TAKE a bow vegetable and fruit growers.
Charity organisation Foodbank has acknowledged the fresh produce industry's contributions to feeding the hungry in Australia with a Foodbank Award at Parliament House, Canberra, earlier this month
The awards were presented at the Australian Food and Grocery Council Industry Leaders Forum by assistant minister for social services and multicultural affairs, Senator Zed Seselja, to organisations that helped to raise the awareness of food insecurity, provide more key staple products and build the infrastructure required to get the food to where it is needed.
Ausveg director Geoff Knuckey, PMA Australia-New Zealand CEO Darren Keating and Costa Farms and Logistics general manager Shanon Williams were on hand to accept the award, which is known as the Purple Beret Award.
Foodbank is Australia’s largest hunger relief organisation.
Through collaboration with the Australian food and grocery industry, which provides surplus and donated product, Foodbank is able to deliver 166,000 meals per day to 2400 charities and 1500 schools for distribution to people in need of food relief.
Last year, it delivered 9.5 million kilograms of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Foodbank Australia’s chair, Tony Froggatt, said the group asks a lot of its food and grocery partners because it cannot achieve anything without them.
"Unfailingly they answer the call," he said.
"It’s always difficult to single out a few amongst our many partners, but I’m pleased to say the 2016 recipients are truly worthy of the accolades.”
Awarded for "distinguished service in fighting hunger", the Australian fresh produce industry was acknowledged for doubling donations of fresh fruits and vegetables in the past five years in spite of difficult times including industry volatility, adverse weather events and a tough economic environment.
Representing part of the fresh produce industry, Ausveg acting CEO Simon Bolles said vegetable growers felt passionately about what they produced and ensuring all Australians were well-nourished.
"Working with Foodbank to ensure that no fresh produce goes to waste makes perfect sense,” he said.
“Australia’s vegetable growers have played a key role in donating excess produce to Foodbank this year, in a bid to help families in need benefit from over-supply in the industry.”
“One of the biggest challenges facing the Australian vegetable industry is oversupply in the domestic market.
"To help overcome this issue, Australian vegetable growers have been donating to Foodbank to ensure that their fresh produce goes directly to those who need it most."