South African charity rescues food waste to feed poor
A charity organization in South Africa is working with food producers to feed people who suffer from food insecurity by redistributing prepared and perishable surplus food that is still wholesome and nutritious.
NOSH Food Rescue NPC (NOSH) has rescued around 880 tons of produce in the past 10 months, around four times more than over the whole of 2019. It has provided over 50,000 meals to soup kitchens and feeding schemes over the past 5 years.
Around one third of food produced in South Africa ends up in landfill, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature, amounting to around 10 million tonnes of waste per year.
Charities have long been lobbying the government to revisit food redistribution laws in a country where more than 11 million people went to bed on an empty stomach even before the pandemic.
"People throw away food that we can make use of," said community centre manager Khetiwe Mkhalithi, who has seen an increase in those needing to be fed since coronavirus hit.
Sellers often have to be convinced to donate apparently gone-off produce for fear of litigation. But traders have been more forthcoming since coronavirus hit, despite the risk of being fined for giving away food deemed "unfit for consumption".
After convincing the seller to donate480 bags of browning cabbage heads rejected by food inspectors, Van Linge ushered in a small team of volunteers to lug out the pallets before market authorities could intervene.
"Normally people regard a cabbage like this as rotten," said Jane Gqozo, 43, a former restaurant worker who now manages the warehouse.
"They don't know you can rescue these vegetables and give them to someone else."