Celebrating women in food: Morgan Deans

As part of our International Women’s Day celebrations, we couldn’t help but include a feature on one of our very own female Foodbankers, Morgan Deans.

Morgan’s compassionate nature and passion for food couldn’t be more fitting to her role as Food Donor Coordinator at Foodbank Victoria.

“I always knew I wanted to work in international development and help people. So I actually did two degrees at LaTrobe University, Agricultural Science and International Development. Through that I interned at quite a few farms across Victoria, mainly working in fresh produce exports, which led me to my current role here at Foodbank Victoria.”

Morgan sums up her role as diverse, exciting and rewarding.

“It’s my job to manage all of the fresh produce donations that come through our warehouse. I work closely with farmers locally and interstate to source beautiful fresh produce for our charity partners and our Farms to Families Markets.”

With more than 2 million kilograms of fruit and vegetables leaving Foodbank’s Yarraville warehouse every year, Morgan says her job is much like playing Tetris, having to coordinate logistics, storage, supply and demand. And while challenging at times, she explains her role as the perfect career, combining her love for food and agriculture, and helping those in need.

“What I love most about my role is firstly, being able to give back to the community and secondly, seeing the amazing generosity and support of our donors. Without them we wouldn’t be able to distribute the food that we do, every day.”

Morgan suggests there are two main reasons why farmers and growers donate to Foodbank Victoria.

“Unfortunately a large quantity of fruit and vegetables produced by growers fall outside the standard spec, which means they don’t meet consumer expectations. This can be due to size, colour, shape and even temperature.”

“Many of the farmers and growers I work with are committed to reducing food waste and by donating produce to us, we’re able to make sure that Victorians who may be struggling to access healthy food receive the fresh fruit and vegetables they need,” she continued.

Morgan explains land, resources and climate change are the biggest challenges for the horticulture industry.

“I think we’re entering a really interesting time at the moment in agriculture with climate change and the severe weather conditions that go along with it. Access to land and water is becoming more limited. I’m not sure what the future of food looks like, but I do know that farming practices will have to change and adapt to those conditions.”

She adds that while there are obstacles, the industry is constantly evolving, and not just in practices.

“When I first started working in food, I didn’t see too many women working in the industry. But I am seeing that start to change. Each year I am meeting more women on farms and more women working right across the supply chain, which is really exciting.

Click here to read more inspiring stories from some of the farmers and growers whelping us provide vital food relief and support to Victorians in crisis.