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COMPANION PLANTING: SLOW DATING FOR SINGLES

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Here’s an exciting opportunity for sustainability-minded single people – meet like-minded folk for some companion planting!

Based on the gardening concept of planting different plants together to enhance each other’s growth, FareShare Kitchen Garden, Abbotsford is holding its first Companion Planting dating event next month to give green-thumbed singles a chance to dig, plant, harvest and DATE for a great cause.

“Companion Planting’s all about getting into the FareShare Kitchen Garden and sharing some fun, no-stress, gardening tasks with other singles for an afternoon of slow dating,” says Companion Planting host and regular kitchen garden volunteer, Ali Morrow.

“It’s less pressure than speed dating – you’re in small groups, doing easy activities – and it’s doing something good to help out a garden that grows vegetables for Australia’s largest charity kitchen.”

The event is targeting 15 men and 15 women, aged 32 – 47, to see what blooms from an afternoon working in the garden and sampling some of the produce that FareShare grows to supplement rescued veg.

FareShare’s General Manager Operations Kellie Watson says sourcing enough fresh veggies to cook 5,000 meals for charities each day is always a challenge.

“We now have three kitchen gardens growing a range of veggies including zucchini, carrots, sweet potato, eggplant, pumpkin, capsicum, silverbeet and herbs to add to our nutritious meals. Our Abbotsford garden has over 70 beds and has produced two tonnes of veg for our kitchen this season.”

The kitchen garden in Abbotsford runs on volunteers and donations, and proceeds from the Companion Planting afternoon on March 19 will go towards purchasing garden tools and mulch for the beds. Perhaps it will also grow some new relationships.

 

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Companion planting in the FareShare garden

Event details:

Date: Sunday 19 March, 2017 (3-6pm)

Venue: FareShare Kitchen Garden, Lulie St, Abbotsford

Tickets:  $35,  issued on a first-in basis

Bookings: www.trybooking.com/OUWG

Contact: faresharecompanionplanting@gmail.com

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OPEN GARDEN HIGHLIGHTS WASTELAND TO WONDERLAND

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gardenwebFareShare Kitchen Garden, Abbotsford is opening its gates to the public on Friday, 24 February as part of the Urban Agriculture Series for the 2017 Sustainable Living Festival.

The urban veggie garden was created on a strip of wasteland between Victoria Park Railway Station and Victoria Park oval in 2016 to grow vegetables for FareShare.

Less than 12 months later it boasts 70 beds created by volunteers. The garden is currently growing eggplant, zucchini, carrots, silverbeet, capsicum, beans, Jerusalem artichoke and a trial crop of sweet potato varieties.

Visitors will be able to tour the site and learn about growing food in Melbourne. The Backyard Honey beekeeper will also be at the garden to highlight the important role healthy, local bees play in edible gardens.

Discover the world of vermicompost

You can find out how to generate worm castings from Colin Leitch who will be on hand to provide visitors with advice and demonstrations on worm farms and the most suitable system for you. Colin collects around 150 kg of organic waste from cafes in Lorne each week for use as a feedstock in worm farms at the Lorne Community House. He supplies the resulting vermicompost to FareShare as a soil amendment for our garden beds.

There will also be information on composting to help you tackle unavoidable food waste and generate your own “black gold” to feed your plants.

FareShare Kitchen Garden, Abbotsford supported by RACV, is one of three urban sites producing vegetables for FareShare. All food grown at the garden is taken to the FareShare kitchen where it adds vital nutrition to our meals for people in crisis. In January this year the garden produced almost half a tonne of fresh veg.

 

Event details:

Date: Friday, 24 February 2017

Time: 12.30pm to 3.30pm

Address: FareShare Kitchen Garden, Lulie St, Abbotsford

There is no need to book and attendance is free.

FARESHARE GIVES HOPE TO SINGLE MUM ON COMMUNITY SERVICE

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When single mum Tania was given a community-based order, she didn’t imagine any good would come of it. But after undertaking her service in the FareShare kitchen things changed.

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Tania in the FareShare kitchen: “I can’t wait to work with you again.”

Now Tania has now signed up as a regular volunteer with her sights set on reviving her career in hospitality after 15 years of unemployment.

“It’s inspired me to get back into hospitality full-time,” said Tania who began working shifts in the FareShare kitchen last April as part of an innovative collaboration between FareShare and the Department of Justice and Regulation.

“I was a bit scared at first but now I’m bouncing before I even get through the FareShare doors,” said Tania. “The chefs are amazing.”

Tania, who has experience waitressing and once worked at McDonald’s organising kids’ parties, hopes she can assist others on community-based orders at FareShare now that she has completed her 130 hours of service.

