Feeding people in need through the Boroume Farmers’ Market Program

July 15, 2020

The Hellenic Initiative Australia will be funding the successful Boroume Farmers’ Market Program for a fourth year, enabling the dynamic food saving program to continue helping people in need.

The Farmers Market Program supports more than 32 charities in Athens and Thessaloniki, providing fresh food for church and municipal soup kitchens, refugee shelters, hospices for people with disabilities and other welfare organisations.

At the Athens soup kitchen run by the Parish of St Sophia in Neo Psychiko, an average 150 people per day receive meals produced from the food collected from the local farmers’ market, as well as fresh produce for families to cook at home. (Read the story about Boroume’s collaboration with the St Sophia soup kitchen here)

With the support of THI Australia over the past three years, Boroume has collected and donated more than 379,000 kg of fresh produce from weekly neighbourhood farmers markets in Athens and Thessaloniki – equating to more than 1.5 million food portions.

“The Hellenic Initiative Australia is proud to have partnered with Boroume for the past four years to support the expansion of the Farmers Market Program,” said THI Australia President, Nicholas Pappas AM, announcing the $71,000 grant renewal for 2020-21.

“Despite the COVID-19 disruption of the past few months, the farmers markets have continued to generously donate food to help people in need,” Mr Pappas said.

“We remain deeply concerned about the impact of this pandemic on the most vulnerable in Greek society and are pleased to be assisting charities to support people with their basic nutritional needs through the Farmers Market Program.”

Boroume operates at 21 markets in Athens and six in Thessaloniki, with more markets expected to come on board over the next 12 months.

“We should not underestimate the broader social, environmental and economic impact of the Farmers’ Market Program and Boroume’s many other food saving initiatives,”  Mr Pappas said.

“As well as providing tonnes of fresh food to the needy every year, the Farmers’ Market Program connects and inspires communities to support each other. The farmers help local charities and welfare organisations to support the most vulnerable in Greek society, the program attracts local and international volunteers and everyone plays a role in reducing food waste.”

With the grant announced today, THI Australia has committed a total of AU$249,000 to support the operation of the Farmers’ Market Program since 2017.

Boroume founding member, Alexander Theodoridis, welcomed the continued support from THI Australia for the Farmers’ Market Program.

With the economic impact of COVID-19 taking its toll on families, Mr Theodoridis said charities were expecting to continue facing challenges over the coming months, as many were supporting the most vulnerable.

“There has already been an upward trend in the number of people approaching welfare organisations for help but we expect this to increase significantly from September, given the expected fallout from the substantial decrease in tourism this summer,” Mr Theodoridis said.

‘The situation hasn’t improved just because we have ended the general lockdown. We are trying to find ways in the current operating environment to be able to continue to support them because the need is great.”

Boroume has saved and donated more than 36 million portions of food through a range of innovative food saving programs since it was founded in 2012.