Education as a tool for empowerment has been a key part of Food is Free since its inception in 2014.
Now the grassroots organisation is set to begin a massive series of 50 community workshops that will share skills and knowledge on gardening, food and lifestyle.
"There is lots of gardening lessons out there and groups but quite often they are pitched at high level," Food is Free founder Lou Ridsdale said.
"That can be intimidating to people who don't know how to garden and is why we are showcasing a bunch of vibrant and exciting workshops at a level that isn't intimidating and is inclusive to everyone and everyone's skills base."
The workshop series will begin on World Food Day on October 16 and run until April 2020, with intentions to continue long-term.
The power of developing your own backyard supermarket means you can walk out your door and you can pull up food you have grown and nurtured yourself.Lou Ridsdale, Food is Free founder
Topics on offer include companion planting, children's gardening, soil testing, garden photography, composting, worm farming, fermenting, organic pest control, looking after soil, fruit trees, family crafts and water wise gardening.
There will also be twighlight talks and film nights.
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Anna Paxton will run a plants and pets workshop on October 20, providing information on plants that are toxic to pets, how to plant to repel nasty critters, like, fleas, flies, mites and what foods from the garden can be shared with pets.
"Some plants like deadly nightshade can kill dogs and onions for young puppies will have a dire effect," she said.
"This basic knowledge is important for any owner first time or long term so they can understand what should and shouldn't be planted in their garden so their pets can live happy, healthy lives."
Jingbo Bu will teach participants how to make Chinese steamed dumplings using fresh garden produce during a workshop on October 26.
"In my home town Chinese dumplings are for celebration of Chinese New Year. It is a tradition like at Christmas time you eat something special, at New Year we eat something special," she said.
"The homemade dumpling is really different to what is at the shop. I will be teaching them how to make it, cook it and how to make the fillings for the inside."
Carli Lamb will run a quince workshop next year providing information on how to make quince chutneys, paste and pickles.
"A lot of people don't know what to do with quinces so we get a lot dropped in the Food is Free Laneway," she said.
"Hopefully after coming to the workshops when they see quinces in the laneway they will feel more confident to take them."
The workshops series is made possible with the support of Pick My Project funding awarded to Food is Free last year.
READ MORE: Food is Free movement empowers a community
City of Ballarat passes food strategy
Ballarat councillors endorsed City of Ballarat's food strategy for 2019-2022 titled Good Food For All at a council meeting on Wednesday night.
The strategy outlines how Council can significantly influence Ballarat's food habits and the main community issues in relation to the food system, with details on actions over the next four years.
It recognises issues with the current food system, including how it is easy for people to buy more processed foods with less nutritional value, it encourages people to consume ready prepared meals without developing the skills to grow or prepare foods, Ballarat's high food insecurity levels and high rates of household food waste.
The Good Food for All 2019-22 Strategy has three main priorities:
- Increasing access to and promotion of safe and nutritious food through greater consumption of healthy food and drinks, improving community knowledge and skills to grow and prepare healthy meals, and supporting community food system programs
- Supporting a sustainable local food system through reducing food and packaging waste and supporting local food production and sales
- Celebrating a vibrant, inclusive food culture which supports and promotes local producers
Food is Free founder Lou Ridsdale said the focus of Food is Free is supported in the council strategy.
"The power of developing your own backyard supermarket means you can walk out your door and you can pull up food you have grown and nurtured yourself," she said.
"It is truly not that hard. It doesn't take that much time. People envision gardening as being a really hard thing but I think everyone should just give it a go. We do rely way too much on the supermarkets and those supermarkets in turn only sell perfect food, particularly with fruit and veg they throw out so much food that doesn't make it to the supermarket isles.
"We shouldn't be eating so much processed food, we should certainly be looking at our diets and looking at our vegetable intake."