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VOLUNTEERING IS A BREATH OF FRESH AIR FOR MARG

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After a career spent working indoors as a librarian and editor, Marg Wanklyn decided it was time to head outdoors.

She now volunteers at our Abbotsford kitchen garden where she co-supervises the Wednesday morning shift. While Marg grows vegetables alongside Victoria Park station, husband and fellow FareShare volunteer Russell prepares them in our kitchen.

Marg on harvesting duty at our Abbotsford kitchen garden

When Marg was photographed this week, it was a perfect autumn day. “Where else would you rather be?” she asks. “On a sunny day outside, with a good group of people – doing something really worthwhile.”

But the weather isn’t always kind to our volunteers. Marg notes that our gardeners are hardy folk who are happy to put their backs into the work whatever the weather. Today’s tasks include harvesting capsicum and eggplants, and planting carrot, celery and leek seedlings.

Marg appreciates the team spirit shown by her colleagues and their compatible, cohesive, and self-directed approach. With a few volunteers also working in the kitchen, the crew fully understands the value of homegrown veg to our meals.

A home gardener and potterer, Marg has increased her knowledge immensely. At FareShare she has learned about composting, soil microbes, propagation techniques and crop rotation. All this has been applied to her own garden with excellent results.

Thanks to Marg, and all 180 of our garden volunteers, who helped us grow 38 tonnes of fresh vegetables last year at Abbotsford, Moorabbin Airport and on the Baguley family farm.

A TASTE FOR THE GOOD LIFE AND A LOATHING OF WASTE

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Meet Kate Barnett, from our Thursday afternoon kitchen crew, a winemaker and woman of refined tastes.

Having managed an extensive zero waste project in a large winery, Kate was initially attracted to FareShare by our mission to cut food waste.

As she Googled FareShare, her interest deepened. “The provision of good food to those in real need was at the heart of FareShare’s appeal. Thirdly, my love of food and cooking was the final defeat!” explains Kate.

Kate in her element with a glass of Heathcote Shiraz

“I return each fortnight because, as a group – the volunteers, chefs and staff – are not necessarily like-minded per se, but we share a social conscience.

“Importantly too, it’s an exceedingly streamlined operation, without any superfluous protocol.  That is to say – volunteering is time well spent!

Her favourite aspect? “I like the eggs.  They’re just so uncompromised.  When they’re not cracked or broken.”

In her professional life Kate has worked in cool and warm climate regions and in both small and large wineries. “I’ve made everything from Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir to Riverina Semillon.  Despite my love of the grape, I took some time out of the winemaking game a couple of years back – essentially a change of pace, largely for my mental health.  And I’m much better for it (albeit poorer). Currently, my time is taken up with a new wine venture GAME of WINES, a customer-hosted wine tasting & education event.

“It’s just me and my very naughty goat at home in Heathcote, so I do relish my regular time in Melbourne with family, friends and the FareShare crew.  If my goat eats another of my indoor plants, she might end up in a FareShare curry!

“I probably re-schedule more shifts than most but the flexibility afforded to volunteers does not go unnoticed.  As does the dedication and talent of the chefs who remarkably remember most of our names most of the time and are willing to share their culinary expertise and valuable time with us.

“I am all for extravagance, even excess, but the futility of WASTE does weigh heavy.”

Thanks Kate for sharing your story and for your ongoing contribution to FareShare.

 

STEP INTO THE FUTURE AT FARESHARE BRISBANE

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Our dream to take 17 years’ experience of cooking rescued food in Victoria to Queensland is fast becoming a reality. Take a virtual walk through our new 900 m² premises in Morningside, Brisbane where work is underway to convert a former serum laboratory into a high-volume kitchen.  

Your journey starts at reception where all the activity in the adjacent warehouse to be supplied by Foodbank Qld will be in full view on your left. Follow the corridor past the volunteer lockers and into a huge multi-purpose space facing the kitchens. This area will be available for hire by businesses and for hosting food events.  

Continue to the pièce de résistancethe kitchens! A prominent counter will demonstrate our social impact by displaying the number of meals cooked. Walk in past two rows of sinks, the first for hand washing and opposite our veggie cleaning facilities.

