Waste not, want not

Nadia - - CONTENTS -

Zero-waste Kiwi food­ies show us how it’s done

Be­fore you throw that stale bread or over-ripe banana in the bin, con­sider mak­ing some­thing tasty in­stead. From com­post cook­ies to three-course meals, these zero-waste food­ies show us how it’s done

Ad­dress­ing hunger and tack­ling food waste. That’s Fair Food

NZ’S vi­sion. The West Auck­land or­gan­i­sa­tion’s ethos en­cap­su­lates the ob­jec­tives of the food-res­cue move­ment, high­light­ing the para­dox that sees peo­ple go hun­gry while per­fectly good pro­duce is thrown out ev­ery day.

Fair Food NZ and other or­gan­i­sa­tions, such as Welling­ton’s Kai­bosh, Christchurch’s City Har­vest and Ki­wi­har­vest based in Dunedin and Auck­land, are work­ing to re­dis­tribute some of that food to peo­ple in need. ‘Ugly’ or less-than-per­fect pro­duce, food near­ing its ex­pi­ra­tion date and other un­sold items are col­lected and do­nated to food banks and com­mu­nity groups to dis­trib­ute.

A few innovative busi­nesses and not-for-prof­its are also us­ing left­overs in creative ways. Dunedin’s Coach House Bou­tique Bak­ery has made a name for it­self with its zero-waste stance and de­li­cious baked goods. Owner Vic­to­ria Madi­son makes oat­cakes us­ing spent grains from Emer­son’s Brew­ery and ‘com­post cook­ies’ with left­over fruit and vege peel­ings and other items des­tined for the bin. She for­ages for el­der­flower to make kom­bucha, swaps cook­ies for im­per­fect pro­duce (ideal for bak­ing) at farm­ers’ mar­kets, and uses left­over whey from Evans­dale Cheese to make caramel fudge, fer­mented lemon­ade and ri­cotta.

Vic­to­ria be­came aware of the is­sue of food waste while work­ing in Queen­stown’s hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try. “Food waste is not just about what’s not be­ing utilised in the kitchen,” she says. “It’s also due to things like por­tion sizes, which are so ridicu­lously mas­sive nowa­days.” As a sin­gle par­ent she learnt to be “care­ful and creative” in or­der to re­duce costs and en­sure her kids ate their veges. She fo­cused on food waste dur­ing her culi­nary arts de­gree at Otago Polytech­nic, and launched her busi­ness Re­vival Food Co at the Otago Farm­ers’ Mar­ket dur­ing her fi­nal year of study.

Last year, Vic­to­ria swapped the mar­ket stall for a his­toric build­ing in her back­yard – a former coach house that had been re­lo­cated from the city cen­tre years ago. The Coach House Bou­tique Bak­ery op­er­ates on Thurs­days and Satur­days, and serves as a base for Vic­to­ria’s cater­ing busi­ness. “Great taste, no waste” is her motto. “It’s about be­ing creative with your left­overs,” she says.

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Com­post queen Vic­to­ria Madi­son bakes up a storm us­ing ingredients des­tined for the rub­bish bin. She sells her cakes, pies, cook­ies and more at the Coach House Bou­tique Bak­ery sit­u­ated in a his­toric out­build­ing in her Dunedin back­yard.

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