A beginning and an end
In 2009 after his government cracked down on the pro-Democracy protests he’d attended, Mo Nabaie, a young apprentice electrician, slipped out of Iran.
Arriving in Australia by boat Mo spent three years in detention before being granted a refugee visa.
Without family, networks or English, Mo spent another three years living on Red Cross vouchers and food parcels while he looked for work.
A friend tipped him off about Fair Food and he started work on the packing crew.
Growing up around his family’s heater factory Mo understood production lines.
He was a natural organiser and it wasn’t long before Mo was running produce packing at Fair Food.
It was in 2020 during the long winter lockdown that the Fair Food community got to know Mo.
On his way home from work his bike wheel got jammed in a tram track. Landing face first on Plenty Road Mo lost three of his front teeth.
Despite being in pain, Mo worked through our busiest, scariest period ever. Unable to eat or talk properly he still played the joker keeping everyone’s spirits up.
To fix Mo’s teeth would require two operations and three new implants. It would cost $14,000.
Wanting to help pay for some of his dental work the Fair Food crew launched a Help Mo Smile Again crowd-funder. On a Sunday evening we went to bed full of hope.
Next morning, within twelve hours of the appeal going live, 252 people had donated $15,010 and Mo got his smile back.
Since then Mo has become the default face of Fair Food, he even has the crowd favourite Mo’s Fruit & Veg Box named after him.
On Saturday Mo messaged the Fair Food crew with good news – after fifteen years on a temporary visa with the threat of deportation hanging over him, he had just been granted permanent residency in Australia.
In 1998 Gerard Farmer joined CERES Brunswick East as a leader of the Work for the Dole (soul) crew.
For two years he and his team dug the good earth, hauled rocks, built garden beds, stone terraces and huge rock lined ponds in what would become CERES Organic Farm.
Once the farm was up and running it needed somewhere to sell the organic produce it grew.
Pulling a team together from his Work for the Soul crew Gerard opened CERES Market.
To the beat of the week’s guest band CERES Market sold local organic produce, sourdough bread and eggs from the CERES chooks.
It was kooky and beautiful and became a local institution that paved the way for the Grocery, Joe’s Market Garden and Fair Food to follow.
Farmer G, Papa G or just G was ridiculously brave, generous and stylish; he would speak to absolutely anyone, he’d go places he wasn’t supposed to and take you along with him.
We need tricksters like Gerard Farmer in lives; to see beyond our normal, to push us past our boundaries and to sprinkle gold dust as we go.
Vale Farmer G.