SA Harvest is a revolutionary food rescue organisation that aims to eradicate food waste in South Africa. The non-profit company will do this by collecting food waste from all kinds of entities to distribute to those in need for free.

SA Harvest’s long-term goal and motto is to nourish the nation. The organisation’s purpose is to eliminate hunger and food waste through education, and by the rescuing and re-distribution of quality surplus food.

Their launch in Cape Town on Wednesday, October 16, which is also World Food Day, was an eye-opening experience. It started at The Service Dining Rooms for a quick brief, followed by a walk up to the Zonnebloem City Scapes community garden. The garden is a facility whereby the homeless can earn a small income to support themselves, and is packed with delicious, organic vegetables that can be purchased by the public.

We then meandered back down to The Service Dining Rooms to help distribute coffee and breakfast to the homeless. Afterwards we popped over to vida e caffè, the first corporate sponsor of SA Harvest, in Zonnebloem to learn more about this incredible organistion.

Statistics reveal that over 13 million people experience hunger in South Africa every day, yet 10 million tons of the food we produce goes to waste annually – the cost of which to our country is in excess of R72 billion.

“These two irreconcilable realities are the motivation for the founding of SA Harvest,” says CEO of SA Harvest, Alan Browde. SA Harvest is based on Australia’s world-renowned OzHarvest, which was started by ex-South African entrepreneur Ronni Kahn in 2004, and is also being replicated in the U.K., Thailand and New Zealand.

Alan says that while there are many people and organisations in South Africa who help in the rescuing and distribution of food, there isn’t really anybody who is taking a leadership role in alerting the country to the absolute urgency of reducing hunger and food waste. “We are passionate about fulfilling this role along with doing something practical about it,” he emphasises.

SA Harvest is based on four pillars:

Food rescue

SA Harvest’s modus operandi is unique in S.A. in that it uses refrigerated vehicles to collect and deliver perishable and non-perishable foods, enabling their recipient organisations to get sufficient variety to provide full and nourishing meals to their people.

Education

This is a critical arm of our business, says Alan, “We are able to raise awareness about food waste, food rescue, and food security and nutrition through sustainable and appropriate educational programmes and technologies  that, inter alia, help people to become food self-sufficient.”

Engagement

This means working together with communities to reduce their food waste and alleviating hunger in their midst and together creating successful and sustainable solutions.

Innovation

As innovators in the rescue space, SA Harvest is constantly looking for innovative solutions to combat food waste and hunger in South Africa.

SA Harvest team with donors and sponsors. Back row from left: Darren Levy, CEO of vida e caffè, Ali Conn, SA Harvest volunteer, Dodo, SA Harvest and Gidon Novick, Lucid Ventures.

Not only does SA Harvest alleviate hunger and food waste through free delivery of wholesome, quality food, there are other significant benefits that it offers, namely, savings for their beneficiary organisations who are now able to re-direct vital funding from their transport cost savings to other projects.

Another significant benefit is the protection of the environment through reducing global warming, by ensuring that good food is eaten rather than going to landfill.

Commenting at the launch, Darren Levy, CEO of vida e caffè, said, “Our partnership with SA Harvest is in line with our sustainability strategy – we are committed to our on-going ’vida e mundo’ (life & the world) journey to ensure a sustainable world for everyone and everything living on our beautiful planet.  We are proud to be a part of this fantastic initiative through which we get to lessen our impact of waste on the planet and more importantly in this instance provide meals for people far less fortunate than ourselves.”  SA Harvest collects from more than 14 vida stores in Cape Town.

SA Harvest is not only looking for food donors but also anyone wanting to give of their time and financial support. Says Browde, “We are so grateful to the donors and volunteers who have already come on board to support our cause.  These include prominent Australian philanthropist Judith Neilson, who most generously provided SA Harvest’s seed funding, SA Harvest board member and well-known, local businessman Gidon Novick, who donated our first refrigerated vehicle and, of course, vida e caffè, who have set the example for food donation – in just two months the stores have already provided 3 092 meals which equates to 928kg’s of food.”

Browde adds that it is individuals and corporates like these, that can make a significant difference to the growth and success of SA Harvest in their quest to nourish the nation.

Plans are afoot to open an SA Harvest branch in Johannesburg.

Image: Supplied

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