Connecting gardens, groups and growers to create a more resilient food future in Darebin

Innovative Cafes in Darebin Use Local Homegrown Produce

Article by Sarina Lewis and reprinted from the Age Epicure June 1st 2013

Anna Jacobson, of The Red Cat Food Store, sources home-grown produce for the cafe’s fare.


Take a closer look next time you pass by the window of your friendly neighbourhood cafe: the traditional hand-written ”help wanted” sign may have been replaced with an altogether different form of public entreaty.

”I’ve got a little sign in my window – ‘wanted: your home-grown produce’,” explains Anna Jacobson, owner of Thornbury’s The Red Cat Food Store and just one of a growing number of Melbourne cafe owners adopting a community trade food model.

Enthusiasts call it kitchen crowd-sourcing, whereby eco-minded cafes appeal to local residents and regulars to participate in a food swap that might see that extra box of home-grown tomatoes or bucket of lemons grown in your own backyard exchanged for a free lunch or a couple of loaves of bread.

The pay-off is twofold, explains Jacobson, allowing cafes access to produce minus the food miles at the same time as rewarding home growers for their gardening efforts. That could mean enjoying feijoa chutney in your cafe-bought sandwich made from the fruit donated from your own tree.

From Garden to Table:

Get your backyard produce on the menus of an increasing number of Melbourne cafes falling for the crowd-sourcing food trend.

The Red Cat Food Store 410 Station Street, Thornbury

Northcote Bakeshop 571 High Street, Northcote. The Red Cat Food Store 410 Station Street, Thornbury.

Loafer Bread 146 Scotchmer Street, Fitzroy North.

Kitchen Pantry 128 Mansfield Street, Thornbury. Kitchen Kultcha 43 Glenlyon Road, Brunswick.

Lady Bower Café 1a Marchant Avenue, Reservoir

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