.....this week Fair Food turned on its website and began packing and delivering fruit and veg boxes to a handful of Food Hosts and customers around Melbourne (it looked something like the pic above but with more panicked expressions).
For those of you who don't know the Fair Food story it all really started back in the early 2000's as a staff food co-op at CERES Environment Park. Each week on a wooden picnic table outside the CERES farm office a different staff member would take their turn to split cartons of potatoes, onions, lettuces, apples etc into individual boxes for the other staff. Word got out and within a couple of years CERES was supplying 10 or so similar co-ops around the neighbourhood. There was no plan it all sort of happened out of people's desire to buy local food and build their community at the same time.
With the demand growing and having seen projects like The Good Food Box in Toronto and Food Connect in Brisbane it seemed like a good idea to share what we were doing not just in our neighbourhood but right across Melbourne. And so with the help of the Global Financial Crisis and a timely Jobs Fund Stimulus Grant from the Rudd Government - Fair Food was born.
Now, each week more than 1000 of us put our grocery money together to buy around 10 tonnes of food from local farmers, grocery makers and wholesalers which in turn has created 30 jobs at Fair Food, many for asylum seekers in desperate need of that first job in Australia. And by the good graces of 70 households, community organisations and local businesses who volunteer their verandahs, offices and shops those groceries are stored where neighbours can collect and sometimes connect with each other. The profits generated from this co-operative effort then help CERES trun the programs that teach children and adults how to betterlive on this planet. And when you think we do this just by putting our money together each week to do our shopping, it's really quite wonderful.
Rewiring the Food System: New Webshop Update
I guess our 5th Birthday is a very good time to do an update on the latest project we have been doing together. The new website you crowdfunded is getting toward the pointy end of things. On the test site the new pages look like a real webshop. Fair Food staff have had two trainings and will have another two in the fortnight. Continuing with the house building analogies I've been using through these updates it's just the fiddly bits left to do - like whatever the website equivalent of cornices, plastering and painting are. I won't jinx it with a launch date just yet but I will say we're getting very close.
Kate Soulsby is Scobywoman!
Ever had a conversation along the lines of, "What is a scoby anyway?" "Where do kefir grains come from? "Jun? What's jun?" If this sounds familiar, then to misquote a Neil Finn classic, somewhere deep inside something's got a hold of you and it's clear you are taking the first step towards home fermentation. Kate, that's her above with her jun scoby, runs Fair Food's customer service and is also a chef with a keen interest in fomenting ferments.
The other day we were talking about about where a person could get starter cultures for things like kefir, tibicos, kombucha or jun (which if you're interested is a kombucha-like drink that feeds on green tea and honey as opposed to kombucha which feeds on black tea and sugar). And apart from begging a scobied-up friend it seems like cultures are not easy to get your hands on.
I suggested that maybe for people without friends who ferment Kate should raise some cultures at Fair Food - then people would be free to make their own kefir, tibico, kombucha and jun at home. Kate wondered if Fair Food people would be into that. I thought the best thing to do was ask - which brings me to the question - would you? ....be interested in buying starter cultures that Kate made for ferments like kefir, tibicos, kombucha and jun with instructions so you know what you're doing? Because if you are Kate could grow some for you. So if that's a yes email Kate here and tell her what ferments you might be into. And don't worry saying you're keen doesn't mean you're committing to taking on a scoby or anything.
CERES Annual Appeal ends this week
Just a reminder that the CERES annual appeal finishes on June 31st . If you'd like to make a tax deductible investment in the longest game in town - i.e. helping save the planet - click here to find out more and donate online. Donations receive an instant email receipt.
Happy birthday everyone and have a great week
CERES Fair Food's weekly update with stories from our farmers and producers, Food Hosts, the Fair Food warehouse and theworld at large.