Waste Not Want Not – Fresh Fruit and Veg Rescue

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Waste Not Want Not, is a project that delivers otherwise wasted produce from the Riverina to the tables of hungry families throughout New South Wales and the ACT.

The program was developed by Hillston Church and the Carrathool Shire in partnership with Foodbank NSW & ACT and has seen donations of more than 1 million kilograms of fresh fruit, vegetables and grain from farmers and packing sheds rescued each year.

The rescued fresh fruit and vegetables are perfectly good food that unfortunately do not meet the specifications for commercially acceptable product (it could be too small or have blemishes on its skin). One grower last year ploughed in 3,000 tons of pumpkins that could not be sold and unfortunately in the past surplus or rejected produce has often been left to rot.

Rather than letting it go to waste and be turned into landfill, Foodbank NSW & ACT now salvages the produce and redistributes it to over 560 welfare agencies across NSW and the ACT to feed hungry people in need.

Fresh Fruit and Veg Rescue impacts in 3 very important ways:

  • It provides food to those in need. We recently heard the story of  a child whose teacher awarded points to students who brought fresh fruit to eat. The child’s family was unable to afford fresh fruit and it was only thanks to Foodbank that he could bring an apple and an orange and be awarded his first points. The family were so grateful.
  • It helps the environment by rescuing the energy used to produce the food that’s being dumped.
  • It’s healthy. We all know eating fruit and vegetables is good for your health. It has been reported that, “the potential savings to the national health care system of increasing average vegetable consumption by only one serve per day is $24.4 million per year for various cancers alone” Fresh Fruit & Veg Rescue gets healthy fruit and veg to the people who need it most.

After 4 years, Foodbank NSW & ACT has saved 4 million kilos of fresh fruit and veg from becoming landfill! We are in the process of moving to a bigger warehouse so that we can save three times that much fresh fruit and veg from becoming waste every year.

The constant availability of fresh farm produce has been well received by our charity partners and having these products always available has also significantly improved the diet of the hungry.

Supplying the food to end hunger is a huge task and Foodbank’s current national target is to reach 50 million kilograms to distribute to charities across Australia by 2020. We cannot do this without maintaining strong support from food producers, farmers, manufacturers and the support of friends like you.

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