Marcus Godinho, CEO, FareShare – From discarded mattresses and broken bottles to kitchen garden feeding hungry Aussies

Patrick Blampied 2016 Speakers

In Melbourne, urban food production isn’t limited by space. There are large unused blocks in just about every suburb.

Unfortunately many of these blocks lay dormant for years as investments waiting to be built on or sold off at a higher price than they were purchased for. In the meantime they attract rubbish and leave neighbourhoods looking shabby.

Until late last year a large vacant block next to Victoria Park Train Station was exactly that. A dumping ground for mattresses and littered with broken glass.

FareShare is a not-for-profit that rescues good food that would otherwise end up in landfill. However in the course of preparing over 1 million meals for charities each year they struggle to match supply with demand.

So a few years ago their operations manager, Kellie Watson, went in search of a place to grow vegetables to help with the peaks and troughs of donated food.

With the help of the City of Yarra and some sponsors they were able to lock away the VicTrack owned land for two years and got started on levelling the land, creating garden beds and getting volunteers together to help grow the veggies.

With two million Aussies experiencing hunger each year FareShare is aiming to increase their output to 1.25 million meals per year. The Victoria Park Kitchen Garden is helping them achieve this goal.

Marcus Godinho is the CEO of FareShare and will be presenting on how they work to match supply with demand and overcome the challenges of setting up and running an urban agriculture project.