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  • Writer's pictureKerri Wellington

Updated: Mar 29, 2023


What is The Next Level Project

The Food Collective Project has already done so much good into the community. Last year the project was awarded a large grant of $140K from Sustainability Victoria to begin a new project called The Next Level project, to support the needs of all the organisations involved in The Food Collective Project, for the period covering 2023 in full and a bit beyond. This project is supported by the Circular Economy Communities Fund delivered by Sustainability Victoria under the Victorian Government’s circular economy plan, Recycling Victoria: a new economy.

The project is well under way, and we are compiling our first report.


The Food Collective Project will create opportunities for residents to participate in a circular economy initiative focused on food rescue, reducing food waste, and diverting organic material from landfill. The project will also address food insecurity, building on the existing Food Collective Project model.


The objective of the Circular Economy Communities Fund is to assist Victorian communities to transition to a circular economy by providing grant funding to solicit creative solution for issues and gaps in the current waste management system.

Project Benefits

It is estimated that this project will result in approximately 1,500kgs of food being rescued and redistributed weekly and the diversion of approximately 78 tonnes of food from landfill annually. This project will strengthen the regional food relief sector, provide food relief to thousands of community members, and create volunteer and employment opportunities.

This project commenced in Dec 2022. Our initial data is:

Existing Agencies Receiving Food consist of Greenhills Neighbourhood House, Ajani, Community Pantry Network, Doncare, Warrandyte Neighbourhood House, Wonga Park Community Cottage, CareNet and DVCS.

New Agencies Receiving Food are Bansic, Rotary Warrandyte Op Shop, United Minds and Greenhills Neighbourhood House have increased their food intake.

There are 3 emerging agencies to join the network shortly. Keep posted!

There is also a new freezer, and other operational expenses for transport and logistics that have been paid, thanks to this grant. The new freezer enables greater storage of highly sought after meats, pastries, and premade meals to be stowed, increasing the range of food being sourced and distributed.


Where have we come from?

Funded by CarenNet Ltd. and DVCS, The Food Collective is a local service of delivery and donation partners, community organisations and individuals working together to address food security challenges for vulnerable and disadvantaged community members, it commenced in April 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and now has more than 20 partners and supporters involved. Everyone’s input combines to a large impact on our local community. Food relief has been a key component of the Emergency Relief DVCS provides since we were established in 1972. We also have many new initiatives we hope to implement, which will expand our impact even further. CareNet began in 2018 as a small food relief pantry and has since expanded exponentially to become the food rescue and distribution logistical centre for The Food Collective.

The Community Pantries initiative started in October 2021, these cupboards, full of non-perishable food are in an accessible space for community members who are experiencing food insecurity to help themselves too. Ideally, they are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, require no appointments and are open to whoever needs food.

The Community Pantry Network has a “Give what you can, take what you need” philosophy with people able to donate to the pantry as well. Pantries consist largely of healthy nutritious non-perishable food, toiletries, and information to bring relief closer to where people need to access it.

Each Community Pantry is managed by local community groups and is supported by Diamond Valley Community Support and CareNet and the Food Collective Project. CareNet also established a network of mobile and stationary pantries in partnership with community groups across Maningham.

In March 2022, The Food Collective Project became the first group to receive a delivery from Foodbank in the Northern Suburbs.

In November 2022,

Grants have been received from Nillumbik Shire Council and DFFH to setup and expand the pantry network and food relief through the collective.

Chef2Home outcomes

We were awarded a grant to work with local meal providers and local emergency relief agencies to support clients with food relief who are facing crisis. This project has just been completed and below are the results.

In February 2023, CareNet Received a grand from Community Bank - Doncaster East and Templestowe Village, to be used towards a Freezer van. Eltham Rural Group have also provided $1000 towards petrol. The van is used to rescue food from local businesses and deliver to CareNet and other community partners. Currently, CareNet is delivering to Greenhills, Ajani and Doncare.


What is coming next?

There are many more exciting things to come from The Food Collective Project, and we cannot wait to share them with you as we progress further, thanks to Sustainability Victoria and this grant.

  • Community Engagement through a Social Media campaign, on project awareness and supporting the project.

  • Regular Newsletters.

  • Create and distribute a “Food Insecurity” Cookbook

  • Working with new partners


Would you like to learn more? Get in touch:

Diamond Valley Community Support Inc. Shop 378a Level 3, Greensborough Plaza, Greensborough, Vic. 3088 (03) 9435 8282

CareNet Ltd. 143 Parker St, Templestowe VIC 3106

(03) 9846 7244

The Food Collective NEXT LEVEL project, is supported by the Circular Economy Communities Fund delivered by Sustainability Victoria under the Victorian Government’s circular economy plan, Recycling Victoria: a new economy.


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