Food is Free Inc. has grown from humble beginnings from the Food is Free Laneway in Ripon St. South to incorporate the Food is Free Green Space, which is located on the edge of the Western Oval.
In 2014 Lou Ridsdale brought the food is free concept to Ballarat and now, some 4 years later, the movement continues to grow, while remaining true to its initial values, thanks to its small army of volunteers and grants.
“Last year we were successful with ‘Pick My Project’ funding, which was through the State Government,” Lou said.
“We were one of a number of lucky recipients of project funding to get projects happening in Victoria and it was a vote based funding application, so we are really pleased the community got so behind us to get us over the line.”
The money will be used to build a huge outdoor classroom and to develop the green recycle depot for people to drop off their unwanted green waste and scraps, which will then be turned into productive soil for the group and in turn reduce waste.
“We aim to deliver a hell of a lot of workshops in sustainability,” Lou explained.
“As always it will be targeting disadvantaged and marginalised persons, as our core purpose, but it is open to anyone, as well.”
Lou said the Food is Free has ‘blown her mind’ and gone beyond anything that she had envisaged.
“I dreamed and hoped but it’s really galloping along at a nice pace and I think we have really proved ourselves over the four years that we do we can do well and it’s just testament to the support from our community getting behind us, we couldn’t do it without them,” she said.
“We have 40 amazing volunteers but people can contribute on different levels and I think that is why it is so attractive to people. They don’t need to have a full commitment of coming to volunteer. They can drop off some empty egg cartons to help us along, or empty jars, bottles and things like that and it’s reducing the waste on the planet.”
In a bid to give back a little to the community which has supported it, Food is Free Inc. will be holding a number of events over the next few months.
The first is ‘Yoga Amongst The Carrots’ with Steve Sedgwick at Food Is Free Green Space every Sunday from 27 January – 31 March (excluding Sunday 17 & 24 February).
“Steve is a neighbour and he has always been a good friend of Food is Free and for many years he has always wanted to do outdoor yoga on Western Oval,” Lou explained.
“Food is Free wants to promote healthy lifestyle with healthy eating and it made sense to have Steve on board.
“A lot of people want to give yoga a go but are a bit timid because they are not sure how flexible they are and the thing we have always prided ourselves on, at Food is Free, is that it is all inclusive, no judgement and the same with yoga, it will be very welcoming and Steve will be doing different levels so anyone can join in.”
Please wear comfortable clothing. Yoga mats supplied (or BYO). Gold coin donation entry. Book your place at https://www.facebook.com/events/383468565749122/
Little Sprouts : Children’s Garden Workshops – will be two interactive garden workshops to inspire the joy of growing things at home.
“The workshops are aimed at children around the ages of 3 to 6 and we have partnered up with our good friends at Munash Organics and Playgroup Victoria,” Lou said.
“We are really excited to present these workshops which will include digging, planting, play and learn with nature hunts, worm farm fun and so much more.
“The next generation are our custodians of the land and it’s great to see the next generation of Little Sprouts moving forward.”
Who: For Kids – 3 to 6 years old
Time: 10.30am to 12 noon
Date: Monday 21 January & Monday 18 February 2019
Where: Food is Free Inc. Green Space, Corner of Ripon St Sth and Urquhart Street, Ballarat
Cost: Gold Coin Donation