For 20 years FareShare has been rescuing quality food and cooking it into nutritious meals for people doing it tough.
From our humble origins baking a few hundred pies each week, FareShare now operates Australia’s largest charity kitchens in Melbourne and Brisbane where our chefs and volunteers work hand in hand to cook the best possible meal for every person.
Our healthy, delicious meals are given away free to front line charities such as soup vans, homeless shelters, women’s refuges and community food banks.
FareShare’s cooked meals do more than fill empty bellies. They feed the soul as well as the body by showing that somebody cares.
It is a tragedy that while millions in our community experience food insecurity, Australians waste an average of 102 kg of food every year.
FareShare tackles this head on by rescuing surplus, quality food from supermarkets, farmers and other businesses that would otherwise goes to waste. This helps keep food out of landfill and avoid greenhouse pollution.
We are a charity and rely on the generosity of philanthropic foundations, businesses and individual donors.
FareShare is co-founder of the national Feed Appeal which has raised $7.5 million in grants to support local food relief efforts.
With little government funding, FareShare runs a small but effective and committed team.
Our board is made up of skilled members of the Melbourne community, who kindly donate their time and experience to help FareShare feed as many people as possible.
Grants from philanthropic foundations and trusts provided the seed funding to establish FareShare, invested in our first and then second kitchens and contribute towards our operating costs.
Companies supply food, provide pro bono goods and services and importantly donate. For many businesses they don’t just support FareShare, they are a part of FareShare.
Want to learn more about food rescue and hunger? If you belong to a school, organisation or club in Melbourne, FareShare can provide a speaker to share our inspiring story in return for a donation or food drive.
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.
While many businesses were keen to provide FareShare with their surplus food, legal barriers prevented many from doing 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.
With generous support from philanthropic foundations, particularly the Jack and Ethel Goldin Foundation, FareShare established our first dedicated kitchen in 2008 in Abbotsford.
This major development enabled us to recruit more food donors and volunteers, and to add a second and then third daily shift, increasing our meal output.
Despite a growing number of regular volunteers cooking nearly 500,000 meals a year FareShare, was still falling well short of meeting charities’ requests for food to support people in need. The obvious solution was to set out to establish a larger premises and a kitchen capable of cooking one million meals a year.
In 2013, with the generous assistance of a number of organisations including the Ian Potter Foundation, FareShare started cooking in Australia’s largest charity kitchen – also in Abbotsford. Located in South Audley Street, the purpose-built kitchen allowed us to scale up production dramatically.
In 2016, FareShare started growing our own vegetables with the launch of our kitchen garden program. We cleared a disused site alongside Victoria Park Railway Station for our first garden, and then established a second on vacant land at Moorabbin Airport. Our third plot, on the Baguley family farm in Clayton South, added significant potential for yield.
In 2017, FareShare acquired a substantial warehouse in Derrimut increasing our capacity to store food tenfold. Located close to food wholesalers, the new facility enables FareShare to accept bulk donations and freeze in large quantities.
In 2018, FareShare began work on a second kitchen in Brisbane to harness ingredients supplied by Foodbank Queensland. The new kitchen is being developed with the capacity to cook five million meals a year.
On October 9, the FareShare ‘super’ kitchen was opened in Brisbane by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk doubling FareShare’s capacity. Boasting 300 litre steam kettles capable of cooking 750 meals at a time.
FareShare celebrates the first anniversary of our Brisbane kitchen by cooking one million meals in the new facility. The bushfire season starts early with FareShare providing meal support to devastated communities.
A year of crisis brought on by devastating bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic, creates unprecedented demand for FareShare meals. Forced to suspend our volunteers through lockdowns, FareShare scales up production with the support of hospitality staff funded by Woolworths, ALH Group and the Victorian Government. Our kitchens cook a combined total of 3.7 million meals.
In 2009 FareShare and Leader Community Newspapers launched the Melbourne Appeal to raise funds for grassroots charities to provide food relief. The annual grants program became a valuable source of funding for local groups, enabling them to purchase equipment to cook, store and deliver food to vulnerable community members.
Over the years the campaign received strong support from business and philanthropy – including Woolworths, Newman’s Own Foundation, Sargents Pies Charitable Foundation, Squeaky Gate, Lord Mayors’ Charitable Foundation, Linfox and most of all the community. And this support enabled FareShare and News Corp to take the Feed Appeal across Australia and provide grants to frontline food relief agencies in all state and territories.
More recently, with additional government support for local groups providing food relief and a greater demand for food and cooked meals, FareShare is now devoting all its efforts to filling the fridges, freezers and vans funded over 13 years with healthy meals cooked by our chefs and volunteers. These meals provide immediate relief and comfort to people in hardship.
As a charity FareShare relies on donations to cook nutritious meals. We need community support to help us respond to a surge in requests from local charities for our cooked meals. Every dollar and every meal make a meaningful difference to someone in need.