Food waste is a global problem, and almost every day it feels like stories emerge from around the world of different ways people are raising awareness of the issue and doing what little bits they personally can to address it. A couple of days ago, we wrote about how a brand of UK beer made from leftover bread was going to start brewing in the US. Today, there’s news of a popular food waste concept that that’s finally opening up in Australia: The country has gotten its first “rescued food” market, selling produce that otherwise would have been discarded, on a “pay what you can” basis.
The OzHarvest Market in Sydney is technically a “pop up” market – it opened on April 19 in a space donated by a local developer – but it promises to “remain open for as long as the site is available.” Inside, the store is stocked with a constantly changing mix of produce and other products that has “either been donated or would otherwise go to waste, but is perfectly edible.” According to news.com.au, the donations come from places like major supermarkets, airlines and other big business.
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But beyond fighting the food waste problem, the market also address food insecurity as well: Everything is the store is offered under a “take what you need, give what you can” policy. “The OzHarvest Market is our latest innovation to tackle food waste and eliminate hunger. It supports OzHarvest's purpose to nourish our country, by making sure good food does not go to waste and is available to everyone,” CEO and Founder Ronni Kahn said in a statement. “If times are tough and you're in need of food or other goods, you can take what you need, if you can give something, then please do, it could even be your time or skills.”
Those behind OzHarvest Market admit it was inspired by WeFood – a store in Denmark that operates under a similar ethos. When that market opened in February 2016, Per Bjerre, one of the organizers, said it was “the first supermarket of its kind in Denmark and perhaps the world.” A year later, the concept has traveled literally halfway around the globe. Good ideas spread fast.