She is the epitome of humility and grace in her tireless work to provide dignity, full tummies and a smile to people in need.
We first met Ronni at a talk where she was inspiring business women to make a difference in their future careers. Her personal stories ensured there was not a dry eye in the house.
Afterwards we had what turned out to be a life-changing chat. We weren’t quite sure where our journey was taking us, but we were inspired and Ronni’s kind words and warm cuddle fuelled our motivation to give it a go.
So we are thrilled to launch our first Do Good(for the hood)er interview with Ronni.
Where’s your ‘hood?
That’s a good question! I’ve had many ‘hoods’ from growing up in South Africa, living in Israel and Australia has been home now for 30years. My ‘hood is beautiful Bondi.
Why it’s so good?
I love the sunrise, ocean swims, the beach vibe, the markets, the gorgeous food served at so many local cafes and restaurants – and I’m constantly bumping into people I know!
It’s a great community feel and my gorgeous grandson lives very close by, so I absolutely love that!
1: Tell me about your campaign
The statistics for food waste are staggering, but the solutions are simple and there is no greater force than people power. Fight Food Waste is OzHarvest’s new consumer campaign which aims to address the problem from the bottom up by changing behaviour at home with how you look, buy, store and cook food.
The campaign has been developed to support the release of the independent documentary film Food Fighter which follows my journey to tackle food waste. We want everyone to feel inspired to join the movement at fightfoodwaste.org.
2: What ‘moment’ started this journey?
As soon as I started OzHarvest, I knew I had found my destiny and life’s work.
3: how did the idea grow?
I originally thought it would take about a month, but it actually took a year!
To begin with everyone was happy to donate food, but that changed quickly when food donors thought they may be sued. So, my first mission was to make it possible to allow businesses to donate food without fear of liability. In 2005, with the help of pro bono lawyers we successfully lobbied to have the Civil Liabilities Amendment Act changed in NSW, other states followed shortly afterwards.
Ensuring a sustainable stream of funding is a constant challenge. OzHarvest has grown enormously over the last few years and if we want to continue making an impact, more investment is needed. I’m always pushing for how we can do more to deliver on core purpose to ‘Nourish our Country’ – whether it’s expanding food rescue operations, adding new education programs or innovative ways to reduce food waste and feed hungry people.
4: Any Unexpected delights along the way?
A magic moment for me is watching our Nourish students graduate. After six months with OzHarvest, these vulnerable young people who have often never finished school, stand proudly in chef whites clutching their Certificate II in Hospitality. I can see the difference we have made to their lives and know that they have hope, confidence and a pathway to a better future.
I was delighted to see the reaction from media outlets around the world who all covered the story and our Facebook video has been viewed over 8 million times!
But most importantly the Market has provided an avenue for anyone in Sydney who might be struggling financially to have access to a source of food provided with dignity and care.
5: How can we get involved?
Food is so precious, wasting it makes no sense – economically, environmentally and ethically – but we all find ourselves doing it.
OzHarvest has been fighting food waste for 14 years and now it’s time to get everyone on board by making a few simple changes to the way you buy and consume food at home.
Go to fightfoodwaste.org to sign up and join the movement. Be a part of the positive change!
6: Where to next?
To spread the message further we have developed a new nutrition and sustainability program that aligns with the national education curriculum called FEAST which we plan to roll out to primary schools to inspire kids to eat healthy, waste less and be change makers in their local community.
OzHarvest has already spread its wings overseas in New Zealand, the UK and South Africa. I’m always looking for new ways to tackle the global issue of food waste by introducing our unique model to new markets.
7: Tips & Adivce
People always ask me how I do it, I look them in the eye and say,
‘The best time to do something is now, let’s just get on with it!’
Until you do it, you can’t actually explain the energy that fuels you.
8: your legacy
What do you hope your legacy will be?
When I started OzHarvest, my intention was to create something meaningful that would outlast me and always make a positive and impactful difference to the world. I hope that is what my legacy will be.
9: staying positive
I am particularly fortunate that my disposition is very positive and I have trained myself to look for the good in every situation. So on a grey and cloudy day – the sun hasn’t gone anywhere – it is just hiding behind the clouds! That makes me smile and keeps me positive.
10: favourite quote
‘To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best to make you everybody else, means to fight the hardest human battle ever and never to stop fighting’
Well there you have it, a little bit of Ronni sunshine to brighten your day. Thank you Ronni!
12 months ago it was Ronni’s words that gave us the nudge we needed to build our volunteer group 5 for Ryde, that led to sharing this process with other communities across Australia.
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