Home School Made Fun With OzHarvest’s New FEAST Online Resources

Posted by on April 21, 2020

OzHarvest has launched new online resources for their primary school program FEAST, making home learning about sustainability, food waste and healthy eating both fun and engaging. The curriculum-aligned education program aimed at year 5 and 6 students has now been adapted for online learning and even the whole family can get involved!

Amelia Berner, OzHarvest’s FEAST Education Manager, said schools are now looking for creative ways to make online teaching a positive experience for teachers, student and parents and still meet the curriculum requirements. 

“The essential ingredients for learning are having fun and being engaged. As we all adjust to home learning, we know this is a challenge for teachers, parents and students. FEAST was designed to be interactive with hands-on learning both in school and now at home. The new online resources are available via a ready to go package of lessons and activities available on our website, once a school signs up for the program. We’ve even created some additional resources for parents looking for easy and fun home-schooling activities.”

Helen Peacock, a teacher at Tempe Public School said schools are looking for different ways to engage students in their homes and with their families at this time. “FEAST is a great way to get kids learning, helping around the house and thinking about food waste, which is more front of mind now than ever before. The resources are written in child friendly language with clear instructions making it easy for students to know what to do and how to do it.” 

Each FEAST lesson involves online research, fact finding, worksheets, video links and fun activities including a fridge and fruit bowl audit, recipe creation and cooking! There are lots of easy recipe ideas to get you started including Chocolate Banana Cookies, Wholemeal Pita Pizza and Taco Salad.   The program offers online resources that can also be printed out for students who might not have access to technology.

Parents can download the free ‘Feast at home’ resources which include worksheets on how to reduce your foodprint, food safety, fridge and fruit bowl audit, healthy eating and create your own ‘wasty’ recipe.

For more information and to sign up for the free* online resources, head to ozharvest.org/feast

*OzHarvest is happy to announce that funding is available for eligible schools to implement the program, contact the FEAST team for more information.

Charities Urge Government To Support The Forgotten Sector

Posted by on March 17, 2020

Leading food rescue organisation OzHarvest has joined forces with other charities including Foodbank, Youth off the Streets, Father Bob Maguire and the ASRC calling on the Government not to overlook the charity sector in their latest round of economic stimulus discussions – particularly ones that are at risk of collapsing under the pressures of the current COVID-19 crisis.

The proposal sent yesterday to the Federal Government highlights the implications to the welfare of millions of vulnerable Australians if urgent funding support is not given to the charity sector providing vital services.

OzHarvest Founder and CEO, Ronni Kahn AO said the current Economic Stimulus Package shows no financial support or assistance to the charity sector – even though it employs over 1.3 million Australians, contributing to $150 billion to the economy and employs 10% of the Australian workforce.

“Ironically, organisations like ours are the ones that hold up community spirit, provide critical food relief, mental health, wellbeing and disability support services and offers people dignity and respect in times of crisis. With the current situation unfolding globally, millions of jobs are potentially at risk and vital services are in desperate need of funding to be able to continue supporting vulnerable communities.”

“We can stop events. We can stop sporting matches. We can close schools. We can make changes in the way businesses operate. But we cannot stop feeding people. The knock-on effect of not being able to deliver food is huge,” said Ronni.

There are already over five million people experiencing food insecurity and this figure is constantly rising, with new families from drought and fire-affected communities and now those affected by COVID-19, food relief is needed now more than ever. The greatest area in need of Government support is the sector dealing directly with providing critical health services, mental health support, social and emergency services including food relief.

The proposal was sent to the Federal Government yesterday afternoon as a matter of urgency to address the needs of the forgotten sector. It was supported by charities Foodbank, Youth off the Streets, Asylum Seekers Resources Centre, Beehive Industries and Father Bob Maguire Foundation and echoes the sentiments made by ACOSS who are also calling for a stimulus package for the community sector.

