Food waste education through Illawarra events
Hidden Harvest’s pop-up events across the Illawarra region plate gourmet food with a twist – all the ingredients have been rescued on their way to the garbage or compost bin.
The grassroots initiative, founded by Berbel Franse and Lucy Farrier, challenges households to reconsider the four million tonnes of edible foods that end up as landfill each year, creating harmful carbon emissions.
“The idea started when I was working on agricultural projects in West Africa, and I realised just how much food was being wasted on its way to market,” explains Berbel. “Once it was picked, it was either left out in the sun and spoiled while waiting to be transported, or damaged by bumpy roads on the back of a truck. In a country where so many people were going hungry, it was devastating to see.
“When I got back to the developed world, I realised that even though we have better systems and infrastructure to support the process, we are wasting the same amount of produce. The waste happens not in the journey from plant to market, but from market to consumer. In Australia, up to 40% of food in restaurants and kitchens ends up being discarded.”
Hidden Harvest hopes to change this by raising community awareness of unnecessary food waste. Their pop-up events are catered for with up-cycled ingredients that have been gathered from farms and local businesses, and would have otherwise ended up as landfill.
“It’s so unnecessary, but there’s also a massive opportunity for us to do something about it,” says Berbel. “We eat three times a day. That’s three times a day that we have a choice, and can create change.”