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By Derek Schlennstedt

A collaboration between EPIC Project, Foothills Community Care Community Casseroles program and local Belgrave Heights café Wild Wood Kitchen will see fresh produce brought from the paddock to the plate for those in need.
The trio of groups have teamed up to help provide fresh produce to all who need it in the Dandenong Ranges.
A mix of vegetables are plucked straight from EPIC’s garden, situated at the rear of the George Tindale Memorial Garden in Sherbrooke.
The produce is then brought to Chris Wilding, owner at Wild Woods Kitchen who then creates a delicious meal that is donated to the Community Casserole program.
Cheryle Foster, a Volunteer at EPIC Project said the collaboration was about providing a fair share of food for all, especially for those who need it.
“The ethics of permaculture on which we are based, is care of the earth, care of the people and a fair share for all,” Ms Foster said.
“This is our opportunity to both care for people but also fair share, so we’re sharing the goods that are coming out of the garden and because it’s a voluntary based garden, it’s not for any one individual … it’s a garden where the produce goes to the community particularly those in need.”
“These are opportunities where we can get that level of fresh food out to people in the community who might not necessarily have the opportunity of getting it anywhere else.”
EPIC is a voluntary organisation with all food being shared within the community to those in need.
The collaboration is in its infancy though EPIC has already delivered two loads of vegetables.
The first delivery was a large bundle of Zucchinis, which Chris said were perfect for a Persian zucchini soup.
“We had a big amount of zucchinis which we made a Persian zucchini soup with and we portioned that out to Community Casseroles,” Mr Wilding said.
“That works really well for them because they know its local product and we can keep it vegan and make sure it gets past all those major food intolerances.”
Community Casseroles run regular community cook ups in the Dandenong Ranges and cook and freeze meals to share with those in our community who have had sudden changes in their lives and could do with a little kindness in the form of a home cooked meal.
A home cooked meal is exactly what those individuals are getting, with a nutritious, organic, home cooked meal provided by EPIC and Mr Wilding.
Stephen Barrington CEO of the Foothills Community Care group who run the Community Casseroles program said that the need for fresh produce was always increasing.
“For us it is about providing nutritious meals for people … a lot of people particularly those who are isolated and disconnected don’t have access to fresh food and vegetables, so having this is great.”
 

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