In contrast to our Abbotsford layout, the kitchen on the right will be operated by our regular volunteers with businesses assisting in the smaller kitchen to the left of your view. Once fully kitted out, the kitchens will boast some industrial-scale equipment to assist with food preparation and cooking on an enormous scale – we’re aiming for 5 million meals a year by 2023.

The overhead view shows the shared freezers and cool room, laundry, toilets and storage space. It is envisaged that most of the building will comprise insulated, cool room panelling to help manage local climate conditions.

 Welcome to FareShare Brisbane!

FROM GYNAECOLOGY TO GASTRONOMY

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Meet David, a retired doctor, who picked up the FareShare kitchen utensils after putting down his medical kit.

David enjoyed a successful practice and career as an obstetrician and gynaecologist until he retired in 2006. He says he felt privileged and trusted in his specialist role but in the end the hours and stress took their toll and he opted for early retirement.

David with fellow volunteers Lilian and Eng

Born and bred in London, he commenced his medical studies there.  An early experience on an obstetrics ward where he was thrown into the heady mix of excited, expectant mothers and newborn babies, proved a thrilling experience and he decided it would be his life’s work.

David married an Aussie lass and they moved to Melbourne in 1972 to complete his specialist training. He began practising in city hospitals around Melbourne including The Mercy and St Vincent’s Private. David worked for 20 years as an obstetrician and then specialised for 10 in gynaecology.

He heard about FareShare through his neighbour Jan, a Tuesday afternoon kitchen volunteer.  Not surprisingly he loves the company of women – in fact he prefers it to the company of men! It follows that David feels right at home in the female-dominated Wednesday afternoon kitchen crew where he has been ensconced since he joined FareShare nearly two years ago.

When David first retired he took up golf, playing 2-3 times a week, getting his handicap down to a low of 4 but “it drove him nuts” and he gave it up. His newest hobby is photography which he combines with his other interests – family, including 3 grandchildren, dog walking and some travel.

Most of his ex-medical colleagues are still on the wards. Judging from his smile, David is a very happy man to be out of the paid workforce and continuing to contribute to the community.

COUNTDOWN ON FOR NEW BRISBANE KITCHEN

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FareShare’s exciting new Brisbane venture to create nutritious meals for Queenslanders is rapidly taking shape.

We now have the keys to our new Morningside facility– a former serum laboratory – close to Foodbank Queensland which will supply us with surplus meat and vegetables to cook with.

 FareShare’s Kellie Watson has relocated to Brisbane to transfer what we have learned in our Abbotsford kitchen to the Sunshine State.

Kellie inspects the Foodbank Queensland warehouse which will supply us with ingredients and distribute our cooked meals.

With research showing  more than 400,000 Queenslanders experience food insecurity, 50 per cent of them children, the need for food relief is paramount.

“We have draft plans to install 900m² of kitchen, two 45-pallet freezers, a 40-pallet cool room and 400m² of warehousing, “said Kellie. “We are aiming to maximise the use of existing infrastructure includings electrics, air-conditioning and refrigeration, and future-proof the development.

“We have finalised our equipment lists which include everything from automated meat dicers to pumpfill stations. The new mixing kettles (electric saucepans) will cook up to 300 litres at a time – double our capacity in Melbourne.”

FareShare  already has a waitlist of people ready to volunteer  in Brisbane. With their support, we  aim to cook 1.25 million meals in the first 12 months and ramp up to five million meals. Our food will include a line especially created for children informed by nutritionists.

Special thanks go to Wiley Industries, a Queensland company who design, build and maintain facilities for their assistance with this exciting project.

If you would like to volunteer or offer your business services to our new Brisbane kitchen, please contact us at brisbane@fareshare.net.au.

A PORT IN A STORM FOR PEOPLE IN CRISIS

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One of the most rewarding aspects of working at FareShare is meeting the people who receive our meals and the charities which support them.

“We see a lot of domestic violence, single mums, and retirees who don’t have the funds to feed themselves,” says Helping Hands CEO Melanie Kent. “It doesn’t take much to be living comfortably in a house to having nothing.

Helping Hands CEO Melanie Kent

“We support a lot of isolated people who have no one. We give them a safe place. We’re like a pseudo family.”

