OzHarvest opens new food relief market

3rd August 2020 | Eativity editors

Australia’s leading food rescue organisation OzHarvest is opening a new food market – The OzHarvest Market Waterloo – as part of its new emergency services to address the drastic rise in demand for food relief. In collaboration with City of Sydney and NSW Government, a former local grocery store in the Waterloo Estate has been transformed into a food relief market to support the vulnerable community in inner Sydney.

Following the successful trial of this initiative through an OzHarvest “pop up” Hamper Hub, which distributed 600 bags of free groceries and pre-cooked meals to local residents once a week throughout June and July, the new market will be a more permanent fixture, and will open from Friday to Monday from 10am to 2pm.

The need for food relief has never been higher.

OzHarvest founder and CEO Ronni Kahn AO says the new market has been made possible thanks to partnerships with City of Sydney and the NSW Land and Housing Corporation to take over a long-term lease at the site and serve the local community.

“The impact of COVID-19 has seen food relief hit an all-time high, with so many men, women and children experiencing food insecurity for the first time in their lives,” Kahn says.

“OzHarvest is committed to feeding as many people as possible and has expanded its services beyond the usual food rescue operations to offer new emergency food relief. We know the importance of providing a nourishing meal. It’s more than just food. It means that families who are struggling will be able to take stronger steps to rebuild their lives.”

OzHarvest founder and CEO Ronni Kahn with Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore.

This will be OzHarvest’s second supermarket, following the successful OzHarvest Market in Kensington in south-eastern Sydney, which opened in April 2017. Starting out as a pop-up project, the Kensington Market was based on a “take what you need, give if you can” philosophy. The market now feeds more than 300 customers a day, and during lockdown distributed 1000 free food hampers each week.

The impact of the pandemic has seen OzHarvest introduce a range of new emergency food relief services, including regular weekly Hamper Hubs for international students, a mobile market distributing food to regional and bushfire-affected communities and pre-cooked meals by OzHarvest chefs and external hospitality partners.

The impact of COVID-19 has seen usual rescued food volumes fluctuate dramatically, and for the first time in 16 years, OzHarvest is purchasing food, especially non-perishable items, to help meet the increased demand. The food in this new market will be predominantly purchased with the City of Sydney funding, with the intention to transition to a rescued food model down the track.