festival21 | Melbourne | A project of the Sandro Demaio Foundation

Community Tools

Food & Community

To grow a more inclusive, more sustainable and healthier future through food, we must equip ourselves with the tools to do so. Here are some simple ways you can harness a sense of community, understand different cultures and find human connection through food.

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Attend a social enterprise cooking class

Connect with your new migrant community, learn of their rich culture and incredible stories by cooking and sharing a meal with them at a Free to Feed cooking class. Free to Feed was established with the express purpose of assisting people seeking asylum to a. find meaningful employment opportunities using their existing skills and experiences, and b. facilitate community interconnectivity and break the stifling sense of social isolation often faced by these new arrivals. In awe of the enterprising spirit of refugees, people seeking asylum and new migrants – and appreciative of what they want to offer as new community members – Free to Feed aims to champion their unique skills and individual stories.

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Support local farmers

Support your local growers and producers by shopping at your nearest farmers’ market, which you can find on the Melbourne Farmers Market website. Melbourne Farmers Markets is a not for profit social enterprise dedicated to Victorian food and producers, regional food cultures, seasonal produce, biodiversity, sustainable farming practices and strengthening relationships between the consumer and the producer. The farmers and producers who attend our markets are accredited with the Victorian Farmers Markets Association, which means they have genuinely grown, reared, caught, baked or made the food they are selling.

When you shop at one of these markets you have the unique opportunity to meet the person responsible for your food and directly support their livelihood. At a time where our supermarkets are short-changing Australian farmers, shopping at your local farmers’ markets gives you the opportunity to make an immediate difference.

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Do more than dine, our purchase is a vote

Choose a Scarf pop-up event for your next dinner date. Scarf transforms the lives of young people by getting them into work while adding flavour and heart to the hospitality industry. As a social enterprise they run training, mentoring and paid work experience programs for people seeking protection, and those from refugee/migrant backgrounds. Scarf partners with Melbourne's best restaurants to create a positive, real-world experience for trainees, who have faced complex barriers to work.

Or if you would like to help provide training and support for a young person suffering from homelessness, drop into STREAT for a coffee - that’s conscious consumption.

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Get to know your neighbours

Get to know your neighbours by contributing to or organising a local food co-op in your neighbourhood. You never know what your neighbours might be growing, or going through. Not only will you be able to find a new home for your unused food, your fridge and fruit bowl will overflow with new things, you’ll learn new tricks and stories, and you’ll discover new heights of community spirit.