Ecological Justice Hub Chef Sharif ‘Johnny’ Hasan

Jesuit Social Services’ Ecological Justice Hub, based in Brunswick, is a permaculture garden dedicated to both social and environmental justice. The Hub is recognised locally by businesses, charities and churches as a thought and change leader in addressing disadvantage in the community through ecological means.

With the onset of COVID-19 restrictions, staff at the Hub promptly realised that many vulnerable members of the community would not risk venturing out due to health concerns and this would have an impact on their access to nutritious food.

Many distribution services of local agencies had been badly disrupted. Colleagues at Moreland City Council and the local support agencies suggested their people are “often in quite lonely situations, and a meal cooked with love will do a lot to cheer them up right now”.

The Ecological Justice Hub’s chef, Sharif “Johnny” Hasan, saw an opportunity for the team to get creative.

Jonny suggested that the Hub use its organic garden produce, its commercial kitchen and his professional cooking and catering skills to address the issue at hand. The team quickly mobilised and since Thursday 23 April, the Hub has prepared over 250 organic, nutritious, gluten-free, nut-free, vegan meals in bio-cardboard take-away boxes. Each Tuesday, volunteers drive 30 of these individual meals to people in need within and around Brunswick.

The initiative has given Hub staff and volunteers more time to greet people, talk with them (at an appropriate distance) and check that they’re okay. While restrictions continue, the Ecological Justice Hub hopes to continue to ease the burden and offer love and nutrition to those doing it hard.