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  • Project: Rural Fresh Food
  • Amount: $51,000
  • Year(s) Funded: 2012

FareShare distributes over 50,000 meals and over 3 tonnes of fresh vegetables, meat and dairy produce in the Loddon-Mallee Region

Fareshare launched a pilot of Rural Meals and Fresh Produce in July 2012. Bendigo and Echuca were selected for the project’s inaugural pilot year in response to welfare agencies experiencing a 30% rise in demand for their food relief services over the past year.

FareShare Volunteers

“Our clients in Echuca have benefited from receiving the food from FareShare. Financial disadvantage is a major issue and food becomes the last on a long list of bills.” Tracy Hall, CareConnect Kouri Services, Echuca

In Australia, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, nearly one in ten people turn to charities for food. In 2000, a small group of people began collecting food that was surplus to businesses’ needs and using it to cook pies for charities.  Word of their endeavour spread and more people began donating food and volunteering to cook.

In 2010, FareShare approached the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust with an ambitious and inspiring goal of cooking one million meals a year.  HMSTrust was one of the first to back FareShare’s push for a new kitchen and according to its CEO, Marcus Godinho, the Trust’s standing and its grant helped secure the support of other philanthropic foundations and businesses. Three years later, FareShare turned on its new coolrooms and fired up its new ovens in Abbotsford.  Within six months more than 400 volunteers were cooking 20,000 meals every week.  The new kitchen has enabled FareShare to supply more than 300 charities with free nutritious hearty meals.

In 2012, FareShare responded to growing needs in regional Victoria for food relief. HMSTrust funding enabled FareShare to pilot the Rural Meals and Fresh Produce project in the Loddon-Mallee. Through collaborations and partnerships with over 15 agencies, FareShare distributed over 50,000 meals and over 3 tonnes of fresh produce. The pilot reinforced the importance of connecting with the local community as many agencies are run by and from homes of local residents who run year-round food drives from their homes.

Project aims

  • Provide immediate food relief to disadvantaged communities in the Loddon-Mallee.
  • Distribute 50,000 free FareShare meals.
  • Develop relationships with local agencies and businesses.
  • Roll out the program into more Victorian communities experiencing high socioeconomic disadvantage.

FareShare’s new premises has increased its capacity to cook one million free meals a year from rescued food. A large portion of this increased meal production will be distributed to rural and regional locations across Victoria. “Access to nutritious food should be a basic human right.  No-one in a society as relatively wealthy as ours should go hungry or suffer from a lack of nutritious food.” says Marcus Godhino, CEO FareShare.