Click here to download the collective charity response PDF

For further comment and interview with Ronni Kahn (CEO & Founder OzHarvest), please contact: Fiona Nearn | OzHarvest Media Manager | [email protected] | 0405 588 186

Logos - including OzHarvest, included in the statement urging the government to provide economic support in response to COVID19

Postponement Of OzHarvest’s CEO CookOff Event

Posted by on March 13, 2020

OzHarvest has today announced the postponement of its flagship fundraising event the CEO CookOff, due to take place at Sydney’s Carriageworks on Monday 30 March.  In the wake of the ongoing public health threat from the Coronavirus, the event will be postponed until later in the year.

OzHarvest Founder and CEO, Ronni Kahn AO said the decision was not taken lightly, but the safety and wellbeing of guests, CEOs, teams, chefs, volunteers, staff and suppliers comes first. 

“These are challenging times and we are dealing with unparalleled levels of uncertainty. I am heartbroken that for the first time in nine years that we will not be able to host this magical event for our special guests in March. But after considering many factors and consulting with those close to the event, the decision was made to postpone until a time when the worst is over and we can come together to celebrate the power of community.”

“I have personally been calling many of the CEOs involved and everyone has been hugely supportive and understanding of the decision.  We are encouraging everyone to keep fundraising as there is no doubt this will be our most challenging year.  The need for food relief in Australia has never been greater.”

The funds raised from the CEO CookOff help underwrite OzHarvest’s national food rescue operations, which places us in an extremely vulnerable position with the postponement of the event.

“We could find ourselves $2million behind what we need to continue to service individuals, families and charitable organisations, at a time when they need us the most. Demand for our services is rising and the pressure on our own resources is being tested to the max,” said Ronni.

A date for the event will be set later in the year, when the risk of infection from coronavirus has subsided and public health is no longer at risk. 

For further updates and to make donations to support OzHarvest please go to www.ceocookoff.com.au. 

Media contact for more information or interviews with Ronni Kahn:

Fiona Nearn, Media & Communications Manager, OzHarvest
T 02 9516 3877| M 0405 588186 | D 02 8880 9722
E [email protected] | W www.ozharvest.org

Faces of OzHarvest: Sam Bowtell

Posted by on February 24, 2020

Sam Bowtell heads the Agility Practice for CommBank, leading the Bank’s team of Agile coaches. He is also a leadership coach, facilitator and runs many team building days.

In the community, Sam is involved in skilled volunteering with OzHarvest, looking at how the Agile mindset can improve how OzHarvest runs operations. Sam will also be leading a CommBank team in his first CEO CookOff later this year.

How did you discover OzHarvest?

I first took a team to Cooking for a Cause eight years ago, and have done so many times since. It’s such an awesome introduction to OzHarvest, learning about food waste and a great team building day out too! 

What have you learned working together with OzHarvest over the last few years?

OzHarvest has so many amazing people doing such great things for our community. What we forget at times is that they need help and support to do their jobs, and as a Skilled Volunteer from the corporate sector I have many skills I take for granted which can make a difference to OzHarvest.  

What are you looking forward to at the CEO CookOff?

I’ve participated previously as a volunteer and found the event so inspiring. This year will be all the more rewarding as I will have fundraised and contributed to the huge effort of raising money to keep this beautiful organisation healthy like the food we rescue!

OzHarvest Adelaide Delivers 10 Million Meals!

Posted by on February 24, 2020

OzHarvest SA celebrates a huge milestone in their food rescue operations with the delivery of its ten millionth meal to clients at The Salvation Army Adelaide.

OzHarvest State Manager SA, Lyndall Vandenberg explained the growth in the last eight years was thanks to community support and a network of over 250 local food businesses, which have helped save more than three million kgs of surplus food from landfill.

“Our yellow vans are on the road six days a week saving around 15,000 kgs of good quality food and delivering it to 125 local charities, schools and community groups to help those most at risk across South Australia. We are incredibly proud to deliver our 10 millionth meal to The Salvation Army today, a charity that OzHarvest has supported since inception, delivering fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, dairy and assorted frozen meals three times a week for local men and women in need.”

“Ten million meals is a fantastic milestone and I’d love to see us get to 20 million meals in the next year, but we’ll definitely need some extra help to get there!  We know the need is there as many of the charities we deliver to say they could take double the food to meet demand,” said Lyndall.

