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Brain food to inspire you during COVID-19

Georgia Karavis, Communications & Events Coordinator, Sustain & Melbourne Food Hub

Saying that COVID-19 has changed what every-day life looks like for most of us is an understatement.

With good reason, we're spending endless hours at home and staring at a screen in one form or another (Zoom meetings, social media, news alerts). Of course, the online world has proven to be a necessary tool in 'carrying on' and is vital in keeping people connected at this extraordinarily challenging and alienating time, however a little real world distraction can only be good for our eyes and minds.

Here we will post weekly recommendations of things you can do at home to 'refresh' and hopefully find a way to catch up on some incredible food systems projects and stories while you're are at it.

Victory Gardens & Urban Food Production

If your feed looks anything like ours, you will have noticed the increasing coverage of Victory Gardens. The ABC recently posted 'Could COVID-19 spell the return of the 'victory gardens' of WWI and II?' and most nurseries have either sold out or have limited stock of seeds and seedlings as people are taking to their gardens and growing their own food. Minus the panic-buying, seeing people build resilience in their own backyards, especially in urban areas is a joy.

As the 'Dig for Victory' poster shows (originally published by the Department of Agriculture circa 1942), Australia has a fascinating history of Victory Gardens and food production in urban areas more generally. If you can get your hands on a copy, Andrea Gaynor's 'Harvest of the Suburbs: An Environmental History of Growing Food in Australian Cities' is a truly fantastic book which describes an Australia we either never knew, or have already forgotten about. Furthermore, Andrea Gaynor co-authored a book with Sustain's Nick Rose, entitled 'Reclaiming the Urban Commons: The past, present and future of food growing in Australian towns and cities' which tracks the where we have been and most importantly where we could go as the momentum for urban food production builds. Penny Woodward and Pam Vardy's 'Community Gardens' also tells some beautiful stories of people drawn to growing food and sharing culture in urban spaces.

Though libraries are closed, and buying books won't be an option for everybody - reach out to those around you to share your little library (nothing like the anticipation of receiving a book in the post!). To butcher an old saying, if you can't read, then do - check out part 1 of the Melbourne Food Hub's guide to home food production here.

If you have any recommendations, get in touch by emailing [email protected]