Diverting food from landfill and getting it to those who truly need it is the focus of a new Bega Valley Shire Council initiative.
The initiative, called Nourish & Flourish, will create stronger links between food businesses and community pantries.
Nourish & Flourish kicks off on Sunday 18 July with a television, radio and social media campaign featuring Wild Rye’s, Eden IGA, Pambula Fruit Market, Coles, Woolworths, Club Sapphire and Farm on the Green. These are among a growing number of Bega Valley businesses reducing food waste by donating their unsold and surplus food to the community.
Local Woolworths manager, Hamish Payne said they were proud to partner with OzHarvest and local businesses to distribute food to community pantries.
“A lot of time, planning and effort goes into making sure we’ve got the right quantities of the right products at the right times for all of our customers here in the store,” Mr Payne said.
“Sometimes, we don’t quite get that right and there’s a little bit too much stock.
“It’s fantastic to be part of Council’s Nourish & Flourish program and get this food to the people who really need it. The added benefit is that we’re also able to minimise the amount of food that gets wasted.”
Matt Crossley from Wild Rye’s in Pambula said for the past decade they have been donating food to the community.
“We do everything we can to keep good food out of landfill. Each week we donate food that might not be cosmetically beautiful, or is excess to what our customers need, to community pantries and other local charities,” Mr Crossley said.
“It’s so easy to do. It’s such a great feeling when the truck leaves to distribute this food to a good cause, rather than have it go into a rubbish truck and to landfill.”
Bega Valley Shire Council Project Officer, Sarah Eastman said Nourish & Flourish supported community pantries in Eden, Merimbula and Bega.
“This project addresses three separate issues—what to do with surplus food, connecting the people who need it with more affordable food, and a landfill site which is filling up too fast,” Ms Eastman said.
“We are excited to showcase the community champions who are already doing great work in this area. We are so proud of the way our shire looks after people in need while working hard to reduce what goes into landfill.
“This is already evident through other Council programs such as FOGO for Business, and we’re rapt to take that even further with Nourish & Flourish by capturing food while it’s still good to eat and distributing it to people in need.