Sustain: The Australian Food Network (VIC)

Around the Table: Community Cooking, Lunch and Gardening Program: Online and In-Person (Grant: $39,200)

Sustain: The Australian Food Network will partner with North Carlton Railway Neighbourhood House (NCRNH) to deliver a reimagined version of the ‘Around the Table’ community cooking and lunch program. Commenced in 2018, ‘Around the Table’ has become a vital activity for NCRNH members, a cohort of mostly older people often experiencing complex and interrelated disadvantage due to mental health, disability, isolation and financial difficulty.

The new format will be a hybrid model, where a rotating, limited group of 6-8 physically distanced in-person cooks will attend the class, prepare the fortnightly recipes and share lunch. The remaining cohort (up to 16) receive the same recipes and ingredients in contact-free or delivered cooking packs, so they can replicate the dishes at home and virtually share their experience with each other through an online community group.

Additionally, NCRNH’s newly established community garden will provide the opportunity for distanced socialising and skill-building through workshops on home food production, as well as growing food for community meals in the ‘Around the Table’ bed.

This program will develop a case-study and manual for community centres around Australia to think innovatively in their program delivery and use the vibrant medium of food to not only address health and wellbeing objectives but provide safe and supportive environments to build skills in technology, gardening and cooking. A key output and resource will be the creation of a short film documenting the journey of participants through the program.

Sustain and Railway House

Anita Hopkins

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