Grassroots community organisation Food Is Free is celebrating the third birthday of its Green Space and the finalisation of a significant growth project.
Rotary Young Ambition Ballarat funded the installation of a shed at the volunteer group's garden site and Ballarat East Rotary Club completed the installation of shelving, storage, power and lighting last month.
Visitors to the Green Space on the corner of Ripon Street South and Urquhart Street for a third birthday public tour on Thursday will be able to learn about and see Food Is Free's continual growth.
Food Is Free founder and director Lou Ridsdale said the shed provided a space for storage of garden tools and an opportunity to run small educational workshops inside during wet weather.
We want to get as many community groups here as possible and to get people growing.Lou Ridsdale, Food Is Free
She said the donation of the shed had helped realise her vision to activate the space, grow more food for the community and provide education opportunities.
"With that completed now and the grow house about to be set up and completed, it is really the final step to complete the site," Ms Ridsdale said.
"We want to get as many community groups here as possible and to get people growing.
"We want to start up our workshops again now that it is a more COVID safe environment and will start school tours again."
Food is Free aims to improve access to fresh food for people in Ballarat, educate about the benefits of growing food for nutrition and food security and inspire people to grow their own food at home.
Volunteers run the Food is Free Laneway across the road from the Green Space, where visitors can give and take food, seeds, seedlings and pots.
Rotary Young Ambition president Jane Jens said the club was excited to be a part of the community initiative.
Ballarat East Rotary Club member Margaret Robinson said Rotarians came together for a working bee to install the shelving, storage and tools in the shed.
Fellow member Robert Short said the club recognised the need and saw and opportunity to help.
Ms Ridsdale said it was important community groups supported each other.
"It is such a kindness they show by giving these big items to us. We certainly couldn't do this through our own means," she said.
Food Is Free has been driven by community since it launched more than seven years ago, with about 70 volunteers now running the two sites and community votes leading to a Pick My Project funding win to expand the Green Space.
The projects grew from Ms Ridsdale's initial idea to share food in the laneway beside her house.
To learn more about Food Is Free and explore the Green Space, join a special third birthday tour: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/food-is-free-laneway-green-space-birthday-tour-tickets-146865634065
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