What is Open Table?

Open Table is a non-profit organisation hosting free feasts in different Melbourne neighbourhoods using surplus produce. Our aim is to reduce food waste whilst providing a meal and an inclusive space for those in need.

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, local businesses and community gardens in each neighbourhood — all of which would otherwise be wasted.

Can I come eat a free meal served by Open Table?

We exist primarily to reduce food insecurity, but of course this affects a large cross section of our community. We don’t turn anyone away from our lunches, instead making it an open and inclusive environment to make people feel welcome. Of course if you want to give back we never say no to help with the dishes!

Do I have to pay to eat?

All Open Table events are free, but we do accept donations through our website if you would like to give back and can afford it.

Do I have to RSVP?

Everyone is welcome, especially those in need of a meal 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 both Moreland and Yarra City Councils which cover our operational costs.

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, lend a hand with the clean up 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, distributors 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. Open Table is a community feast — an opportunity to sit down to a meal together, 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 Victoria.

How can I get involved?

We welcome all helping hands. Have a chat with us on the day, or sign up online if you would like to volunteer.