Smart serves - part 1

At Play Our Wellbeing People of Adelaide

Good food tastes better when you know it’s been sourced, served, produced or prepared in a way that helps create a better world for everyone.

Below we shine the spotlight on two of four city businesses taking a sustainable or socially sensitive approach to food. You can discover more about two others, The Foodprint Experience and the V4V Produce Swap, by clicking here.

A city food first

The question of how to put a meal on the table faces many vulnerable people in our community, and no-one likes receiving handouts.

With the opening of the Baptist Care SA Community Food Hub (216 Wright St), the first of its kind in the CBD, there’s now a dignified way for people to access affordable groceries for themselves or their families.

The Community Food Hub was developed in direct response to a deep need within our community. By listening to clients, stakeholders and the wider community, it became clear that food insecurity was a growing issue in Adelaide.

The Foodbank 2018 Hunger Report highlighted that over four million Australians have experienced food insecurity in the past 12 months and 22% of these people are children.

Established by Baptist Care SA with Foodbank SA, the Community Food Hub is open Monday to Thursday (10 am – 3 pm). It sells low-priced food and other essential items to anyone with a concession card or Immi card, including pensioners, students and people experiencing homelessness.

Help through hospitality

Café Outside the Square is working wonders from its home at 34 Whitmore Square / Iparrityi.

Founded by philanthropists Mike Chalmers and Tim Seymour-Smith, this totally not-for-profit community eatery serves up simple, locally-focused fare with some significant ‘sides’.

All profits from meals purchased help fund the free dinners served after closing by the café’s landlord, St Vinnies, to around 50 people staying at their nearby Men’s Crisis Centre. One $15 cafe ‘square meal’ of the day pays for two nutritious dinners.

As well as doing lots of external catering, the café has several function spaces (one boardroom style and one larger space which can seat 50 – 100 people) and Mike hopes to see more corporates booking in both catering and events.

“Every coffee or meal we sell makes a difference but if we’re catering for 20, 50 or 100 people a day at a workshop, lunch or breakfast, the funds raised at that larger scale help us do more for more people."

The café also offers on-site hospitality training for vulnerable people and assists them to find work if they wish. The plan is to move to certified training as soon as possible.

“We’ve really just started out in the training area of the business so that’s where we hope to ramp things up,” said Mike. “At the moment we provide an opportunity for people who want a bit of a leg-up to learn some fundamental skills from our staff about all aspects of hospitality operations including customer service, barista training, food prep, cash handling and general kitchen duties. It’s particularly for people who've been disadvantaged in life or have had a tough journey for whatever reason.

“In the next 12 months we're hoping to really get busy and train and find work for as many people as we can manage and equip them with a certified qualification in hospitality. That said, not everyone who comes in is looking for job opportunities. For some people, spending time with our staff is a chance to re-engage, be part of a team, part of the community and feel valued and just busy, which can be really important if you’re someone experiencing homelessness.”
Mike Chalmers, co-founder, Cafe Outside the Square

In January 2019, Mike Chalmers and Tim Seymour-Smith were awarded City of Adelaide Citizen of the Year for their work together as co-founders of Café Outside the Square.

Discover two other city businesses taking a sustainable or socially responsible approach to food, The Foodprint Experience and the V4V Produce Swap.

Article by

Skye Murtagh

Skye Murtagh

Skye is Adelaide Living's main driving force. She is passionate about sharing stories from all walks of life. When she's not busy weaving beautiful words together, she's singing a line or two from her favourite song.