FareShare’s vision to unblock a major bottleneck with a new warehouse is all go thanks to a wonderful response from our supporters and volunteers.
Van jam: our new warehouse will end queues
We have now reached our fundraising target to make this transformative investment a reality. The new facility, likely to be located in the western suburbs close to major wholesale centres, will more than quadruple our freezer capacity and increase our food storage tenfold.
The new warehouse will mean we won’t have to pass on valuable donations – such as bulk quantities of fresh meat perfect for cooking – because we will have ample space to store it ourselves.
Our appeal raised an incredible $107,000. FareShare has also received substantial donations from Sargents Charitable Foundation, Perpetual Trustees, Campbell Edwards Trust and GW Vowell Foundation.
Generous pledges from the Ian Potter Foundation, Melbourne Market Lions Club, Commonwealth Government and Calvert Jones Foundation got this huge project over the line.
We thank everyone who has contributed to this dramatic expansion which will enable us to rescue another 750 tonnes of perfectly-good food each year. We are now exploring the best locations to maximise this opportunity.
Last month Leader News called to ask if FareShare could help out a charity which had run out of food.
Zoren Gajic & Pastor Loren Pratt from Northpoint gratefully receive emergency food supplies from Marcus Godinho.
The Northpoint Centre Food Pantry in Tullamarine was unable to fill the food parcels it hands out to 950 disadvantaged people a week.
Fortunately, FareShare managed to find enough food to tide them over the shortfall so no one missed out. This is how the Leader reported the story.
Demand at Northpoint has skyrocketed. In 2014 the community food pantry, which supports disadvantaged people in Melton, Sunshine, Coolaroo, Coburg and Sunbury, distributed 14,500 food parcels. Last year the number had climbed to 20,750 and this year it could be as high as 25,000.
Other charities are telling us the same thing. More and more people are struggling to afford nutritious food.
FareShare has the volunteers, rescued food and kitchen facilities to cook TWO MILLION meals a year but our warehouse is holding us back.
The Ian Potter Foundation has pledged to give us $500,000 to purchase a new warehouse. However, we need to match the funds to make this critical investment happen. We are $85,000 short of the total required to lock in the grant and are appealing to all our friends to consider a tax deductible donation.
With the extra space we desperately need to store, freeze, chill and sort food, FareShare could support another 10,000 people who are struggling to put food on the table.
Our kitchen garden program reached a major milestone today with the first vegetables going into the ground at Abbotsford.
Susie Scott and volunteer Majella plant the first zucchini
In less than two months a small group of committed volunteers have transformed a large waste ground on VicTrack land into a sizeable vegetable garden.
FareShare Kitchen Garden, Abbotsford, supported by RACV, will grow a range of vegetables to supply Australia’s largest charity kitchen with fresh produce. The first seedlings planted were 100 zucchini, kindly propagated for FareShare by Burnley campus, University of Melbourne.
Led by kitchen garden manager Susie Scott, our volunteers have created more than 50 beds, shifted 450 cubic metres of soil, spread 90 cubic metres of woodchips and two giant bales of lucerne.
The disused site has been reconnected to water and will soon become an urban oasis growing a range of root vegetables. All vegetables harvested will be sent to FareShare’s kitchen where volunteers cook 5,000 meals every day for the hungry, homeless and those doing it tough.
Victorians serving court or parole orders are being given the opportunity to work in the FareShare kitchen as part of their community service.
The innovative program aims to help FareShare increase production while promoting positive behaviour change among offenders. The first shift took place last week and the program will run when the kitchen is normally closed on Friday evenings – to be extended to Sundays if successful.
The Department of Justice and Regulation, North West Metropolitan Area, is financially supporting the pilot project and will donate produce through its ‘Cultivating Place Cultivating People’ program, a network of community gardens where other offenders grow vegetables.
Dr Peter Ewer, Executive Director, said the partnership “provides an important opportunity for offenders to actively give back to the most vulnerable members of our community, and at the same point improve their job skills, thus steering them away from further offending.”
FareShare general manager Kellie Watson, who developed the pilot project with the Department of Justice, said she hoped the program would be a win-win outcome for the community, leading to thousands more meals for those in need while offering a positive rehabilitation experience for participants.
Susie Scott growing edible gardens in the Pilbara
In her last role establishing edible gardens and promoting healthy eating among Pilbara Indigenous communities, Susie Scott’s main challenges were relentless heat and foraging cows.
As FareShare’s inaugural kitchen garden manager, her challenge will be to plug unpredictable gaps in our vegetable supplies within the limits of Melbourne’s growing season.
