Moorabbin Airport is perhaps an unlikely site for a flourishing kitchen garden producing more than 100 tonnes of vegetables a year for charity.
Since 2016, crops have been grown on the one-acre plot, as part of a partnership with non-profit charity FareShare.
The produce goes into nearly half a million nutritious meals for soup vans, homeless shelters, First Nations communities and womens refuges across Victoria.
About 150 volunteers work at two FareShare farm sites at Moorabbin and Clarinda.
Moorabbin Airport Corporation, via the Goodman Foundation, provided the ‘seed’ funding for the garden’s initial operating costs and continued with long-term multi-year support.
Since then, the project now funds farm-hand specialists and an expansion of FareShare’s Meals for the Mob program which aims to improve life outcomes for First Nations remote communities.
FareShare’s next initiative is to create a “shelf-stable” product in response to remote communities being particularly vulnerable to increasingly frequent climate-change-induced extreme weather events.
The vegies from Moorabbin could go into these nutritious ‘heat and eat’ or ‘simply add water’ meals.
FareShare corporate partnership director Anita Russell said the airport partnership had succeeded and evolved to meet the changing needs of the community.
“Since the beginning, MAC, under the leadership of CEO Paul Ferguson, have been committed to understanding FareShare’s mission, working to devise practical solutions to facilitate and champion our work.”
Ferguson said the garden was a “key part of our airport community and contributes to our aim of making a tangible difference to society”.
“Continuing our partnership with FareShare will provide new opportunities for people in need to receive adequate nutrition.”