LEETON and district vegetable growers have been urged to support Foodbank Australia.
The call comes after a recent visit to the district by Foodbank chief executive officer for the NSW and ACT, Gerry Andersen.
AUSVEG has encouraged the region’s vegetable growers to donate excess produce to the hunger relief organisation.
Spokeswoman Dimi Kyriakou said Foodbank was able to deliver 166,000 meals per day to 2400 charities and 1200 schools for distrbution to people in need of food relief.
“Foodbank is the missing link between an over-supply of produce in the Australian vegetable industry and the need to feed hungry families across Australia,” Ms Kyriakou said.
“One of the biggest challenges facing the Australian vegetable industry is over-supply in the domestic market.
“To help overcome this issue, several leading vegetable producers have already teamed up with Foodbank to deliver fresh produce from paddock to plate to countless families across the country.”
Ms Kyriakou encouraged more vegetable growers to join the cause and donate any excess vegetables to Foodbank to ensure high quality produce doesn’t go to waste.
Last year, Foodbank distributed 33 million kilograms of food and groceries, which is the equivalent to 60 million meals to Australian welfare agencies, charities and schools.
“Donated vegetables will be used in prepared meals, food hampers and emergency parcels, with more than 30 per cent of the food heading to rural and regional areas to support local communities,” Ms Kyriakou said.
As a registered charity, Foodbank is also able to provide a tax donation receipt to any grower who donates produce, making contributions tax deductible.
Representatives from Foodbank are able to pick up produce directly from farms and markets, making it easier for growers around the country to get involved in the partnership. “Given Foodbank’s widespread presence in every state and the Northern Territory, as well as distribution centres in all state capitals and a number of regional areas, this will make it easier for growers to work with the organisation to send their excess produce to hungry families,” Ms Kyriakou said. “The opportunity for Australia’s vegetable growers to work with an organisation like Foodbank has a two-pronged benefit: it will help growers ensure that excess produce does not go to waste and allow more families across Australia to enjoy the high quality, fresh vegetables from our own backyard.”
During the recent visit to Leeton Mr Andersen spoke to growers who were contributing.
“Unfortunately the reality is the need for what we do continues to grow all the time,” Mr Andersen said.