Free Food Supermarket Opens in Melbourne

Food wastage is a pressing issue in Australia that has yet to be addressed adequately.

However, a non-profit grocery located in Melbourne is doing its part to keep produce from getting sent straight to the landfill.

The Inconvenience Store, which can be found in Thornbury, is the most recent project from the team that was responsible for the not-for-profit restaurant Lentil As Anything.

Much like the eatery, the Inconvenience Store is filled with donated produce that would otherwise be discarded and wasted.

“The idea was to make a difference in the food waste crisis,” project coordinator Astrid Ryan was quoted as saying.

And just like the concept of the aforementioned food place, consumers can choose to pay as much or as little as they can afford.

“We wanted to provide people access to nutritious fruit and vegetables. When people are in financial crisis or difficult situations, it’s probably the thing they have least access to,” added Ryan.

Customers can fill their bags with food, selecting from a wide range of fruits and vegetables, to bread and packaged items, and then just donate whatever amount in a wooden box that can be found on the way out.

Bakeries around the locale contribute the bread, while other produce comes from places like the Preston Market and even Aldi.

The food may be a little old but totally safe to consume.

“The food is free. We just ask if [customers] like what we’re doing, if they want this store to stay open, then to contribute what they can. We also need volunteers, so there’s always ways to help out,” Ryan stated.

Karli Verghese, a waste expert from RMIT University, claimed that food wastage in Australia was worth $20 billion a year.

“Of that $20 billion, it’s estimated up to $10 billion of that is happening in our households,” Verghese remarked. Statistics such as the aforementioned convince Ryan that there are a lot of opportunities for identical stores to open up shop.

“The more people who do food waste and food rescue projects the better,” Ryan said. “The more food is saved from going into landfill, the better it is for the environment and the more people that get fed.”