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, will host the international event, Feeding the 5000 in Sydney’s Martin Place on Monday 29 July. Some of the nation’s top chefs and hundreds of volunteers will join Australia’s leading food-rescue organisation in serving 5000 members of the public, a free 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 impact this has on the environment.
Kahn believes that attitudes to food waste is slowly becoming more prevalent, along with a grassroots swing towards purchasing sustainably produced food and seasonal produce but thinks there is a lot more we can all do.
“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 sellers 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.”
“I think there’s a groundswell of change happening already, but we need to continue teaching and educating people about the impact of our food habits, on the environment and our communities,” she added.
The menu on the day will include items such as surplus vegetable curry, saved potato soup with second-cut smoked ham hock, rescued bread and butter pudding, relish, chutney, yoghurt and lemonade from a number of celebrity chefs.
Should there be any ‘excess’ left on the plates of the public, the GaiaRecycle machine from EcoGuardian will be on-site to process any food scraps ensuring the event is waste-free.
Nick Nuttall, United Nations Environment Programme (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 UN on the global ThinkEat Save-Reduce Your Foodprint campaign. All of us are connected to foodand everyone one of us can make a difference in the lives of the needy and the health of our planet,” he said.