Grassroots community organisation Food is Free will celebrate its seventh birthday on Sunday.
Founder Lou Ridsdale said the group's growth from a small idea to share food in the laneway beside her house was testament to Ballarat's community spirit.
"If you had have said seven years ago that it would evolve to be two amazing sites, 50 volunteers and the community energy that ripples out from everything we do at Food is Free, I would have said you are joking," she said.
"It is a testament to Ballarat, to community spirit in Ballarat and our ability to step up to the plate when it comes to volunteerism."
The Food is Free Laneway on the corner of Ripon Street and Warrior Place began as a place for people to drop off or collect surplus vegetables, fruit and herbs for free and connect with the neighbourhood.
It is a testament to Ballarat, to community spirit in Ballarat and its ability to step up to the plate when it comes to volunteerism.Lou Ridsdale, Food is Free founder
The organisation expanded to the Green Space on the corner of Ripon Street and Urquhart Street in 2018 where volunteers grow fresh food and vegetables and have created an outdoor education space.
Food is Free committee member Kate Roberts first became involved around five years ago after hearing about the Food is Free movement.
"I think it is that lovely idea of sharing and giving with no intent for any repayment or thank you," she said.
"I think it is really important for children in our community to understand where food comes from. But also that it is really not hard to grow your own food."
Food is Free ran an extensive series of 50 self-sufficiency, gardening and cooking workshops last summer.
Ms Ridsdale said education, inspiration and community engagement was a big part of Food is Free's plan moving forward.
"We have the infrastructure and capabilities now of groups coming and doing workshops," she said.
"We want to make the outdoor classroom a hub for self-sufficiency."
Volunteer work has been suspended at Food is Free sites since April due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Ms Ridsdale said volunteers would soon be returning to work at the sites with a COVID safe plan in place.
Food is Free volunteer Annie Olston began working with the organisation around two years ago.
She said she had an interest in gardening and found it was something she could help the community with while learning more to apply in her own garden along the way.
Her role is to sprinkle rockdust over the garden beds and she sometimes brings her children along to do weeding.
"I love being a small part of creating a really friendly and happy space for the community," Ms Olston said.
Ms Ridsdale said one of the next major projects would be completing the infrastructure installment at the Green Space that was funded through a Pick My Project grant.
Workshops and school visits are expected to resume soon with restrictions on numbers and safety protocols in place.
"We can't wait to get back to what we are good at which is hopefully inspiring and educating people to look after their health and their family's health and grow food, because growing food means there is a future," Ms Ridsdale said.
"I think coronavirus times if anything has taught us to become a little bit more mindful about what is on our back doorstep and that includes growing a garden."