oz harvest

We love nothing more than shining a light on those creating good in the world – especially when they’re organisations close to our own heart. The awesome folk at OzHarvest have been nourishing Australians in-need for more than 15 years and have doubled down in their efforts since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. We spoke to OzHarvest about the highs, the lows and how the nudie community can help them continue to spread goodness throughout the country.     

  • tell us a little about ozharvest and all the amazing work the organisation does for the community

    OzHarvest is Australia’s leading food rescue organisation with a driving purpose to nourish our country. We started with a simple concept, which was to rescue good food that would otherwise go to waste and deliver this to people in need. We started in Sydney with one van and now operate nationally. We’ve delivered 150 million meals and saved 50,000 tonnes of food from landfill since our inception. You might have seen our fleet of bright yellow vans out and about. It’s how we’re able to rescue more than 250 tonnes of food per week! We have a network of 3,500 food donors, which allows us to support more than 1,500 charities helping to feed vulnerable Australians.

    In addition to food rescue, we also run three education programs – NEST, Nourish and FEAST. NEST offers tailor made workshops that teach people in need easy and healthy cooking on a budget. Nourish offers at-risk youth valuable life skills and training for a Certificate II in Kitchen Operations or Hospitality. FEAST is a curriculum aligned program for primary school kids. It teaches Year 5 and 6 students about sustainability, food waste and nutrition using hands-on cooking and inquiry-based learning. Like any good FEAST, it’s designed to be fun, engaging and filled with good food!

  • how has covid-19 impacted and challenged the day-to-day business and operations of ozharvest? have there been any unforeseen positive moments?

    COVID-19 has seen food relief reach an all-time high, so we’ve introduced a number of emergency food relief programs including pop-up hamper hubs, mobile markets delivering food to regional locations, cooked meals, food essentials boxes and opened a second OzHarvest Market in July. At the beginning of the pandemic, we lost our major fundraising event (CEO CookOff) and our Cooking for a Cause program, which brought in valuable revenue to the organisation. We were lucky to receive government funding, which has allowed us to provide new emergency food relief services. 

    During the first couple of months of COVID-19, food volumes fluctuated, initially with a decrease from panic buying in supermarkets to a surge from the closure of the hospitality sector. The large influx of food from the hospitality industry was bittersweet – it allowed us to collect and distribute a record amount of quality produce to people in need, but we were deeply saddened to see our friends in the hospitality industry hit so hard.

    Now, food volumes have stabilised, but for the first time in our history we’ve had to purchase food to meet the new level of demand. Our amazing chefs and hospitality heroes have also picked up the task of producing thousands of portions a week of delicious, nourishing meals. These are delivered directly to charities who are helping support people in isolation or without access to a kitchen. Since starting the cooked meals program in March, we have created and distributed more than 500,000 meals. So many people have offered to help, from providing extra vehicles, helping with deliveries, providing equipment and services – the sense of community in this challenging time has been overwhelming.

  • nudie and ozharvest share a really lovely relationship. how did this come about?

    We began receiving donations from nudie in 2016, and we’ve enjoyed distributing these ever since. nudie kindly donates short-dated stock, mostly juice, which our drivers are then able to deliver to charitable agencies throughout Sydney. Charities absolutely love receiving the donations from nudie, as not only are the products delicious, they also have a long shelf life. This allows them time to be distributed to the public.

  • how can our nudie community help spread the ozharvest goodness?

    The best way to help us is by donating or volunteering your time. Our volunteers are the backbone and the spirit of our organisation and without them, OzHarvest would not be able to help nearly as many people. At home, you can think about easy ways to reduce your food waste and help us reach that national target of halving food waste by 2030. The Fight Food Waste section of our website has some great tips. You can also run a food drive for non-perishable items. Further details can be found on our website. We also encourage anyone who is able, to donate to OzHarvest to help keep our wheels turning. Just $1 allows us to deliver two meals to people in need. Also, for any organisations with surplus food, please contact us.

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