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The Hungry Gardener

Author: Fabian Capomolla

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Welcome to The Hungry Gardener Podcast, where I talk to people passionate about my two favourite topics, food and gardening.

We touch on everything from food security, buying and growing quality produce, creating culinary masterpieces, sustainable farming, lessons, tips and a few stories along the way.

Be sure to subscribe to my podcast journey through itunes and if you’d like to receive a newsletter or updates on future episodes, go to our website …Thanks for listening.
25 Episodes
In this episode of The Hungry Gardener we speak to Morgan Koegel from 3000 acres. 3000 acres is an organisation that has been set up to help empower communities with the skills and knowledge to grow fresh healthy food. Essentially 3000 acres wants to see more people, grow more food, in more places. We spoke to Morgan the general manager in the garden at their office at the Melbourne Food hub. They have been working on some great projects, including a community oil press. Hope you enjoy this episode.
On this episode of The Hungry Gardener we spoke to Julie Bennett, a favourite gardener of mine, with my dream job. Julie is the kitchen gardener for Montalto Estate on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. The estate is over 50 acres, with 30 acres under vine, and 3 acres of produce gardens. It has a fabulous restaurant and an incredible amount of open space, trees, gardens and artworks spread over the beautiful property. We recorded on the fly during a slow roving tour of the grounds, so expect some wildlife interruptions, wind gusts, tractors, and gravelly footsteps throughout, hopefully it adds some spice to the ‘in the moment' energy of our warm and wide ranging conversation.
In this episode we interview Matt Donovan co-founder and director of Food for Change, a not-for-profit organisation with a mission to alleviate food insecurity in Australia. According to stats on the website, 1 in 10 Australians seek food relief annually and over ¼ of these are turned away. Food for change grows fresh food, rescues small scale food not currently catered for, and supports established local relief agencies to deliver more food to those in need.
EP 22 THE HUNGRY GARDENER This is the second podcast we recorded on our road trip to Ballarat in Central Victoria. We met and spoke with Lou Ridsdale the founder of the FOOD IS FREE not fo profit initiative in Ballarat. We spoke to her in the laneway beside her house which is the official hub for local and community engagement. It’s such a simple and fantastic idea...People can leave excess food for others to share, anyone can pick up seeds to use to grow food, people can drop off compost to be managed and shared. It is a really interesting idea with community at its heart. Lou has also been instrumental in setting up further community garden initiatives as well. We discussed what motivates her and how the FOOD IS FREE idea came to be. For more information go to or visit the Enjoy the conversation.
On this episode, we speak to Bec Djordjevic of Munash Organics. We visited the family business based in Pootilla, about 10 minutes outside of Ballarat. The company is on 150 acres of certified organic farmland, and specialise in rock mineral, natural fertilisers, using a holistic approach to soil health. It was great to finally meet Bec in person and to chat about her journey. Hope you enjoy the conversation.
On this episode, I share with you a talk that I recorded that I was going to present at a local library. Hopefully, this will give you an insight into me and my background. This is my story thus far... Stay Hungry.
Today we talk to Morgan Ranieri of about the business of home food delivery, and some of the advantages and challenges the company faces competing with the big supermarkets. It’s a fantastic idea that supports a wide range of small retail, and local businesses.
In the latest Episode of The Hungry Gardener Podcast I met with Head Chef, Blayne Bertoncello of OMY Restaurant in Beaconsfield, Victoria. Together with his brother Chase, they have built an incredible reputation for creative, inspired and truly seasonal fare that has to be experienced to be believed. They operate with a sustainable and minimal waste philosophy, and grow almost all of the restaurant produce on a nearby property, including hops for home-made beer and honey from their own bees. I visited the farm and spoke to Blayne as he took me on a tour of the incredible operation that requires a team of dedicated employees and service staff to manage. It is a truly amazing, 7 days a week undertaking, with the restaurant receiving high accolades across the industry including a prestigious Two Hat's for culinary excellence by the Good Food Guide. We are in awe of the dedication, passion and long-term vision that it takes to run a restaurant like this. Please enjoy this episode with Blayne Bertoncello of OMY
