Donning bright yellow aprons, we (five leaders from the entrepreneurial business world) entered the OzHarvest kitchen and under the expert guidance of chef Fiona, we embarked on a team challenge – to cook as many meals as we could to feed people that evening.
Fiona provided the guidance and her expertise. She shared stories of the impact Oz Harvest is having in the community (since the beginning 39,000 tonnes of food have been saved and over 117 million meals delivered to individuals who have no idea where their next meal is coming from!) and she patiently allowed us to navigate the kitchen and the prep work. Volunteers cleaned up after us and helped us package meals, drivers prepped vans for delivery, support teams high fived us and Ronni, a powerhouse in the fight against global food waste, came and thanked us.
We achieved the goal – over 100 meals of chicken curry and spicy potato cakes cooked for delivery that evening – and yes it tasted delicious.
This 3-hour experience and the impact we collectively were able to make for others, got me thinking about the concept of value exchange — a mutually beneficial process that relies on more than just a transaction. This cross-fertilisation of intelligence and sharing of skills and knowledge, of giving of time and energy has the opportunity to create change, whether professionally or personally.
When you learn to share openly with others with no expectation of anything in return, then everyone benefits.
In his book Give and Take, Adam Grant suggests the individuals most likely to rise to the top are often ‘Givers’, those who contribute most to others. ‘Takers’, who seek to gain as much as possible from others, and ‘Matchers’, who aim to give and take in equal amounts, rarely experience the same success.
In addition, something magical happens when ‘Givers’ thrive:
‘Givers succeed in a way that creates a ripple effect, enhancing the success of people around them. Every time we interact with another person at work, we have a choice to make: do we try to claim as much value as we can, or contribute value without worrying about what we receive in return?’
Last week we gave time, energy, food and ongoing donations to support the incredible work of OzHarvest.
In return, I’ve been personally inspired to do more to support the work of OzHarvest and climate change initiatives, to improve the recycling at home, we’ve debated as a family what more we can do and even invested in a worm farm.
I also learnt that:
- four million people have “food insecurity” – they don’t know where their next meal is coming from and even worse, one million of those are children.
- For every $1 OzHarvest raise, they can cook and supply 2 meals
- Chef Fiona shared how helping a homeless youth off the streets learn to drive, retrain and become a key part of her life had absolutely changed her family for the better
- Four million tonnes of food ends up as landfill (equivalent to 8,400 Olympic sized swimming pools)
- If food waste was a country it would be the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after the U.S. and China!
- As a group, we acknowledged the experience provided us with some “healthy escapism” with the time spent making us feel less stressed and happy, plus we’d had a whole heap of fun.
We all have something to share and something to give – every single time we connect. And these collaborative ripples do drive change for each other.
OzHarvest partners annually with the United Nations Environment Programme to raise awareness on the issue of food insecurity and is working with Government and key stakeholders to halve food waste nationally by 2030. The ripple effect of Ronni and her team’s vision and commitment is truly fuelling action across the globe.
What can you do today – no matter how small?
Until next time.