OzHarvest partners with the United Nations Environment Programme to feed 5000 people in Martin Place ma, jul 29, 2013

The way humanity manages or mismanages its food supply will in many ways define the 21st century-currently we know that we are not doing a great job with at least one third of all food produced lost or wasted.

Photo credit: Giles Park

For the first time ever in Australia, OzHarvest as the official Australian partner of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on the global Think.Eat.Save - Reduce your Foodprint campaign, hosted the international event, Feeding the 5000 in Sydney's Martin Place.

Some of the nation's top chefs and hundreds of volunteers joined OzHarvest, Australia's leading food-rescue organization, in serving 5,000 members of the public, a free, delicious hot lunch made from rescued ingredients that would otherwise have ended up as landfill.

As a nation, Australians waste $7.8 billion dollars of food or four million tonnes per annum - that is, we throw away one in every five shopping bags that we buy. Feeding the 5000, will highlight how easy it is to reduce these unimaginable levels of food waste and how individuals, producers, supermarkets and governments can do a lot more to reduce food waste in our country.

Founder and CEO of OzHarvest, Ronni Kahn, said the aim behind the Feeding the 5000 events globally is to help raise awareness about the disturbing amount of food wasted around the world, where roughly one third of food produced for human consumption (approx. 1.3 billion tonnes) gets lost or wasted. The Australian event highlights the amount of food that we waste as a nation, and the direct impact this has on the environment.

"Food waste is a huge challenge that needs to be addressed locally and be embraced within our own homes first, so that we can affect incremental change globally. Our challenge is to create a sustainable food culture that can be shared by all. It's a paradox that we produce enough food to feed all seven billion of us, yet so many in this world go hungry," Kahn said.

"The aim of this event is to educate all people - producers, consumers and businesses alike. We should not buy into the fact that fruit and veg needs to be cosmetically beautiful before we'll buy it, because for every bendy or blemished carrot thrown out - we throw away embedded water, energy and fuel," she said. 

Nick Nuttall, UNEP spokesperson, said, "The way humanity manages or mismanages its food supply will in many ways define the 21st century-currently we know that we are not doing a great job with at least one third of all food produced lost or wasted. It is an ethical and economic challenge but also an environmental one: for example if food waste and loss was a country it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases."

"We are delighted that OzHarvest and people across Australia are partnering with the UN on the global Think.Eat.Save - Reduce Your Foodprint campaign. All of us are connected to food and every one of us can make a difference in the lives of those in need and the health of our planet," he added.

The menu included items such as surplus vegetable curry and rice, chapatti, saved potato soup with smoked ham hock, rescued bread and butter pudding, relish, gazpacho, yoghurt and lemonade from a number of top chefs.

For those who left 'excess' food on their plates, 'clean stations' and the Closed Loop organic waste recycling machine were on-site to educate people on how to manage waste at home.

This event was supported by the NSW Environment Protection Authority's Love Food Hate Waste campaign which was represented at the event to provide tips to consumers on how to reduce food waste.

Smaller state events were held simultaneously in Adelaide at the University of Adelaide and in Brisbane at ADRA Logan in Woodridge, a charity to which OzHarvest Brisbane provides food.

For more information on OzHarvest please visit www.ozharvest.org, follow us on Twitter @OzHarvest or Facebook or call 1800 108 006.

For more media information, images or interviews with Ronni Kahn, CEO of OzHarvest, please contact:

Louise Tran at OzHarvest on louise.tran@ozharvest.org

02 9516 3877

0466 620 744

Sylvia Fonseca at Liquid Ideas on sylviafonseca@liquidideas.com.au

02 9667 4211

0422 703 607 

Menu Items: 

Surplus vegetable curry served with rescued rice - vegetables provided by local growers from the Sydney Markets, rescued sauce provided by MARS Food

Saved potato and ham hock soup by Martin Boetz of Cooks Co-Op and James Viles of Biota 

Rescued bread and butter pudding served with vanilla Chantilly cream by DessertMakers, Pepe Saya, Brasserie Bread and Heilala Vanilla

Carrot Halwa by OzHarvest Chef for a Cause Brett Young

Other items include: Onion Relish by Three Blue Ducks

Salvaged watermelon, tomato and capsicum gazpacho by Hungry Mondays

Spiced lemonade by Salvatore Mammoti from 42Bannerman

Yoghurt by Kristen Allan at the Full Circle

Chapatti by Sydney Sikh community

Honey by Urban Beehive and Bees in the City

Key Food Waste Facts:

Australians throw out $7.8 billion of food every year. As a nation we waste four million tonnes per annum of food which ends up in landfill.

Australians throw out one out of every five shopping bags, which equates to every Australian household throwing out $1036 worth of groceries each year

Australia produces enough food to feed approx. 60 million people, yet two million people still rely on food relief every year5

Food relief agencies are not able to meet demand. Nearly 90% of agencies reported not having enough food to meet total demand. 6 in 10 agencies require at least 25% more food with almost 3 in 10 agencies requiring double the food.

Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year - approximately 1.3 billion tonnes - gets lost or wasted.

Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tonnes) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tonnes).  

Food loss and waste also amount to a major squandering of resources, including water, land, energy, labour and capital and needlessly produce greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to global warming and climate change.

 
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