Helping to put food on the table in Shepparton

Hsar Ju and Adam Xerri from Parks Victoria with some harvested silvertbeet. (Supplied/Parks Victoria)

A community food program run in partnership by Parks Victoria, refugee settlement agency AMES Australia and the Tarneit Sikh Temple is helping feed families during Shepparton’s lockdown.

The program has seen the internationally-famous flower beds at Werribee Park Mansion turned into vegetable gardens to help feed disadvantaged families in Wyndham during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, the program is being extended to help Shepparton residents after COVID-19 hit the regional city.

Vegetables from the Werribee Mansion’s gardens were harvested last Thursday by volunteers from the local Karen community, in line with COVID-safe protocols.

The food was then used in meal packs put together by the Sikh Temple’s kitchen.

Volunteers from the temple have been given permits to travel to Shepparton to distribute the food.

Parks Victoria ranger James Brincat said the outreach work to Shepparton was the latest phase in the food program, which has supported hundreds of families since the pandemic hit Australia in March last year.

“The program has had some wonderful outcomes,” Mr Brincat said.

“We’ve harvested thousands of kilograms of veggies and the food has gone to support hundreds of families.”

Werribee Sikh Kitchen founder Jasvinder Sidhu said many of the people in lockdown across Shepparton were from diverse communities.

“Part of being a Sikh is to share,” Mr Sidhu said.

“So, we want to do something to make a difference in the lives of people in lockdown.

“Because of the lockdown in Shepparton there is a shortage of fresh food, this might make their situation a little easier.”