About Us

About Us
Our positive impact
Education

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Food security

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Community cohesion

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We’re a community led
not-for-profit providing
food security and education.

Food Is Free Inc. is a community-led not-for-profit benefitting Ballarat citizens, focusing especially on those experiencing disadvantage, with the purpose of assisting with food security, education and community inclusion.

Food Is Free Laneway was our first site established in 2014 at Warrior Place to solve food waste issues whilst assisting those food insecure: visitors accessing free fresh food (fruit/veg/herbs only), seeds and seedlings donated from citizens’ gardens and from our Food Is Free Green Space (2018). PLEASE NOTE: This space has now migrated to the Food Is Free Green Space, so as of May 2023, both Laneway and Green Space are on the same site.

Food Is Free Green Space is a purpose-built, 40+ garden bed classroom, for community members to enjoy, particularly at-risk/marginalised community members. We specialise in accessible, skills-based and empowerment-building workshops. Anyone is welcome to pick food from this space at anytime, or enjoy what is on offer in the Share Table, grab free seeds, check the cooking/gardening books in our Food For The Brain street library, grab a free garden pot or two to add to/start their own garden. We also host monthly markets here, first Sunday of the month 11am – noon.

Green Space enjoys up to 100 visitors daily and is cherished by our citizens. It is accessible 24/7, 365 days of the year, as food security is an all-hours issue.

"From little things, big things grow..."

I set up Food Is Free Laneway up on a sunny day on 18th October, 2014 beside my home with some pals.

Heavily inspired by John VanDeusen Edwards (founder of Food Is Free in USA), as well as Ron Finley and other guerrilla gardeners, the Food is Free Laneway is a magical space for people to drop off, or collect for free, nutritious food (veggies, fruit, herbs etc), and connect with the neighbourhood.

Food Is Free Inc. Board was established in April 2016 when I saw a need to create a not-for-profit organisation from the success of the Laneway and community response.

Food Is Free Green Space was launched on 25 March 2018, and is a large community gathering space where food is grown in 40+ garden beds, workshops conducted, school and other group tours take place etc. Our sites are on Wadawurrung land, and Green Space was kindly made possible from City of Ballarat, to nurture our community via food. Here anyone is allowed to wander around and pick food, and make connections. We host many activities & events from our Green Space, and it also is a place for food waste activities: our 12 highly-frequented compost systems, plus worm farms pump out high volumes of compost donated by the public (about 240 litres of food scraps weekly!!). This welcoming, colourful site is a welcome relief of greenery for visitors, and it brings so many positive mental & physical health benefits.

We also host monthly markets selling garden goodies plus Food Is Free Inc. merch on first Sunday of the month from 11am – noon at our Green Space.

All Food Is Free Inc. projects are run by an amazing group of passionate and committed volunteers. I cannot thank them enough for believing in the cause.

Relying on the generosity of our community to sustain itself, Food Is Free Inc. gratefully accepts financial donations, no matter how big or small. Help us make a meaningful impact in the Ballarat community by donating or volunteering today!

Together we can create change.

Founder & Director,

Lou Ridsdale

Driven by committed volunteers and board members.

We have a team of approx. 70 marvellous volunteers who assist with regular weekly Food Is Free Laneway and fortnightly/monthly Food Is Free Green Space shifts varying from 30 mins up to an hour per session. Duties carried out ensure the health & safety of all our visitors, and tasks include disposing of perished food, general tidying, attending to the jars/bottles and garden pots recycle station, watering our plants, and other gardening tasks.

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Our 2022 community impact...

2022 was a much more stable year than previous few Pandemic years. We forged on and built many new connections with community, and fed a huge amount of people/inspired them to get into gardening for themselves.

We ran 37 workshops and enjoyed the company of 480 attendees who learned news skills. We also hosted very successful grant related events, especially targeting young persons in our community.

Have a look at our Food Is Free Inc. Annual Report 2022 (1) to read all about it!

Make A Donation

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