Take what you need and give if you can

Ronni Kahn at the newly-opened OzHarvest Market. Photo: Livia Giacomini

PERFECTLY edible food with slight imperfections won’t be thrown away by supermarkets anymore.

The food, which previously contributed to the four million tonnes of food that decomposes in Australian landfills every year, will now be used in Australia’s first rescued food supermarket.

The OzHarvest Market opened in Kensington last week, operating on a “take what you need, give if you can” model.

OzHarvest CEO and founder Ronni Kahn told The AJN, “It’s all about inspiration and learning about food waste. Our purpose is to make rescued food available to everyone, especially those who need it most. If you can’t afford to pay and you’re in need of food, please take what you need. If you can give something, then please do.”

In supermarkets, it is common practice to throw out foods with minor “defects” such as fruit with a bruise or a product in a mislabelled box. In many cases, food that is past its use-by date is still perfectly good to eat.

In its first week there are already queues to get in the door.

Kahn is currently working with more than 2500 food donors to ensure that the market is constantly stocked with edible produce that would otherwise go to waste.

“We will keep it open as long as we have the space, the stock and the volunteers,” Kahn said. “It’s a place of purpose and meaning for everyone.”

The market occupies the ground floor of the Addison Project, a formerly vacant hotel which TOGA Group managing director Allan Vidor has turned into a “one-stop shop” for homeless people.

As well as having 42 rooms available for people in need of accommodation, the building is also the headquarters of free mobile washing service Orange Sky Laundry and Thread Together, which provides new clothes for those who cannot afford them.

“We are thrilled to partner with OzHarvest by providing a retail space within the Addison Project,” Vidor told The AJN. “The OzHarvest Market will provide immediate and practical relief for people confronted by the struggle to put food on the table each day [and] this alliance will strengthen the support available to young people as they set out on the journey to get back on their feet.”

OzHarvest Market is located at 
147 Anzac Parade, Kensington.