Share the harvest – Our Pay It Forward program

Over the last two years we have been inspired by our customer’s generous donations to Open Table’s food relief program.

With the aim to take that generosity and impact further, we’ve extended our partnerships to others making a difference to the way we grow and eat in Melbourne.

We’ll be highlighting the work of these organisations throughout the year, making it easy to contribute a Pay It Forward donation while you shop.

Growing Farmers – Regenerative, community-led urban farming

Growing Farmers Inc. is a community-led organisation aiming to develop the regenerative farming capacity of urban communities. With their hands firmly in the soil, they support and foster a new generation of aspiring urban farmers.

The Backyard Farmers Project matches these aspiring city growers with residents wishing to maintain the productivity of their backyards, so that they can create flourishing, small-scale market gardens. The urban farmers donate, swap, or sell meaningful quantities of produce to their community, strengthening the resilience of the local urban food system.

The project also builds community social connection through volunteer days, social meetups, farm tours, and training.

Pay It Forward donations to Growing Farmers will help them:

  • Cover ongoing costs of the existing the five urban farms, such as inputs including compost, mulch, and seeds
  • Purchase the required infrastructure for a strong food distribution channel (greenhouse, cool room, wash station, and cargo bike)
  • Pay urban farmers to facilitate training and workshops for aspiring farmers.

Learn more about Growing Farmers to get involved or donate directly.

Open Table Friday Foodbank monthly market

Open Table – A collective food relief response

In response to the pandemic restrictions of 2020, Open Table worked with community partners to provide fresh food relief parcels for people in need. In support, we launched our first Pay It Forward option to help involve our generous Fair Food community in this collective effort. And we’re glad we did!

To date we have sent over $37,000 of Pay It Forward donations to support this work, plus a $10,000 contribution from Fair Food at the close of 2021.

These funds have purchased thousands of fresh food parcels for people to cook in their own home, and supported the ongoing Friday Food Bank which continues on a monthly basis.

Learn more about Open Table to get involved or donate directly.

CERES Brunswick aerial

CERES – A place to fall in love with the earth again

CERES Fair Food is one of many social enterprises that exist to support the work of CERES, an environmental education centre, urban farm and social enterprise hub on Wurundjeri Country, Melbourne.

100% of our profits are returned to CERES, which was built on the passion and commitment of the local community and is recognised as an international leader in community and environmental practice.

Learn more about CERES to visit, get involved or donate directly.

More projects outside the veggie box!

Bushfire appeals, volunteers on farms, support for artists and much more – these are practical initiatives we’ve been engaged with over the last few years, in response to the social and environmental crises we face together in our community.

Below you’ll find some of our recent events that aim to creatively connect, inspire and nourish.

Open Table workshops

Online waste free cooking workshops

Hosted by Open Table’s Alanna Brown, these free workshops are chock full of great tips and tricks to help us all make the most of our fresh, seasonal produce.

Each session is a virtual hands-on cooking experience. While making something delicious together, the workshops focus on innovative yet simple ways to reduce household food waste and cook meals for everyday sustenance and deliciousness!

Workshops will resume in May, 2022! Find all the details here.

LIVE from the Kitchen Floor

LIVE from the Kitchen Floor is our latest creative series – a week long online festival that celebrates and supports local artists. These videos are offered to lift your spirits in the anticipation for live performances soon!

With many thanks to artists Kitty-Ann Carrigg, Miriam Ceh, Abdulrahman Hammoud, Emma Hooppell, Harley Mann, Damian Seddon, and Aseel Tayah.

Watch the series here

Hello Vegetable – a lockdown animation

During the winter of 2020 we invited our local food-loving community, all stuck at home during lockdown, to send in words and images inspired by their fruit and veg.

A bunch of incredible artists then went to town, sharing this celebration as spring emerged. Huge thanks to everyone who participated from their kitchens and gardens!

Watch here

LIVE from the Packing Floor

Live music streamed direct from the warehouse packing floor? Why not!

We all need the arts, and during 2020’s ongoing lockdown it was so wonderful to help keep the music alive by offering our mezzanine as a makeshift venue, be serenaded while we pack groceries, and of course share the music with you at home.

Watch the livestreams here

Ori Coop garlic cleaning

Community led bushfire recovery

Early in 2020 we joined with ORI Co-op to help organic farmers who had been caught in the fires. With $5 from every January home delivery going to the campaign (over $15,000 in total!), the groundswell of support was phenomenal.

Together our community raised an extraordinary $300,000 of cash and donated hay, and volunteers dove in to assist, including teams of willing workers who came to help clean Chris and Christine Watts’ garlic crop.

Read this response from Blue Sky Organics

Boite 5x5 concert series
Supporting musicians with The Boîte

We were so pleased to be able to support The Boîte’s 5×5 program during October 2020, a Sunday concert series that was part of their Adapt, Not Cancel pandemic response.

The Boîte have continued to provide work and artistic opportunities for culturally and linguistically diverse artists during lockdown. And these home concerts were an absolute treat to share with our community.

Get the lowdown on The Boîte