OzHarvest, Australia’s leading food rescue organisation, this week celebrates our 10th year of work tackling food waste and delivering meals to people in need across the country.
OzHarvest became the first organisation in Australia to rescue all types of perishable food that would otherwise have been wasted. After lobbying state governments to amend legislation allowing businesses to donate surplus food to charitable organisations, the Civil Liabilities Amendment Act was revised in 2005 in NSW, with ACT, SA and QLD following, changing the face of food waste in Australia.
Ever since, OzHarvest has been instrumental in highlighting and addressing the challenge of food waste and food security in our community, further cementing their leadership role by becoming an official partner of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in recent years.
Founder and CEO, Ronni Kahn was recognised as Australia’s Local Hero as part of the Australian of the Year Award in 2010 for her extraordinary leadership and work in this area.
Since November 2004, when Ronni Kahn delivered her first van full of surplus food from a catered event to a homeless refuge, more than 30 million meals have been delivered across Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Newcastle with Canberra and Perth operations launching this year. Regional communities also embraced the food rescue model via the REAP regional food rescue program, a national initiative by OzHarvest.
“We had a tiny office in Alexandria and we had no staff, only a handful of brilliant volunteers and a big dream, one that we could never imagine would see us arrive here at our 10th birthday,” said Kahn.
10 years later and OzHarvest has recently moved into a multipurpose-built warehouse donated by founding partner, the Goodman Group, where day-to-day food rescue operations begin. It houses a growing team of head office staff and volunteers, a commercial kitchen for training and skilling up disadvantaged youth, and a newly developed community garden.
“The new OzHarvest HQ is a place for training, nurturing, feeding, connecting and nourishing. Our new home embodies the spirit of sharing, caring, love, generosity and joy and will bring the community together and nurture friends of OzHarvest – new and old,” said Kahn.
One of the programs to benefit from the new Harvest Kitchen is the OzHarvest Nourish Program. Nourish educates, trains, mentors and empowers disadvantaged youth by providing them with a guided pathway to employment in the food and hospitality industry.
Nourish provides young people with an introduction into hospitality focusing on building their self-esteem, self-confidence, job readiness, practical employment-focused skills, as well as basic cooking skills and techniques through a certified training course.
Upskilling and education play a large part in OzHarvest’s day-to-day work. The Nutrition Education Sustenance Training program (NEST) aims to teach people across Australia the skills and knowledge required to make healthier eating and food preparation choices. NEST is being rolled out across Australia and well received by participants and recipient charities.
OzHarvest is celebrating the release of our second cookbook Urban Harvest, featuring 100 delicious recipes inspired by fresh, local produce that reduces food waste from 50 of the country’s most celebrated chefs. Urban Harvest takes inspiration from the urban gardens that are springing up in cities all over the world, from vertical walls on verandas to community and chef’s kitchen gardens; Urban Harvest celebrates urban gardens of all shapes and sizes.
The new must-have cookbook was lovingly created by award-winning creative group, Frost*collective, under the guidance of CEO and Executive Creative Director, Vince Frost, who pulled together a top team of writers, editors, stylists, food photographers and paper merchants, to volunteer their services to produce Urban Harvest free of cost including top food photographers Anson Smart, Dieu Tan, Luisa Brimble, Craig Wall and Sooti Tan.
On this joyous and momentous occasion, OzHarvest’s Founder and CEO expressed her gratitude to the hundreds of volunteers and thousands of supporters.
“To all those who have touched OzHarvest in some way, whether you donated $1, a van or food – you have made an enormous difference to someone’s life, and for that, we thank you.
“OzHarvest relies on the generosity of individuals and companies to allow us to do what we do. Every donation – food, financial or in-kind support allows us to provide meals to vulnerable Australians who may feel forgotten or alone,” Kahn said.
In celebration of 10 years, Australian band Air Land Sea has written and produced ‘If You’ve Got Love’ in support of OzHarvest’s efforts to rescue food, educate and nourish Australians in need. The Sydney Street Choir whose members are long time recipients of OzHarvest food services came on board to offer their soulful voices to the recording of the song. Also featured are a number of OzHarvest’s regular food recipients who have put their heart and soul into the making of the music video, with the hope that our supporters will also spread the love by sharing the link below:T
To donate or find ways to support OzHarvest in the next 10 years, visit our donate page or call us 1800 108 006. Every $1 donated allows OzHarvest to deliver the equivalent of two quality nutritious meals to people in need.
Check out our photos here thanks to Volunteer Photography, Michael Mannington: