Marnie Dixon decided to volunteer with FareShare because she witnessed first hand the benefits of our meals to struggling women and their families.

The garden volunteer worked for more than 21 years as an outreach community nurse and midwife supporting homeless women and families in inner-city Melbourne.

As a first port of call for these vulnerable people, Marnie provided a range of assistance with social welfare, literacy, education, housing, finance and liaising with Centrelink and other government agencies.

“Nutrition and food insecurity are huge issues,” said Marnie (pictured below in our Abbotsford kitchen garden). “These women are homeless, they are transient, they have no cooking facilities and they rely on agencies where they can get food and meals including FareShare’s nutritious meals.”

Marnie recalled some of her clients visited Salvos 614 on Bourke St which distributes FareShare meals. Those housed in hotel accommodation in outer Melbourne suburbs collected FareShare meals from local agencies. Marnie herself used to pick up our meals along with material aid from Foodbank for her clients.

“If a woman was on Centrelink or Newstart, one third of her allowance would go on rent in her rooming house, and after public transport and clothing there wasn’t much left,” she said. “Food becomes a luxury for them. The women used to tell me that their kids were hungry.”

When Marnie recently took time off between jobs, she decided to volunteer. She joined the Tuesday morning crew at the Baguley farm, growing vegetables for our kitchen. She adores the lushness and aroma of our vegetables and is learning lots of new gardening techniques.

“Nutrition and food security are a basic human right. Without it, you can’t function. Once you get a meal or some nutrition, you are able to cope with life.

“I have witnessed that people are starving in Melbourne. People are absolutely hungry and stuck in the poverty cycle.”

Summer harvest in full swing in kitchen gardens

The beginning of the year marks an exciting time for FareShare’s kitchen gardens as we move into our most productive growing season.

Following last year’s spring plantings, we are reaping the results of our garden volunteers’ careful tending and hard work over the past few months. We are now regularly harvesting our crops of zucchini, eggplant, basil and beans.

As the summer progresses, we also look forward to picking from our extensive capsicum crops as they ripen to red, when they’re at their most nutritious.  This summer we are also growing carrot, celery (see above with Baguley farm volunteers) and corn which require large and timely harvests to ensure they arrive at our kitchen in the best possible condition.

Our three gardens in Abbotsford, Moorabbin and Clayton provide FareShare’s kitchen with a vital source of fresh vegetables to add nutrition to our meals. Huge thanks to our wonderful garden volunteers who work through the summer heat to feed people doing it tough.

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