Early in Semester 1, our Senior and Intermediate VCAL students were introduced to Chris Saray, ex- Whitefriars student and Founder and Director of The Food Security Network Melbourne. Chris is no stranger to the College and has delivered several programs over the years to previous VCAL cohorts and yet again, brought his passion, knowledge, and commitment to the delivery of this unforgettably rewarding experience. Chris’ goal is a simple one.
“Our Mission is to create practical & meaningful ways to engage in solving Food Insecurity in Australia.”
“It’s our belief that, to solve a problem we must understand what the problem is and then go about practically implementing ways in which to solve it. Growing food and giving it away is so simple we so easily overlook it.”
After conducting theory and practical sessions with our students focusing upon the detrimental physical and mental effects of a lack of consistent access to good quality nutritious food, that impacts a growing number of people in our community, the focus quickly turned into action which saw the students promptly tidy up a suitable garden space with a magnificent northerly aspect. Construction mode then began with the assembly of seven raised garden beds, relocation of a garden shed and the trucking and barrowing of the preferred vegie mix soil and garden manure to give our crop THE best chance to thrive. After all, if we want people to thrive and grow, having adequate nutrition, protection and shelter are just some of the vital ingredients that support their well-being.
We were committed to give our seedlings the best possible start in life and nurture them along the way. And that we did! It was about eight weeks later that the time came to harvest our abundant crop. Perfect growing conditions prevailed throughout much of April and May and our crop was bursting out of the cocoons that were their haven. After carefully picking and gently dusting off 30 vegetable crates filled with Coriander, Kale and Silver Beet, the Fareshare van arrived to collect and transport our crop to their commercial kitchens that are predominately staffed by volunteers that create healthy meals for those in desperate need.
I would like to thank all the staff and students that have shown their support and interest in this program. The feedback from staff, students and parents alike has been extremely positive. We are hoping to expand this program into 2022 and if you feel that you may be able to provide any form of support please feel free to contact me to discuss.
Finally, a massive shout out to Chris Saray for all his work in bringing this program to us!
Below is a letter received from Fareshare acknowledging the students for their contribution and support.
Dear Whitefriars College VCAL staff and students,
Thank you for supporting FareShare. It will make a real difference and I’m deeply grateful.
Last year devastating bushfires and COVID-19 created unprecedented hardship. Charities saw demand for food assistance rise by almost 50 per cent. At FareShare, we supported people in crisis by cooking 3.8 million free, nutritious meals.
In 2021 our incredible chefs are ready to respond to whatever the year brings. This time we have a very special goal – to boost the impact of every FareShare meal on each person who receives one.
We are determined to cook not just enough, but to cook the best meal possible for every individual. This means giving vulnerable people respect and dignity with meals they love. Our chefs are extending our range of nutritious meals and ensuring they look as good as they taste with appealing packaging.
So, to all those who are part of the Whitefriars College VCAL program, thank you so much for your donation. Your support helps us keep cooking and improve the diet and wellbeing of people struggling to get by.
Chief Executive Officer
Peter Rennie, VCAL Learning Leader