Charity kitchen FareShare will fire up the ovens of a kitchen the size of a basketball court to cook surplus food into free, nutritious meals for Queenslanders in need.

The initiative to fight hunger and food waste is a collaboration between leading food charity FareShare, which cooks rescued food at scale, and Foodbank, Australia’s largest food relief organisation.

“FareShare aims to cook more than one million free, nutritious meals in our first year of operation in Morningside and to scale up to five million meals a year,” said FareShare’s Queensland director Kellie Watson.

“Our custom-built kitchen will be powered by volunteers with more than 400 Brisbanites already registered to lend a hand.”

The $5 million kitchen is equipped with high volume cooking appliances including 300 litre electric saucepans and will initially harness 500 tonnes of surplus meat and vegetables from Foodbank. Chefs will supervise volunteers to cook a daily mystery box of ingredients into tasty, ready-to-eat meals such as casseroles, curries and stir fries.

All FareShare meals are designed to be easily reheated with no need for full cooking facilities, making them ideal for highly vulnerable people struggling to put food on the table.

The collaboration aims to tackle food insecurity and Australia’s $20 billion food waste problem head on. FareShare will focus on capturing high-value food and safely cooking it into nutritious meals.

Foodbank will access surplus meat and vegetables to supply the kitchen and distribute the cooked meals to Queenslanders in need through its existing network of 280 registered charities.

Foodbank Queensland CEO Michael Rose said, “Last year alone, Foodbank received over five million kg of fresh fruit and vegetables, most of it direct from our generous Queensland farmers. The top five farm donors from Bundaberg donated a staggering 1.5 million kgs and stand ready to donate even more once the kitchen comes on line.

“The FareShare kitchen will provide an opportunity for Foodbank to rescue even more food, especially perishables and to reduce waste for donors, by converting surplus food into ready-made meals, rather than sending it to landfill.”

The state of the art kitchen was funded by generous philanthropic support and built at cost by Wiley.

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