OzHarvest - giving back to the community

In November 2004, Ronni Khan founded the OzHarvest organisation to rescue perishable food from commercial businesses and deliver it, free of charge, to 800 charities who feed the less advantaged and vulnerable. This service runs across Newcastle, Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra and the Gold Coast in Australia. One of the places that benefit from this great business is the Soul Cafe in Newcastle, where I am a volunteer. Soul Cafe is an organisation that was established in 2003 to serve hot meals for free to the homeless and highly disadvantaged. We currently feed over 800 people every week. The aim of the Soul Cafe is to serve the disadvantaged in the community with dignity and respect. A wonderful cause, and very close to my heart.

Khan lobbied the state government in 2005, to have the legislation amended to allow potential food donors to donate their surplus stock to charitable organisations. This has allowed the organisation to now collect from all types of food outlets - supermarkets, cafes, restaurants, shopping centres, hotels and catered events, just to name a few.

To date, OzHarvest has supplied over 30 million meals to people in need, rescuing 56 tonnes of food a week, that would otherwise go to landfill. 

OzHarvest have published the following statistics on their website www.ozharvest.org:

Food waste facts:

  • Approximately 8 to 10 billion dollars of food is wasted each year in commercial and residential waste. That’s around four million tonnes of food that ends up as landfill.[1]
  • Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted.[2]
  • Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tonnes) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tonnes).[3]
  • Australians throw out one out of every five shopping bags, which equates to every Australian household throwing out $1,036 worth of groceries each year. [4]
  • Australia produces enough food to feed approx. 60 million people, yet two million people still rely on food relief every year. [5]
  • Food relief agencies are not able to meet demand.Nearly 90% of agencies reported not having enough food to meet total demand. 6 in 10 agencies require at least 25% more food with almost 3 in 10 agencies requiring double the food. [6]
  • Nearly one million Aussie kids go without breakfast or bed without dinner [7]