Lying just outside of the Southern Grampians shire, the Merino produce swap is one of the strongest in our area. Recently, swapper Kim Chintock shared just how the swap became so strong and how it’s evolved over the years. Could your community use some of these learnings to start a ‘swap’ of your own?
The idea of a Merino produce swap evolved out of the Food for Thought conference back in 2012. A presentation from existing Nareen Swap group inspired a small local group to try a similar thing, and six years later they’re still going strong.
The swap happens on the second Saturday of the month from 10am at the Merino Community Health Centre. A further idea stemmed from the swap team shortly after the swaps began, as the community centre had a large garden space, the team worked to establish a community garden. Starting with just three raised vegie beds, over time fruit trees, citrus buses and decorative plants have been established and maintained by volunteers.
At each swap, attendees give a gold coin donation towards morning tea. This has raised over $1000 to date that has been injected directly into the upkeep of the community garden.
Just recently, the swap group have changed their name to, ‘Merino Swap & Share’ because it's really about bringing anything along, putting it on the table and sharing. The word ‘share’ is important to the group, as not every transaction is a trade, you can bring along 'anything' and who knows you may take home a different 'anything'. Now, in addition to the monthly gatherings, excess produce and goods, especially in times of abundance at the entrance to the Merino Community Health Centre, for anyone to take or add to. The next step for the group is to create a Facebook group page where users can post what they have an excess of or goods they no longer require, as another means of maintaining the swapping culture between meets.
The concept of sharing is a growing trend worldwide and Merino is up there with it!
Approximately 35 community members gathered in the The Hub Hamilton early on Tuesday morning to learn about and celebrate changes organisations, schools, sporting clubs and workplaces have made so that healthier choices are easier to make in their respective settings.
Ursula from South West TAFE, John from Western District Health Service, Lynne and Emily from Southern Stay Disability Services Inc and Fiona Hermon from Penshurst Primary School - Vic all shared their stories of change on the community panel.
There was lots of positive networking and buzz fuelled by delicious healthy catering from Cafe Gray, Tosca Browns and Jack + Jude.
We hope all who came along left feeling inspired to drive further change and promote healthy choices! As always, if you have an idea for change, need some support with healthy choices or have a story you'd like to share please do get in touch at email@example.com We're already looking forward to the next celebration event!
Coleraine welcomed a community produce sharing basket last week!
The sharing basket lives at new Coleraine cafe' the Catching Pen, and is a base for community members to drop their excess produce from any overflowing vegetable gardens to ensure it doesn't go to waste. The basket is accessible to anyone, and if you don't have produce to leave, you can still take as you please for a small donation that goes directly to the Coleraine Primary School Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program.
The philosophy is 'Give what you can and take what you need'.
Community member Beccy Wishart says the Coleraine community have really embraced the idea so far, "We picked up the concept from Dunkeld who have their own produce cart. Ours has been popular with the community so far, there's been plenty of support and we feel it's off to a flying start".
It's amazing what type of ripple effects small actions can have! The Coleraine crew picked up this idea from a similar initiative happening in Dunkeld, who were inspired by a community produce hub in Robe SA.
Do you know of any other produce swaps happening across the Southern Grampians? Or maybe you'd like some more information or tips to start your own? Contact Ebony at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 5551 8475.
The Dunkeld Old Bakery is now home to Dunkeld's first Community Produce cart!
The cart came to life after bakery manager Belinda heard several local gardens were overflowing. 'With so much produce growing at this time of year most of us just don't have the time to utilise it', Belinda said. Whilst produce carts are popping up in a number of places, Belinda first noticed one at a small cafe in Robe SA and knew this year it would be worthwhile implementing a similar thing in Dunkeld. "We launched the cart on the Australia Day long weekend, there were plenty of visitors passing through town and they just loved it", Belinda said.
So, if you're in or passing through Dunkeld, drop by the cart and give your excess produce! If you don't have produce to give, you can still take what you need and choose to give a small donation, all of which are passed onto the Dunkeld Consolidated School's Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program.
Well done Dunkeld Old Bakery for making fresh produce more readily available and reducing waste for many!
Do you know of any other produce carts or swaps in our region? Or have an idea to get one going? Let us know about it! Contact Ebony at email@example.com or 5551 8475 to chat.
The healthy beverage choice was the easy one at Hamilton's Australia Day Celebrations!
Southern Grampians Shire Council were on the front foot, supplying fresh drinking water through two dispenser stations and a 'Meet Pat' chilled dispenser at the Botanic Gardens.
Approximately 380 people attended the celebrations, providing the feedback that it was brilliant to have easy access to Australia's Best Tasting water, whilst minimising waste at the event though avoiding bottled water.
Pictured is Maggie Mercer enjoying some great tasting water at the Hamilton Australia Day celebrations.
Whilst the dispensers pictured here are for council events only, Wannon Water have a range of water taps, dispensers, paper cups and more available for free hire for your next community event. There's no need to sell or supply bottled water when we have access to these resources! See link here for more details: http://www.wannonwater.com.au/i…/sponsorship-and-grants.aspx
Has your community group, school, sporting club or workplace recently made a move to promote and encourage water consumption? We'd love to know about it! Get in touch and share your story with Ebony at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 55518475.
Are you a parent? Part of a community group? A sporting club? A school community? Local government? Health sector? Transport sector? Fitness industry?
Join a vast range of Southern Grampians community members and share your ideas to get our community moving!
Anyone and everyone is warmly welcomed to the upcoming active transport workshop, to provide valuable insights, experiences and views on active transport across our region.
So what exactly is active transport? Active Transport includes walking, cycling, skating, skateboarding and any incidental activity associated with the use of transport. Currently, only 25% of Southern Grampians children use active transport to get to/from school, and just 46% meet the recommended physical activity guidelines of 60 minutes per day.
