Local to North East Melbourne
The Food Justice Truck
The Food Justice Truck is a mobile fresh food market that offers locally sourced produce, grains, legumes, tea and bread at a 75% discount to people seeking asylum. It also welcomes general public shoppers, who pay local market rates. Click here to watch a video about the Truck. It has two locations:
- Northcote: every Friday, 11.30am-1.30pm at 251 High Street.
- Thomastown: on alternate Tuesdays, 1-4pm at Thomastown Primary School, Spring Street.
The Truck is an initiative by the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) to tackle the growing food insecurity felt by the more than 10,000 people in Victoria who are on bridging visas. Most of the Truck’s fresh produce comes from Spade & Barrow, who buy whole crops direct from Victorian farmers, including the oddly shaped/sized fruits and vegetables that the supermarkets often reject. The produce is sold in the same containers that it comes from the farmers in and, where possible, the producer’s name is on display.
The Truck is part of the ASRC’s food support initiative, which includes a Foodbank in Footscray. The Foodbank is a free grocery store that provides fresh food to people seeking asylum and it gives out around $1 million worth of donated food donated each year. See their Facebook page. You can donate food and goods to the ASRC Foodbank during working hours at any of:
- CERES (Corner of Roberts and Stewart Streets, Brunswick East, 3057; Sunday & Monday 8.30am–1.30pm and Tuesday to Saturday 8.30am–3pm).
- Alphington Community Centre (2 Kelvin Road, Alphington, 3078; Monday to Thursday 9am–3.30pm and Friday 9am–2.30pm).
- Surrey Hills Neighbourhood Centre (157 Union Road, Surrey Hills, 3127; Monday to Thursday 9am–3.30pm and Friday 9am–2.30pm).
The Community Grocer
The Community Grocer aims to improve access for people living on a low-income to fresh, affordable food. They do this by running weekly fruit and vegetable markets. Everyone is welcome. There are four locations:
- Fitzroy: every Tuesday, from 2-6pm at Atherton Gardens public housing estate, 125 Napier Street.
- Fawkner: every Wednesday, from 9am-12.30pm at the Community Hub, 79-83 Jukes Road.
- Mernda: every Thursday, from 9am-midday at Mernda Central P-12 College, 70 Breadalbane Avenue.
- Carlton: every Friday, from 9am-midday at the public housing estate, 510 Lygon Street.
The Really Really Free Market Preston
The Really Really Free Market Preston is held on the last Sunday of every month, 10am-2pm on the Railway Reserve Bike Path. As its name suggests, everything is completely free – no donation options or anything. It’s a community gathering where participants give away usable items, skills, food, entertainment, games and many others things that a community can come together and share. The market is a 100% free and non-commercial event (no bartering or advertising). It includes movie screenings, bowen therapy, clothes repair (sewing, etc), jewellery repair, bike repair, arts space, mosiac, music, clothes, bric-a-brac, yoga, veggie seedlings, zines, food, ‘class-less room’ and haircuts.
According to the Anarchist Cookbook, the first Really, Really Free Market took place in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2001.
Darebin Fruit Squad
The Darebin Fruit Squad (DFS) collects surplus fruit from local backyard fruit trees in Darebin and re-distributes it to local agencies who assist food-insecure people. These agencies include the Darebin Information, Volunteer & Resource Service (DIVRS), with whom they work in partnership. Since their establishment in 2013, they have collected around 6 tonnes of fruit. Whilst some tree owners simply offer their surplus fruit, others are provided with maintenance services (fertilising, pruning, etc) in return for their surplus fruit.
Based on this experience, DFS and DIVRS are now encouraging others localities to develop similar initiatives. To assist with this, they have recently published a booklet entitled Harvesting the Urban Orchard, whose aim is “to provide practical information, tools and tips that you can use in establishing your own fruit-harvesting project.” Click here to view or download the booklet. (posted March 1 2017)
Fitzroy Community Food Centre
The “The Fitzroy Community Food Centre (FCFC) brings people together around food. The projects offered through the kitchen help people to access fresh food, learn about growing and preparing food and also provide opportunities to share food in a spirit of conviviality. The FCFC addresses issues of food security, healthy food education and skill building, social isolation, multicultural understanding, food waste and community connectedness.” The project is being undertaken by Cultivating Community.
Foodbank Victoria is a major organisation whose purpose is “to source and distribute healthy food to assist Victorians experiencing hardship.” Each year, around 500,000(!) Victorians receive food that came from the Foodbank – a total of 6 million kilograms or 12 million meals each year. This food is supplied to around 500 registered charity food relief agencies around Victoria who, in turn, distribute it to members of the community. Foodbank is also funded by the Victorian Education Department to support breakfast clubs in 500 disadvantaged primary schools. And it runs the ‘Farms to Families’ program, which supports the provision of fresh fruit and vegetables direct from farmers to local families via pop-up markets.
FareShare cooks 5,000(!), free nutritious meals for Victorians for free every day. Watch this video from Gardening Australia, where Jane Edmanson visits them to see what they do and how they do it. It is both watchable and reasonably short (5 minutes).
Feed Melbourne is an annual fundraising campaign run by Leader Community News and food rescue charity FareShare, supported by Newman’s Own Foundation. Every dollar raised by the appeal helps suburban food relief charities such as soup kitchens, community food banks, free school breakfast clubs, to collect, store, cook and distribute food to people going hungry in our city. Two thirds of the appeals funds are given out as grants and the remaining third is provided to FareShare.
Spade and Barrow
Spade and Barrow is a social enterprise that buys produce direct from farmers and sells it to cafes and restaurants in Melbourne.
3000acres aims to unlock underutilised land across the city to grow food and build communities.