Change Makers – FareShare

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Meet this month’s Change Makers, FareShare

06 March 2024

Marcus Godinho, FareShare’s CEO, shares the inspiring story behind their efforts to tackle food insecurity and waste, highlighting their commitment to sustainability and the powerful impact of their work on communities.

Marcus, can you share the story behind the inception of FareShare and what inspired its creation?

FareShare originated from a simple idea by a Melbourne pastry chef who witnessed obscene amounts of quality food going to waste while people in our city went hungry. His name was Guido Pozzebon and in 2000, with a group of friends, he started cooking 300 savoury pies every Saturday morning using surplus food at the RACV Club. The pies were given away free to the Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul Society, and things snowballed from there.

How has FareShare evolved over the years in terms of its mission and the communities it serves?

FareShare has grown exponentially over more than 20 years, establishing Australia’s largest charity kitchens in Melbourne and Brisbane where chefs and volunteers work hand in hand to cook millions of nutritious meals every year. As well as rescuing more than 1,700 tonnes of quality food last year, FareShare also grew 120 tonnes of our own vegetables to boost the nutrition content of our meals.

As soaring housing, utilities, and food costs push the very essentials of life beyond the reach of countless Australians, FareShare’s cooked, ready-to-eat meals have never been more needed.

Could you explain how FareShare operates on a daily basis and what goes into the food preparation and distribution process?

No two days are ever the same at FareShare. Our chefs plan the meals we cook from rescued and donated ingredients, which change on a daily basis. Here in Melbourne, FareShare operates a fleet of refrigerated vans that collect surplus food from supermarkets, wholesalers, manufacturers, and farmers. These are delivered to our kitchen, along with the vegetables we grow on three sites in Melbourne.

Under the direction of chefs, this daily mystery box is transformed by volunteers into thousands of delicious, healthy meals to improve the wellbeing of Australians experiencing hardship. Each homestyle meal is presented and packaged with dignity to show that somebody cares.

FareShare meals are given away free to frontline charities such as soup vans, homeless shelters, women’s refuges, First Nations organisations and groups providing disaster relief.

What are some of the biggest challenges FareShare faces in its efforts to combat food insecurity, and how do you address them?

FareShare’s biggest challenge is meeting the need for nutritious food relief. We have a long waiting list of local charities wanting cooked meals to support vulnerable people in their communities. FareShare cannot address the causes of food insecurity, we can only respond to them by harnessing the generosity and goodwill of thousands of people who care.

To provide our cooked, nutritious meals for free, FareShare needs to raise the funds to operate. At a time when donors are also struggling with rising living costs, this is a huge and ongoing challenge.

We are always looking for kind people wanting to make a positive and tangible impact on our community.

FareShare chefs need nutritious ingredients to cook with, especially protein and vegetables, which many people experiencing hardship find unaffordable. We rely on food donors for a constant supply of healthy foods to give people energy when they need it the most.

FareShare also needs to recruit and maintain around 1,500 volunteers a year to power our kitchens, grow and harvest our vegetables, drive our vans and help out in our warehouses and offices. As well as regular volunteers, FareShare harnesses corporate volunteers every day who make a significant contribution to our operations.

Can you discuss FareShare’s approach to sourcing ingredients and maintaining sustainability in your operations?

FareShare is committed to operating as sustainably as possible. As well as reducing food waste by transforming more than 1.5 million kilograms of quality ingredients that may otherwise end up in landfill each year, we make extensive use of solar energy across our operations, together with recycled and recyclable materials wherever possible. We have been trialling an e-van to collect ingredients and deliver meals, and have invested in an industrial composter in Melbourne to harness green waste from our kitchens to help grow our vegetables.

How does FareShare collaborate with local communities, volunteers, and other organisations to maximise its impact?

FareShare partners with hundreds of frontline charities that offer food relief. They know the people in their communities who will most benefit from a cooked, ready-to-eat meal. They may be a student choosing between rent and food, a family facing a rental crisis or mortgage stress, a woman fleeing family violence with her children, an elderly person struggling to eat on a pension, a First Nations community unable to access affordable food, or someone recovering from a natural disaster.

FareShare collaborates with major charities such as the Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul Society, as well as small local groups, and regional food relief hubs.

Every year we harness thousands of volunteers, including individuals scheduled to regular shifts, and daily corporate and school groups to assist our mission.

What goals or aspirations does FareShare have for expanding its reach and impact in addressing hunger and food wastage, moving forward?

FareShare looks forward to having an even bigger impact in 2024 and beyond. We are expanding our support to First Nations communities where food insecurity is disproportionately high. This means reaching more than the 90 First Nations communities we already service and bringing our Meals for the Mob program to Victoria. This will provide meals developed with First Nations health services, dieticians and communities to address specific health, cultural and taste preferences.

We will continue developing non-perishable meals, ideal for supporting remote communities and people cut off by more frequent and severe natural disasters. And we will continue to work with the George Institute for Global Health to develop meals suitable for supporting people with chronic health conditions.

Most of all, we are excited to launch our new state-of-the art kitchen in Abbotsford, with building nearing completion. The new facility will enable us to cook more meals at a time when they have never been more needed. To learn more, visit