Carlton market to return after council gifts not-for-profit group $45K
A former Carlton market that helped people who experienced food insecurity will get a $45,000 funding boost from the City of Melbourne to relaunch its services.
The Community Grocer, a not-for-profit social enterprise, had been operating a weekly market at the Carlton public housing estate on Lygon St since 2004.
But it had fallen on hard times over the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw the market closed temporarily twice and change location four times before eventually closing altogether on June 10, 2022.
The market struggled to provide fundraising activities as well as run complementary stalls and community activation events, prompting the organisation to make a submission to the council for more funding.
Until it closed, the market was providing fresh, healthy, and nutritious produce to people experiencing food insecurity.
With good news spirit, councillors agreed at their August 16 Future Melbourne Committee meeting that it would provide $45,000 (delivered in two portions) to the Community Grocer to re-establish its weekly market.
“We are delighted to support this hugely important community organisation to get back on its feet,” Cr Dr Olivia Ball, the council’s portfolio lead in health, wellbeing and belonging, said.
“We know from our surveys and research data here in the City of Melbourne that food insecurity has risen to alarming levels during the pandemic, alongside poverty,”
She said the council couldn’t afford the Community Grocer to “fall by the wayside” after “it was obliged to move its location multiple times, and of course during lockdown, had to close so nobody knew where it was or when it was open”.
Cr Ball said the market was in a “very important” location in the City of Melbourne, and a great opportunity for the market to “reopen and thrive again.”
In granting the funding, the Community Grocer’s submission had strongly aligned with the objectives of Melbourne’s food relief plan, Community Food Relief 2021-2025: Planning for a food secure city, according to a council report.
Cr Jamal Hakim said food relief had never been more important as council data showed one in three with people had experienced food insecurity.
“We know from hearing from our Carlton community that this is something that’s important for them, and consistency of funding and being able to support this is a really positive outcome,” he said.
Meanwhile, Elle Morrell, manager of Open Door at the Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre, has launched a monthly food relief market to fill the void of the Carlton Market.
“I was really concerned that after COVID there wasn’t a place for people to gather and get food,” she said.
Ms Morrell said while the market’s first opening in August was a success, she hoped to eventually operate weekly, but this depended on state government funding.
Open Door is a place that works with local migrants and refugees and their communities at the Carlton public housing estate.
The Open Door community market will be open the first Friday of every month from 9.30am-11.30am.
Caption: Elle Morrell, manager of Open Door at the Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre, has launched a monthly food relief market.