We sat down with their CEO, Ronni Kahn, to learn more about their organization, what inspires them and what we’ll accomplish together:
What year was your organization founded?
I started OzHarvest in 2004, after seeing the huge volume of food going to waste from my events company – I was actually part of the problem! With just one van, I started taking my own surplus food to nearby charities feeding people in need. OzHarvest now operates nationally and has delivered over 150 million meals and saved over 50,000 tons of food from the landfill.
What is one of the proudest achievements of your organization?
There are so many! I love watching our Nourish students grow, thrive and finally graduate with their Certificate 2 in Hospitality. Also opening Australia’s first rescued food supermarket – The OzHarvest Market – based on a ‘take what you need, give if you can’ philosophy was an extremely proud moment. What started as a pop-up project has now served over 125,000 customers and we have just opened a second market.
What’s one thing you’d like the OXO community to know about your organization?
OzHarvest is on a mission to ‘Nourish our Country’, by stopping good food going to waste and getting it to people who need it most. Food is at the core of everything we do and is just too precious to throw away, yet a third of all food produced goes to waste. We are all part of the solution to make change.
What keeps you and your staff inspired every day?
Hearing directly from the people we impact – from the charities that receive our food to customers at the OzHarvest Market, vulnerable people who learn to cook through our NEST program, students who are given hope and pathways to employment through our Nourish program and primary school kids who want to be food waste fighters! Also, our huge yellow army of volunteers and network of like-minded partners who share our vision for a better a world – everyone is united by their passion for the cause.
What will OXO’s grant empower your organization to do?
This project will help our wheels keep turning, allowing us to rescue 250 tons of good food each week and deliver it to 1,300 charitable agencies across Australia that rely on us for food relief. Thanks to OXO’s funding we will be able to:
Provide 280,000 meals to vulnerable people across Australia helping them access fresh and nutritious food.
Save over 90,000kg of quality, surplus food from going into landfill, which prevents 170,000kg of greenhouse emissions being released into the atmosphere.
What’s one book/article/podcast you’d recommend to someone looking to learn more about your cause?
A good podcast is one I did many years ago with Richard Fidler on Conversations, even though it was recorded in 2012 it covers what led me to start OzHarvest and some of the great work that has been done.
Also my first book A Repurposed Life has just been published by Murdoch books which I co-wrote with my daughter-in-law.
What’s one thing the OXO community can do to support your cause?
We always say there are three ways you can help us, by donating your time (volunteering), food (if you are a registered business) or money – with just $1 we can deliver two meals to people in need. Go to OzHarvest.org to find out more.