VicHealth and The Community Grocer have joined forces to give people facing disadvantage greater access to high-quality, affordable fruit and vegetables in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Community Grocer runs fruit and vegetable markets in public housing estates and community centres across Melbourne. The non-profit social enterprise tackles the major barriers stopping people from accessing fresh food, such as cost and location, and sells produce that’s around 60 per cent cheaper than supermarkets.
VicHealth is supporting the expansion of The Community Grocer to address increased demand and ensure more locals can benefit from the initiative through a $150,000 Partnership Grant. This partnership will ensure more communities, particularly those experiencing disadvantage, can put fresh, local fruit and veggies on the table now, and for months and years to come. The markets also give people connection and purpose while following physical distancing measures, which is so important while many in our community are feeling isolated, anxious and lonely as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The Community Grocer will use the $150,000 VicHealth grant to reach new communities, including through new markets and innovative delivery schemes and increase capacity at its existing markets.
In August 2020, VicHealth provided the Community Grocer a further $30,000 to relaunch its Pakenham market, which was suspended during the initial coronavirus pandemic period. In-kind support will be provided by Cardinia Shire Council, as part of the Cardinia Food Circles project.