Back in February Georgia and I were drinking wine on the verandah. We had both just arrived back in Melbourne, and were comparing travel stories and bank balances. She was starting to freelance as a designer and I was still looking for the right PhD; we were both staring down the barrel of fairly grim financial futures. Somewhere in-between the third and fourth glasses, and cabbages and kings, we got onto Soppa för Värme. Linking food waste streams with hungry mouths makes so much sense we naively agreed that we would replicate it in Melbourne.
Two broke sheilas with limited experience in food or community engagement. We called in some friends and started planning. Our vision needed surplus food, a welcoming venue, and local marginalised people. We started talking to council, local assisted housing residents, visiting possible sites, liaising with food organisations and ducking out for clandestine late night poster missions. And somehow we managed to create the organic, beautiful, accessible Open Table.
During the four months I was involved I had many beautiful experiences: from making firm friends with people I wouldn’t ordinarily feel comfortable chatting to, witnessing the love and energy that complete strangers poured into the project, and the way that the vision bought our motley band together. Every moment was uplifting.
The response was wonderful, you can read about our latest successes here (my favourite is being named as ‘one of the ‘hottest restaurants to eat in right now’ alongside Movida.) There is every reason to believe that Open Table will continue to share food and grow community spirit.
This is not a story about how much food goes to waste, or how important inclusive community is, or that many hands make light work. Even though these things are true. For me, this is a story about not waiting until you have a stable job, house, income; not waiting for the perfect moment. This is a story about diving in and doing something that you believe in. Carpe that Diem.