Food is Free Laneway is a space for people to drop off or collect surplus nutritious food for free and connect with the neighbourhood.
The Food is Free Laneway allows people to drop off excess food for people to take for free
Based on an American idea, Food Is Free Inc. is a grassroots, community led not-for-profit group benefitting all citizens of Ballarat , Australia, with a focus on those experiencing disadvantage and has a core purpose of assisting and promoting food security and community cohesion and inclusion.
All Food Is Free projects are run by an amazing group of passionate and committed volunteers
Food Is Free Laneway, on the corner of Ripon St. & Warrior Place, in the Australian town of Ballarat, was started in 2014 by founder and Director Lou Ridsdale. Inspired by John VanDeusen Edwards (founder of Food Is Free in USA) as well as Ron Finley and other guerrilla gardeners. Food is Free Laneway is a magical space for people to drop off or collect surplus nutritious food (veggies, fruit, herbs etc) for free and connect with the neighbourhood.
People leave excess food, seedlings, plants and even food scraps for composting on permanent tables set up in a laneway alongside Lou’s home. Anyone can take food for free!
The Food is Free Project is a community-building and food-growing initiative that began in 2012 in the USA and has taken root in many communities all over the world since then.
No stigma — Help yourself
"There are some homeless people who come here at night to get some food," Ridsdale said. "We’ve installed some solar-powered lights so they can see what’s available.
"I like the fact that this can be all anonymous if someone wants it to be. It’s available to everyone. People can come here to pick up some fruit or veg if the family budget is falling a few dollars short, or they can come here to pick up some fresh produce just because they want to.
"There’s no stigma about coming here. No one’s judged in the laneway." — Lou Risdale
How to start a 'Food is Free' project in your neighbourhood: a PDF Guide
If this article has aroused your interest in creating a similar project in your neighbourhood, this PDF contains all the information you will need to get started.