Families struggling to put food on the table in some of Melbourne’s more disadvantaged suburbs have been given a helping hand, thanks to a series of free pop-up farmers markets run by Foodbank Victoria.
The Healthy Food Connect Thrive program is supported by the Victorian Government to increase access to healthy food and foster community connections.
To date, seven of the Foodbank Farms to Families markets have been delivered in Bundoora, Thomastown and Mernda. Each market provides up to 200 families with a range of fresh fruit, vegetables and milk.
According to the City of Whittlesea’s 2016 household survey, 12.1% of respondent households reported that they had run out of food and couldn’t afford to buy more at least once in the past twelve months — a significant increase on the 6.2% recorded in 2015, and 8.9% recorded in 2014.
CEO of Foodbank Victoria Dave McNamara said hunger and food insecurity was a largely hidden but an increasingly prevalent issue in homes around the state.
“It’s incredibly concerning that so many households are struggling to put food on the table. We’re finding more and more that food insecurity is affecting not just the unemployed — it’s impacting working families, students and retirees who are struggling to pay the rent, cover bills and have enough left over to buy groceries.
“That’s why these markets, providing fresh and nutritious produce, are so important to helping people get back on top. We’re incredibly grateful to the State Government for funding this series and we hope to continue delivering markets to these communities with the support of corporate sponsors.”
On Friday 19 May, Foodbank will deliver its final Healthy Food Connect funded market in Thomastown in collaboration with the City of Whittlesea, Whittlesea Community Connections and Plenty Valley Community Health.
In total, the markets have provided 23,000 kilos of healthy fruit and vegetables to more than 1400 families across the Whittlesea region.
Mr McNamara is calling on Victorian businesses, local government and philanthropists to support the continuation of the Farms to Families markets. To enquire about funding a market or series of markets, contact Foodbank Victoria on 03 9362 8300.
P: +61 3 9362 8333
M: +61 4466 554 351