News, Victoria

Food waste helps grow orchard that will feed disadvantaged

Veolia has announced it will use the circular economy of food waste to help feed disadvantaged communities in Melbourne by planting an orchard in the Mornington Peninsula.

Working with meal charity Food for Change, Veolia has donated and planted the orchard of 140 fruit trees. The trees are being nourished by compost made from Melbourne’s recycled food waste, processed at Veolia’s Natural Recovery Systems Facility.

The orchard  initiative will see old crops support the development of new ones, with the trees set to produce enough produce for 30,000 meals a year once grown.

Richard Kirkman, Veolia’s chief executive officer, said the initiative not only closes the loop on food waste but provides sustainable pathways to food equity among the disadvantaged.

“This initiative is a true demonstration of the circular economy of food waste. By using compost made from household food and green waste, we’re helping new fruit and vegetables to grow,” he said.

“Over the average 30-year lifespan of a fruit tree, we will produce one million healthy meals for those in need. There is no better outcome for our communities and environment.”

Kirkman said food waste is one of the world’s most valuable resources and should be recycled properly, where it can be given a new lease on life.

“Food scraps such as banana skins and coffee grounds can either be used as a fuel source and turned into renewable energy in a natural process called anaerobic digestion – producing biogas – or processed with green waste into high-quality compost, which can then be used in farming,” he said.

Kirkman said that organics recycling is key to delivering a circular economy in Australia.

“Food and garden organics recycling is the future of Australia’s circular economy, allowing us to sustainably give back to the land, reduce waste sent to landfill and deliver ecological transformation,” he said.

Matt Donovan, founder and chief executive officer for Food for Change, said Veolia’s support means the charity can provide the best quality produce for the community.

“The donation of compost means we don’t have to use chemical sprays or synthetic fertilisers to put nutrients back into the soil for our regenerative farming. It allows us to provide the healthiest food possible to people in need which is the ultimate goal,” he said.

“Our work wouldn’t be possible without support and donations like this one from Veolia, and we’ve very grateful,” he said.

Food For Change uses land that is donated to it to grow crops for people who seek food relief. Its program is run by volunteers and all the food produced is donated to local food charities.

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