A new campaign is set to make a big difference in helping to reduce waste and provide more food security for our region.
North East Waste in collaboration with member councils across the region, Northern Rivers Food, Northern Rivers Area Health Service, NSW Environment Protection Authority and the Love Food Hate Waste Program, food donation agencies, local business and community have been working to address issues around food waste, nutrition, food security and sustainability.
This collaboration has led to the new regional food donation campaign, ‘It’s Food For Thought’ which aims to attract new food donors and support food donation agencies in feeding people, not landfill.
COVID causes surge of demand for food relief
Karen Rudkin, Project Coordinator for NE Waste, said the 2020 Foodbank Hunger Report shows that charities have seen a significant increase in the frequency of demand for food relief due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘In 2019, 15% of Australians experiencing food insecurity were seeking food relief at least once a week,’ she said. ‘In 2020, this doubled to 31%.’
When weather events such as floods are factored in, as well as significant changes to government support payments, the result is food relief agencies coming under more pressure to meet the growing demand from those who need support within our community.
To assist food donation agencies to access more food from within the Northern Rivers region, NE Waste have developed a range of resources aimed at supporting and encouraging food businesses to donate excess or surplus food products or meals.
This includes a free toolkit, which highlights where, and how to donate and the economic incentives to do so. It also debunks common myths around health and safety issues when donating.
‘We aim to increase the amount of food which is donated locally to food donation agencies,’ said Ms Rudkin. ‘This will support those agencies to access a wide range of healthy, nutritious foods for their clients, fulfil the growing demand and reduce freight costs associated with getting food from beyond our region.’
Food businesses that donate their excess or surplus stock can benefit financially, environmentally and socially – from diverting waste from landfill, feeding hungry bellies and from the tax incentives associated with donation.
To find out how your business can get involved and to get started, visit: http://www.newaste.org.au/fooddonation/