(11.30am, Martin Place)
Thank you, Stuart, [Gregor, MC]. Hello, everyone. Welcome to Think Eat Save for 2015.
2015 marks the third collaboration between OzHarvest, the UN Environment Program and the UN Food & Agriculture Association to tackle the increasingly important issues around food, food security and food waste.
Today, in Sydney and cities across Australia, chefs and volunteers will work together to feed over 10,000 members of the public with a free hot meal created from surplus produce that otherwise would have become landfill.
It highlights the fact that each year, Australians throw out between $8 and $10 billion worth of food - something like four million tonnes of it, which invariably ends up in landfill.
Our country alone produces enough food to feed about 60 million people, yet there are two million Australians who still rely on food relief each year. Agencies say they struggle to meet the demand, with almost 90 per cent saying they cannot feed as many as come to them.
Even so, for every five shopping bags of food taken into Australian homes, the equivalent of one bag of food will end up in the garbage, and the wastage costs Australians a staggering $10 billion a year.
We can't afford to go on doing this. We can't afford it in terms of the social injustice that it is, and we can't afford it in terms of the environmental vandalism that it is.
OzHarvest was founded to help remedy that situation, taking unwanted food, food that otherwise would go to landfill, and turning it into healthy and tasty meals to deliver to people in need.
Food and nutrition are fundamental needs we all share. We all share, too, the fundamental need for a healthy and sustainable planet.
So I urge all Sydneysiders to support Think East Save. Use social media to make your personal pledge to reduce your own food waste and make it a year-round pledge - not just for today. Involve your families, your friends, your community and make food wastage a thing of the past.