Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

The booming local festival and farmers market sector is being targeted by an innovative new food waste avoidance engagement and education project being piloted at this weekend’s 6th annual Pyrmont Festival.

The ‘Food Stall Savers’ initiative has been included as a partner project in the NSW Environment Protection Authority’s Love Food Hate Waste program, with grant funding managed through the NSW Environmental Trust*.

The initiative was successfully proposed by the not-for-profit Total Environment Centre (TEC) and its Smart Locale Ultimo Pyrmont program. Smart Locale promotes rapid uptake of a sustainable local economy with priority activities including clean energy, water saving, urban greening and waste minimisation.

With Love Food Hate Waste grant support, the project includes the development and deployment of best practice and ‘how-to’ guide materials to support festival and market organisers, and food stallholders, their staff and also customers.

It may be the first local community markets project of its kind in the world, according to international research by the lead consultants for the project, the UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF).

Project coordinator for the ISF, Jenni Downes, said: ‘Our team has found general sustainability and anti-waste resources for major events, such as the iconic Glastonbury performing arts festival in the UK, and redistribution of leftover food at large markets such as London’s Borough markets.

‘But often most of the attention is on food recovery after the events. We are going into new territory with our holistic approach to focusing on food waste by both stallholders and consumers, before, at and after local farmers’ markets and community festival days.’

Jeff Angel, Executive Director of TEC said: “There’s a lot of interest from food events in sustainability and we appreciate that the popular Pyrmont Wine and Food Festival, held annually in May, will host a pilot. The pilot will engage organisers, stallholders and the public, and track and test interventions for cutting down food waste.”

Held in the harbourside Pirrama Park in Pyrmont, the two-day outdoor festival activity (the weekend of May 14-15 in 2016) attracts 25,000-plus people. It is organised by the Pyrmont Ultimo Chamber of Commerce (PUCC), in partnership with the Mudgee Region’s wine and food growers, attracting long-term annual funding support from the City of Sydney.  

Smart Locale adviser and PUCC Treasurer Murray Hogarth said that the pilot aligned strongly with the Pyrmont Festival’s sustainability policy and performance targets. “The festival partners are enthusiastically engaged in this initiative.”

Following the pilot, the food waste avoidance guide materials will be fine-tuned by the ISF team and the TEC. The field-tested ‘tool-kit’ will then be made available in the second half of 2016 at farmers’ markets across Sydney, and more widely (online) to anyone who wants to use it.

*This project is supported by the Environmental Trust as part of the NSW Environment Protection Authority’s Waste Less, Recycle More initiative, funded from the waste levy.” Love Food Hate Waste is a community education, engagement and behaviour change program, focusing on avoiding the creation of food waste.

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UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures

The Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) is a university research institute that creates change towards sustainable futures by conducting independent project based research for Australian and international clients.

Jenni Downes
P: 02 95144376

Smart Locale Ultimo Pyrmont

Smart Locale Ultimo Pyrmont is a collaborative initiative of the Total Environment Centre (TEC) to fast-track sustainable local economies, starting in the business precinct of Ultimo Pyrmont on the western edge of the Sydney CBD. The TEC is a founding partner of The Greenhouse project alliance through Smart Locale and the TEC's HotHouse public engagement program.

Murray Hogarth
M: 0417 267235


Food, food waste, festivals, markets, farmers markets, food stalls, sustainability, UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures, Total Environment Centre, Pyrmont, Smart Locale



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