Grow Lightly News

No. 8
April 2016

  • Here's our wonderful new banner!
  • Autumn in the shop - but where's the rain?
  • Upcoming workshops
  • Solar on display
  • Bass Coast -building small-scale food production
  • and lots of other stuff
Here's our wonderful new banner!
This stunning tapestry banner now adorns the Grow Lightly Food Hub. Hand-sewn stitch by stitch, it was made for and donated to Grow Lightly by Margaret Rees, who is 85 and the mother of GL volunteer Diana Rees. In season and out of season, these colourful vegies will lighten our day. Thanks so much, Margaret!


Mmmm... what's that? The fragrance of quinces and feijoas now fills the Food Hub shop, and speaks of autumn delights - ruby-red quinces and green feijoas for breakfast. The apple season is well underway; we have many heritage varieties that you'll never see in a supermarket. And it's also a good time for vegies; jewel-box capsicums have been a big hit,as well as leeks and curly kale.
But weather-wise, it's been a terrible summer for Grow Lightly growers, with high temperatures and hardly any rain. Autumn should be wetter, but it's still warm and dry; and some of us are starting to get anxious about when - or whether - the winter rains will come. It's hard to grow crops without water! Let's hope southern Gippsland lives up to its reputation as a great place for winter rain.
Grow Lightly has just held a very successful workshop on Fowlers Vacola Bottling, led by Susan Davies. If you missed that one, another workshop is just about to happen. It's not too late to register, but please hurry up!
 SEED SAVING WORKSHOP - Wednesday evening, 27 April
At the Grow Lightly Food Hub, Silkstone Road, Korumburra
Saving your own vegetable (and some fruit) seed is easy, fun and economical - and autumn is the time to start!
Cost - $15. Bookings and pre-payment essential - for details, email


It started with an ad in the Sentinel Times asking for local organisations if they had an idea for infrastructure which needed financial assistance. It was placed by our local member Russell Broadbent MP outlining the Stronger Communities Program funding – but funding would be on a dollar for dollar basis. Anyway, we sought a quote for a combined solar panel and battery installation to be placed on the Grow Lightly Food Hub and, in so doing, make more sense of the building being a centre for promoting sustainability as well as clean, fresh and local food.
Once we had the quote, we needed partners. The Grow Lightly Board made a contribution, and we received a similar commitment from the Energy Innovation Co-operative and the remainder from the South Gippsland Shire Council.
Then we joined the queue – and eventually were invited to continue with our application and provide further information; including planning for more panels to get over the problem of overhanging trees shading the roof. Eventually we received the news that we were successful. The panels have been installed by Gippsland Solar and were officially ‘launched’ by Russell Broadbent and the Mayor of SGSC, Cr Bob Newton at the recent SGSC/BCSC Sustainability Festival held at Coal Creek.
Bass Coast - building small-scale
food production
Grow Lightly, from its base at Korumburra, has shown that local, small-scale growers can make a very useful contribution to the local economy. Our Food Hub shop, staffed by volunteers, is providing a popular outlet for locally-grown fruit and vegetables and for small-scale value-added goods like cheeses and preserves.
Now Grow Lightly, a not-for-profit community organisation, is working to extend this model along the Bass Coast.
Grow Lightly has convened the 'Bass Coast Local Food Group', which includes farmers, local council staff, Landcare, the community welfare sector, South Coast Primary Care Partnership and Bass Coast Health.  This diverse membership reflects a 'local food for local people' movement, which has environmental, educational, economic and social and health importance.
Over the past year Grow Lightly, with in-kind support from the South Gippsland Shire Council, has been able to pay out over $87,000 to growers and value-adders in the southern Gippsland area, as well as another $25,000 to local service providers. It's hoped that similar economic and social benefits can be developed within the Bass Coast area. Gil Freeman is the Convenor of the new Bass Coast group.

In my garden
- and a recipe

A dry summer and early autumn means there doesn't seem to be much green around. But the colour! This year I grew Spooky pumpkins, gorgeous Hallowe'en type pumpkins about as big as a soccer ball, and they're so happy and, now the vine has died down, so bright!
Still some tomatoes, red and yellow, passionfruit, lemon and green babacos, over-ripe lemon apple cucumbers, which are no good for eating now but perfect for saving seed, no longer lemon in colour but stripey orange. Deep red cherry guavas. And bright yellow quinces. All of this now overlapping with the first mandarins, and we all know how splendid a citrus tree is, loaded with ripening fruit. 
Here's a recipe for pot-roasted quinces, from
Stephanie Alexander's Cook's Companion. Very rich, very sweet, oh so indulgent. Eat them with cream ...
6 quinces (preferably with stem and leaf attached), well washed
1.5 litres water
4 cups sugar
juice of 3 lemons
Pack quinces, water and sugar into a heavy-based non-reactive saucepan. Boil vigorously for 30 minutes until syrup thickens (large bubbles will form). Lower heat and simmer for up to 5 hours, using a simmer mat, if necessary. Turn quinces at least 4 times during cooking process to ensure they become a deep ruby colour thorugh to the core. Add lemon juice in the final minutes of cooling (this helps cut the sweetness).
This year's Sustainability Festival, held at Coal Creek on April 3, attracted more people than ever - and many found their way to the Grow Lightly Food Hub to get a 'sustaining' coffee and muffin. Grow Lightly presented short talks such topics as 'growing and using local bushfoods', and how to preserve summer produce for use over the winter. Other displays at the Festival included the Energy Innovation Cooperative, Landcare and the local bee-keepers group.
Please support IGA - because they support us!
Grow Lightly is part of the IGA Community Rewards program.
When you go to a supermarket, please choose IGA at Leongatha or Korumburra, and make sure your loyalty points go to Grow Lightly Connect.
Thanks so much!
Copyright © 2016 Grow Lightly Connect, All rights reserved.

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