Carlton Kitchen Library shelves landscape site

Food Volunteering Melbourne

If you would like to connect, donate or lend a hand to a Melbourne based start-up, non-governmental organisation (NGO), social enterprise, community or organisation or charity in Melbourne here are some great places to start.

By Jen Curcio


We are very privileged to be living lives where our worries include what new restaurant we’ll try next. For some people less fortunate than us, we all know this is just not on the radar.

Volunteering in our home town or while travelling abroad can give us perspective on the real challenges facing cities, even in the first world. For example, in Australia, it is well known that homelessness is a major social issue. According to our peak body for homelessness, Homelessness Australia, 105,237 people are homeless across the country. The latest ABS Census Report on homelessness conducted every five years is yet to be released, but it is expected to show a significant increase in homelessness nation wide.

There are many ways to connect with and give back to local communities in Melbourne, and food volunteering is one of them. If you would like to connect, donate or lend a hand to a Melbourne based start-up, non-governmental organisation (NGO), social enterprise, community or organisation or charity in Melbourne here are some great places to start.

Are there any volunteering opportunities that you would like to see added here? I would love to hear from you. Please email me at


Note: These are just some of the initiatives that feature in our Melbourne for Conscious Foodies guide. If you would like to find out about eateries across Melbourne that support local producers, sustainability and are committed to contributing to social good, please order a copy today. 25% of the profits from each guide sold will be donated back to a local cause. Physical guides can be purchased here for $9.95 plus postage. For the full list of online retailers selling our eGuide, click here.


Melbourne for Conscious Foodies



Launched in November 2019, the Carlton Kitchen Library is a zero waste library for cooks. Though humble in size it’s an amazing resource for locals short on space, cash or just looking to be more sustainable in the kitchen and borrow instead of buy. They stock over 300 different types of kitchen appliances and tools ranging from an injera maker, cookbooks, to an ice cream machine, ravioli mould and so much more. The library are looking for volunteers to lend a hand. If you love cookware, are great at keeping things organised and are interested in this unique concept, please contact,  Julia:



This hot kitchen is run by the non-governmental organisation, The Big Umbrella. A Real Meal serves hot food to marginalised communities in Melbourne every Wednesday night at Flinders Street Station. It is Melbourne’s only on-street soup station. They differentiate themselves from other soup kitchen programs because they are 100% funded and 100% run by volunteers. To volunteer with A Real Meal, email To make a monetary donation, visit their website.



Food rescue Oz Harvest is the first perishable food rescue organisation in Australia. They are fueled by volunteers to help deliver their incredible programs. Volunteer tasks can include helping in the office, manning community stalls, driving vans, picking up and delivering food, and much more. To find out how you can get involved, visit the Oz Harvest website.



Cultivating Community is a small Melbourne based NGO working in the areas of urban agriculture and community food initiatives. They look after community gardens on public housing estates, facilitate a school food garden program, run a community food centre, deliver community composting and food waste reduction strategies and run workshops.

There are plenty of ways to volunteer with Cultivating Community. Some tasks include helping out with their after school cooking program, school gardens program, research projects, administration tasks and more. To start the conversation about how you can contribute, email:



Lend a hand to CBD based café and social enterprise, Kinfolk and join their extensive volunteer community, which as of 2015 was over 250 people! Tasks include service, assisting in preparation. and more. Join their volunteer community today by emailing:



Feast of Merit is run by YGAP who are proud to have engaged over 750 volunteers so far and would be thrilled to gain more. Anyone can get involved and join their team by sending them a message through their website volunteer sign up page:



By simply dining at Streat you are supporting their cause but there are many ways to help, including volunteering, donations, and partnering with them. For more details visit their website, email them at:, or phone them directly at their head office for a chat on 9629 4222.

To volunteer at a Lentil as Anything (LAS) restaurant, all you need to do is attend one of their inductions or email them at: Inductions are at the following times:

Abbotsford – Tuesdays and Saturdays at 4PM St Kilda – attend an induction at Abbotsford Footscray – Monday 10AM and Wednesday 6PM Thornbury – Wednesday 4:30PM

Preston location – attend an induction at Thornbury.


 (Image by Ltd Design)