SA Harvest, the national food rescue and advocacy organisation on a mission to end hunger in South Africa, is celebrating having passed the 5 million mark in meals delivered, a milestone made more remarkable by the fact that it has been achieved in just 18 months since its launch in October 2019.
Over 1,500 tonnes of nutritious food has been rescued from ending up in landfill and delivered to food vulnerable communities in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, the Free State and Mpumalanga, at an average rate of around 277 000 meals per month.
From its first beneficiary, The Service Dining Rooms, in Cape Town to now more than 80 grassroots community-based organisations around the country, SA Harvest’s growth has been exponential and, it says, this is attributable to the caring and generosity of their food donors and funders and the enormous dedication, sacrifice and commitment of their beneficiary organisations.
Alan Browde, founder and CEO of SA Harvest, says that five million meals is just the beginning. “This milestone is only one aspect of a holistic view of ending hunger in South Africa. Although feeding the hungry is a vital response to the current crisis – 19 million people going to sleep hungry every night – we accept that charity, in itself, cannot end hunger. To accomplish this, we need to work collaboratively with all relevant stakeholders to change the systemic root-causes of hunger. In light of this, SA Harvest has a three-pillar strategy: Food Rescue and Systemic Intervention underpinned by a bespoke digital platform to ensure, firstly, transparency, safety and efficiency within our own organisation and, secondly, transparency, efficiency and effective collaboration within the food space generally.
Browde explains that there is a surplus of good food that is wasted at the farming, manufacturing, wholesaler, retailer, and consumer household levels. Shockingly, 10 million tonnes of food is wasted annually in South Africa, which is enough to feed all our food-vulnerable people three nutritious meals a day for more than a year. SA Harvest collects this surplus from food donors before it spoils or ends up in landfill, using a fleet of refrigerated trucks and an innovative technology platform, which helps in finding the appropriate logistics solutions where necessary, managing the warehouse operation professionally, and tracking and tracing food donations. This rescued food is packaged into nutritious food bundles and delivered to vetted beneficiaries where it is used to create meals for vulnerable communities.
Vital to SA Harvest’s mission to end hunger are its core focus areas, namely its unwavering focus on delivering nutrition to its beneficiaries, its advanced logistics systems, capable, talented team, and strict hygiene controls and protocols.
“We know that it is possible to end hunger and our mission is to do exactly that. We’re excited about future ventures, unfolding technological innovations, opportunities for collaboration and systemic interventions,” says Browde.
Airline entrepreneur and chairman of SA Harvest, Gidon Novick, adds, “It’s quite astounding what the SA Harvest team has accomplished in such a short time. Of course, there is still much to do to accomplish the lofty goal of ending hunger in our country. I totally support the idea that to be successful requires a holistic approach and, with the number of excellent projects being implemented by the team, I’m happy that our benefactors can rest assured that they are making a significant contribution to a more just, productive, safe and happier South Africa.