Mark Foyle, The Salvation Army Public Relations Secretary for SA/NT said the regular supply of fresh food from OzHarvest means they are able to feed hundreds of people every week which is vital to their operations.

“Without OzHarvest food, we would not be able to feed the men and women we support fresh and nutritious meals every day.  The impact goes beyond just food as it saves valuable funds which can be redirected to provide other essential services to help support those doing it tough in the local community.”

Food rescue operations in SA rely on regular food donations from local businesses, including National Food Rescue Partner Woolworths who provide fresh and nutritious food from 46 stores in the region.

Woolworths SA State General Manager Karl Weber said; “As the fresh food people, our love and respect for food is an essential part of who we are, and what we do. The ability to identify and divert our surplus fresh food to OzHarvest for local charities like The Salvation Army who help feed those in need, is a critical part of or day-to-day operations and support of the community.”

The hunger crisis in Australia now effects more than one in five Australians who rely on food relief[1]. OzHarvest SA still has a number of charities on the waiting list to receive food and demand for food relief is constantly on the rise. 

To help OzHarvest SA reach their next milestone, contact [email protected]


[1] Foodbank Hunger Report 2019

New Home Will Help Grow OzHarvest Port Macquarie

Posted by on February 24, 2020

OzHarvest Port Macquarie has moved into its new home in the Port Macquarie Neighbourhood Centre and will now focus on growing their ‘yellow army’ of volunteers to tackle increased demand in the community.

The Neighbourhood Centre, which has been receiving rescued food from OzHarvest since 2016, came to the rescue late last year by offering the space free-of-charge. The Centre’s Julie Trowbridge said they were excited to be able to share their home with OzHarvest.

“OzHarvest does such important work in Port Macquarie and the surrounding areas. By ensuring they have a base for their operations, we ensure that they are able to keep saving quality food from landfill and delivering it to people in need. At the neighbourhood centre alone, we feed up to 150 people a week with the food we receive from OzHarvest. Without them, we and a number of other agencies, would not be able to continue.”

OzHarvest State Manager for NSW, Richard Watson said food rescue in Port Macquarie relies on strong community connections. “We are incredibly grateful to the Neighbourhood Centre for allowing us to operate out of their space. Thanks to their generosity, OzHarvest has a permanent place to call home and can continue rescuing good food and delivering it to people in need.”

There are currently 18 volunteers working across five days of the week out of the Port Macquarie chapter and OzHarvest is looking to increase that to meet further demand in the local area.

“Our volunteers are incredibly dedicated, donating their precious time to help OzHarvest stop good food from going to waste and deliver it to 18 charities and schools in the Port Macquarie area. In 2019 alone we were able to rescue around 120,000 kgs of food –which allowed us to provide 360,000 meals for people in need. We hope that more people join us to volunteer and make a difference in this wonderful community,” said Richard.

If you are interested in volunteering for OzHarvest Port Macquarie, contact David Morris, [email protected] or call 02 9516 3877.

Cooking Up Community Spirit

Posted by on February 19, 2020

A stellar line up of Australia’s best culinary talent will join forces with 200 business leaders and corporate teams to cook up a gourmet feast at OzHarvest’s CEO CookOff™ on Monday 30th March. Sydney’s Carriageworks will be transformed into a giant pop-up restaurant as teams rally together to feed over a thousand people from vulnerable backgrounds including those impacted by fires, drought and floods.

This year, the flagship fundraiser will be dedicated to Food Crisis Relief, keeping both the wheels of OzHarvest turning and providing extra resources to respond directly to fire and drought affected communities.

OzHarvest Founder and CEO, Ronni Kahn AO said the 2020 CookOff will give people a tangible way to take action in the current crisis. “Community is more important than ever and this year it will be top of our menu! This event turns the tables on most fundraisers as it puts those who are usually eating a gourmet dinner, in the kitchen cooking it! It gives business leaders the opportunity to roll up their sleeves, get involved, cook and serve a beautiful meal made with love and above all, break bread with special guests from the charities we support and those who have volunteered to help protect our country.”

