SecondBite celebrates five years of food saved

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 25th November 2010

Food charity SecondBite yesterday celebrated its fifth birthday, and a total of 3.5 million nutritious meals provided to those in need – representing around 1,700 tonnes of fresh food saved from landfill.

SecondBite is a not-for-profit organisation which sources quality surplus fresh food that would otherwise go to waste, and redistributes it to agencies and people in need. Each week SecondBite delivers fresh produce to over 160 agencies throughout Victoria and Tasmania.

“SecondBite has succeeded primarily because of the simplicity of the business model. It takes about 20 seconds to describe to someone what we do. It’s not rocket science,” said SecondBite founder and Chairman Ian Carson.

“Back when we started, there was so much food going to waste,” he said. “It’s really a question of how much we can do. There is unlimited food, and there’s unlimited need.”

Katy Barfield, Executive Director of SecondBite, says that SecondBite’s partner agencies are on the front line of food poverty and without them thousands of people would go without a daily meal.

“I find it shocking, in a society as wealthy as ours, that so many people still have so little. I believe it is a collective obligation to ensure that all people have access to fresh nutritious food to enable them to have the best possible opportunity for improved health, social inclusion, prospects of employment and equity,” she said

“Every year Australians throw out more than $5 billion worth of food, and while over 11,500 tonnes of fresh food is driven to landfill every month in Victoria, thousands of families struggle to put a meal on the table.”

“Back when we started, it was just me, a phone, a desk and a Toyota Yaris for the zucchini,” said Barfield.

“This year SecondBite will collect and redistribute 900 tonnes of fresh nutritious food to community meal programs in Victoria and Tasmania, which is enough to provide 1.8 million hearty nutritious meals and we are delighted to help bridge the gap between surplus and need.”

SecondBite sources its fresh food from a wide variety of caterers, retailers, fresh food markets, supermarkets and growers, collecting excess produce and distributing it to food organisations like Fairshare and community groups such as St Mary’s House of Welcome, who turn it into hampers, distributed meals and catering.

Barfield said that while they are very proud of what has been achieved in this time, much more needs to be done to ensure fresh food is not wasted.

SecondBite has also invested in research into some of the more complex issues surrounding food security, resulting in a number of revolutionary programs that have been launched in the last five years.

One of these is SecondBite Community Connect, a ground breaking model of redistributing surplus food to community groups, where SecondBite partners a local community food program with a local food donor to enable nutritious surplus fresh food to be collected and distributed to people in need.

“With the support from SecondBite, SecondBite Community Connect brings willing partners together to mitigate food waste and at the same time improve food access to vulnerable members of the local community”, said Barfield.

“It’s hard to believe that thousands of men, women, and children still go to bed hungry in Australia,” says Robert Clifford, Victorian State Manager at EPICURE, a catering company who supplied over 70 organisations with its excess food last year. “We congratulate SecondBite on their fifth year of making a positive difference to people in need and look forward to continuing to pursue our mutual goal; to provide everyone the opportunity to eat fresh and nutritious food.”