Impressed by the diversity and quality of home made / grown and small scale commercial produce and products, we decided to get involved with this local community initiative by hosting a 'Black Market' ourselves. This informal gathering is held once a month at various properties around the region.
'The Black Market is a monthly local informal food exchange and "open garden". You can bring your own home-grown excess veggies, fruit, etc to swap or sell, or produce you've made yourself such as preserves, bread, jam, pickles, etc. If you don't grow or make your own, you can come to the Black Market and buy from those who do. The Black Market is also open to local people who grow commercial produce (e.g. olives, nuts) on a small scale.'
|Grant family home grown produce: Honey, eggs, goat cheese, preserves and seasonal vegies|
|Treats for guests: Wild cherry plum cordial, steamed carrot cakes, broad bean pesto and beetroot dips|
|Other contributions included: citrus, vegies, tomatoes, olive oil, olives, soap, herbs, hand spun wool, eggs and cakes|
|The semi-shade of the carport reached capacity at the markets peak, around 40 or so guests|
|A tour of the house and garden, sharing ideas of low impact living with local people|
We found that the market was a good way to meet like minded local people, opening a dialogue about growing and making your own. It's an informal way to discuss relocalisation with people who are open to change and alternatives to our modern way of life. From the feedback that we got it seemed like people loved the atmosphere and had a great time.
Some more history of the Black Market:
The Black Market was originally set up in October 2007 by Candi Westney and artist Leone Gabrielle as a very informal low-food miles food swap market and a way for people who are interested in home growing and organic food in the district (ie. the Highlands area) to meet socially. For the first two years it was held monthly at Rocky Passes Estate vineyard, in Whitehead's Creek, the home of Candi and her partner Vitto Oles. Often someone would give a cooking demonstration.
In November 2009 it began to be held at other properties, a different place each month, so that people could see how others grew their veggies and fruit. In May 2010 Paul Macgregor took over the organising and promoting of it bringing the Black Market to Yea and Seymour as well as in the Highlands.
It's currently a swap or sell market, a social gathering, an "open garden" scheme and sometimes there are food-gardening related talks and demonstrations, such as Brian Bowering's fruit tree grafting workshop. There are about 60 people on the email list at the moment, and about 20+ people attend every month.