Putting pork on the forks of people in need

By Country News

Victorian pig producers are getting together to lend a hand, donating more than 5000kg of pork to help people who are struggling to put food on the table.

The initiative will see a group of producers donate 250kg of pork each week until Christmas to food charity FareShare, helping to produce more than 2000 meals each week.

After similar schemes in South Australia and NSW, Gunbower producer and VFF Pig Group president Tim Kingma said the idea came together about six weeks ago, with Victorian producers quickly putting up their hands to help.

The pork will be sourced from a number of farmers and regions, including the Goulburn Valley and southern Riverina, with each producer donating whatever they can in the 20 weeks left before Christmas.

Mr Kingma said it was an incredible effort by producers and processors, who were also donating their time to make the initiative possible.

‘‘It’s a privilege that farmers like me can make a real difference to the lives of people who can’t afford nutritious food this winter.

‘‘Knowing that our quality product will be cooked into delicious meals to be given away free to those most in need is a great outcome.’’

With meat often the first sacrifice for families struggling to put food on the table, FareShare said it was thrilled to receive donations of high quality meat.

Head chef Chris Mitchison said the weekly pork donation would go into a number of meals including meat casseroles, Chinese barbecued pork stir-fry and pork, fennel and apple casserole.

‘‘The donated pork will improve the quality of our meals and boost the protein content for people who really need it,’’ Mr Mitchison said.

With the pig industry struggling with falling farm gate prices as a result of oversupply of pigs, Mr Kingma said being able to lend a hand was a silver lining in the current climate.

‘‘While the present oversupply of pork is negatively impacting Victorian pig farmers, many felt compelled to help those struggling to put food on the table by redirecting some of their excess pork to those who need it the most.

‘‘If Australians could put one more meal of pork in their trolley this week to help us out as we’re trying to help others out, that would be great.

‘‘The more pork Victorians get on their fork, the more it will boost demand and reduce the current oversupply of pigs.’’