For Chef and OzHarvest Ambassador Clayton Donovan the event has a special place in his heart having experienced homelessness as a child. “It’s tough out there, so just being able to put a smile on someone’s face – it’s like Christmas.”  Clayton has also been working with OzHarvest to provide relief to rural communities affected by fire. “The CEO CookOff is always a highlight for me and I’m committed to doing whatever I can to help with bushfire relief efforts.  When I heard about a local pub in Cudgewa that desperately needed food and respite, I knew exactly who to call.  Thanks to a van full of food and two amazing OzHarvest chefs, we were able to provide home-cooked food for a whole weekend at the heart of a community in need.”

Clayton will be joined by some of Australia’s favourite chefs including Matt Moran, Neil Perry AM, Peter Gilmore, Colin Fassnidge, Miguel Maestre, Guillaume Brahimi, Lennox Hastie, Jacqui Challinor, Anna Polyviou, Somer Sivrioglu and Rob Cockerill.  Merivale CEO Justin Hemmes has signed up for the 2020 event and will join leaders and teams from the business world including PwC, IHG, Australia Post, Virgin Australia, Woolworths, CBA, Domain, Facebook, Vittoria and The Star.

The 2019 CEO CookOff chefs

Over the last eight years, the CEO CookOff has raised more than 24 million meals helping to fund vital OzHarvest food rescue operations supporting over 1,300 charities across Australia.  The event hopes to raise $3million which will help OzHarvest deliver six million meals and respond to increased demand for food relief.  Every dollar raised can provide two meals to people in need. It’s not too late to sign up!

For more information and to register go to www.ceocookoff.com.au

Koh Supports OzHarvest’s Food Crisis Relief

Posted by on January 29, 2020

OzHarvest are excited to team up with eco-friendly company, Koh to support people in need. Koh recently donated $25,000 to OzHarvest’s Bushfire Appeal, which will help provide much needed relief to the growing number of people in crisis.

Koh have also signed up as a team to participate in their first CEO Cookoff™ to raise funds for OzHarvest’s ongoing food crisis relief. The executive team completed an 80km Bondi to Manly walk as part of their fundraising efforts with more events planned to follow.

The Koh team on their 80km Bondi to Manly walk!

The team is lead by Founder and Chief Customer Officer Adam Lindsay who said:

“We created Koh to eliminate all the complexity from the cleaning process, to make people’s lives easier. We will always put customers and the planet first and we want to work with an organisation that is aligned to our values, whose actions speak louder than words.

“The work OzHarvest does to eliminate food waste through redistribution to people in need, promoting sustainability through community engagement and innovating to combat hunger resonates strongly with us and we are thrilled to forge a relationship.”

Cooking for the Cudgewa community

Posted by on January 28, 2020

OzHarvest responded to a special request to cook for the town of Cudgewa in Victoria alongside acclaimed Aussie chef Clayton Donovan. Our wonderful chefs Mark Hamilton and Renzo Velarde shared their experience helping the local pub, Hotel Cudgewa, cook for a community devastated by bush fires.

Mark Hamilton

Arriving in Cudgewa, we were warmly welcomed by the Fair family – owners of the local pub – Tracey, Ralph, Carol and sister Kate.  When the fires came they had to leave and didn’t know if the pub would be there when they came back. The fire stopped 10-20 metres from the back of Hotel and then jumped the road, miraculously leaving the pub unscathed.

Renzo and I were bowled over by the turnout of over 150 locals at the Hotel Cudgewa on Friday night. Thanks to Humpty Doo Barramundi we barbecued fresh fish and great big field mushrooms, served up with a delicious salad of roasted carrot, spiced cauliflower, quinoa and smoked salmon. There was plenty of food to go around and we were joined by an awesome folk punk band, called Whiskey Dram, who entertained everyone with live music at the front of the hotel.

Just some of the delicious food at Hotel Cudgewa cooked by OzHarvest and Clayton

The past two weeks have been pretty tough for Cudgewa, some families have been evacuated three times. There were people who had to leave their house and everything they owned behind, and go back just to leave again, having to do that three times is pretty tough.

