Our journey began some three years ago in the kitchen of a Brunswick share house where a motley crew of students and professionals were chatting about these issues.
We all agreed that something needed to be done and founded Open Table - a non-for-profit food distribution and social connection organisation.
What this means is simply: we rescue food waste, prepare meals with the food and serve the meals in an open and inclusive environment. All our food is free and everyone from the neighbourhood is invited
Soon after, we started running a humble little community dinner at the Brunswick Neighbourhood House. Three years later, we now run lunches and dinners on a weekly basis between five different Melbourne suburbs in community spaces.
In addition, we also aim to lift social barriers in communities. We have discovered through Open Table that food has the uncanny ability to unify us, no matter who we are or what our backgrounds may be. At a typical Open Table gathering you might find a young professional interested in food sustainability sharing ideas with a pensioner relying on supported residential services who is looking to socialise with their neighbours.
On a weekly basis one of our lovely volunteers will drive around Melbourne to collect approximately 50 kilos of food for that week’s gathering - this includes fruits, vegetables and several bags of bread donated by local businesses as well as established organisations who rescue fresh produce from supermarkets. This equates to approximately 2.5 tonnes a year.
Every weekend a group of five to six volunteers living locally will get together, spend a few hours cooking and serving up the meals buffet style with 50 - 70 people attending. We have found over time the more diverse the community the more people attending.