OzHarvest is Australia’s leading food rescue organisation, with a purpose to Nourish Our Country. Founded by Ronni Kahn in 2004, it began with a concept to rescue good food from going to landfill and deliver it to people in need. Food waste is a global issue and a leading contributor to climate change.
In Australia, more than seven million tonnes of food ends up in landfill each year, costing the economy $20 billion annually. In line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, the Government has set a national target to halve food waste by 2030, which will require change at all levels of society.
Consumer awareness and community education are paramount to reducing food waste and influencing behavioural change. OzHarvest developed FEAST (Food Education And Sustainability Training), a curriculum-aligned program that focuses on nutrition, food waste and sustainability to inspire future change-makers.
FEAST delivers vital education to the school community influencing teachers, families, and students to encourage healthy and thriving communities.
Since the inception of FEAST in 2018:
• 173 schools completed FEAST across Australia
• 317 teachers trained across Australia
• 423 classes engaged in FEAST across Australia
• 8,749 Australian students inspired to reduce food waste and eat healthy and over 90 schools are about to embark on their journey in 2021!
The need for kids to learn about cooking, nutrition and preventing food waste has never been more vital.
• One child in every classroom goes to bed or school hungry (Foodbank Hunger Report, 2019)
• One in four children are overweight/obese (Department of Health 2013)
• One third of Australia’s annual food waste comes from the home (National Food Waste Baseline, 2019)
In 2018 OzHarvest conducted a pilot study, exploring the impact of FEAST on children’s fruit and vegetable consumption, cooking behaviour, perceived skills, food waste knowledge and behaviours. 225 students from seven NSW schools were the first in Australia to complete FEAST.
Conducted in partnership with Deakin University, with the support of National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) PhD scholarship, some of the main findings are;
● 80.8% of the students would eat ≥2 serves of fruit/day compared to pre-FEAST (72.0%)
● 95.8% of students were more likely to report knowing how to follow a recipe compared to 85.3%, pre-FEAST.
● Cooking activities were attended by 94% of the students, and 90.4% reported that the activities were fun and 82.0% liked the food they cooked.
● 69.5% reported that they would try to cook the food they made in class, at home
● 65.9% reported learning something about cooking they didn’t know before.
● 85.6% were interested in doing more cooking in the future.
● Students reporting they would eat fruit that was not ‘perfect’ increased by 11.2%.
● Students found the activities easy to read (95.8%), understand (94.0%) and website easy to navigate (89.2%).
These results show FEAST extends beyond the classroom – students develop the skills to become change-makers in the community.
It embodies OzHarvest’s vision of building a world with zero food waste and no hunger!