Ronni Kahn AO
Founder & CEO of OzHarvest
Kahn founded OzHarvest in 2004, initially with the support of people in the restaurant and catering industries in Sydney.It is a non-denominational charity that rescues excess food which would otherwise be discarded and distributes it to charities supporting the vulnerable around Australia. After lobbying for changes to civil liability and health legislation that prevented food donors from supplying excess food, the legislation was changed in four Australian states starting in New South Wales in 2005. Kahn says OzHarvest "delivers the equivalent of 25 million meals a year that would otherwise be dumped".
Kahn was behind the creation of the NEST program – Nutrition, Education & Sustenance Training – which aims to educate vulnerable Australians about nutrition and healthy eating, providing valuable life skills to disadvantaged and marginalised communities.In her advocacy, Kahn highlights the broader global issues affecting food waste. In 2017 OzHarvest for the fifth year partnered with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) on the Think.Eat.Save Campaign. In December 2014 Ronni travelled to attend the Sustainable Innovation Forum in Lima, Peru as part of the Think.Eat.Save campaign - held at the margins of the UNFCCC Climate Change Conference.
The event served to remind delegates of the level that food waste contributes to dangerous greenhouse gasses which affect climate change and the amount of resources squandered when food is wasted. She has said that "If food waste was a country, it would be the third biggest emitter of carbon and methane gas after the US and China".
In 2018, Kahn was looking for a location in Sydney to establish a refettorio in collaboration with Italian chef and restaurateur Massimo Bottura, whom she had met in 2016 and who established a series not-for-profit restaurants that aim “to empower communities to fight food waste through social inclusion”. The plan is for OzHarvest to look after the site, operations, volunteers and supply of rescued food as well as communicate with agencies that supply food to people in need.