Food for the Soul: Five Initiatives Helping Community

Food brings people together, whether it’s a shared sandwich or an extravagant banquet. But beyond filling bellies, food can be used for good – and have an impact on the community. Anastasia Safioleas looks at some food-based initiatives helping to make a difference.


OzHarvest save more than 100 tonnes of food each week from supermarkets, restaurants, hotels and shopping centres. Appalled by the fact that about five million tonnes of food ends up in landfill in Australia each year, founder Ronni Kahn and her organisation deliver rescued food to more than 1400 charities, run cooking and nutrition programs, and provide training and mentoring for at-risk young people. OzHarvest runs a rescued-food supermarket in Sydney’s Waterloo.

ASRC Catering

Melbourne’s Asylum Seeker Resource Centre has been a long-time advocate for newly arrived refugees. Its catering arm is run by asylum seekers employed and trained to cook made-to-order delights and, now, home-delivered meals – such as berbere-spiced lentils, maamoul date biscuits and harira chickpea soup. As well as empowering refugees, all profits go back into the centre to continue providing essential services.

Two Good

Have a hankering for a Neil Perry roast dinner? Order it with Two Good and you’ll also be helping domestic violence shelters. The celeb-chef designed lunch jars are prepared by women from these shelters, with each jar sold resulting in another being donated to the shelter. This Sydney-based social enterprise (which caters to Melbourne, too) also maintains a rooftop garden run by asylum seekers and volunteers.

Green World Revolution

The GWR goal is to “help 100 long-term unemployed, mature-age women to re-enter the workforce by 2025”. The urban farms of this Perth-based social enterprise are run by the long-term unemployed, who grow a selection of seasonal, gourmet greens for the public to purchase, giving participants practical employment skills and experiences as they foster long-term employment opportunities.

Free to Feed

This Melbourne-based mobile cooking school employs refugees, asylum seekers and newly arrived migrants to run cooking classes and food workshops. Post lockdown, they will even come to your home and cook a feast for you and your friends, sharing stories about their homeland along the way – but in the meantime they are offering home delivery and online cooking classes. Resident cooks include Salma, a former TV presenter turned professional chef, and Verena, a well-known local cook with a love of authentic Colombian street food.

By Anastasia Safioleas.

This article was first published in Ed#562.