About Bellingen Seedsavers

We are a group of like-minded growers of edible and useful heritage plant varieties in the Bellingen area of northeast New South Wales, Australia.

Our climate varies from frost-free coastal areas to inland river valleys and highlands with frosts. Bellingen has an average annual rainfall of 1507ml.

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Local Food Film Festival 2011 Short Film Competition

The Local Food Film Festival 2011 is calling for entries into its first short film competition. With $1,000 in prize money, the winning film will be screened at the annual Festival in October and published online.
This years’ theme is ‘Growing and eating for the future’ with each film showing or having a connection to locally grown and produced food. 
Films can be up to 8 minutes, there is no entry fee and submissions will be accepted until Friday 30th September 2011. 
All people are invited to enter the short film competition, regardless of background or level of experience- primary/high school, local community groups, established filmmakers or anyone passionate about local food. 
For entry guidelines please visit www.localfoodfilmfestival.com.au 
The Local Food Film Festival 2011 will be held at Bellingen Memorial Hall on 22nd October, Bowraville Theatre 29th October and Bunker Cartoon Gallery 30th October.
Two feature films will be shown; ‘Vanishing of the Bees’ and ‘Economics of Happiness’, as well as a number of short films including the winning entry in the short film competition. 
The Local Food Film Festival 2011 is supported by the Coffs Coast Local Food Alliance and NSW Environmental Trust. For more details about the Festival, please visit www.localfoodfilmfestival.com.au or get in touch at info@localfoodfilmfestival.com.au 
Mid North Coast, NSW: 16 July 2011
Media Contact:
Jocelyn Edge  0423 595 736

Friday 8 July 2011

Bellingen Seed Savers Visit David's Delightful Garden

David suggested we visit his small acreage to advise him on garden plantings and layout. As we suspected David had little need for our advice but we thoroughly enjoyed his sustainable plantings that are rapidly meeting his goal of developing a small but productive Eden.

David's productive garden commences at the top of his gently sloping block

David has made great use of bamboo and drapes bird netting over his 'chook pen'.
Unfortunately the hawks have been active.

His 'chook pen' serves as a trellis for his recently planted broad beans His hens have a magnificent view of the escarpment. While the south of the NSW suffered from snow and wind storms on this day, the Gleniffer Valley near Bellingen had a clear blue sky and 19 degree Celsius temperatures

Irene calls us to order and we share our Seed savers philosophy with jounalist visitor Uta. We endeavour to grow seeds and then to ensure they are distributed throughout our membership. Heritage seeds from acclimatised vegetables and fruits will always be growing somewhere in our district. If seed companies attempt to patent the seeds of common food plants and to introduce genetically modified plants we will still have seed stock available to share. Of course, our acclimatised plants grow best in our district.

Ute's photograph of our happy group appeared in the Coffs Coast Advocate

Our seed table is a treasury of locally grown seed, some grown for many generations in this district. The very hot rocoto tree chilis in the bags were taken for chili jams, seeds and to be dried for chili powder. The powder is used in cooking and for medicinal capsules to relieve arthritis. Great idea Jeff.

Jicama (Yam Bean) is new to most of us but Nell says to harvest the tuber as soon as the flowers fade. The tuber or root has more of a mild bean taste. This plant was left to grow for seed and the tuber was huge. These Jicama dipping sticks were the result. Nell says she uses her Jicama and her Yacon to provide the crunch in stir fries as an alternative to 'hard to peel' water chestnuts.

Beryl's lemon butter tarts, made only from organic ingredients (lemons, sugar, butter) were popular at afternoon tea along with Jicama sticks, mandarin cake, banana cake and various slices made from local ingredients. Despite appearances, however, we gather not for the food but to share our seeds, our values and friendship. It works for us. Come along to the next meeting if you live locally and share your seeds or plants.

Seed Savers' Network Aims

Our Aims

The Seed Savers' Network was established in Australia in 1986 with these charitable and educational purposes in its deeds:-

To develop and promote:

  • Educational programmes for the preservation of open-pollinated (non-hybrid) seeds and the genetic diversity of plant varieties;
  • Non-profit seed exchange programmes;
  • Agricultural and horticultural programmes with particular emphasis on the propagation of open-pollinated plant varieties;
  • Preservation gardens for open-pollinated plant varieties;
  • Seed banks for non-hybrid plant varieties;
  • Scientific research relating to the above matters, either alone or in conjunction with a public university or other institution.

To Provide:

  • Financial and educational assistance to community development projects - local and overseas;
  • Open-pollinated seed stock to individuals, groups and communities.
from the  Seed Savers Network

Bellingen Seed Savers gather to share seeds, July 2011

Tuesday 5 July 2011

Growing in a Seed Saver's Garden near Bellingen in Late June/Early July

We have had no frosts as yet and the the winter is mild.

Brazilian Spinach (Alternantera sissoo) is still producing edible leaves in the sun although the plants in the shade look miserable.

This tree chili or rocoto chili just grows away in this weather and produces chilis throughout the winter. It also grows easily from seed.

A Jicama vine grows up into a young macadamia and the apple (root) probably needs harvesting. This is useful grated into salads. It does not turn brown like a potato or Yacon once peeled.

This Star Apple (Chrysopyhllum cainito) has lost a branch in each of its two previous winters in this garden. It may be old enough to survive the cold this year. The leaves are most attractive with the brown furry underside.

A lone and small Acerola fruit lingers. The best fruiting was during late summer.

Bacopa monniera (Memory Herb) loves the shade and wet conditions

Cape Gooseberry (Physalis peruviana) cases yet to dry out so the fruit is still green inside the case. The cases seem to drop and disappear as they ripen so it is a daily task to pick the ripe fruit. I am not sure yet that it is worth it.

An artichoke regrows after being cut back.  Quite a few of the seed grown artichokes were too prickly to bother with. I think this one was relatively spine free.

This nectarine is just coming into flower. I suppose our winter corresponds to its native spring. Birds, bats and fruit fly consumed most of last years crop.

Galangal thrives in part shade and evening sun. I have yet to dig and use this plant.

Two pics of a lone fruit on a Peanut Butter (Bunchosia) Fruit tree. This is more of a shrub at the moment and the fruit is smaller than the egg sized fruit I was expecting. It tastes sweetish and the texture is peanut butter like. 

Perhaps as this tree ages the fruit will increase in size. I'm hoping!!

Mushroom plant (Rungia klossii ) thrives in shade with plenty of water as long as it is not too cold. There is plenty still growing to add to stir fries, soups and stews, even sandwiches, for a mushroom flavour and protein. The red stems belong to an amaranth that is still lingering.



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