The new Crowdsaucing website is up and the five tonnes of organic saucing tomatoes Nathan Free has been growing up at Lake Boga this summer are on sale for your Crowdsaucing Day Saturday April 30th.

We’ve set the cut-off date to secure your saucing tomatoes on midnight Sunday 24th April.  And with only 500 boxes and lots of people signed up we’re expecting to run out of tomatoes quickly, so lock your box(es) in.

You can create a Crowdsaucing event and invite your family and friends or you can host a public event for your community. If you’re going to somebody else’s Crowdsaucing then all you have to do is buy your tomatoes and registration here, then let us know where the tomatoes are going and we’ll deliver them to your Crowdsaucing event or to your home.

And if you’re passionate about passata-making but need a bit of direction, Crowdsaucing force-of-nature Monique Miller, has put together a comprehensive resource page of sauce-making info and videos, she’s even created an easy to use label template you can use on a home printer.

In case you are new to Crowdsaucing it all started when we couldn’t find any Australian organic canned tomatoes for Fair Food customers. Which seemed strange; us living in a country perfect for growing tomatoes and all.  When we looked deeper we discovered that things had been changing in the whole tomato processing industry.  Thirty years ago there were around 400 Australian tomato farming families supplying eight local canneries but today there were only nine families growing tomatoes for just one remaining cannery.

What happened? Well sometime in the 1980’s Italian tomatoes appeared on our supermarket shelves for about 50 cents a can cheaper than local ones.  Cheaper tomatoes were great but we didn’t know that those tomatoes were being dumped on the Australian market at prices lower than they sold them for in Italy.  And we didn’t realise those tomatoes were being picked by African migrant workers living in appalling conditions, being paid a couple of dollars an hour.  And we didn’t make the connection that saving fifty cents on our shopping meant hundreds of Australian farmers and the canneries they supplied would go out of business.

We came back to our situation and wanted to do something, but what?  It’s funny how often problems and solutions are connected.  It was my mentor, Joe Garita, an Italian farmer, who taught me how to grow tomatoes at his market garden on the Merri Creek, he  gave me the idea.  Every year Joe would gather his family and friends to make tomato sauce.  And at the end of the day they would share a big pasta meal and everyone would take home enough passata to last them for the whole year.

Well, we could do that; spend a day making sauce with friends and family, supporting local farmers, learning new skills and making something delicious to keep us in sauce over the winter and then have a big meal at the end of the day.  And Fair Food could help hook people around Melbourne up with tomatoes from farmers. So an email went out and straight away 200 people answered, “Yes, we’re into that.” and that’s how Crowdsaucing came about.

So if you’ve always wanted to have a go at sauce-making but have never quite got there now’s your chance to gather the friends and family, throw on the apron, make some passata and some memories.

Find Crowdsaucing here

Have a great week

Chris

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