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Restaurants turn food waste into compost

There is no doubt Melbourne is the ‘Culinary Capital of Australia’. But is our hospitality industry the most sustainable?

Vegetable gardens are managed and tended by disadvantaged youth, who receive certified horticulture training to help future employment opportunities.

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Every year, Australians send about 200 million tonnes of food waste to landfill. That means that food waste makes up approximately 60% of our landfill, with, unfortunately, a lot of it coming from the hospitality industry.

And this is impacting our environment in a big way.

City Harvest is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to help change the way Melbourne thinks about food waste and the environment. The program encourages and promotes the use of onsite food waste composting in restaurants across Melbourne. They then collect the compost from each restaurant, and use it to grow vegetables on rooftops or public spaces within the Melbourne CBD. These vegetable gardens are managed and tended by disadvantaged youth, who receive certified horticulture training to help future employment opportunities.

The fresh produce from these gardens are supplied back to participating restaurants, creating produce from waste and effectively closing the food cycle!

A bunch of restaurants around Melbourne have already signed up to the project, including The Kettle Black, Hawthorn Common, Savoy Tavern, Kinfolk and Attica.

Head Chef Paolo Arlotta from Kinfolk says, “We are so excited to be part of the program and support a more sustainable hospitality scene in Melbourne. I really hope more restaurants and cafes will join this initiative. It is revolutionary!”

City Harvest board member Joost Bakker, well known environmental visionary, designer and restaurateur (Silo café and Greenhouse restaurant), says he dreams of a world without waste. “One day food and materials will be endlessly recyclable and all our restaurants will be creating compost for crops,” he said.
“We don’t need to wait for new technologies or look overseas for solutions. The solutions, such as City Harvest are here. All we need to do is participate.”

If you’d like to participate, or know more about the program, visit www.cityharvest.com.au or email josh@cityharvest.com.au.