Author: Ryan Collins
The theme for World Environment Day 2013 (5th June) is all about reducing food waste. World wide, 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year or a third of total food production. The theme - Think.Eat.Save - aims to make us more aware of the environmental impact of our food choices and make informed decisions.
In Australia, 74% of food wasted by businesses is thrown out before it is sold and more than 1 million tonnes of food waste is thrown away every year. Yet, two million Australians will rely on food relief and around half of them will be children. In addition, all the inputs like water, energy, and natural resources that are used to produce food are wasted as well.
World Environment Day is also a good day to pause and think about our farmers with reports of up to 30% of the north Queensland banana crop wasted before it even reaches consumers. If just one kilogram of beef is wasted, that is also 50,000 litres of water wasted.
OzHarvest is a charity that rescues excess food which would otherwise be discarded. This excess food is distributed to other charities supporting the vulnerable in Sydney, Newcastle, Adelaide and Brisbane. In 2012, they rescued 1,600 tonnes of good food that prevented the generation of 2,560 tonnes of carbon emissions. They also receive support from Woolworths and IGA. OzHarvest's new initiative ‘Feeding the 5000' includes a giant free hot lunch to be held at Sydney's Martin Place on July 29.
SecondBite is another charity that sources nutritious surplus fresh food and produce that would otherwise go to waste and facilitating it's distribution to people in need. They also have a research team that aims to better understand food insecurity in Australia. SecondBite have a partnership with Coles with over 400 stores now participating. So far the organisation has provided 14.3 million meals!
Former head chef Adam Smith is the founder of The Real Junk Food Project, a volunteer collective that intercepts food waste from markets, stores, restaurants and food charities. The project managed to intercept and cook 300 kilograms of food in just eight weeks of operation.