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Founder of African Marmalade, Siphiwe Sithole is so much more than a farmer who grows and distributes fruit and vegetables from around the continent. Picture: Supplied

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Too many people go to bed hungry and we waste about 10 million of the 31 million tons of food South Africa produces a year. Between these two facts lies a solution that puts the compassion back into our food chain.

On December 2 at 11am, City Press and the European Union Delegation to SA will host a webinar, There’s No Such Thing as Waste: A Compassionate Approach to the Food Chain, in partnership with Chefs with Compassion.

The national lockdown exacerbated hunger in the country. But while the number of hungry South Africans is difficult to pin down, The Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA) estimates that 14 million people go to bed hungry.

Locally and globally countries, companies, charities and individuals across the food chain are making changes to ensure that our abundance doesn’t go to waste, but instead is redirected to those in need.

Chef Arnold Tanzer, co-founder of Chefs with Compassion is passionate about saving food and helping people think differently about waste. Picture: Supplied
After collecting the rescued food, Zizwe Kheswa’s team at Soweto-based NPO Rofhiwa Africa clean and sort the food for cooking and distribution. Picture: Supplied
A selection of rescued food at the Chefs with Compassion warehouse, which will be shared and distributed among 31 hubs to provide meals for those in need. Picture: Gayle Edmunds

On September 29, The CGCSA launched the South African food loss and waste voluntary agreement which commits food manufacturers and retailers to reducing food waste to achieve the United Nation’s sustainable development goal (SDG) to halve global food waste by 2030. This agreement was co-funded by the European Union through the SA-EU Dialogue Facility.

Chefs with Compassion, born out of necessity during the national lockdown, is the embodiment of this goal. The non-profit organisation is a collaboration between a number of organisations who rescue food – and take donations too – then distribute it to 31 hubs, where chefs cook for those in need in their communities.

To donate to Chefs with Compassion click here

In its first week, what was to become known as Chefs with Compassion consisted of three “kitchens” that produced 2 355 meals for nine beneficiary organisations.

Read: Food worth R61bn is wasted every year in SA

During the first eight weeks of lockdown Chefs with Compassion received 300 tons of produce - about the weight of 50 average adult elephants. Of that 300 tons 56% was rescued from the fresh food market, while 27% was from donations and another 17% from small-scale farmers.

By June the Johannesburg kitchens, chefs and organisations involved included Alra Park Community Forum, Bizza’s Liestyle, Bun’s Out, Busisiwe – B TwalaB, Carol Osuigwe, Chef Mahlamola Thamae, Chef Pinky Maruping and Tebogo Ramatsui of Unilever Food Solutions, Chef Raynor Damons, Chef Citrum Khumalo, Disoufeng Pub, Ejardini, Hospitality Cares, Jackson’s Real Food Market, Jeanette Osuigwe, Chef Lance Williamson, Love Me So, Love Me So, Perron, Saigon Suzy, Swiss Hotel School, Taste-Buds Cooking Club, Thathimvuyo Caterers, Thava Indian Restaurant, The Curry Boss, The Local Grill, The Noble, and V8 Roadhouse.

Though restrictions have eased – and many chefs have returned to their jobs – the need has not. To join the discussion about how we can put the compassion back into our food chain and share our abundance more equitably, register here:

The panel includes:

Arnold Tanzer, co-founder of Chefs with Compassion. Tanzer runs and manages Food on the Move. He trained under a professional chef in Holland, has been personal chef to Michael Douglas, as well as executive chef in charge of 14 game lodges across Africa and he produced Masterchef South Africa.

Siphiwe Sithole, who made the move from the corporate world to farming, is no ordinary farmer. She is the founder of African Marmalade, an organic farming enterprise. She is a premier supplier of a range of organic fruits and vegetables to the ex-pat African community in South Africa as well as to fine dining establishments who are centering African cuisine.

Anna Trapido trained as an anthropologist at King’s College Cambridge and completed her PhD in the Department of Community Health at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. She qualified as a chef at the Prue Leith Chef’s Academy in Centurion. She combines her culinary and cultural interests in her work. She is a food writer, broadcaster and the author of Hunger for Freedom and Eat Ting.

Author and broadcaster, Anna Trapido combines her background in anthropology and her training as a chef to investigate the links between food and society.Picture: Supplied

Karin Carstensen is scientific and regulatory affairs manager at Woolworths. Carstensen joined Woolworths 30 years ago, after completing her BSc in food science from Stellenbosch University. She is responsible for legal compliance management for the foods area as well as being in charge of policy and guidelines development and management and handling and managing issues and crisis management.

Karin Carstensen is scientific and regulatory affairs manager at Woolworths and has been on the retailer’s team for 30 years. Picture: Supplied

The panel discussion will be facilitated by Caroline McCann. McCann, a lawyer in her first career, traded in her law books to become a butcher and an expert on ethical meat. She is the owner of Braeside Butchery and is International Councillor for Southern Africa of Slow Food International and the main organiser of Slow Meat South Africa.


The panel discussion is made possible by the European Union Delegation to South Africa. Register here


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