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Foodbank Victoria Rescuing Food for Our Community

By Catherine Byrne, Rural Community Support Officer – Wodonga FoodShare

Foodbank Victoria in partnership with the Albury Wodonga Regional Food Share, is involved in rescuing a range of nutritious food that is suitable for consumption.

In rescuing food, Foodbank Victoria not only aims to create a sustainable food source to help the hundreds of thousands of Victorians experiencing hardship every year- they are also deeply committed to ensuring that as the organisation grows, they are careful to reduce the impact on the environment.

For the past two financial years, Foodbank Victoria has received support from Swinburne University’s Carbon Accounting course staff and students, housed within the National Centre for Sustainability, to report and measure our ecological footprint as an organisation.

In the course of their normal business activities they source, rescue and redistribute millions of kilograms of food every year. A crucial function considering approximately 3 million tonnes of food waste goes to landfill each year in Australia.

In the Wodonga region alone in 2011, 110 tonnes of food was rescued locally from orchards, supermarket, food producers and residential gardens.

When an orchard has some unmarketable fruit and vegetables due to blemished, misshaped produce, or undersized fruit , Foodbank Victoria is able to rescue this food. It is then shared within the local Emergency Relief agencies, to be used a part of food parcels for those most in need. Excess fruit is given out to local schools to be used as part of healthy eating and breakfast programs. Produce that is not of A grade quality is sorted and given out to cooking programs that produce community meals and single serve meals. A number of local community groups such as the TAFE Food for Thought program are involved in preparing hundreds of meals each week. These meals are cooked and packaged, then returned to Foodshare, for distribution to people in need.

Foodbank Victoria is always looking for innovative ways to increase the rescuing of food for the purpose of providing healthy nutritious food for Victorians in crisis. The food that is rescued the less that finds its way into landfill.