The towns that grow together…
When a Victorian study in 2008 indicated that one in twenty people in a twelve month period had run out of food (that’s almost 10 people a week in Warburton and Yarra Junction), a group of community-minded people decided to make a difference to ‘food security’ in our towns. With the goal of ensuring there was accessible, affordable and sustainable food options available to every member of our community, several key initiatives have been funded and a real difference is being made.
The Second Bite food service visits twice a week to redistribute excess perishable foods free of charge to those who need it. Anecdotally, since this service commenced the demand for crisis food parcels has eased, and Chewsday, at the Redwood Community Centre, also provides a point of connection and social interaction for many people.
Koha Community Cafe, a pay-what you-can-afford community café (at the Yarra Burn Centre every Thursday) was established in 2009 and provides approximately 80 vegetarian meals a week.
The Yarra Valley Bee Group recently received sponsorship funding. Their mission is to educate and resource our towns to support healthy bee colonies, a vital link in the pollination and growing of fruits and vegetables. And the habitats and food sources of our river reserve wildlife also benefit from community tree planting and revegetation days, such as those organised by the Upper Yarra River Reserves group.
In Yarra Junction, ECOSS has established community garden boxes in the main street and in Warburton community gardens have been established on the main street and riverside at the rear of the Community Bank branch. Volunteers regularly donate their time, skills and resources to ensure the productivity of these spaces, which are accessible 24/7. This means fresh nutritious food is available, free of charge, any time to anyone in need. (pull quote)
Whether it be through the seed funding provided to Koha Community Cafe, or the projects we support at ECOSS, including the Bee Group, the Community Bank branches see real value in supporting the endeavours of our hardworking locals to help provide fresh and nutritious food. And your help is also welcome, so connect with these wonderful community groups and see how a little effort can sustain whole communities.