Launched in tandem with this year's World Food Day, SA Harvest - the South African version of the highly successful OzHarvest - is officially off the ground. Its CEO, Alan Browde, shared the initiative's journey thus far at an intimate event in Cape Town.
The Service Dining Rooms in Cape Town's District Six is the first recipient of the SA Harvest initiative.
Life-long friends with Ronni Kahn, founder of Australia's OzHarvest, Browde had promised her many years ago that when the time was right, he would bring her food-rescue model to South African shores. OzHarvest, since its beginnings in 2004, has delivered over 120-million meals to the less fortunate, and is synonymous globally in the food-rescue space with the fight against food waste. Among a host of other awards, Kahn has received the Order of Australia (AO) in recognition of her service to that country.
A promise fulfilled
After deciding a year-and-a-half ago that it was time to make good on his promise, Browde sold his marketing services business, and so began the journey of SA Harvest to its fruition today.
"I'm so proud that we've started this," said Browde at the official launch. "It's very emotional for me, and there are many people to thank, but first of all is Ronni Kahn. She's the most amazing, dynamic, unbelievable woman."
"The facts are glaring in this country," he said. "We have 13-million who experience hunger every single day in SA; we have 10 million tons of food that (of about 30 million tons produced) every year goes to waste. How does that happen in any society?"
"Our purpose is to help reduce the food waste, and in so doing help reduce the number of people that go hungry," Browde shared.
Alan Browde, CEO of SA Harvest, makes his address at the launch event in Cape Town.
SA Harvest will collect surplus food from various donors, the first of which to join the initiative is vida e caffè, and deliver it, free of charge, to a variety of organisations that feed food-vulnerable people daily. The more-than-80-year-old Service Dining Rooms in Cape Town's District Six is the first recipient of the initiative. Founded by Doris Syfret in 1935, The Service Dining Rooms serves nourishing meals every day to the less fortunate of Cape Town.
Taking the lead in food rescue
SA Harvest aims to take the lead on the food-rescue front in SA, while influencing people's consciousness about food waste and hunger.
"It should not be happening, and from the government down to the private sector, through to NGOs like ourselves, there is no-one taking the lead, and we hope to do exactly that - to change people's minds, to make people aware - and our base cause is food rescue," explained Browde.
Over the last two months, SA Harvest has delivered the equivalent of 5000 meals. Food rescue, however, is just one of SA Harvest's four pillars, which includes engagement with communities, education, and innovation.
"Today represents our official opening and we believe and hope that we will do our jobs properly so that in a very short while this will have represented the birth of a dynamic influential company that will change the nature of how this country relates to food waste and to hunger," said Browde.
The SA Harvest launch event took place on World Food Day in Cape Town.
At the launch was vida e caffè CEO Darren Levy: "It's clear that businesses are on this sustainability journey - we talk about all the things that are important around cups, lids and straws and all the things that have an effect on the planet but, as you say, waste is a big part of it," he said, following Browde's address.
"Feeding people who are far less fortunate than us, and we often forget, is actually as important if not more important than what we do for the planet."
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