I love Christmas. It’s my favourite time of the year.
Family, friends, presents and food.
Lots and lots of food.
Food has always been at the forefront of Christmas for me, and it’s definitely the reason why I love the festive season so damn much.
I’ve been planning my menu for weeks.
Going over the finer details in my head. Gathering ingredients, prepping dishes and fantasizing in earnest about our Christmas table spread.
There will be my Ham. There will be my Turkey. There will be Prawns. There will be my Bourbon and Pecan fruit cake.
There will be more food on our table than we could ever possibly eat, which is fine, because nothing makes me happier than a fridge full of Christmas leftovers.
December is a month for eating.
Eating like a glutton without remorse or consequence… Hello January! And tight waistband…
However, this morning Mrs.Moo and I were invited to a Christmas event that represents love and hope, but also something so powerfully upsetting, it has compelled me to sit at my computer this afternoon, and write this post whilst counting every single one of my blessings.
This coming holiday, while my family and I are enjoying our abundant spread, then devouring the leftovers from our overflowing bounty, there are families, a lot of families, who won’t have a Christmas table.
They won’t have Ham, or Turkey, or Prawns, and they definitely won’t have cake.
We were invited to the unveiling of the Oz Harvest Tree of Goodness at the Adelaide Central Market (A.K.A… Adelaide’s Food Nirvana).
Many of the Adelaide Central Market stall holders are longtime supporters of OzHarvest.
Since June 2011, over 75,000 meals have been rescued and distributed to disadvantaged South Australian men, women and children, food that would have otherwise been discarded.
And, The Tree of Goodness is an opportunity for the Market shoppers to get on board and assist OzHarvest, and our local community.
By purchasing a gift tag and hanging it on this modest wooden tree, you can give someone a gift more significant than any material item that could ever be wrapped.
A donation of $5.00 will cover the cost of 10 meals. 10 meals for the price of a large Soy Chai Latte.
$10.00 will buy 20 meals and, a $20.00 gift, will feed 40 hungry South Australians.
This remarkable tree was unveiled by Simon Bryant, an acclaimed South Australian chef, our Adelaide City Lord Mayor Martin Haese, Gopi Krishnan the OzHarvest National General Manager and Hayley Everus, the South Australian OzHarvest State Manager.
I’ve watched Simon for years on one of my all time favourite cooking shows, The Cook and the Chef (Yes, I’ve seen every episode).
I wanted to meet him personally and take a fangirl snapshot, but sadly didn’t for fear of seeming stalkish… Unfortunately, he’d left by the time I felt it was appropriate to accost him.
Cory’s exact words upon my return home… You snooze, you lose.
Note to Self: Grow some nads and say ‘Hi’ next time, loser.
Australia is a seriously lucky country. Nobody will ever deny that. But, being lucky comes at a cost, and that cost of living, is high.
There are currently over 2.5 million people in Australia, below the poverty line.
There are families and individuals whom, for their own different reasons, cannot afford to eat.
Thankfully for them, there are good people out there who want to create change and give everyone access to a basic human right, food.
OzHarvest (Australia’s first food rescue initiative) was founded in 2004 by Ronni Kahn, an amazing woman who was named Australia’s Local Hero of the Year in 2010.
Ronni was instrumental in changing the existing legislation across four states regarding food donations. Now, because of this change, companies and businesses around Australia are protected and can donate quality excess food without fear of liability.
She was also recently invited to speak at this year’s Sustainable Innovation Forum in Lima, Peru as part of the global Think.Eat.Save campaign for the UNEP. A testament to the impact this amazing Australian, and her OzHarvest family have had on our World.
Hunger is an issue, we should all consider. It’s on our First-World doorstep, not just in Third-World populations.
It’s a monster that doesn’t discriminate. Age, race, gender, it doesn’t matter. It will strike us all without mercy, because fueling your body with food is the most important function for human survival.
Without food, you will die.
Unfortunately though, visiting the shops and buying groceries, is an unobtainable luxury to a lot more Australians than you’d ever actually believe.
During the last 12 months, OzHarvest delivered over 1 million meals in Adelaide and Sydney alone.
They also deliver, direct and free of charge to community centres and charities assisting men, women and children who need their help, across Brisbane, Gold Coast, Newcastle, Canberra, Melbourne and Perth.
Fact: Approximately 8 to 10 billion dollars of food is wasted each year in commercial and residential waste. That’s around four million tonnes of food that ends up as landfill.
Fact: Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year (approximately 1.3 billion tonnes) gets lost or wasted.
Fact: Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tonnes) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tonnes).
Fact: Australians throw out one out of every five shopping bags, which equates to every Australian household throwing out $1,036 worth of groceries each year… WTF?!!!
Fact: Australia produces enough food to feed approximately 60 million people, yet two million people still rely on food relief every year… Seriously, someone please tell me why?
Fact: Food relief agencies are not able to meet demand. Nearly 90% of agencies reported not having enough food to meet total demand. 6 in 10 agencies require at least 25% more food with almost 3 in 10 agencies requiring double the food.
Fact: One million Aussie kids still go to school without breakfast or bed without dinner each night… As a mother myself, this hurts my soul.
So dear friends, please spare a thought this Christmas and for the rest of the New Year for those in our community doing it tough.
OzHarvest and our fellow Australians need our help, so if you can, get involved.
Or, as OzHarvest like to say… Give a little Love.
Until Next week… Merry Christmas xxx
For more information on OzHarvest’s amazing work or to get involved, please click on the following link: www.ozharvest.org
To find out more information about the Adelaide Central Markets, please click on the following link: www.adelaidecentralmarket.com.au
Factual references: http://www.ozharvest.org/what-we-do/environment-facts/
Photo Credit for OzHarvest logo: http://www.ozharvest.org