FEAST featured in delicious. on Sunday magazine

OzHarvest is so excited for our new primary school program FEAST to be featured in delicious. on Sunday magazine. Ronni Kahn and FEAST ambassador Colin Fassnidge talked about the importance of inspiring kids to eat healthy, waste less and becoming change-makers.

Read the interview below and sign up your school now!

OzHarvest teams up with Colin Fassnidge to launch a trailblazing food waste program for kids

On its milestone 15th birthday, food-rescue charity OzHarvest rolls out a new education initiative for schools designed to change the future. Anthony Huckstep goes back to class to get with the program.

To quote Whitney Houston, “Children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.” Ronni Kahn, the powerhouse behind food-rescue charity OzHarvest, seems to share the sentiment. To spread the message about food waste, sustainability and nutrition, Kahn has developed FEAST (Food Education And Sustainability Training), an education program designed to inspire kids to eat healthy food, waste less and be ‘change-makers in their local communities’.
“I realised the hardest thing to change is people’s behaviour as adults,” says Kahn. “If we could engage kids from youth, they can take messages home to parents and create change themselves.”
The program involves year five and six kids (aged 11 and 12) in hands-on cooking classes. “Like any good feast, it’s designed to be fun, engaging and filled with good food,” says Kahn.
delicious. on Sunday FEAST with Colin Fassnidge and Ronni Kahn

FEAST started last year with a pilot program in four Sydney primary schools (Narwee Public School, Beverly Hills North Public School, Belmore South Public School and Lakemba Public School). It included training 15 teachers to educate 384 students from 14 classes.

By the end of the pilot 97 per cent of kids said they had a good understanding of food waste and its impact on their community and the environment. This year the program has been available throughout New South Wales.

“So far, we’ve trained 102 teachers to deliver the program to 2,511 students from 103 classes in 42 schools.”

From January next year, FEAST will be rolled out nationally and OzHarvest is registering schools for interest now. Aligned to the Australian Curriculum STEM Learning Areas, the program runs for seven to 10 weeks.

According to the Department of Health, one in four Australian children are obese or overweight and many don’t eat enough fresh fruit and vegetables, which can lead to poor concentration and affects the ability to learn. The National Health Survey 2017-18 found only six per cent of school-age children  ate the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables – a statistic the FEAST program aims to reverse with its hands-on, practical learning.

“We aren’t just feeding them information,” says Kahn. “They actually explore their own recipes made from food that would otherwise go to waste and design and produce their own school cookbook, too. It brings to life everything the students have learnt about food waste and healthy eating and showcases their creative design and delicious recipes,” says Kahn.

“They’re all fully immersed in the design and production of the book, so it’s a wonderful sense of achievement.

At the end of the program, the kids are so excited when they present their cookbook to a school assembly.

“The students at Belmore South invited me to their cookbook assembly, which included a full MasterChef -style cook-off, complete with judging panel.”

If engagement is a sign of success, then FEAST seems to be winning.

“Ultimately, we hope FEAST helps to achieve our vision to build a world free of hunger with zero food waste,” says Kahn. “We hope that by firing up the students’ imagination to create recipes from food that would otherwise be wasted, they learn both the value of food and the importance of not wasting it.”

Chef and delicious. contributor Colin Fassnidge, an ambassador of the FEAST program, agrees the key to change starts with the next generation.

“I’ve been a big fan and ambassador of OzHarvest for some time and then I had a little thing called kids on top of that,” says Fassnidge. “And I don’t care what anyone says, kids will drive change in your world.

“FEAST is fantastic because it gives them an understanding of food waste and how to feed themselves at a grass-roots level. As a chef and father, I believe it’s essential to teach children the value of food and the importance of not wasting it, and this program makes it fun and inspires creativity when they invent their own recipes. It’ll help the kids change their parents’ bad habits, too.

“Ronni has inspired me for years, and now she’s inspiring the next generation. We’re now finding the next Ronni!”

Schoolchildren have been leading the charge in calling for climate action and they could lead the way here, too.

“When it comes to fighting food waste, kids are the future changemakers. They’re extremely passionate about protecting the planet,” says Kahn.

“While food rescue fills bellies, education brings about change.”

The stats
• In Australia, of the four million people who experience food relief each year, a quarter are children.
• One child in every classroom goes to bed or school hungry every day.
Food waste costs the economy around $20 billion a year.
• Throwing away one burger wastes the same amount of water as a 90-minute shower.
Food rotting in landfill produces methane gas, which contributes to climate change. If food waste were a country, it would be the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases.
• Half of all food wasted comes from the home so we can all help.
• Nationally, one in four children are overweight or obese and many don’t eat enough fresh fruit and veg, which affects how they learn and can lead to poor physical and mental health.