The food was hot and the conversation abuzz at the Eden Community Lunch on Monday, September 3.
About 30 people from Eden and surrounds had gathered for the weekly lunch at the St George Uniting Church in Eden.
Each week around five volunteers create a huge cook up of produce harvested from the community garden as well as adding in ingredients donated by Oz Harvest, Woolworths and the Coles SecondBite program. According to volunteer cook Sarah Sturt there is always plenty to go around and not even the chooks miss out.
“Everything goes around in a circle. The veggies are grown here, if there are any scraps they go back to the chooks and the compost – there is no wastage at all, it all goes around.”
While 30 or so people came to share the meal this week, some days there can be up to 50 people in attendance.
The lunch is part of the Garden of Eden community project with the support of the St Georges Uniting church
The lunch has an open door policy people are encouraged to pop in for a meal and a chat.
Volunteer Vivienne De Lacy said the kitchen has been a wonderful meeting place for people who are socially isolated.
“An elderly newcomer to town was hesitant about coming. He wasn’t acquainted with anybody in town and so was little uncomfortable. During his first visit he met some people and he has been coming ever since.” Ms De Lacy said.
Eden local Robyn Thorpe said the atmosphere of the shared meal is more than just a meal.
“It’s a great place to sit down and eat with people as well as share a chat, it’s a chance to be social.”
This coming weekend at the Eden Community Markets, the Garden of Eden will launch its latest project “The Community Pantry”.
Gardening Australia’s Costa Georgiadis will make a special guest appearance promoting the launch of the pantry.
A community pantry is a not-for-profit shop selling a limited range of groceries and other staples at a significantly lower cost than big supermarkets. The food and items for the pantry are purchased through Foodbank, Australia’s largest hunger relief organisation, and sold on a cost-recovery only basis.
NSW Department of Family and Community Services and Bega Valley Shire Council provided capital for the build. The Uniting Church in Australia is providing the venue and insurance.
It is anticipated that the pantry’s build will be completed over the coming months and hopefully operations will commence in time for Christmas.