Breathing deeply

Last week after the Help Mo’s Smile Again fundraiser a few emails arrived simply giving thanks for the opportunity to donate.

At first it struck me as strange that people would be thankful for the opportunity to give, but after a while I got it.

We need to give. We have to give.

Giving, and receiving, is like breathing.  If we hold onto our breaths everything slows and eventually it comes to a stop.

This year has demanded we breathe deeply again and again.

Looking back to January as the country burned we joined with Ori Co-op to help organic farmers who had been caught in the fires.

Our community raised an extraordinary $300,000 of cash and donated hay. Teams of volunteers came to help clean Chris and Christine Watts’ garlic crop and felt first-hand reciprocity’s effect on the heart.

Then in March the first COVID lockdown came – do you remember the notes people left on doorsteps of vulnerable neighbours offering help to shop or get medicine?

For me though it was witnessing a simple and joyful act of generosity that set the tone for how Fair Food would approach the rest of the year.

At the front gate of a modest house in Northcote I saw a whole box of toilet paper with an accompanying sign asking passers-by to take a roll if they needed one.

The spirit flowed through April as Fair Food embraced our stood-down CERES brothers and sisters providing a job to anyone who needed one.

Through May, June and July we cheered our musicians who had lost their gigs as they were livestreamed from the warehouse packing floor.

In September and October at the height of our COVID cabin fever we gathered our pictures, poems and songs of beloved produce for the giddily joyous Hello Vegetable video that helped us ride-out of the last delirious days of lockdown.

Then came November – one I’ll never ever forget – in just a few hours an outpouring of generosity raised enough money to repair our workmate and friend, Mo’s, broken mouth and teeth.

And finally, as of Friday CERES Fair Food customers had paid-it-forward over $10,000 to buy 3000 Open Table fresh food parcels for people who didn’t have enough food during COVID.

The pic at the top is Open Table’s new food relief market on the Fitzroy Estate, where along with partners Cultivating Community and Yarra Libraries, they have also been giving away frozen meals, books in different languages and brand new clothes destined for landfill rescued by Thread Together.

It’s another reflection of this whole year, where across our country the deep, deep breaths we have had to take have revealed what is truly important to us.

Reciprocity says that when one of us goes hungry, we all go hungry, but when we share we fill our hearts as well as our stomachs.

Garlic volunteers at Blue Sky Organics

Bringing in the cloves

The cycle of giving and receiving rolls on and on.

This email below came from Christine and Chris Watts from Blue Sky Organics 

Firstly, Chris and I would like to send our heart-felt thanks to the wonderful volunteers who helped us clean 800kg of garlic following the devastating fires in January.  Your kindness and support will long be remembered.  It made all the difference in our Blue Sky world….. without your help and support we simply would not have been able to get this remaining garlic to market, or indeed, even contemplate planting our 2020 crop.  Please know that your support helped us to navigate a challenging time in our lives.

It is with much joy and gratitude that we report our “2020 out of the ashes” crop is almost ready for harvest.

Given that the volunteers were not able to visit The Pyramids Farm earlier in the year, (as there was still fire at the gate,) we would like to invite you to join us for our annual harvest so that we can share our little piece of paradise with you. (Yes, it is a little different following the fires, yet still worth a visit!!)



All participants please note: No-one is permitted to wander off on their own as there are burnt areas of the farm that are unsafe to navigate. 




We would love to enlist the help of 6 – 8 volunteers please.

If you are interested  please contact me directly

Here’s to blue skies and brighter days (oh, and some rain).

Chris and Christine Watts

Blue Sky Organics


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