During the upcoming session on Thursday 29th November, we’ll investigate influences on our local children utilising active transport - what helps or hinders kids walking, riding or scooting to and/from school? Secondly, we’ll put our heads together and generate some ideas to create a Southern Grampians environment/culture that welcomes and encourages active transport. Increasing rates of active transport is just one way to increase our children’s physical activity levels and improve their health status!
Please circulate this event invite to anyone you think may be interested. A diverse range of participants are needed to piece together ideas that will get off the ground! Your own perspective, insight and support is greatly appreciated.
When: Thursday November 29th
Spot: Hamilton District Skills Centre, Mt Baimbridge Rd Hamilton
A light afternoon tea will be supplied.
RSVP is appreciated but not essential. RSVP’s or any queries can be directed to Ebony at email@example.com or on 5551 8475 .
Hope to see you on Thursday 29th November!
Last week, Hamilton Community House held the first of two September school holiday activities, 'Make, bake, taste and take!'.
Deb King at the house has been running school holiday programs for years now, but this session was different in all the right ways. Previously the house has ran cooking skills sessions creating sweet treats and bakes, but there were no slices or biscuits in sight this time around!
Looking for an opportunity to integrate more of a health and well being lens into the program, Deb opted to run this holidays session with a lunchbox/savories theme. 'The session really allows kids to learn about different skills and build up their confidence in different cooking techniques' Deb says, 'Everything made today will go home with a recipe, and we hope families will replicate the foods again at home'.
The children pieced together mini pizza's, bacon and vegetable quiches and savory pin wheels with vegetable fillings.
In addition to recipe resources, each participating child also received a Nutrition Australia 'Pick and Mix' lunchbox information sheet to place on their fridge at home, providing families lots of healthy lunchbox ideas that fit into each of the 6 food groups. The children worked through and discussed the foods on this sheet during their afternoon tea break at the Community House, whilst snacking on a fruit platter!
Congratulations to Deb and her team of volunteers at the Hamilton Community House on a very successful healthy cooking session!
To stay in the loop with all the happenings of the house, or to get information about future holiday programs, please visit http://www.hamiltoncommunityhouse.com.au/ or contact Deb on 5571 9780.
Last fortnight, Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation, in conjunction with Western District Health Service, held their annual Close the Gap day celebrations in the Hamilton Botanic Gardens.
Close the Gap day acknowledges the health and life expectancy gap between indigenous and non-indigenous communities, as well as all the great work that is being done in order to minimise this.
At the event children were kept busy with, alongside other activities, building healthy lunchboxes! Western District Health Service Dietitians assisted children to identify each of the core food groups and before together discussing strategies to ensure all the food groups are represented in a lunchbox. The children then went on to draw their own representation of a healthy lunchbox!
In addition to lunchbox education, there was also a sugar wall at the event that fostered lots of discussion around the nasty amounts of sugar hidden in these drinks.
Great to see health literacy messages being shared in engaging ways at Close the Gap day! Well done to Winda-Mara and WDHS!
Has your organisation or community group recently incorporated some health promoting activity at your celebration or event? If so let us know about it! We'd love to share your story. Email or phone Ebony at firstname.lastname@example.org or 5551 8475.
Our community (yes, that’s you!) has worked hard over the past two years towards making the healthier choice the easier choice for people in the Southern Grampians, especially children – but are we making an impact?
Come along to the upcoming GenR8 Change community walk-shop to find out! There are two time and date options, so hopefully one of these hours suits you to together learn and celebrate how GenR8 Change and childhood health in our region has progressed over the past two years, AND enjoy a FREE healthy BBQ lunch or dinner afterwards!Location: Our beautiful Hamilton Botanic Gardens (meet at the Rotunda) Date/Time: Choose from either;Friday 8th December, 12 - 1pmORTuesday 12th December, 5:15 - 6:15pm If you’re worried about the term ‘Walk-shop’, don’t be. The walking part is not essential! Children and prams also very welcome. These sessions will strictly be kept to under an hour, so come and join us on your Friday lunch break or Tuesday evening. Feel free to please invite or just bring along a friend, the more the merrier! If you are able to make it (and we really hope so) please respond with via our EVENT PAGE, through GenR8 Change Facebook or, email Ebony at email@example.com or phone 5551 8475.Thanks and hope to see you on either the 8th or 12th of December as we gather to celebrate and learn about the health of our local kids!
An undoubtable asset to the Southern Grampians community, Hamilton Community House provides a number of recreation, leisure and skill development activities for all ages, and has recently made some positive healthy change to the way they do business!
A House tradition of 18 years is the monthly community luncheon. The luncheon is put together by House manager Deb King on the last Monday of every month. For just $7, anyone can come along and have a hearty two course meal, that is now much healthier than ever before! Deb has taken it upon herself to include more vegetables in every meal, and change her cooking methods where she can to make the meal as healthy as possible whilst maintaining that traditional hearty feel of the community meal.
Any desert that accompanies the meal (and no, this doesn't happen every month!) now boasts seasonal fruit as the star of the dish over any rich sugar laden option that was once served.
In addition to changes to the community luncheon, the House BBQ's are new and improved also, with vegetables now added to the homemade hamburgers and salads featuring alongside the traditional meat and bread.
On top of these simple yet impressive healthy changes in food provision, the House also encourages their users to get active together, offering regular physical activities including; line dancing, aqua exercise, a walkers group and a laughter yoga group for all ages!
Has your organisation, workplace, school or sporting club made healthy change? We want to know about it! Leave us a comment below, email firstname.lastname@example.org or give Ebony a call on 5551 8475.