CERES Melbourne

On the weekend I had the chance to head to East Brunswick, a northern suburb of Melbourne, and visit CERES – Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies. It sounds like a mouthful, but I had no idea what CERES meant until I just googled it. In a nutshell it’s an environmental initiative that began in the early 1980s, a place to take a walk, with a centre for kids, a nursery, two cafes, a shop with organic food and a space where people grow their own food. Chickens and bees.

And it’s a great little place to visit. Maybe better for those who live in Melbourne rather than are just visiting, but I think it’s a really pleasant space to go, and it’s not far from a tram stop so it’s not too hard to reach without a car.

Merri Table Cafe

Certainly as the weather starts to warm up (which has taken quite a while this year) it’s a pleasant place to spend a bit of time, or to go out for lunch (although I didn’t really take to the menu at the main restaurant there, the Merri Table – there seemed to be too much nut related food for my liking with my allergy).

The place I think is virtually self-sufficient and renewable with its energy. There are enough solar panels there to suggest this at least. There’s a section just on energy there with a number of solar panels.

Behind CERES you will find the Merri Creek and the Merri Creek Trail for walking and I think cycling. It’s possible to enter when CERES is open from behind so that would make a nice afternoon walk.

The shop selling organic groceries is full of organic produce – and CERES also deliver. I’m not sure what portion of what is sold there is actually grown at CERES, but they source all other produce from organic farms. They have a number of chickens on at CERES, although those eggs were sold out at the time and so what was left was from other sources. There are spices galore, and a little café. Both eateries are mostly vegetarian or vegan, but there were a couple of other options.

The kid’s play area is quite big and at the back of the property near the creek. There was a kids’ party on at the time with a lot of kids. That’s near an education centre and an old converted red railway carriage which wasn’t open when I was there.

Walking further around I reached the section for bees and honey, but no activity there at all on the weekend. It might not be the time of the year. Suddenly I’d walked onto the Merri Creek Trail and realised I’d left CERES. We walked back to the entrance past many little plots of land where people are growing their own produce. It reminded me a little of Russia in a way – many in Russia have a small plot of land they are responsible out of the cities where they grow vegetables, flowers, fruit and the like.

Before leaving my wife and I spent time in the nursery and bought a few plants. It’s a pretty decent nursery, although as with most things there a little more expensive than you’d pay in a chain nursery like Bunnings, but better sourced of course.

Here’s there CERES website.

Ceres and the Merri Creek Trail is a great way to spend a few weekend hours in Melbourne, whether living or visiting here. Be warned – you will find many ‘hipsters’ here, but it’s a very laid back and friendly place doing good things in the community – linked with other similar places internationally. Thanks for reading today – May the Journey Never End!

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