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Image of Ronni Kanh from Food Fighter OzHarvest Documentary
Food & Hunger

'Food Fighter' Documentary Brings Food Waste Into the Limelight

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Collaborative initiatives are desperately required if Australia is to acknowledge food as a right and eliminate world hunger. Global Citizen campaigns on the UN Development Goals, including the target of zero hunger. You can take action here.

Food waste throughout Australia is a disaster of colossal proportions.

Thankfully, Ronni Kahn, the Australian entrepreneur behind Australia’s leading food-rescue organisation OzHarvest and the protagonist in the new documentary Food Fighter, has made ending food waste her life mission.

Filmed over two years and across four continents, Food Fighter follows Kahn's crusade against the global food waste scandal. The independent documentary shows Kahn rubbing shoulders with United Nations ambassadors, big business executives, and Australian politicians as she exposes an inconvenient truth: that more 5 million tonnes of edible food is discarded in Australia every year, while up to 3.6 million Aussies suffer from food insecurity.

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Directed by Dan Goldberg, the documentary allows audiences to join Kahn as she travels to Thailand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom to fight against government inaction and unnecessary airline and supermarket food standards.

“Addressing this issue is long overdue. The time has come to stop talking about it and take action,” Kahn told Global Citizen. “Food is so precious, wasting it makes no sense — economically, environmentally, and ethically — but we all find ourselves doing it.”

Kahn founded OzHarvest in 2004 after she discovered she was contributing to Australia’s annual $20 billion food waste bill in her work, running a successful corporate events company producing million-dollar dinners.

Since its establishment, OzHarvest has delivered more than 90 million meals to more than 1,300 charities. The organisation saves more than 180 tonnes of food every week from more than 3,000 commercial outlets.  

“The statistics relating to global food waste and food insecurity worldwide are staggering — a third of food produced is wasted while over 800 million people do not have enough to eat. Not to mention the costs; economic losses are close to $940 billion each year. Huge amounts of resources in food production are wasted and the negative impact on the environment is significant as food waste generates 8% of the global greenhouse gases,” Kahn said.

Following the film, OzHarvest launched the Fight Food Waste campaign to give families information around how best to tackle food waste at home.

“Everyone can make a difference by getting into good habits when they buy and consume food at home. Look at what you have in your fridge and in your pantry before you shop, buy only what you need, store food correctly, and cook with what you have," Kahn said.

Across Australia, more than 5.3 million tonnes of food that is intended for human consumption is wasted from households and the commercial and industrial sectors each year.

The Foodbank 'Rumbling Tummies: Child Hunger in Australia' report released in July revealed more than 3 million Australians — including 1 in 5 children — have been food insecure in the last 12 months.

“The biggest challenge as a nation right now is acknowledging that here in the lucky country we've got 3.6 million Australians in the last 12 months who were food insecure,” CEO of Foodbank Brianna Casey stated on the Insight episode 'Hunger' on SBS last month. “That is not OK in the lucky country. The demand for food relief in this country right now is skyrocketing.”

The trend is similar worldwide. If one-quarter of the food currently lost or wasted could be saved, it would be enough to feed 870 million hungry people. If food waste were a country, it would be the third-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after the United States and China.

For Kahn, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 — to halve food waste by 2030 — is an ambitious goal, but one she is committed to achieving.

“Tackling global food waste is highlighted in the film Food Fighter and is now finally on the national agenda of many countries. In Australia, I have been fighting food waste for 14 years and have spent the last few years biting at the heels of Government to get on board," she stated. "Halving food waste by 2030 is a big job and requires change at all levels of society, but it can start in our homes, today.”

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Her directive for Australians who may feel helpless to change things?

“We can all start by making changes at home, but to influence change at higher levels our voices need to be heard. We need to consider our actions beyond the country of our birth or the country we reside in. How we treat our local community, our local city, our own country has global ramifications," she said. "Write, tweet, call, post things on social media — just make some noise and show you care!”