Despite the devastation, the fire has galvanised the community and brought everyone together. Friday night was a chance for everyone to talk to each other and share experiences, some had not seen each other in a few years! Their resilience is truly amazing and we felt humbled as we talked to locals who have lost their houses and are still out helping to rebuild the community.

On Saturday we served up some lovely cottage pies that we had cooked in Sydney earlier made in the week. Lots of people were out helping to fix fences, so Hotel Cudgewa spread the word over Facebook that a free lunch was available. There is such great community spirit in these challenging times and we were happy to help provide sustenance and bring people together.

In the evening we helped host an 80th birthday celebration at the Hotel for Linton Vogel – a farmer whose 80th had been postponed because of the fires. Although Linton and his family were able to save their house and a neighbour’s property, he had lost 40 cattle and 60 sheep in the fire. The loss of his animals hit him very hard. He is a really strong man with a good sense of humour and we were delighted to cook up salmon, couscous salad, and a delicious mud cake for his belated birthday.

The village band got together at the party with a guitar, banjo, and even someone playing the saw! If you haven’t seen someone playing the saw, they use the saw like a violin and it makes a weird ghostly sound.

Being able to cook great food for this community in need was an honour, it was a huge team effort with many partners donating produce to make this happen. The people of Cudgewa absolutely loved the food – they even joked that they didn’t want us to go.

Renzo Velarde

It was a rainy morning in Alexandria as we loaded everything into our yellow van – kitchenware, delicious food, compostable plates, forks and knives. After driving for two hours, the rain disappeared and it was 15 degrees.  As we swapped driver seats at Goulburn, I found a beautiful brown and yellow feather that I put on my hat and took as a sign that everything would be OK!

As we passed Batlow, the scenery changed dramatically.  It’s one thing for someone to tell you a story, and another to put yourself in that situation seeing the damage and destruction. We arrived safely at the hotel after driving through ash and smoke and were greeted warmly by the family and their five dogs!

After settling in to our rooms, we changed into our OzHarvest clothes and got to work. We were soon joined by Clayton Donovan, a great Australian chef and friend of OzHarvest, who decided to put the barbecues in front of the pub even though there was a chance of rain. “How many chances do you have in your life to cook in front of a pub next to a cool band?”

We chatted and cooked in the rain to feed everyone in the local community. One guy approached me and told me he hadn’t seen all his neighbours for years and was happy that we had brought everyone together. After a wonderful speech by Mark everyone grabbed a plate and enjoyed a delicious dinner made with love.

For someone raised in Peru, this was a real Australian experience for me; country music, dancing, barbecues and people everywhere was so different for me. It was a beautiful, productive and great day that I will always remember.

Photo gallery:


Help OzHarvest continue to nourish our country by donating here.

Faces of OzHarvest: Seagrass

Posted by on January 28, 2020

The Seagrass Boutique Hospitality Group are long-time supporters of OzHarvest and veterans of the CEO Cookoff™. In the lead up to the 2020 event, we caught up with CEO and founder, Bradley Michael and Executive Chef at 6HEAD, Sean Hall, who will be leading Team Seagrass in the kitchen this year. .

Why do you support the CEO CookOff?

Bradley Michael: We support OzHarvest’s CEO CookOff every year because they are doing good work making a difference in the community and adding value to people’s lives. It’s important for us to give as much back as we can and OzHarvest’s experience as leaders in food rescue helps us reach out to many more people in need.

Why are you passionate to be leading a kitchen?

Sean Hall: It’s great to be doing something I love on such a special evening for such an amazing cause. Ronni and the OzHarvest team are so inspirational and have done great things for people in need not just in Australia but around the world. The food we cook for our very special guests on the night makes them feel world-class and inspires the chefs to do more. It’s great to see how much people and businesses out there care and to see all of us coming together; it makes such a big difference.

What thoughts or advice do you have for anyone considering participating in the CEO CookOff?

Bradley Michael: I encourage everyone to experience the CEO CookOff if they can. The hospitality business is about serving and giving, but we can all serve and give in our everyday lives too. If everybody in the world gives just a little, we can change the world and make a huge difference.

If you would like to support Seagrass in the CEO CookOff, you can donate to the team page or Sean’s chef page.