FOOD BANK: Farmer Mark Fritz and Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail
FOOD BANK: Farmer Mark Fritz and Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail Mike Knott

Farmers urged to end waste

MEMBER for Burnett Stephen Bennett is calling on local producers to join the fight to end to waste and hunger across the state.

Mr Bennett, who recently toured Queensland's largest food re-distribution centre, Foodbank, is urging Bundaberg and Burnett producers to get on board and donate their surplus and seconds produce to the organisation.

He said there was far too much wastage of perfectly edible food, including fruit and vegetables.

"It is a sad fact that a third of all food is currently grown in the region is wasted or dumped in landfill," he said.

"Most of the fruit and vegetables thrown out is either slightly blemished or too small for big chain supermarkets to sell.

"It's absurd that we assume a piece of fruit that isn't exactly the right shape, size or colour isn't nutritional or has any value.

"We need to start alleviating the wastage from crops, and if more local farmers donated to the Foodbank, it would go a long way to achieving this sustainable outcome."

Mr Bennett said 400,000 Queenslanders experience food insecurity, with around half being children.

"It's sad to think some of the best food is produced right here in the Bundaberg and Burnett region, yet there are so many people struggling to put nutritious food on their table every day," he said.

"This is a great opportunity for local producers to not only make use of the produce they can't sell, but give back to the community in a meaningful way that will undoubtedly make a big difference.

"While it's often assumed vulnerable groups such as the homeless are relying heavily on these services, today's economic climate means many more people are turning to charities for help, including drought-stricken farmers, single parents and the elderly."

Mr Bennett thanked local producers who were already participating in the program.

"I congratulate Mark and Judy Fritz of M&J Produce who have made a conscious effort this year to do their bit for the community by donating their unwanted potatoes to Foodbank," Mr Bennett said.

Mr Fritz joined Mr Bennett to encourage other local producers to get involved.

"We made an effort this year to donate ... we thought we would do something for the community and also get people interested in eating fresh food," he said.

Cross Farms, Snapfresh and Eden Farms are also involved in the program and donate their seconds to Foodbank.

Mr Bennett said it was his long-term vision to establish a local foodbank.

To find out more about Foodbank or become involved, contact the Burnett Electorate office on 411 5100.

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