Peak industry body AUSVEG is encouraging Australia’s vegetable growers to donate excess produce to hunger relief organisation Foodbank Australia, in a bid to help families in need and avoid wastage.
Foodbank is Australia’s largest hunger relief organisation. Through collaboration with the Australian food and grocery industry, which provides surplus and donated product, Foodbank is able to deliver 166,000 meals per day to 2,400 charities and 1,200 schools for distribution to people in need of food relief.
“Foodbank is the missing link between an over-supply of produce in the Australian vegetable industry and the need to feed hungry families across Australia,” said AUSVEG spokesperson Dimi Kyriakou.
“One of the biggest challenges facing the Australian vegetable industry is over-supply in the domestic market. To help overcome this issue, several leading vegetable producers have already teamed up with Foodbank to deliver fresh produce from paddock to plate to countless families across the country.
“AUSVEG is encouraging more of Australia’s vegetable growers to join the cause and donate any excess vegetables to Foodbank to ensure their high quality produce does not go to waste.”
Last year, Foodbank distributed 33 million kilograms of food and groceries, equivalent to 60 million meals, to Australian welfare agencies, charities and schools. Of this total volume, 9.5 million kilograms were fresh fruit and vegetables, which Foodbank has had some difficulty sourcing in the past.
“Donated vegetables will be used in prepared meals, food hampers and emergency parcels, with more than 30% of the food heading to rural and regional areas to support local communities,” said Ms Kyriakou.
As a registered charity, Foodbank is also able to provide a tax donation receipt to any grower who donates produce, making contributions tax deductible.
Representatives from Foodbank are able to pick up produce directly from farms and markets, making it easier for growers around the country to get involved in the partnership.
“Given Foodbank’s widespread presence in every state and the Northern Territory, as well as distribution centres in all state capitals and a number of regional areas, this will make it easier for growers to work with the organisation to send their excess produce to hungry families,” said Ms Kyriakou.
“The opportunity for Australia’s vegetable growers to work with an organisation like Foodbank has a two-pronged benefit: it will help growers ensure that excess produce does not go to waste and allow more families across Australia to enjoy the high quality, fresh vegetables from our own backyard.”
AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing over Australian vegetable and potato growers.
For more information on Foodbank’s Produce Program, contact National Food Programs Manager Michael Davidson on 0400 724 613 or visit www.foodbank.org.au Ω
Posted 6 April 2016