She fully understands how some families struggle to make ends meet. “I’ve fallen on hard times recently and had to use food banks so I know what it’s like.

“I’ve packaged food at FareShare that I’ve actually eaten myself when I needed it at desperate times. I had no idea where it came from before.”

Now Tania, is keen to give back and restart her career.

“I’ve loved the hospitality industry since I was a child. You have put the fire back in my belly to work with food again.”

The feeling is mutual. FareShare kitchen manager Chris Mitchison said Tania was a fantastic asset to the kitchen. “Tania has been a pleasure to work with from day one. She’s hard working and keen to learn. The perfect volunteer!”

Tania was one of dozens of people serving court or parole orders who has increased the number of meals available for the hungry by working in the FareShare Kitchen on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons.  The program is being extended this year.

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FARESHARE HELPS SAVE FATHER BOB’S CHRISTMAS LUNCH

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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.

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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.

Melbourne City FC players lend a hand in the kitchen with Shane Delia, FareShare chef Emily & President David Harris

TIM CAHILL AND MELBOURNE CITY FC FIGHT HUNGER AT FARESHARE

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Melbourne City FC’s Christmas Volunteer Week brought the players to the FareShare kitchen to cook meals for people in need.

Together with their ambassador Melbourne chef Shane Delia, the players donned FareShare aprons, rolled up their sleeves and got stuck into chopping vegetables, cracking eggs and beating quiche mix.

Socceroo hero Tim Cahill even lent his muscle to stirring the 150 litre Bratt pan with a chicken tagine created by Shane Delia.

Tim Cahill lends a hand in the FareShare kitchen

Tim Cahill lends a hand in the FareShare kitchen

From the kitchen, Tim Cahill said: “This is my first Christmas here, and I feel so proud to be a Melbourne City player when we do activities that benefit our community. The community ethos at the Club is awesome, and I just hope that our contribution will help bring a little bit of joy this Christmas.

The players attracted a host of media ahead of their derby fixture this weekend helping to shine a light on food poverty and those doing it tough this festive season.”

Marcus Godinho, FareShare CEO, said: “It’s fantastic to see Melbourne City’s players and staff making a direct contribution to fighting hunger in our city.

“FareShare relies on volunteers and the goodwill of the community to rescue food, cook it and distribute it to those in need. We commend Melbourne City for making a difference and helping us spread the joy of delicious food this festive season to people who can’t afford it.”

All food cooked by the players will be distributed to people in crisis. The recipe will be shared on SBS next year in a new cooking series with Shane Delia.

 

THE GIFT OF NUTRITIOUS FOOD THIS CHRISTMAS

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As we count down to Christmas, FareShare encourages our generous supporters to consider donating to our Christmas Appeal to address the urgent problem of food poverty.

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.

At this time of giving, we have seen how generosity can change lives and replace crisis with hope.

Ali: "I'm happy now"

Ali: “I’ve started a new life”

Take Ali, a refugee from Iran who arrived in Australia in 2011 in desperate circumstances. He found his way to Kingston City Church and was given food when he needed it most.

Soon he wanted to know how he could help others. Five years on, Ali is still volunteering and has become an integral member of the church’s Emergency Resources team.

Every week FareShare drops off food including fresh veggies, fruit, eggs, dairy and savoury pastries. The centre stores FareShare’s cooked meals for emergencies.

“We never turn anyone away,” says Pastor Joy Hansen who set up Emergency Resources 21 years ago. “If FareShare didn’t exist, we couldn’t do it. The FareShare quiches are probably the most popular.”

Sadly the demand keeps growing and FareShare needs your support to keep up.

Next year the church is building a new warehouse with a walk in cool room and freezer. “We will need heaps more of FareShare’s meals,” said Joy. “FareShare’s frozen meals really help. They also give a single mum or dad a break from cooking.”

About a third of the centre’s volunteers are refugees and former food recipients. For them, receiving is a door to giving.

“People here come for food parcels and end up being volunteers,” says Joy. “Some people have been unemployed, then got experience with us and gone on to get a job. Ali came to receive but he wanted to give back. He asked how he could help.”

In spite of serious health issues, Ali sets up tables, orders and collects food, unloads the van, sorts food and allocates food parcels according to the size of the family.

“I didn’t have a family when I came to Australia. Now all my family is here,” he says pointing to his co-workers. “I’m happy. I’ve started a new life.”

Like Joy and Ali, FareShare believe everyone needs a helping hand out of food poverty. Please consider a tax deductible donation this Christmas and help us spread the nourishment and joy of nutritious food to everyone in our community.