Helping Hands Mission runs community pantries in Airport West, Sunshine and Bridgewater near Bendigo and provides emergency support for Victorians in extreme circumstances. It also serves daily sit-down meals for at least 40 vulnerable people, including small children, at Airport West

The community pantry is stocked with fresh food and staples, together with our nutritious frozen meals. It supports 30 families a day by appointment and many more who walk in in desperate need of food. Some are sleeping rough or in cars so unable to take much away with them.

“It’s a space for people to come and take what’s most useful to them. When your choices have been taken away from you, it makes a world of difference to be able to choose the brands your kids like,” explains Melanie. Continue reading

AVOID FOOD WASTE THIS CHRISTMAS WITH TURKEY NOEL

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Chef Chris Mitchison

Christmas may be over but food waste is acumulating for the unwary.

Our kitchen production manager Chris Mitchison has an ideal solution for leftover turkey. Here’s her recipe for Turkey Noel. For general tips on avoiding food waste this Christmas, please click here.

Turkey Noel

Back in the 70s,  my mother found a recipe in the English Women’s Weekly magazine for Christmas leftovers. It was called Turkey Noel and it was served on Boxing Day, very effectively using up the leftover turkey. It was absolutely delicious. I have modified it to reduce the amount of preparation required – after all who wants to cook again from scratch? Not me! Continue reading

FARESHARE GUIDE TO GROWING VEG IN MELBOURNE

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Zucchini flourishing in Melbourne

Interested in growing food in Melbourne? The FareShare garden manual could be just the tool you need.

FareShare’s kitchen garden program has shared its experiences of urban food production at its three Melbourne garden locations – Abbotsford, Moorabbin Airport and Clayton South.

The 74-page manual covers everything from crops grown and yield, to soil, composting, integrated pest management, crop rotation and companion planting.

You can download the publication here.

COMFORT FOOD FOR WOMEN FINDING REFUGE

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Once a week FareShare chefs provide a special lunch for women at McAuley House, Victoria’s first purpose built accommodation for women who are homeless.

The community meal for the women, many of whom have also experienced family violence and mental illness, is a weekly event at McAuley House, which opened last year in Footscray.

At a recent lunch, residents described the FareShare food as “absolutely delicious” and “beautiful”.

FareShare chefs Emily and Crickette with a chocolate cake and berry crumble for McAuley women

“Community lunch is always a big one.” says Amy Sattler, Facilitator of McAuley’s Food for My Life nutrition and cooking program. “It’s one opportunity a week to be socially engaged and to eat a nutritious meal. It’s particularly important for our outreach women who are in transitional or public housing.

“Some women come in who were residents in the old McAuley House 20 years ago. It’s about connection – not feeling so isolated. We create that sense of belonging. That once a woman has left she is always welcome back.”

The community lunches are served in a welcoming dining space with sweeping views of Melbourne. Roast meat and vegetables, salads and dessert make up a typical lunch with ingredients supplied by FareShare and desserts prepared in our kitchen. “The women love the FareShare desserts. They’re a real highlight,” says Amy.

“For some residents, cooking is completely overwhelming,” says Amy. “Those who have lived on the street for a long time may have little or no concept of how to prepare a meal.”

Food for My Life aims to nurture independence and equip the women for life after McAuley House. And with two kitchens in the new building, many are cooking for themselves or with some support. Only a handful still need meals cooked for them.

In addition to providing 25 rooms for medium-term accommodation, McAuley House acts as a hub for community services that support over 100 women each year.

 

UNVEILING THE SECRETS OF URBAN FARMING

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FareShare will conduct tours of the Baguley farm on 28 October where we have grown 21 tonnes of vegetables to feed Victorians in crisis.

Urban veggie farming on the Baguley farm.

The large plot in Clayton South, generously provided by local flower and herb grower Les Baguley, has proved a productive oasis.

All veggies grown by FareShare are used to add nutrition to our meals. Over the past 12 months, the kitchen garden has yielded more than eight  tonnes of zucchini, five tonnes of pumpkin and four tonnes of carrots.

FareShare will conduct tours of the farm which boasts Les’ famous tropical house, a lavender project and orchard, as well as our own kitchen garden and other plots run by community groups.

The free tours will commence at 10 am, 11am,  12pm, 1pm and 2pm on Saturday, October 28. Booking essential. See here for details. Continue reading