March | 2017 | FareShare Food Charity

Monthly Archives: March 2017


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Losing your home, changing schools and living in crisis accommodation can put a huge strain on young children.

A new collaboration with Launch Housing makes the journey a little easier by providing primary school children with a lunchbox complete with specially-baked FareShare cake.

Walking to school – and a FareShare lunch

Michelle McDonald facilitates an Education Pathways Program called STEP to re-engage children in primary school. There are currently more than 20 children taking part in the program, travelling to a primary school within the southern region of Melbourne on a walking school bus.

“They don’t have ovens at home,” explains Michelle. “Some families have even come from cars.

Lunch is a highlight for these kids. With FareShare’s support they enjoy healthy sandwiches, at least two bits of fruit, a couple of snacks such as zucchini slice or hard boiled eggs, and CAKE.

“The FareShare food is gold. It brings joy every day. When we put out the cake the first time it was polished off straightaway and became a talking point. Our kids are having lunches that other kids want.”

Social inclusion is a big part of the program and showing off their special lunches, made to order by the program’s staff, volunteers and mothers at school, helps build confidence and fight stigma.

“Other kids in the school see the food and want to be part of the program. It is seen as a good thing which is very important to the STEP children,” says Michelle.

FareShare passes on rescued food, bakes cakes and prepares snacks on a weekly basis to support the program.

Happily, by the time they complete the STEP program, 90 per cent of children are attending school regularly.


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Our CEO Marcus Godinho recently notched up a significant number of his own – 10 years at the helm of FareShare. When he took up the role after three years’ volunteering, we were known as One Umbrella, our kitchen was rented from the Hanover Crisis Centre and the office was his spare bedroom.

“I got involved because I hated the idea of all the resources that go into food being wasted,” said Marcus, previously CEO of Environment Victoria. “It was through volunteering in the kitchen that I learnt about people in Australia going hungry.”

When Marcus accepted the role, the menu was almost exclusively pastries and our top priority was to establish our own kitchen. “I will never forget long term supporter Annette Chaitman ringing me to say her mother, Ethel Goldin, would like to make a significant donation.  I couldn’t believe it.  A month later, the family decided to substantially increase its support and we started looking for a premises.”

Marcus Godinho in FareShare’s first kitchen In Thompson St, 2008

In May 2008, FareShare fired up the ovens in our first dedicated kitchen and by October Woolworths – our biggest food donor – came on board.  “Those days were hard yards.  I remember speaking to financial backers and food donors during the day, and supervising volunteers in the kitchen at night.”

As we continued to grow, FareShare moved again into our current kitchen in May 2013 with the aim of cooking one million meals per year. Today, we cook around 100,000 meals a month.

“FareShare is a community of so many people, businesses and foundations,” said Marcus.  “Leadership has never sat with one person.  Significant contributions have been made by many people.

“These days what energises me most is the commitment, creativity, generosity, connections and humility of our 900 plus regular volunteers, financial donors and business partners.”


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The exciting program to grow our own veggies is delivering in spades. Less than a year after we sowed the first seeds, our three kitchen gardens are making a meaningful contribution to our meals.

“So far this year we have managed to grow 36 per cent of the veggies we need for our meals,” said FareShare general manager Kellie Watson. “At times we’ve even been able to share our homegrown vegetables with other food rescue agencies.  The extra veg has helped us redistribute around 40 tonnes of rescued veg to charities. A fantastic result for the community!

“Before we started, we experienced whole months of severe veg shortages, slowing production and cutting the nutritional value of our meals. We now have a great insurance policy to tackle the inevitable shortfalls.”

Volunteers Linda and Russell prepare the beds for our winter veg

Thanks to more than 100 garden volunteers led by garden manager Susie Scott, our kitchen gardens at Abbotsford, Moorabbin Airport and the Baguley family farm in Clayton South have harvested nearly 10 tonnes of zucchini, four tonnes of carrots, and more than two tonnes of pumpkin. The generous provision of land on the Baguley farm has facilitated the bulk of our harvest.

There are significant crops to come including a trial planting of sweet potatoes. Our second rotation of root crops including turnip, carrot and parsnip is now going in.

Our first garden in Abbotsford, supported by RACV,  was recently featured on Gardening Australia. Watch segment here.


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FareShare Kitchen Garden, Abbotsford made its television debut on March 11 on ABC TV’s Gardening Australia.

Presenter Jane Edmanson visited  our first garden back in September last year as we were pulling up carrots. Garden

Jane Edmanson inspects our home grown carrots

manager Susie showed Jane around the 70 beds alongside Victoria Park railway station and explained our strategy to plug gaps in our supply of rescued veg, with a focus on root crops such as carrot and turnip.

The ABC film crew then followed our garden ute back to the kitchen to see how we are incorporating the home-grown veg in our meals for people in need.

No story about FareShare is complete without cooking so general ops manager Kellie Watson led Jane on a tour of the kitchen where our chefs and volunteers served up veggie pasta and lamb casserole using ingredients harvested in the garden.

The kitchen garden, supported by RACV, was established in January 2016 on a waste ground between the train tracks and Victoria Park oval. Since then it has produced 3.3 tonnes of fresh vegetables including zucchini, carrot, parsnip, turnip, leek, capsicum, eggplant, silverbeet, peas and parsley.

You can see all the action here. Watch out for a number of garden volunteers who have cameo appearances and interviews. Happy viewing.