NOVEL SWEET POTATO CROP PLANTED AT ABBOTSFORD

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FareShare Kitchen Garden, Abbotsford, will soon be carpeted by a novel crop of sweet potatoes.

The unusual planting of five varieties of sweet potato is part of a collaboration with Burnley Campus (University of Melbourne) and Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre (CNLC) with support from SUSTAIN and the City of Yarra.

Lia de Gruchy, Susie Scott, Chris Williams and Craig Baille prepare to plant

Lia de Gruchy & Chris Williams from Burnley with FareShare garden manager Susie Scott and Craig Baillie from Urban Agronomist.

Sweet potatoes are particularly valued by some migrant communities and charities which FareShare supports with meals. They are robust plants and Burnley’s Dr Chris Williams is confident they will provide excellent ground cover as well as nutritious tubers.

The vegetables, which are not available commercially, were grown by horticulture students at Burnley and CNLC students as part of a University grant to provide horticultural training for propagating culturally-appropriate food.

The Novel Crops Project is exploring the potential of neglected plants for use in domestic, community and public food gardens. The varieties planted in Abbotsford come from PNG, New Zealand and America and should produce their first crop in about three months.

FARESHARE URGES SHOPPERS TO AVOID FOOD WASTE THIS CHRISTMAS

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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.

FARESHARE FESTIVE FOOD IDEAS

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Here are two simple suggestions from FareShare chefs to recycle Christmas leftovers and cut food waste.

Chef Crickette’s Ham, Veggie & Potato patties

Ingredients:

150g leftover ham, finely choppedcrickette

150g leftover cooked veggies, roughly chopped

800g potatoes, peeled, chopped & boiled

1 tbl wholegrain mustard

2 tbl fresh herbs e.g. chives, parsley, dill or whatever is left over

1 egg lightly beaten

Method:

Mash boiled potatoes and add herbs, salt and pepper, mustard, egg, veggies and ham. Massage into balls with wet hands to make up to 20 patties and dust with a little flour. Shallow fry in vegetable or canola oil for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towel and serve with salad.

Chef Chris’ Turkey Noel Pizza

This is a tricky thing I do on Boxing Day when I have leftovers to use up.

Make a quick pizza base:

2 cups flour

2 tablespoons yoghurt

2 tablespoons olive oilchris-web

Some water – about 1/3 cup.

¼ teaspoon salt

Put flour in a bowl and add salt. Mix yoghurt, olive oil and water together and add to flour. Mix to a firm dough (use a little more water if necessary). Push out thinly onto a pizza base (might make 2 small or 1 large).

Spray pizza base with olive oil and spread with tomato paste. Top with shredded cooked turkey, then cover turkey with grated tasty cheese. Layer with sliced capsicum, halved cherry tomatoes, leftover sliced roast pumpkin or anything else at hand. Spray again with olive oil.

Bake in a 200 degree oven till brown and crispy. If you have some, add rocket or baby spinach when the pizza comes out of the oven and let it wilt.

Delicious with the last dregs of Christmas cheer!

FARESHARE CHRISTMAS APPEAL HIGHLIGHTS FOOD POVERTY

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Not everyone in our liveable city is looking forward to Christmas. For those living below the poverty line it means extra anxiety around food.

Just up the road from FareShare, the Richmond Churches Food Centre hands out food parcels to around 370 people facing serious disadvantage every week. They are men, women and children who share one thing in common: poverty.

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Harry and food centre manager Tammy

Please help by donating to our Christmas Appeal to address the urgent problems of food poverty.

FareShare delivers rescued food and cooked meals to the churches’ food centre around three times a week. Last year we provided the charity with more than 86 tonnes of food including fresh fruit and vegetables, dry goods, eggs and our savoury pastries.

Over the past six years, the number of people receiving food from the centre has trebled. Tammy Glavinovic who manages the food relief program told FareShare: “We are seeing more and more people. We have got bigger and bigger.”

Some visitors, like Harry, have medical conditions and are unable to work. He lives in a boarding house for men he describes as a “last resort to living on the streets”. He visits the centre once a week and is able to sustain himself on the food provided.

“I’ve got to keep eating healthy food,” he says. “I can live on this.”

The Poverty in Australia Report 2016 revealed last month that more than 13 per cent of the Australian population now lives below the poverty line including some 731,000 children.

The Foodbank Hunger Report 2016 echoes the tragedy. It found growing numbers of people asking community food banks for help. Here in Victoria, food charities reported an average 32 per cent more food was needed to meet demand.

Crippling housing costs, cuts to benefits and some wages unable to provide an adequate living are all making food poverty worse.

Please help if you can by making a tax deductible donation to help us alleviate the scourge of food poverty on our doorstep.

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