“I will have to balance what chefs need with what can be grown consistently,” said Susie who is assessing vegetables which offer flexibility in planting and harvest times, such as carrots and parsnips.
FareShare’s kitchen gardens at Moorabbin Airport and Abbotsford (in partnership with RACV) are currently under development with plans to commence planting at both sites by the end of February.
Susie is not worried about cows – but she will have her eye on possums, aphids and ants!
Enterprising Sunshine College students at work in our kitchen
More than 3000 students volunteered at FareShare in 2015 and our Schools in the Kitchen program is now booked out for 2016.
Last year secondary students came from 80 schools from the public and private sectors including disadvantaged government schools in urban, regional, country and remote Indigenous areas – some with grant assistance from the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.
Our unique experiential learning activity empowers students to make a tangible contribution to the community inspiring school food drives, fundraisers and even social enterprises.
A visit by Sunshine College VCAL students sparked a partnership with local businesses which donate food for the students to cook meals for families in the school community.
FareShare’s Dianna Chapman said students gain a huge sense of pride in the FareShare kitchen.
“It’s not often they are provided with an opportunity to volunteer. One Year 9 student from Ballarat Grammar recently told me that this was the highlight of her 4 week City Experience – even better than laser tag. You can’t beat that for positive feedback!”
It’s been another record-breaking year for FareShare. A total of 1,131,231 meals cooked, 562.2 tonnes of food rescued and 8000 volunteers making a difference.
We’re exceeded our target of one million meals a year and now cook 5,000 meals EVERY DAY.
Our regular volunteers have grown from 500 to 750 with a waiting list in excess of 350.
Our free, nutritious meals are being enjoyed by people in need across the state with 30 per cent now distributed to rural and regional Victoria.
Each month three pallets of FareShare meals also go to Foodbank South Australia and this month found their way as far as the Northern Territory to meet an urgent need.
We thank all of our generous supporters, food donors and volunteers in 2015 and look forward to cooking even more meals for people in need in 2016.
Ever wonder what happens to FareShare’s food waste – the scraps we can’t use such as vegetable peelings, eggshells and bones?
Rescuing food that would otherwise be wasted comes with an important responsibility not to waste food ourselves.
That’s where our unlikely relationship with hippos, pugs and pigs begins. Twice a week we send our food scraps to Melbourne Zoo which has a sophisticated composting system.
The zoo collects ‘zoo poo’ from animals like these pygmy hippos, together with green waste and food waste. It then loads it into in a futuristic contraption called Hot Rot.
The machine aerates the unusual mix of ingredients for 14 days by which time it has formed into garden-ready compost. It is then bagged up and packaged as Zoo Gro where it is sold in Melbourne nurseries.
One day, we may even use it to grow our own vegetables in FareShare Kitchen Gardens.
We also send green waste to Collingwood Children’s Farm where the choice bits are fed to pigs and the remainder composted.
Finally, we share some of our meat scraps and bones, and other products that we can’t cook with, with animal rescue charities such as Pug Rescue and Adoption and Koolie Rescue.
Father Bob explains how FareShare has provided the “cure”
It takes a lot of ingredients to cook one million meals in a year and our new video shows how we did it.
2015 was a year of big numbers for FareShare. We rescued 544,543 kg of food, cooked 1,075,148 meals and assisted 402 charities.
Our list of regular volunteers climbed from 500 to 750, we welcomed 3000 students from 72 schools into our Schools in the Kitchen program and some 80 organisations volunteered for corporate shifts.
FareShare benefited from 35 new food donors and we also began supplying ready to eat meals to seven new Melbourne charities including Salvation Army Sunshine, Father Bob Maguire Foundation and Love Thy Neighbour.
But numbers don’t tell the real story. Meet the faces behind our epic year – the volunteers, food donors and charities – by watching the year in pictures.
A huge thank you to our friends Alister and Rob at The Post Project for generously donating their time to make this fantastic production.
If food is the way to a person’s heart, then what better place to look for love than in the kitchen? The FareShare Kitchen!
For two nights during Good Food Month, FareShare is opening Australia’s largest charity kitchen in Abbotsford to special volunteer shifts for singles, in partnership with RSVP.
FareShare rescues food that would otherwise be wasted and with the help of more than 750 regular volunteers cooks 5000 free, nutritious meals a day for Victorians doing it tough. It’s fun and rewarding and a great way to meet people.
If you are passionate about food and care about people who go without, FareShare’s singles’ nights, will introduce you to other singles who share your values.
The evenings on November 12 & 26 will be rounded off at the National Hotel with the first drink on the house . Click here for details and to book