Abbotsford Convent is generally filled with a thriving community who flock to the venue for their eateries, markets and other events. A working convent raising funds to complete renovations, they've sadly had to make the difficult decision to close temporarily for many planned events and did so back in March 2020.
However, other branches of the Convent tree is alive and well. Though workshops and other regular events have been postponed, the broader Convent precinct remains open and their onsite eateries and cafes have moved to a takeaway service only, including Cam's which will do coffees and light snacks only. They have however set up an online kiosk and will be delivering Wed to Fri if you live locally to the Convent. Select from mini grazing tables, fresh deli and produce care packages, and soup boxes by Chef Julieanne Blum, ready to enjoy at home. Follow the Convent on Facebook for all updates.
The Abbotsford Farmers Market is one example of things done differently. They have now relocated out of the Convent grounds to 2 Wingrove St, Alphington and have markets running from 8am to 1pm one Saturday a month on 25 April, 23 May and 27 June 2020. This is in aid of being able to better control crowds and take appropriate safety precautions. Other Markets that belong to the Melbourne Farmers Market like the Coburg Farmers Market and the Alphington Farmers Market will be going ahead at their normal times and locations. You'll find the full Calendar Events for April 2020HERE.
The Lentil As Anything Team and their volunteers are operating their mobile van with safe distancing measures in place. It operates every day on St Heliers Street, Abbotsford for lunch from 12.30pm to 1.30pm and dinner from 5pm to 6.30pm, 7 days a week. Get your familiar tasty feed and say hi at the van, always respecting social distancing. You can also order online if you're within 2km of the Convent, or order through UberEATS if you're outside the vicinity. Head to Lentil Abbotsford's Facebook for updates and videos sharing their recipes to learn how to cook Dahl, Lasgna and Green Lentil Quinoa Salad and more.
If you're always wanted to learn or want to brush up on your watercolour skills or learn to draw from home, Convent-based artist Mary Peacock is offering group classes and private tuition via Zoom. With over 20 years of experience as a practising artist and teacher, Mary will provide you with a strong foundation to kickstart your creative journey and stay motivated while physically distancing. Get more details about the classes HERE.
In other news, if you're after a good read, historian Stuart Kells has written a book (see below) that traces the vibrant history of the Convent from nunnery to eatery and cultural epicentre. It is an uplifting tale of community activism – a tangible reminder that the magic of the past can endure and what people-power can achieve. It's available in paper and eBook format from Melbourne University Publishing.