FoodFaith has gone from strength to strength this year – from our ‘seedling’ Lane Cove garden in our first year of operation to events such as Blacktown’s Breaking Bread initiative on Harmony Day which attracted 600 people, the panel discussion that was part of Friends of Good Food Month and, of course, establishing new community gardens that showcase environmental and social sustainability. We are so excited to be helping The Mount Druitt Ethnic Communities Agency (MECA) develop a community garden in Mt Druitt for refugees and new migrants.

One of the joys of working with FoodFaith is meeting other passionate advocates from organizations who share a vision of encouraging harmony and equity and supporting sustainable outcomes.

We enjoyed working with Our Big Kitchen (OBK) this year at the Harmony Day initiative in Blacktown in March and at the Breaking Bread panel discussion in October, which was part of Good Food Month. To celebrate the end of the working year, we visited OBK to see first-hand the wonderful work they are doing in preparing and distributing meals to needy people across Sydney.

Our Big Kitchen, founded by Rabbi Doctor Dovid Slavin and Laya Slavin in Bondi in 2005, is a community run, non-denominational, industrial kitchen and is Kosher and Halal certified, and HACCP approved. OBK offers a place for people to come together and cook for a good cause. Last year OBK distributed over 80,000 meals to disadvantaged Australians.

OBK offers what it describes as a ‘meaningful volunteering experience’. Individuals and organisations are encouraged to come and help prepare meals for distribution and can also enjoy a meal at the centre for a special celebration. One of OBK’s ‘signatures’ is challah making - the special Jewish bread made for Shabbat.

OBK ‘rescues’ food, working closely with organisations like SecondBite and Foodbank to minimise food waste and turn fresh produce into a home cooked meal. OBK does need to also buy in ingredients, as fruit and vegetables are the main ingredients rescued.

The meals are distributed to many shelters across NSW and these include: Salvation Army, St Vincent’s De Paul, Lou’s Place, Mary’s House, Rough Edges, The clown Doctor, Oasis Youth Support, Youth off the streets, Wayside Chapel, Jewish House, Caretakers Cottage, Several women’s refuges, several children’s refuges, domestic violence shelters, The Greek orthodox Church, Redfern Community Centre, and asylum seekers’ centres.

OBK is busy at all hours of the day and volunteers work in the kitchen, in packaging, distribution and more. The ever-expanding positivity and generosity of outreach is apparent on most visits. The day FoodFaith popped in, the group, Will 2Live, was at the centre collecting meals we helped to make to be served at Central station that evening.

We look forward to more collaborations with Our Big Kitchen and the other inspiring organisations we work with next year in 2019!

Special thanks to Naomi Shaw, our official photographer for the beautiful images.