pine plantation - they have rehabilitated the land back to it's productive state primarily through the wonderful work of their pasture-raised chickens, who have done a fabulous job fertilising and gently working the soil back into a functioning ecosystem. Nature at its best, I think. 

Right now, they are in the middle of a planning application process to allow them to continue to farm their land - if you live in the area and love what these guys do, PLEASE show your support by visiting this page and sending an email to the council. We need to keep local producers doing good things, and sometimes this can only happen with community support.

Credit for all photos in this post goes to Arlene Sachon - if you don't follow her on Instagram, go there now! And keep an eye out for her new website and services in the near future.