Urban farming & the power of reusing food waste in Lake Macquarie
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David Sivyer founded Feedback Organic Recovery six years ago. The concept was simple: look at food waste as a resource to create compost that could be used to grow beautiful, sustainable organic produce. Minimising waste was the ultimate goal – one that he has well surpassed since establishing the business in the heart of Lake Macquarie at Cardiff.
Since 2013, Sivyer has collected food waste from restaurants, cafes and hotels in Lake Macquarie and across the Hunter Region, manually converting it into
compost at his Feedback Organic Recovery urban farm in Cardiff.
Compost created from the 450,000 litres of food waste collected has helped Sivyer’s company grow more than 15 tonnes of fresh produce.
Carrots, radishes. tomatoes and tatsoi – a leafy green used in Asian dishes - are among the varieties grown and sold back to local restaurants and at local farmers markets.
“What Feedback Organic Recovery is all about is a hope to, without sounding too silly, empower the community,” Sivyer says.
“They can have a say in their food reduction and their food waste.”
Education is where it begins. And that’s where the One Hour Farmer program kicks in. The company’s free program invites the community to head to the urban
farm and help with the harvest, gaining experience in the process of composting and farming.
Sivyer says the idea is that you don’t have to live on a farm to be a farmer.
“Every Saturday, they can help with the harvest and bed prep, and they get some experience, and they walk out with some produce as well,” he says.
“Food waste is a great resource. A third of our household waste is generally food waste, and it’s tremendous how quickly that can add up.”“If you get your
head around that, it’s a fantastically rich resource that you can put on crops and grow in your own backyard.”