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Open Table is based on two key ideas — reducing food waste and meeting the neighbours. We use surplus food to create wholesome community feasts, bringing together people from all walks of life.

We cook nutritious feasts using salvaged produce surplus food from local businesses and community gardens. Increasingly, we are seeing how flawed the food system in Australia is, and this is one small action to make a positive change and have conversations about how to live sustainably.

 

Coming together over a meal is a brilliant opportunity to talk about shared experiences of place, food and culture. We hope to create stronger understanding and appreciation for our diverse community, and also to provide the opportunity to strengthen social skills for everyone wishing to participate more fully in our community.

 

We are adamantly secular and independent, and strive to create inclusive events where people from across the local community are welcome — in particular those who are marginalised from the mainstream. We actively work with community organisations to invite a cross section of the neighbourhood.

 

Please come and eat with us, spend some time getting to know our neighbours and being thankful for the simple things in life.

Events.

We host regular dinners and lunches in different neighbourhoods around Melbourne, plus the occasional special event.

 

Fawkner Lunch

1.00pm on the 1st Saturday of the month at the Fawkner Senior Citizens Centre, 77 Jukes Rd, Fawkner, Victoria

 

Brunswick Dinner

6.00pm on the 1st Sunday of the month at the Brunswick Neighbourhood House, 43a DeCarle St, Brunswick, Victoria

 

Fitzroy Lunch

1.00pm on the 3rd Sunday of the month at the Fitzroy Community Kitchen, Atherton Gardens Estate, entrance from Napier Street, Fitzroy, Victoria

 

Coburg Lunch

1.00pm on the 4th Saturday of the month at the Nicholson St Neighbourhood House, 32 Nicholson St, Coburg, Victoria

 

Collingwood Lunch

1.00pm on the 4th Sunday of the month at the Collingwood Neighbourhood House, 253 Hoddle Street, Collingwood, Victoria

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Open Table exists thanks to the energy, time and ideas contributed entirely by volunteers. If you are interested in donating your time or skills, please get in touch. You can drop by and say hello on a weekend, or email hello@open-table.org if you would like to get serious about it.

FAQs.

 

What is Open Table? Open Table is a non-profit organisation hosting free community dinners in different Australian neighbourhoods using surplus produce. You can read more about us here, or here.

 

When, where and how was Open Table founded? Open Table was founded in early 2013 in Brunswick, Victoria by a few like-minded individuals with the idea of reducing food waste and meeting the neighbours. We asked for lots of advice from our community, did some tests, burnt a quiche, learnt some recipes — and here we are now.

 

Where does the food come from? The produce is sourced from Second Bite, Foodbank, local businesses and community gardens in each neighbourhood — all of which would otherwise be wasted.

 

Do I have to pay to eat? All Open Table events are free, but we do accept donations if you feel generous and can afford it.

 

Do I have to RSVP? Everyone is welcome at Open Table and we do not take bookings or need an rsvp for our regular events. Occasionally we will host a special feast which may have limited seats, but we’ll make it clear.

 

Who pays for Open Table? Open Table is organised by a growing collection of energetic volunteers. All food is donated. We are grateful for the wonderful support of Moreland City Council’s Operational Funding 2014 – 2016 which covers some operational costs like paper napkins and education.

Do I need to bring anything to the table? BYO ideas and conversation starters, friends and family — we will do the rest!

 

But what if I want to bring something to share? You’re most welcome to bring something to share. This could be a bag of lemons from your overflowing tree, some extra time to help us research ways to do what we do better, or you could even share some space in your compost heap after lunch.

 

How much food is wasted in Australia every year? Approximately 8 billion dollars worth of food is wasted in Australian homes, based on conservative estimates — or 1 out of every 5 grocery bags. This doesn’t even include commercial waste from growers, distributers and providers. Take a look here for more info on the state of waste in Australia.

 

How is Open Table different to a soup kitchen? The idea is simple — free food. What we do can be seen as a kind of soup kitchen, but we prefer not to think of it as a service. Open Table is a  community feast — an opportunity to meet all kinds of neighbours, strengthen communities and redistribute food waste.

 

Can I start an Open Table in my hood? Open Table is designed as an open-source model, which can be easily replicated by a few people within different neighbourhoods across Australia.

 

How can I get involved? We always welcome volunteers of all sorts, from help serving up to ongoing project support. Have a chat with us on the day, or email hello@open-table.org

Friends.

Secondbite, Foodbank, Moreland City Council, CERES, Cultivating Communities, Brunswick Neighbourhood House, Collingwood Neighbourhood House, Fawkner Senior Citizens Centre, Fawkner Neighbourhood House, Nicholson Street Neighbourhood House, Merri Community Health Service, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Pizzicato Effect, Yarra City Council, Wild Things Food, Dench, Loafer, Babka, Cecelia Fox, Thrive, Copy Boy — and the very many wonderful and generous people who have sliced, diced, cooked, dined and advised us along the way.

Get in touch.

To learn more about who we are, how to get involved or donate your goods, say hello@open-table.org — or drop in for something to eat on a weekend.

 

       

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