Feed it Forward – Tackling Food Waste in Australia

by Clara Evelyn Fischer

Did you know that in Australia, over 7 million tonnes of food end up in landfills annually? That’s an equivalent of roughly 140kg per person!*

To combat this problem, Feed it Forward saves huge amounts of surplus food each week from partnering supermarkets such as Coles and Woolworths. Volunteers from the Ecovillage started doing this two years ago: Nathan Stone, one of our residents and the first FIF volunteer down South, initiated the bi-weekly food saving feast. Shortly after, lovely Divvy (Sue Gibson for those who don’t know her) joined him and started picking up leftover supermarket food to distribute, first from resident’s carports, and then, as news spread and interest grew, in front of the Ecovillage sales office (the future Ecovillage Community Center). By now, even more volunteers joined to help out every Tuesday and Saturday morning to “feed it forward”: including our Ecovillage residents Michael, Britta, Linda, Bob, Nicole, Paul and Harry. 

“It’s about the tons of food saved from the landfill”

“Essentially, it is not about how much money you’ve got. In general, saving food from the landfill is the ultimate goal,” Divvy states. Saving food from landfill not only reduces waste but also minimises greenhouse gas emissions: each tonne of organic waste disposed of in landfills releases about one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO₂-e) of greenhouse gases, mainly in the form of methane. The volunteers are obligated to report how much food (and what) they are saving each time: their latest internal statistic showed they have picked up around 745,000 kg of food within Australia in the last year! 

“However, of course there are people doing it tough. It’s good that they can benefit from it and that’s what we’re here for”, Divvy adds. In the last year the number of people gathering at the Ecovillage’s sales office to collect some of the produce has nearly doubled, showing that people recognise the value of sharing excess produce and contributing to a sustainable community.

She hopes that as more and more of the Ecovillage community gardens are established, residents will be donating their excess produce to share with their neighbours and the wider community. “We realised that even if there are leftovers no-one really needs on the day, some lovely farming ladies took them away to do make some relish or pickled veggies and shared those in the following week. That’s the ethos we are trying to spread here!”

Feed it forward details:

When? Tuesdays around 9.30 am, Saturdays around 10.30 am

Where? In front of the Ecovillage Sales Office / Community Centre: 54 Mardo Drive, Witchcliffe

Learn more about Feed it Forward here.

Sources and more info: