Media Releases | FareShare Food Charity

Media Releases


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The first harvest of Melbourne’s largest planting of sweet potato commenced today at our Abbotsford kitchen garden.

The cultivation of a global staple, rarely seen in Melbourne gardens, is part of an innovative partnership between FareShare and the Burnley Campus of the University of Melbourne. The bulk of the sweet potatoes have been planted on the Baguley family farm in Clayton South where Les Baguley has generously provided a substantial area for FareShare to grow veggies.

Yes! Volunteer Kit shows sweet potatoes can thrive in Melbourne

Dr Chris Williams’ Novel Crops Project, based at the Burnley Campus, is investigating around 30 new food plants and varieties for Melbourne. Its aim is to broaden crop choice for home and community gardeners, local councils and nurseries with plants such as sweet potato, taro and ginger.

“This is the first time sweet potato has ever been planted on this scale in Melbourne,” said Dr Williams. “Some of the varieties we are trialling at FareShare don’t even have a name yet.”

The Novel Crops Project promotes the concept of “edible landscapes” – attractive gardens that also provide food.

Our five varieties of home-grown sweet potatoes

“The low GI, versatile and easy-to- prepare sweet potato is a welcome ingredient for FareShare’s nutritious meals,” said Kellie Watson, FareShare’s general manager. “It will enable to us better support migrant groups and develop more culturally-appropriate recipes. The sweet potatoes will be used in a variety of FareShare dishes including curries and soups.”

The sweet potato plants were propagated by urban horticulture students from Burnley and by refugees and migrants doing English language courses at the Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre (CNLC). The CNLC students also received basic horticultural training at Burnley focused on food plants. As a result, 1000 tubes of five different sweet potato varieties were given to FareShare last December. Continue reading


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A community effort led by the Father Bob Maguire Foundation and FareShare ensured some of Melbourne’s most disadvantaged people got their fair share this Christmas.

Father Bob’s traditional Christmas lunch was threatened after previous catering arrangements fell through. FareShare stepped in to cook the feast with all the trimmings at Collingwood Town Hall on Friday 23 December.

More than 300 guests, including dozens of children, sat down to a sumptuous Christmas lunch prepared from food donated by Woolworths and served by volunteers.

Ty, 7, and mum Belinda, join Father Bob for Christmas lunch

Ty, 7, and mum Belinda, join Father Bob for Christmas lunch

The menu comprised roasted lemon & oregano chicken, ham off the bone and roast vegetables, followed by sticky date pudding with salted caramel sauce and ice cream.

“We are extremely grateful for FareShare and our volunteers for enabling us to host this lunch, so that nobody is left behind this Christmas,” said Fr Bob Maguire.

FareShare cooks 5,000 nutritious meals every day for people doing it tough, including growing numbers of people experiencing homelessness and isolation in Melbourne.

“With three million Australians – including more than 730,000 children – now living below the poverty line, many cannot afford the delicious, nutritious food we take for granted during the festive season,” said FareShare’s Lucy Farmer.


Chefs Chris and Joss serve up Woolies hams cooked to perfection

“We believe everyone should get their fair share this Christmas. There’s no more important time for the community to come together around food.”

Father Bob’s, the major foodbank, material aid provider and legal support for the South Melbourne area, also provided Christmas hampers to more than 1,000 families this week.

FareShare is supporting a number of charity Christmas lunches with rescued and donated food this year including a sit-down lunch for 250 at Richmond Churches Food Centre on Christmas day and a community lunch for 85 at the Wellington Centre.


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FareShare is urging consumers to think carefully about food waste when shopping this festive season.

According to the Australian Retailers Association and Roy Morgan Research, Australians will spend an astonishing $19 billion on food in the lead up to Christmas. A significant proportion of this will be dumped.

FareShare rescues food that would otherwise go to waste and cooks 1.2m meals a year for people in need. However, much of the food left over from Christmas, such as cooked meat, cannot be donated for human consumption and ends up in landfill causing serious pollution.

FareShare CEO Marcus Godinho said it’s possible to enjoy a fantastic feast without waste through proper meal planning, storage and re-use of ingredients.

Landfill with bulldozer working, against beautiful blue sky full of sea birds. Great for environment and ecological themes

The ugly face of landfill

“Many of us fall into the trap of catering for far more people than we will actually have around the table. For example, you don’t need a whole turkey to feed a family of six – a turkey breast roll will be equally delicious.

“A careful menu to guide you through the festive season can help ensure everyone is catered for without creating needless waste.”

FareShare offers the following tips to cut food waste and the associated loss of energy, water and other resources.

  1. Create a shopping list tailored to the number of guests you are catering for or sharing with.
  2. Be creative about recycling any leftovers. Cooked meat makes for great sandwiches, casseroles, stir fries, salads etc. See our chefs’ recipes for suggestions.
  3. Refrigerate leftovers in appropriate containers to extend their lifetime.
  4. Know the difference between ‘use by’ and ‘best before’. The latter is a guide for optimum condition and doesn’t mean the food is no longer edible.
  5. Take advantage of holiday opening hours which make it easy to shop for last minute items.

Godinho said that while Christmas is a time of feast and celebration for most, there are thousands of Victorians struggling to put food on the table.

This year FareShare is catering for hundreds of vulnerable families who would otherwise miss out on a Christmas dinner.

