Food activist to deliver 2018 UniSA Nelson Mandela Lecture
Ronni Kahn, a leader in the fight against global food waste and founder of Australia’s food rescue organisation OzHarvest, will deliver the ninth annual UniSA Nelson Mandela Lecture at The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre.
In her lecture entitled ‘Harvesting Passion: Living a Life’, Kahn will explain how she has navigated and built bridges with naysayers, politicians, people in need and business leaders, growing a philanthropic enterprise to nourish our country.
Driven by the abundance of leftover food in the hospitality industry, Kahn founded OzHarvest in 2004, which collects more than 180 tonnes of produce each week from over 3500 supermarkets, hotels, airports, wholesalers, farmers, corporate events, caterers, shopping centres, delis, cafes, restaurants and boardrooms.
Kahn has established herself as a renowned international speaker on the subject of food waste and is working with key stakeholders to halve food waste in Australia by 2030, which includes serving as a member of the federal government’s National Food Waste Strategy Steering Committee.
She described herself as an “accidental activist” and said: “What I care about most is making sure hungry people get surplus food — I’ve done this because the government hasn’t, they have completely let down the people of Australia.”
Jacinta Thompson, Executive Director and Events and Exhibitions Producer of The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, said Kahn has helped changed the way we think about human rights.
“By highlighting both the dreadful waste and the profound need associated with food, locally and internationally, Ronni has placed humanity and compassion above of so many other competing interests,” Thompson said.
Over the last three years, an independent film crew followed Kahn’s journey tackling the global issue of food waste, and the Food Fighter documentary received critical acclaim on its cinema release in June.
Kahn has also received a number of awards for her entrepreneurship and impact in sustainability, including: Australian Local Hero (2010), BOSS magazine Top 21 True Leaders (2017), Gourmet Traveller Outstanding Contribution to Hospitality (2017) and Griffith University Doctor of the University.
The lecture series was established in 2008 to honour Nelson Mandela, The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre’s first International Patron (2001–2013), and previous speakers include human rights activist Dr Musimbi Kanyoro and former Irish President Mary McAleese.
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