Guess what? I spotted the OzHarvest Team at The University of Adelaide today! While on campus to do some paperwork, I came across the people of the team that I have been wanting to meet for a long time. If you are not aware of food wastage, you may want to ask who/what is OzHarvest? Right, but it’s okay. I wasn’t aware of them until 8 months ago when I saw Callum Hann was cooking for them. That’s the positive side becoming a celebrity chef, isn’t it? However, when I looked up in depth content of OZHarvest, I was surprised with the amount of efforts these people put into our community. OzHarvest is a charity organisation aiming to rescue excess food that would otherwise be discarded/wasted. This excess is then donated/distributed in the form of cooked meals to charities to help vulnerable in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and New Castle. Established in 2004 nationally and operated since January 2011 in Adelaide, the SA team is distributing 30000 meals per month to many SA charities. Of course, this stat would not be reached without the help from volunteers and donations from various markets and organisations, such as The Central Market and Adelaide Farmers Market.
People may want to ask that, and that’s quite normal if you do, is food wastage a big deal? Yes, it is! It is now one of the top issues across the world. Every year, there has been around 40% of the total world food production which is wasted and discarded. Isn’t this serious?! What’s even more serious is the world hunger and the clear classification of social classes. This isn’t so obvious here in Australia but in China and other developing countries, this problem is more serious than ever. Anyway, they have their own problems to worry at the moment and let’s go back to the topic. Feeding the 5000.
Feeding the 5000 was a program run by OzHarvest and was held in Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide from 12pm to 2pm today (29/07/13). As the official Australian partner of the United Nation Environmental Programme, Think, Eat, Save – Reduce Your Footprint campaign, the program provides free healthy and delicious soup made from rescued food produces to 5000 Australians at the same time and the target for Adelaide was 500. The event was held at North Tce campus of Adelaide Uni, which donated 5786 Kg of wasted food in their first year’s involvement with OzHarvest. Around 12pm, I walked from UniSA to Adelaide Uni and saw this big crowd of people lining up to get a taste of their free lunch. How great!
During this event, I met my fellow blogger, Joanne, from What’s on the List, a passionate home cook trying to inspire people with her creations and a volunteer to cook for OzHarvest through Yelp. We exchanged our ideas towards many different issues in the “food” topic as well as issues of wordpress blogs. I also came across Hayley, who I just followed on Twitter last night! How wonderful is that and I love to meet people offline too. 😀 From our short 10mins conversation, I can definitely see her passion in rescuing food and in helping the community and charities.
Unfortunately, I had too much for lunch before heading there and did not have enough space to taste the yummy looking soup but I am sure it tasted great as many students enjoyed them. I even heard students talking about the event and the pumpkin soup in the afternoon when I was down River Torrens to meet someone. Wow, what good influences this fantastic team has brought to Adelaide!
As many of my readers know, I do care about food wastage in the world as well but on a different perspective. The OzHarvest focuses on saving waste food that will otherwise become landfills but I am more into the actual wastage during food production. Cheap cuts, offals, plants, leaves and even seafood that the Western world does not normally eat. As I’ve discussed in my previous posts, these food items can all be converted to delicious dishes if they are cooked the correct way. Otherwise, we can easily distribute these food items either to charities or to third world countries at reasonable prices to help reducing world hunger rather than dumping them or making pet food. Having said that I remembered a case in the UK where mitten crab has really become a problem because they destroy the domestic freshwater system and eat local species. We don’t have these crabs in Australia at the moment thanks to our strict quarantine requirements. Anyway, the UK government spend so much money to kill these crabs. What the UK people do not know is that these trouble making crabs are priced at AUD$30-40 each at least in China. People spend a huge fortune to savour one of these little creatures. So, here is the solution, pack these crabs up and export to China. In this way, both world benefit and the price of these crabs will be down in China while the problem in the UK will be solved and at the end of the day, no edible food is wasted at all because a problem is turned into benefits.
Oh, well, I shouldn’t spend so much time talking about something not so relative to the topic of this post. You must be tired now after reading a such long story, but before turning away and closing the browser, make sure to check out the fabulous works that OzHarvest people have done and to support our proud South Australian/Australian community to fight against food waste!
The next post will be a easy but so delicious recipe and a product review on mussels. – Steamed Mussel Provincal using SA produced Kinkawooka mussels. Stay tuned!