Editor’s Note – Asylum seekers in Australia are going hungry (more than 90% experience food insecurity), but this food truck is doing something about it with its fresh, local fruits and veggies.
During the past few decades, an estimated 80,000 refugees, mostly from Indonesia, have sought asylum in Australia. Fleeing war and civil unrest, with limited means and access to welfare or work, these asylum seekers are going hungry. More than 90% of those seeking protection experience food insecurity, 40% have gone to bed hungry in the past month, and 42% have lost weight since arriving in Australia because they didn’t have enough food to eat.
The Food Justice Truck in Victoria aims to change that. A mobile fresh food market, the truck offers locally sourced fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, tea, and bread to asylum seekers at a 75% discount. Anyone in the broader community can shop the Food Justice Truck at standard prices, with profits going back into supporting asylum seekers who often have just $10-$20 per week for food expenses.
An initiative of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, the truck is, according to the organization’s website, the “world’s first retail model that enables the general public to invest in quality fresh food for their family, while re-investing profits into affordable nutritious food for asylum seekers.”
Food Justice Truck organizers and volunteers are also committed to sustainability. The truck is a gas-electric hybrid, they use only local, low-mile produce, they use zero-packaging practices, and they work to reduce food waste by selling produce that has been deemed “too ugly” for supermarkets.
At the heart of the Food Justice Truck is a desire to help people who are seeking a better life. As project manager Russell Shields says in the following video, “It’s about people and it’s about providence. It’s not about profit.”