On this episode we speak to Andrew Monk, Chairman of Australian Organic Limited, a not for profit industry services group in Australia. It has members from the organic farming and food sectors and helps to evolve and improve organic standards. We have a fantastic chat about his career and also go right into some of the technical and practical aspects to organic certification. Also included on this episode I answer the next listener question about home-grown garlic.
On this episode of the Hungry Gardener Podcast, we speak to Robyn Rosenfeldt, founding publisher and editor of PIP Permaculture Magazine. Its an incredible publication, with beautiful design and photography. The website is a treasure trove of articles, books, blog posts, podcasts and information around Permaculture. Robyn lives with her family on a two and a half acre property in Pambula. I hope you enjoy the interview
On this episode of The Hungry Gardener, we speak with Tyrone Brown from Little Yarra Dairy. A 20 acre, family operated, micro-dairy in Launching Place Victoria. The farm produces milk, yoghurt, cream and cheese from 12 Jersey cattle, and I got a behind-the-scenes tour of the boutique dairy’s production methods. We then sat down over a cuppa and Tyrone explained the philosophy behind Bio-Dynamic milk production and the importance of a supportive community to a small business enterprise.
On this episode, we speak to Melanie Scott, founder, creator, and director of Agreena. Agreena produces a reusable silicon wrap product that is an alternative to clingwrap, foils and baking paper. Mel hosted us at her beautiful home in The Yarra Valley, as her sheep and chickens huddled together outside, sheltering from the huge, gusting winds throughout the interview. I hope you enjoy this discussion on how she came to developing this unique product. I also introduce a new section to answer listeners question; this week is about how to deal with gall wasp.
Nick Russo From Summer Snow Juice shares stories about his family business, Bellevue Orchard, growing apples for three generations and now making juice. We went to visit him on the Farm in Officer, where he showed us the production line, and told us about how the juice business was a result of bad weather that wiped out much of there crop. Hence the name Summer Snow. Hope you enjoy the listen.
We hear from Matt and Lentil, a married couple who have recently released a book called Grown and Gathered. It’s tagline is ‘Traditional Living made Modern’. As they explain, the book is a culmination of what they have learnt over the years growing food and flowers including some tips on slowing things down and attempting to live more simply and traditionally. The two talk about the highlights and the challenges of learning the farming process, as well as managing social media, mentors and future aspirations. Also, a small heads up that there are a couple of explicit words in this episode, just in case to have a little one listening along with you.
On this episode of the Hungry Gardener Podcast I chat with Alexandra Olsson from ‘Olssens’, the oldest family-owned and operated salt company in Australia. The business produces high-end salt flakes and animal salt supplements. Alex provides a fascinating insight into the history of the company, the production process, and her family’s passion for salt production.
In the tenth episode of The Hungry Gardener, and our first for 2017, I chat to Miranda Sharp of Melbourne Farmer’s Markets. Miranda is an important figure in the local food arena and has been instrumental in championing Farmers Markets here in Melbourne for the past 15 years. We discuss her early career, farmer market highlights and successes and how she approaches her own shopping. Her respect and admiration for farmers and passionate dedication to the promotion of local produce is inspiring. Hope you enjoy the listen.
In this episode, I speak to Nikki Valentini of The Growing Abundance Project. Nikki is a passionate and hard working innovator and supporter of community focused projects. Our shared Italian background led us to discuss food and its importance to family and to our heritage. We discuss how she encourages and maintains community engagement with her various projects in the Castlemaine community where she lives.
In episode 8, I interview Julie Armstrong from the organisation ‘ACT FOR BEES’. Julie’s passion is raising awareness about bees through education. She examines the threats bees currently face, and the critical importance of healthy bee populations, given they are directly responsible for the pollination of plants, trees and therefore the food we eat.
In episode 7, I chat to Darren Aitken, a biodynamic farmer and owner of Vortex Veggies. Darren was a pleasure to chat with and has some insightful and progressive thinking about current farming practices. He explains to me what fuels his belief in the biodynamic process.
This episode we speak to Kaye Roberts-Palmer who is a passionate advocate for ‘Save our Citrus'. We learn about the danger posed by the invasive 'gall wasp' and its devastating effect on citrus trees all across Melbourne. She explains what to look for, pruning techniques, disposal of the affected limbs, and how to educate friends and neighbours of this serious issue we are facing in our backyards.
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