Come down to the Food Justice Truck in Footscay, Thomastown, Dallas and Melbourne CBD

After two and a half years in action, the ASRC has decided to cease operation of the Food Justice Truck in its current capacity and to explore alternative models to meet food security challenges, focussing on reach and accessibility for those most in need.

In March 2015 the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) launched the Food Justice Truck with a vision to guarantee access to high quality and affordable food for people seeking asylum in Melbourne.

With an effective crowd funding campaign and incredible volunteer support, over the past two and a half years the truck has delivered over $254,000 of fresh food to people seeking asylum through the offer of a 75% discount on fresh food sold from the truck. Incredibly, it has also engaged over 10,000 members of the general public to understand more about the challenges faced by people seeking asylum around food security, barriers to safety and the process of applying for protection.

Over the past six months, the team have been critically analysing the impact of the truck on food security of people seeking asylum in the community, as well as its social impact and financial viability.  Following this, the truck’s project team has been working to implement changes to the operation of the truck that would help reduce costs while striving to increase impact. Strong progress has been made, however this work highlighted the current model is not sufficiently scalable to meet the geographic need for people seeking asylum across Melbourne to access affordable, fresh food.

The decision has been made to cease operation of the Food Justice Truck in its current capacity and to explore alternative models to meet these food security challenges, focussing on reach and accessibility for those most in need.

Work has begun on defining the most impactful evolution of the ASRC’s response to the provision of affordable, nutritious food for people seeking asylum. We look forward to sharing our plans for 2018 in the near future.

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Frequently Asked Questions FAQs

What is the food justice truck?

The Food Justice Truck (FJT) is an award-winning, mobile fresh food market that enhances food security for people seeking asylum in the Victorian community by offering locally sourced produce, grains, legumes, tea and bread at a 75 per cent discount to people seeking asylum. The Food Justice Truck also welcomes general public shoppers who pay local market rates.
It is the world’s first retail model that enables the general public to invest in locally sourced produce (with low carbon miles) and also support the ASRC to re-invest profits into the provision of fresh food for people seeking asylum at a price that they can afford.

The Truck is a social enterprise initiative by the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) and was launched this year to tackle the growing food insecurity felt by more than 10,000 people in Victoria who are on bridging visas.

Who can shop there?

The Food Justice Truck (FJT) is open to everyone. In fact, we encourage everyone to get to know each other, meet our volunteers and be part of the community.

What does the term ‘person seeking asylum’ mean?

A person who has left their home country due to persecution and is seeking protection from harm in Australia, but have not yet been issued a legal status refugee.

Why do only people seeking asylum get a discount?

Only people seeking protection from the Australian Government can access a 60 per cent discount because this initiative is part of the ASRC, who only services this community. However, we are dedicated to making ethical and nutritious food more accessible to the wider Victorian community.

How can I demonstrate that I’m a person who is seeking asylum?

People seeking asylum can demonstrate their status by showing the following types of ID; Immigration card, ASRC membership, temporary Medicare card, asylum seeker concession Myki.

I am seeking asylum but not a member of the ASRC – do I get a discount?

You do not need to be a member of the ASRC to access the 75 per cent discount at the FJT – the discount applies to all people who are seeking asylum.

Facts about food security for people seeking asylum

  • More than 90% of people who seek protection experience food insecurity, run out of food, and cannot afford to buy more
  • 40% have gone to bed hungry in the past month
  • 42% have lost weight since arriving in Australia because they did not have enough food to eat
  • The ability of people to achieve food security is limited by their restricted access to welfare and government or work related income
  • People who are eligible for financial assistance only receive 89% of the Newstart allowance, or $227 per week which typically leaves only $10 to $20 for food per week. The standard of living based on this allowance is below the Australian standard of poverty line.
  • Given that the current policy situation is likely to continue, providers such as the ASRC will find continuing demands on their services and increasing pressure to provide more than a `supplemental’ food supply

For more information around food security of people seeking asylum, you can download the research paper performed by Deakin University in partnership with ASRC, `Food Insecurity for Asylum Seekers in Melbourne’ (Mckay & Dunn, ANZJPH, 2015).

What is the social impact?

Last year, the truck served 6777 customers, up from 820 in 2014-15. Of these customers, 1961 were people seeking asylum, who were given discounts equating to almost $105,000 worth of free produce. Income at the Food Justice Truck increased almost nine times over, from $9100 to $82000 which has been reinvested into the ASRC to support 30 programs that empower and assist 3,000 people seeking asylum annually.

For a member of the general public, how much does it cost to shop at the FJT?

While we provide a 75 per cent discount to people seeking asylum, we haven’t forgotten that filling the fridge with nutritious food can be costly for anyone – so we are careful to ensure that our prices are competitive and you will be able to make us a regular component of your weekly shop. You will be able to ‘pay it forward’ without over-paying!

Does the FJT buy its produce, and from where?

We do purchase all of the produce we sell on the truck. We source most of our fruit and vegetables from sustainable food wholesalers, such as Aussie Farmers Wholesale, supporting local farmers and reducing crop wastage by selling ‘nature’s grade’ produce rejected by the big stores for not being pretty enough. We also have organic tea leaves from Storm in a Teacup in Collingwood, and artisan sourdough from Dench Bakers in Fitzroy.

Can I order online?

Not yet. But we are considering lots of exciting ways to shop at and be part of the FJT community and this is certainly on the list.

How do I pay?

All the usual ways! We are happy to take credit card, eftpos and cash.

Where does the money go? How does it work?

There will be almost no wages to bill. Like most programs at the ASRC, the FJT will be staffed by one paid coordinator and a significant number of volunteers. We have no rent and only a tiny petrol bill.

When you buy at the FJT your money goes to subsidising the 75 per cent discount we provide to people seeking asylum and helping us to open at more locations in order to reach more people who are in desperate need to secure food, and who are seeking protection from harm in Australia.
We believe in people – not profits.

Can you bring the truck to my event?

If you would like the Truck to come to your next event, public market or community gathering, please:

  1. Fill in the FJT – Event Request Application
  2. Email the completed form to

How was it funded?

The FJT was funded by a massive crowdfunding campaign. We’re indebted to the 900+ supporters who made it happen. On top of these generous financial donations, a number of individuals and businesses gave time or discounts, particularly:

  • Vincent Chiodo Foundation
  • Young Family Foundation
  • Hallam Truck Centre
  • Cobalt Niche
  • VMS – Vehicle Modification Specialists
  • Petrina Turner Design
  • Joost Bakker
  • Wally de Backer
  • Albie Colvin Graphic Design