Monday, March 19, 2012

Day 79 - Put Victoria on Your Table at Greenhouse by Joost

Today, my pee was harvested to be used as fertiliser in Daylesford. I'll elaborate in a minute.

Had a fantastic time tonight at the 'Put Victoria on Your Table' event at Greenhouse by Joost as part of the Melbourne Food & WIne Festival. 3 regional chefs - Pietro Porcu (Tea Rooms of Yarck), Matthew Fegan (Mr Carsisi), Andrew Doughton (The Long Table in Red Hill) and Matt Stone (Greenhouse, Perth) came together and contributed a dish each, showcasing produce sourced from around Victoria. It was really lovely to make friends with a table of friendly and passionate foodies. There was plenty of chatter about food, restaurants, wine, wineries, wine-making methods, travel destinations, and more food.

I remember when the Greenhouse last popped up in Federation Square in 2008, I was absolutely in love with it and was devastated when I found out it wasn't a permanent fixture and was only going to be around for summer. Imagine my excitement when I found out the Greenhouse would make a reappearance this year as part of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival - but only for 20 days!

It's hip, it's chic, it's charming, but it's also incredibly clever, environmentally sustainable, resourceful and waste free. Eco-plywood is used extensively inside and outside the Greenhouse, organic waste is processed through the composter on site and used to feed the herbs growing on the roof garden and the plant walls, yet the building is not reliant on mains power or water!

Greenhouse by Joost

Greenhouse by Joost

Put Victoria on Your Table at Greenhouse by Joost

Bakery Hill 8yo whiskey, fresh apple, peach & lemon juice, cinnamon sugar to accompany the 1st course.
Whiskey, fresh apple, peach & lemon juice and cinnamon sugar

The 1st of the 3 parts that make up the 1st course - baked ricotta on tomato coulis with dried black olive
Baked ricotta on tomato coulis with dried black olive

2nd course - Lemon & sourdough crumbed Port Phillip Bay Mussels, butternut pumpkin hummus, pastirma, smoked black chilli & lemon dressing, soft herb salad. This was exquisite. By then the Greenhouse had been encapsulated in darkness, lit only by beeswax candles!
Lemon and sourdough crumbed mussels

4th course was a Victorian cheese platter.
Victorian cheese platter

Utensils consisted of recycled terracotta trays and pots, glass jars were vessels for wine, and water glasses were beer bottles in their previous lives.
A morphed clay glass jar?

So anyway, back to my pee. The toilets were very interesting - using urine-diverting toilets, they were harvesting the patrons' urine to be turned into fertiliser to grow mustard for its oil that will run next year's Greenhouse!! According to Joost Bakker, "Urine is incredibly rich in potassium and nitrogen and phosphorus, so you only need urine from about 25 people to fertilise a hectare of crop. So when you consider how many people there are on the planet, that's a lot of hectares of fertiliser available to us that's just going down the drain at the moment. We throw it away and we shouldn't. It's valuable."

I found the concept a lot more fascinating than gross, and was more than happy to contribute to their mustard crop :)
Urine harvesting at Greenhouse by Joost to grow mustard

And how's this for a urinal with an open view of Melbourne?
Urinal with a view


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