FareShare began as a vision shared by two groups of people.
In 2000 a pastry chef called Guido Pozzebon started cooking 300 pies every Saturday morning for the Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul. Guido and a group of friends would meet at the RACV Club and use surplus food accumulated over the week to cook savoury pastries. Within months the group was calling itself One Umbrella and was rescuing food that would otherwise be wasted.
Seperately a Melburnian named Steven Kolt returned from a visit to the United States inspired by the work of New York City Harvest, an organisation which rescues food for the needy. Steven was a member of Jewish Aid (now Stand Up) and together with other members started collecting prepared meals from function halls and catering venues. They called the project Melbourne City Harvest.
By late 2001, these two efforts merged and FareShare was born. With funding from Jewish Aid (now Stand Up), the Pratt Foundation and the RACV Foundation, a full-time staff member was employed and a refrigerated van purchased.
While many businesses were keen to provide FareShare with their surplus food, legal barriers prevented many from doing so. So in 2002 FareShare teamed up with the Law Institute of Victoria and successfully lobbied the Victorian Government to introduce Australia’s first Good Samaritan law to protect food donors. Similar legislation has since been put in place in every other state and territory.
In our early years FareShare was nomadic – moving between kitchens. It cooked at the RACV Club, Victoria Park and the Southbank Hanover Crisis Centre.
Then with generous support from philanthropic foundations, particularly the Jack and Ethel Goldin Foundation, FareShare established its first dedicated kitchen in 2008 in Abbotsford. It recruited more food donors and volunteers, and added first a second and then a third daily shift, and cooked more and more meals.
Despite 350 regular volunteers cooking nearly 500,000 meals a year FareShare was still falling well short of meeting agencies’ requests for food, so it set out to establish larger premises.
In 2013, with the generous assistance of organisations such as the Ian Potter Foundation, FareShare started cooking in Australia’s largest charity kitchen – also in Abbotsford.