A renewed and expanded sponsorship by Bendigo UFS will ensure a crucial community program can continue for two more years.
Bendigo UFS will contribute $60,000 over two years to Bendigo Foodshare’s ‘Grow a Row, Pick a Branch’ program.
Under the program, initially developed with the support of VicHealth and Bendigo UFS, people across central Victoria are encouraged to plant extra crops in their gardens or harvest their excess fruit and vegetables with the intention of donating it to Bendigo Foodshare.
Since starting in 2019, more than 43,000 kilograms of fruit and vegetables have been grown, harvested and provided to those in need.
Bendigo Foodshare’s CEO, Michelle Murphy said Bendigo UFS’ additional support would allow the program to expand.
“This fantastic contribution from Bendigo UFS will allow us to employ a part-time staff member to provide expert horticulturalist advice and support to grow the program,” Ms Murphy said.
“Our aim is to strengthen our local food system, by increasing our own production at our Golden Gums farm, and to build skills and knowledge in growing food, particularly for young people. The outcome of this is more fresh, healthy, locally grown produce available for more people across our community.”
Bendigo UFS Chief Executive Officer Lois O’Callaghan said supporting Bendigo Foodshare was a socially and ethically responsible way for the organisation to respond to the food crisis many people faced.
“We are a locally managed, not-for-profit organisation supported by more than 11,000 members,” Ms O’Callaghan said.
“This contribution is all about using member funds to give back to that community and supporting an initiative that is delivering outstanding results.”
The contribution comes as a Bendigo UFS begins work to evolve its existing community grants program. Further details about the changes will be communicated to the community soon.
In 2023, Bendigo UFS marks its 150th anniversary with a series of events and promotions particularly during the second half of 2023.
Caption: Lois O’Callaghan CEO Bendigo UFS, Ethan Loosmore, Meg Last and Michelle Murphy of Bendigo Foodshare at Golden Gums Farm