The YamDaisy Project
Mealtimes are make or break for people who are struggling. It isn’t just the cooking, but the planning, shopping, preparation and cleaning up that makes it hard. Chronic illness, disability, frailty, crisis, relentless caring duties: these all mean that good meals are even more important, but also harder to manage.
For some people this is a problem now and then, for others it is every single day.
The YamDaisy Project is all about making it easy for people to eat well. We are making sure the meals are healthy, delicious and affordable, and that we give the chefs a good business, with a fair workload and a fair income.
We want to run community cafes because we know that social isolation goes hand in hand with chronic illness, disability and poverty. Being a regular at a cafe means you feel part of the community, even if you don’t want to chat to people. It also allows the cafe to respond to particular needs.
We are a not-for-profit social enterprise.
I facilitated ‘Link Up’, a phone support group for people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It was run as a conference call, with each person on the phone in their own home. Many of these people were housebound by their illness. Some had never spoken to someone else with CFS, who could understand what they were going through.
I remember at one time, when we were talking about how isolated you get because friends drop away and family have other priorities, one young woman said that she never saw anyone. If she got really lonely she would walk to the nearest shopping plaza and just sit and look at people.
When I asked her how she managed food for herself, she said her food was frozen packaged meals that she could heat up in the microwave.
I felt so strongly that no one should have to live like this.
Everyone I have talked to about chronic illness has influenced this project, but if that young woman happens to read this, I would like her to know she is my inspiration to make a big change in the way we eat.
- Good food is an important part of a good life.
- The most vulnerable people need the best food.
- Good food provision is an important part of our economy.
About Joy Stevenson
Being out of the workforce, and with the burden of illness, I know how hard it is to cook good meals for myself daily. I know this is a huge burden on almost everyone with illness, disability or extra stress. Yam Daisy is the result.
To be clear I do not want any financial gain from YamDaisy, I just want to see its success.
A Little History…
2006 I came up with the idea of local kitchen cafes providing affordable home-style food to people with chronic illness and other reasons that make cooking for themselves difficult.
2007 I firmed up the idea with research on franchises, food industry, and balancing business and philanthropic issues.
2008 I got professional expertise from the Hospitality Industry to see if my idea had legs. What I got was cautious support and a lot of reality checks! But certainly there were enough legs(!) to keep me going.
2009 The year of grassroots feedback, publicity and networking! I put up my website, blog and facebook page, published a local newsletter and carried out the Great Comfort Food Survey!
2010 Fine tuning the concept, developing the booklet.
2011 Next step – planning the pilot cafe, contacting the local council and getting a clearer sense of the road ahead, should I decide to take it!
2012 Deciding I was ready to lead the project (yes, it took all year!)
2013 New website, building grassroots support, and getting people on board to help with it all. The ‘I’ has become ‘we’. We have a working group, a newsletter and great consultants on board.
2014 Began working with Reservoir Neighbourhood House and held the Pop-Up Cafe there.
2015 TASTY Pop-Ups at Darebin Community Health and Reservoir Neighbourhood House, and successful Catering Trial.
2016 A YamDaisy Pop-Up Soup Bar at Reservoir Neighbourhood House and planning the YamDaisy Cafe in the Foyer space at East Reservoir Community Health (unfortunately we were not able to go ahead and the project came to a close).