I had just finished photographing a building in Stirling last week when I saw Natasha delivering milk into the cafe I was in. “Yay” I thought “a woman doing a job I had only ever seen men doing”. I watched her and the staff in the cafe have a friendly chat, like I imagine they would every morning. I then seized the moment and asked to photograph her to show women around the world the variety of work choices they may not have considered.
Natasha started working in the Milk industry 14 years ago with her partner at the time but she was mainly in an administration capacity. They were contracted to Lion Nathan delivering all things dairy and juice into an array of businesses in the Adelaide Hills area.
Over the past 6 years things have altered, the partner has moved on and Natasha has fought to keep going on her own. Now days she packs, drives the truck and delivers herself with the help of two young lads.
When asked by her friends why she didn’t just sell the contract on, she says “I can’t really think of a good reason to give it up, I’m certainly not sick of it yet”. In fact, she quite enjoys the physical challenge and she appreciates the friendly contact with all of the different shop keepers. She is the first to say she doesn’t have the muscle mass of a man but she works very hard and gets her job done, enjoys it and brings smiles to the faces of the Hills folk.
If you believe good food shouldn’t go to waste, then you will appreciate Ronni Kahn’s mission.
I had the privilege of meeting and photographing Ronni for an exhibition at the Museum of Australian Democracy (MoAD) in Canberra in 2011. Ronni and the whole crew were moved to ‘feel good’ tears as she told us her story.
In the process of questioning the purpose of her life, Ronni visited a friend and mentor in South Africa, and went to visit an aids clinic in Soweto her friend had set-up. As they travelled through the city her friend mentioned she was responsible for electricity in Soweto. To this news, Ronni thought “Wow, what must it feel like to know you have made an impact to over 1 million people?” Once she saw the Aids Clinic, Ronni knew her life would never be the same, she knew she wanted to make a significant contribution to society.
Ronni had been in the event industry and experienced first hand the food wastage from events. On occasions, she would hand deliver her left over food to charities and always felt good about doing so but with the concern about food wastage and people going hungry in Australia she thought there must be a better way. She then set-up the food rescue charity OzHarvest and had food legislation changed throughout the country enabling her to do this.
Food rescue is not the half eaten sandwich, it’s the food that has never touched the plate! The food which is left over in the kitchen or on the shelves that wasn’t sold before closing time or the excess food left over from an event, meeting in a boardroom or catering on a film shoot for example.
“Food is so much more than just filling our tummies, it’s about nutrition, it’s about nourishment, it’s about caring, it’s about support”
The second impact of OzHarvest’s contribution to Australia and the world, Ronni could never have imagined is for every kilogram of food OzHarvest rescues, saves 2kg in methane gas and 143 litres of water. To date they have saved over 15 million kilograms of food that was destined for landfill.
OzHarvest collects good quality food from over 2000 commercial outlets and delivers it to over 800 charities with their fleet of 30+ highly visible yellow vans and has fed more than 45 million meals to people in need across most of Australia.
“In our society and our wonderful democracy of Australia, I think that individuals have the opportunity every single day to find a way in their lives to make a difference” stresses Ronni. This week is National Volunteer Week and Ronni knows only too well the value of volunteers in our society and the unlimited personal rewards volunteers receive when they volunteer.
“Not a day goes by where I don’t feel moved or blessed by the impact OzHarvest has had.”
It’s no surprise Ronni Kahn was named ‘Australian Local Hero’ in the 2010 Australian Of The Year Awards.
At the age of 15, I remember horse riding with Silvia around Basket Range and eating fresh apples from the trees. In fact, most of my memories of Silvia involve food and the things she’s made from them like ‘sugar’ for removing leg hair, an awesome honey facial scrub and even just this morning, drinking the ‘Winter Green’ raw honey mixed with lemon to help my sore throat (and it did!).
I think it’s fair enough to say Silvia has always being into fresh produce and concocting all sorts of wonders from them. It’s not hard to believe she’s where she’s at today…..opening the supremely updated ‘Seasonal Garden Café’ at the, to be envied address, No.100 Mt Barker Rd, Hahndorf!
Silvia originally opened the Seasonal Garden Cafe in 2012 after selling her successful Honey Lady business, she quickly out grew her first café and moved next door to bigger premises which she has once again out grown.
Silvia is dedicated to good seasonal produce, supporting local farmers and food producers as a Premium Food and Wine Ambassador for South Australian and a keen advocate for Ozharvest. She is in the perfect spot to elevate this platform and I’m sure there is a cooking show and a book in her yet!
If you live in Australia and like your recipes with local ingredients and metric measures, there’s no need to scroll the Internet for hours because Jo Hughes has solved your problem. Her search engine ‘Australian Kitchen’ is a window into the world of Australian food bloggers and their unrivalled recipes – all in one easy to use website. Jo loves food, organising and technology and has created a business encompassing all three without it feeling like real work! In between her work, being a wife and raising three boys under five, she’s always bringing new plates to the table to test the calibre of recipes she’s uncovered. It’s definitely my go to for recipe inspiration. https://australian.kitchen