22 November 2022

City signals intention to lease land to Bendigo Foodshare for new food warehouse

The City of Greater Bendigo has formally signalled its intention to lease land currently occupied by the Bendigo Pony Club located on the corner of Breen Street and Belle Vue Road to Bendigo Foodshare to build a Food Warehouse to help address growing food insecurity in Greater  Bendigo and surrounding communities with the potential for a Community Food Hub at a later date.

Bendigo Foodshare rescued over 740,000kgs of food last year that would have once ended up in landfill and through its 240 volunteers and over 260 partner organisations distributes food to around 13,000 vulnerable people in Central Victoria each week.  In addition to individuals and families, food is also provided to schools, kindergartens/child care centres, neighbourhood houses and both large and small charities.

The food collected by Foodshare is primarily surplus food from a wide range of food businesses, such as supermarkets and food retailers, hospitality businesses, food manufacturers and agricultural businesses and growers.

City of Greater Bendigo Healthy Communities and Environments Director Stacy Williams said the City is proposing to enter into a nine-year lease with Bendigo Foodshare for the site and for the construction of a new Food Warehouse.

“Bendigo Foodshare’s Food Warehouse would be positioned nearest to the commercial precinct on Breen Street and will only utilise approximately 15 per cent of the site with the rest remaining public open space for community use,” Ms Williams said.

“Since mid-2020 the site has been home to the Bendigo Community Farmers Market which takes place on the third Saturday of each month and this arrangement would continue and complement the work of Bendigo Foodshare.

“The City is currently working with the Bendigo Pony Club and the Committee of Management of the Goornong Recreation Reserve to relocate the club to Goornong.”

CEO of Bendigo Foodshare Michelle Murphy said Bendigo Foodshare’s vision is to create a place where people can come together to consider issues of food insecurity, share ideas, access locally grown produce, and learn to cook, grow and share food.

“After almost 10 years serving the Central Victorian community we have outgrown our current location in Havilah Street, Long Gully and look forward to moving to purpose built, new facilities in Golden Square,” Ms Murphy said.

“Bendigo Foodshare has over 240 community volunteers who support all aspects of accessing and distributing food.  Our volunteers are currently working in cramped, less-than-ideal conditions. The new Food Warehouse will provide a much-improved environment for volunteers and staff.

“Many thanks to the Greater Bendigo community for their ongoing support and contributions, be that food, funds and partnerships.  Together we all make a difference to individuals and families who are doing it tough.”

Anyone wanting to make a submission about the City’s intention to lease the land must do so in writing addressed to Chief Executive Officer, City of Greater Bendigo, PO Box 733, Bendigo 3552 or hand delivered to the City’s Hopetoun Mill office by Monday December 5, 2022.

More information about the proposal can be found on the Bendigo Foodshare website www.bendigofoodshare.org.au/foodhub