How this community is transforming food waste locally

By Our Reporter
Representative image // Photo by Conscious Design on Unsplash

Driven by the alarming fact that Victorians throw away 250,000 tonnes of food annually, costing households an average of $2,600 each year, volunteers at the Gurdwara Siri Guru Nanak Darbar in Officer are on a mission to reduce food waste by empowering others to embrace the use of leftovers.

Led by Dr Harpreet Singh Kandra, a respected community leader, passionate environmental advocate and a community ambassador of Sustainability Victoria’s Small Acts, Big Impact campaign, the Gurdwara launched its own Love Your Leftovers group initiative, held over a four-week period.

At the centre of the initiative was the establishment of a new social chat forum that served as a space for more than 60 community members to share ideas on reducing food waste and making the most of leftovers. From exchanging recipes to workshopping ways to extend the shelf life of vegetables and herbs, the conversations in the forum were described as transformative for participants.

The initiative culminated in a gathering of 30 families at the Gurdwara in September, to celebrate the month-long effort over a meal and reflect on the most helpful tips that have since been developed into a poster for broader distribution.

Included in the easy-to-follow guide is advice on enhancing roti dough with leftover daal, freezing or sun-drying herbs to extend shelf-life, planning weekly meals to incorporate leftovers, and repurposing leftover ingredients for chutneys and curries.

It’s a resource for the community, by the community and the group hopes that it will inspire and support more Victorians to reduce waste and have a positive impact on the environment.

‘It is our shared responsibility to prevent food wastage, as it benefits both our finances and the environment. As a community, we can learn from each other and can make meaningful strides in addressing this pressing issue. Our small acts can make a big impact,’ said Dr Harpreet.

In addition to the Gurdwara’s poster, Sustainability Victoria has now launched a new Punjabi-language web page with more advice and leftover recipe inspiration to help members of the Indian community incorporate sustainable practices into their daily lives.

To learn more, visit

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