Grow Cook Share

Grow Cook Share aims to improve the quantity, quality and variety of fresh produce available to people accessing food relief and to help them develop the confidence and skills to prepare healthy meals at home.

The project has three main initiatives:

  1. Establish cooking clubs to teach people how to cook simple healthy meals using fresh produce.
  2. Encourage community members to grow and donate fresh fruit and vegetables to Bendigo Foodshare.
  3. Redevelop the Salvation Army Gravel Hill Garden to increase its capacity to grow fresh produce for food relief.

At the completion of the project, there will be a practical how-to manual that will cover all elements of running a successful cooking club including a series of fresh seasonal recipes. 

By reducing food waste, creating supply channels for locally-grown produce and up-skilling our community, Grow Cook Share will contribute to the creation of a strong, sustainable and healthy food system within our region.

Click here to read the Grow Cook Share project summary.

Grow Cook Share is supported by Bendigo Regional Food Alliance, The Salvation Army, Bendigo Foodshare, Bendigo Kangan TAFE, City of Greater Bendigo and Coliban Water. Victorian Government’s Pick my Project and the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance.

Grow a Row or Pick a Branch

grow cook share gardeners
grow cook share garden

Grow and donate your homegrown produce to Bendigo Foodshare so that everyone in the Central Victorian community can have access to healthy food.

What is Grow a Row or Pick a Branch?

Grow a Row or Pick a Branch is a grassroots community project that encourages local people from across Central Victoria to plant extra crops in their gardens or harvest their excess fruit and vegetables with the intention of donating it to Bendigo Foodshare to redistribute as food.

As we all know, it’s important to eat a wide range of foods with sufficient high-quality proteins, carbohydrates, heart-healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and water to maintain a healthy body and lifestyle.

The diminishing ability of low-income families to pay for healthy food is consigning the least well-off in our community to a greater risk of diet-related illness, such as obesity and diabetes, as well as widening health inequalities.

By actively increasing our supplies of fresh fruit and vegetables, we hope to boost the amount of healthy food available relief for people who’ve fallen on tough times.

How do I take part?

Taking part in Grow a Row or Pick a Branch is easy.

  1. Simply, plant and grow an extra row of your favourite veggies, fruit or herbs in your school, backyard or community garden this season.
  2. When your crop is ready, donate part of the harvest to Bendigo Foodshare.

If you do not have room for an extra row, you can still participate by donating any fruit or vegetables you’ve grown but can’t use yourself.

Grow a Row or Pick a Branch is meant to be fun, so why not encourage or coordinate your local street, friends, family, school, workplace or community to Grow a Row or Pick a Branch too.

What can I grow and donate?

Grow what you enjoy growing and eating. We welcome a variety of fresh homegrown fruit and vegetables. No donation is too small or too big, we are grateful for a small bag or a truckload.

Where do I donate?

Donations can be dropped off at the Bendigo Foodshare warehouse located at 2/43 Havilah road, Long Gully VIC 3550. Telephone Bendigo Foodshare on (03) 5444 3409 to organise a time to drop your fresh produce off.



Bridget Bentley

Food Recovery and Partnership Officer

Bendigo Foodshare

Cooking Clubs

Grow Cook Share will establish, and support six cooking clubs located in Central Victoria in partnership with community-based organisations and volunteer cooks.

The four-week cooking courses will use fresh fruits and vegetables grown in the Salvation Army Gravel Hill Garden or donated by Bendigo Foodshare with the aim of teaching people how to make tasty, healthy food on a tight budget.

With themes such as ‘cooking with leftovers’ and ‘using seasonal produce’, the popular classes will be packed full of affordable recipe ideas and give participants the confidence to cook at home rather than rely on pre-packaged meals and takeaway.


Ingrid Phyland

Cook Manager, The Salvation Army