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OzHarvest – What a Cause…


It’s been a little quiet on the TSL front lately. Sorry about that – the change in seasons brought about a spot of the bot. And then, well – life just got in the way. But here I am…

OzHarvest Cookbook Image
(Image by TSL)

If you live in Australia, particularly Sydney, you kind of have to have been living under a rock if you don’t know about what the seriously fabulous peeps at OzHarvest achieve.

OzHarvest is a charity that rescues excess food which would otherwise be discarded. This excess food is then distributed to other charities supporting the vulnerable and under-privileged in Sydney, Newcastle, Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Ronni, OzHarvest Founder (Image from OzHarvest)
Ronni, OzHarvest Founder
(Image from OzHarvest)

Founded in Sydney by the very charismatic and inspirational Ronni Kahn in November 2004, OzHarvest began with one van and delivered 4,000 meals in their first month of operations. In Sydney, OzHarvest currently delivers over 320,000 meals per month with a fleet of 11 vehicles. And yes, you read that correctly – 320,000 meals.

Australia wide OzHarvest delivers 441,500 meals per month with a fleet of 15 vans. That’s about 147 tonnes of food each month.

To our friends at OzHarvest,

You help us out immensely with all of the food that you donate to us. We are able to provide our community with fresh fruit, vegetables and other things that help us make delicious meals for all to eat. The residents really appreciate all the stock that is donated by you and are very thankful. Keep up the great work.

(Sarah M, OzHarvest Recipient)

When you check out some of the statistics around food wastage, it really is pretty scary. Well, it was to me. See what you think…

* Australians waste up to 20% of the food we buy. That means for every 5 bags of groceries we purchase, we throw way 1 of them
* Australians throw away $7.8 billion worth of food every year. That’s about $1036 per household. I know I’m guilty of throwing away food.
* Of every 10 pieces of fruit or vegetables grown by suppliers, between 2 and 4 pieces are rejected by supermarkets, usually because they don’t meet the strict cosmetic guidelines of colour, shape and size. Seriously? Let’s hear it for sexy-ugly heirloom tomatoes…
* More than 25% of all school lunches end up in the bin I wonder if the teenager has contributed to that statistic?

And, that’s just here in Australia. Worlwide, try these numbers on for size…

* The world’s richest countries have nearly twice as much food as their populations require
* Up to 50%of the entire food supply is wasted between the farm and the fork
* ALL the world’s hungry people (nearly 1 billion of them) could be saved from malnourishment by 25% of the food wasted by rich countries

OzHarvest Cookbook (image by TSL)
OzHarvest Cookbook
(image by TSL)

I suspect one of the reasons OzHarvest has established such a huge level of awareness, not to mention success, is the calibre of the ambassadors it has recruited from the local food industry down under. Many of them are represented in the recently launched OzHarvest Cookbook, which uncovers secrets from top chefs’ for using leftovers and is very much a who’s who of the Australian cooking scene. It includes leftover recipes from Maggie Beer, George Calombaris, Peter Gilmore, Bill Granger and Neil Perry.

I have posted about the gorgeous Maggie Beer and her plum cobbler recipe here, and I still think she’s wonderful. And, her recipes, too! But, the OzHarvest Cookbook recipe that I most want to try is Peter Gilmore’s garlic custards with smoked ham juices and peas…

OHarvest Cookbook
Garlic custards with smoked ham juice and peas by Peter Gilmore
(Image by TSL)

I do love a savoury custard. And, if it’s a Peter Gilmore recipe, you know it will be something special. I’m just not so sure I can translate it into a successful dairy-free version for LM.

If you’d like to learn more about the amazing work carried out by OzHarvest, or if you’d like to order a cookbook or donate, head to the website here.

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Comments (1)

That is absolutely amazing! I’m sure we have nothing quite so far-reaching here, though I have seen some small movements to deal with the waste. It wouldn’t surprise me if we are the worst transgressors when it comes to wasting food.

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