On the last Tuesday evening in January two of CERES’ most dynamic worlds collide when Tamil Feasts go down to Joe’s Market Garden to feed the people. Brimming with talent like a seventies supergroup, only not so overblown as say an Emerson Lake and Palmer, these shooting stars of social enterprise promise an evening by the creek to remember
Tamil Feasts, in case you’ve never heard, are four Tamil men, Niro, Nirma, Sri & Nigethan, who spent 6 years in limbo at various Australian immigration detention centres. After gaining community release they joined forces with the incredible Dori Ellington to start Tamil Feasts at CERES. A Tamil feast is a night of delicious Sri Lankan food and story telling. With their generous spirits and exquisite food these men have touched the hearts and stomachs of over 75,000 diners in sell-out meal after sell-out meal.
And then there’s Joe’s Market Garden, sitting on a bend of the Merri Creek just below Bell St, Joe’s has been feeding city residents for over 150 years making it possibly Melbourne’s oldest continually farmed vegetable patch . Originally established by Chinese market gardeners in gold rush times it was bought by Joe Garita’s family in 1945 – interestingly this was soon after Joe and his father were released from detention as “enemy aliens” during World War II. In 2003, as he eased into retirement, Joe gave the garden to CERES’ farmers to continue feeding the people. Today Vince (Joe’s cousin) and his protege, Em, tend the land and continue to plant the seeds Joe that has passed on.
Now, I couldn’t think of a better place to eat food cooked with feeling by Niro, Nirma, Sri & Nigethan and hosted by gorgeously gregarious farmer Em. Tickets have been selling like hot dosas so get in quick and if you don’t make it down on Tuesday, then you can catch a Tamil Feast each Monday, Tuesday and Friday at CERES (Melbourne’s most beloved ex-tip and environment park). And you can also buy fresh produce direct from Joe’s Market Garden, catch some local music and generally enjoy a bit of tranquil bustle (if that’s a thing) every Saturday between 9am-1pm at Joe’s Farm Gate.