working with the fantastic OzHarvest & community garden #inspo

Posted by on Aug 26, 2017 in Elsewhere | 12 Comments

Food rescue, waste prevention, nutrition, environmental sustainability and food security are some of my favourite words. Or should I say actions. I’m proud to say that one of my most recent job positions is with OzHarvest as a Nutrition and Education Coordinator for Brisbane. I have volunteered with them in the past and if I could choose one organisation that aligns perfectly with my professional and personal values, OzHarvest would be it. OzHarvest is the leading food rescue organisation in Australia, collecting quality excess food from commercial outlets (supermarkets, hotels, markets, farmers, wholesalers, cafes, restaurants etc…) and delivering it direct to more than 900 charities who support people in need. Since Ronni Kahn founded the organisation in 2004, OzHarvest has delivered over 60 million meals and saved more 20,000 tonnes of food from landfill.

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I just have to share an inspiring little story from the other day. While helping out on a food rescue, we delivered food to Encircle Redcliffe Neighbourhood Centre, a not for profit organisation for the northern suburbs of Brisbane. I was given a tour of their community garden that started over 6 months ago (which looked fantastic) and, get this, has all been grown from dying pots of herbs from Aldi and seeds to be thrown out from Bunnings! Talk about sustainability! Clients from a local mental health group also tend to the garden and children from a Kids Connect program have been growing radish from seed to understand what it’s all about. Community gardens are also about community development. As a Public Health Nutritionist…this is where my heart is!

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Here are a few global food loss and waste facts from the OzHarvest website:

Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year – approximately 1.3 billion tonnes – gets lost or wasted. [1]

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). [2] 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. [3]

While the planet is struggling to provide us with enough resources to sustain its 7 billion people (growing to 9 billion by 2050), FAO estimates that a third of global food production is either wasted or lost. Food waste is an enormous drain on natural resources and a contributor to negative environmental impacts.

If food is wasted, it means that all the resources and inputs used in the production of all the food are also lost. For example, it takes about 1,000 litres of water to produce 1 litre of milk and about 16,000 litres goes into a cow’s food to make a hamburger. The resulting greenhouse gas emissions from the cows themselves, and throughout the food supply chain, all end up in vain when we waste food.

[1] FAO, 2011, Global food losses and food waste – Extent, causes and prevention, Rome, [2] FAO, 2011, Global food losses and food waste – Extent, causes and prevention, Rome, [3] FAO, 2011, Global food losses and food waste – Extent, causes and prevention, Rome.
 

12 Comments

  1. Tandy | Lavender and Lime
    August 27, 2017

    What an excellent post. I wish we had the equivalent here. Food waste is my bugbear. Next to the concept of buying local it’s a project I would love to be involved in.

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      August 27, 2017

      I thought someone like yourself would be very interested Tandy. You are extremely mindful of preventing waste and eating local.

      Reply
  2. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    August 27, 2017

    They’re shocking facts about wastage indeed. Every city and country should have something like OzHarvest because wastage can be avoidable or at least channelled elsewhere.

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      August 27, 2017

      Absolutely Lorraine, it is a situation that can be rectified. It just shouldn’t be happening.

      Reply
  3. sherry MacKay
    August 28, 2017

    it is very shocking that so much food is wasted unnecessarily. such a shame we don’t have the old fashioned (!?) mentality of saving and repairing and using up what we can. Good on you Jem for bringing it to our attentions!

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      August 28, 2017

      Thanks Sherry. They really are shocking and shameful statistics. I’m so pleased to be working in an organisation that is really making change happen.

      Reply
  4. Sam Rutherford
    August 28, 2017

    That is just so great that you’re doing this Jem. Congrats on the new role!

    Reply
  5. Function 9
    August 29, 2017

    That garden looks great. Incredible that it was from throw-aways.

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      August 29, 2017

      I know-it was fantastic and so healthy looking. This is what I get excited about!

      Reply
  6. All That I'm Eating
    September 29, 2017

    The garden looks amazing, I can’t believe some of those statistics! We need more of these!

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      September 29, 2017

      Completely agree Caroline! It’s hard to believe. Often people are not even aware this is happening.

      Reply

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