“It is a tragedy that so much food goes to waste when people in crisis can’t afford nutritious meals,” said Godinho.


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Here’s a cool food rescue from another rescue organisation with a very different mission – saving marine life.

FareShare has just collected a donation of ship’s dry stores from the Steve Irwin, Sea Shepherd’s flagship 59 metre vessel, while docked in Williamstown.

The donated food including flour, quinoa, superfood bars, mustard, cooking sauces and chocolate, was designed to sustain the crew of 40 on long voyages.

As the ship prepares for its next mission, Operation Nemesis, to protect minke whales from the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean, FareShare has benefited from a stocktake and clear out.

Thanks to all aboard the Steve Irwin – and good luck defending whales on the high seas.



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Fareshare Banner 1On the eve of National Volunteer Week, FareShare has paid tribute to the thousands of people who volunteer each year with a video.

FareShare rescues surplus food and cooks 5000 free, nutritious meals a day for charities with the support of 750 regular volunteers. Another 3000 secondary students and 3000 corporate volunteers help out in our kitchen each year.

“Volunteers are the heart of FareShare,” said CEO Marcus Godinho. “With our ratio of 50 regular volunteers to every staff member, we couldn’t exist without them. From the time we set out baking a few hundred pies a week, to cooking more than one million meals a year today, we have been entirely dependent upon volunteers.

“Volunteers drive the vans that rescue and deliver food, prepare meals under the guidance of experienced chefs, grow vegetables in our kitchen gardens and assist with a range of professional and administrative tasks.”

They include people at all stages of life – from students to retirees – with the majority finding time around their employment arrangements. Nearly two thirds also volunteer with other organisations.

Why do they do it? According to our April 2016 volunteer survey, the biggest motivation is the desire to give back to the community. Asked for their primary motivation, 42 per cent said they “felt very fortunate and want to help others who are less so,” 30 per cent were “motivated to help feed people who go without” and 18 per cent were “passionate about food rescue.”

Overall more than 99 per cent said they would recommend volunteering at FareShare where there are currently 350 people on the waiting list for kitchen shifts.

“Volunteering at FareShare is fun, rewarding and sociable,” said volunteer manager Rosie Kelly. “Most volunteer roles require no special skills and empower people to make a tangible contribution to tackling food waste and hunger in our community.”


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Van duo

When you have three similar vans rescuing food and delivering free meals it’s easy to get confused about names.

FareShare found referring to our vans by numbers or regos was a recipe for chaos. So we asked our supporters to think of names. And what better name than Van?

Rather than giving the nod to international superstars like Van Halen, Van Morrison and Jean-Claude Van Damme, we decided to shine a light on some local talent.

So meet Van Badham (left) and Van Walker. Vanessa ‘Van’ Badham is a writer and theatre-maker. Donovan ‘Van’ Walker is a singer-songwriter, who travels the country in his own van performing gigs.

“It’s the best day of my career,” laughed Van Badham, who lives in Melbourne’s CBD. “As a social justice and environmental activist, I think FareShare is great because it addresses both issues. There are no negatives. It’s inarguable. I’m really stoked to have my name on something which I believe in whole-heartedly.” Continue reading


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As thousands of Victorians wake up this morning to the disappointment of missing out on a seat at the Fat Duck restaurant next year, food rescue charity FareShare has renewed its calls for Heston Blumanthal’s arrival in Melbourne to spark a conversation about hunger in our backyard.

Emails went out late yesterday to those who had registered for entry into the Fat Duck, with many unsuccessful in their bid to eat at the famed restaurant at a minimum cost of $525.

Last week FareShare CEO Marcus Godinho wrote an opinion article for the Herald Sun, pointing out that for the cost of a single sitting at the Fat Duck, FareShare could make 1050 meals for disadvantaged Victorians.

The article was prompted by a former volunteer, Ann Banham, who told FareShare she had decided to donate the cost of a place at the Fat Duck to the charity instead of going into the ballot.

“I’m feeling sort of astounded that people (including someone I know well) are going into a ballot to be allowed to pay $525 each to dine at Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck restaurant next year,” Ann wrote.

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One of Australia’s largest private family foundations, Gandel Philanthropy, is continuing its longstanding commitment to supporting leading food rescue charity FareShare, pledging to match funds raised by FareShare during Melbourne’s Good Food Month in November.

Gandel Philanthropy will match public donations to the value of $50,000, ensuring crowds attending the Good Food Month’s flagship event, the Night Noodle Market, will have even more incentive to support FareShare. The market kicks off on November 14.

FareShare operates Australia’s largest charity kitchen in Abbotsford. It rescues surplus quality food from supermarkets, farms and other businesses and volunteers cook it into 20,000 free nutritious meals for Victorian charities each week.

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Leading food rescue charity FareShare is urging Victorians to ditch the habits of the past in order to reduce the mountains of food that will be wasted over the Christmas break.

It is estimated that Australian households will spend $10 billion on food this Christmas, with around 35 per cent going to waste because of over-purchasing and lack of awareness about how easy it is to save uneaten food for another time.

FareShare CEO Marcus Godinho said that many people still cooked Christmas dinner like their parents did, buying huge amounts of food before December 25 out of habit, forgetting that families are smaller and many shops are now open on the day.

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