Australia, with its population of 20-something million, produces enough food to feed around 60 million people, yet 2 million Australians rely on food relief every year (DAFF, National Food Plan 2012). I’m sure this statistic holds true in other countries too.
OzHarvest, Australia’s leading food rescue organisation, plays a key role in ‘Nourishing Our Country’. What I really admire about OzHarvest is that their mission isn’t just about feeding the homeless and others in need, but it’s also about rescuing produce that would otherwise go to waste.
I was recently lucky enough to spend a morning in the OzHarvest kitchen – cooking up a storm with tons of donated produce at one of their ‘Cooking for a Cause’ volunteering events. It’s the second time I’ve participated and I’d highly recommend it for anyone in Australia looking for a fun way to give something back. With the help of friendly professional chefs myself and fellow members of my work’s wellbeing team whipped up 100s of meals – that were to be distributed later that day.
Having moved to a pretty much vegetarian diet last year I was excited to get involved in making a vegetarian lentil Shepherd’s Pie. Until then I’d always thought of lamb as the hero ingredient of Shepherd’s Pie. But I’m now convinced that this pie can be just as hearty and delicious without meat.
I’ve since made the OzHarvest Lentil Shepherd’s Pie recipe a few times at home and I’m pleased to be sharing the recipe here. As you can see my pie has a lighter sweet potato topping rather than a more traditional one with potatoes, butter, cream and milk. I simply cooked and then blended the sweet potatoes, and topped the pie with parmesan.
More about OzHarvest
As a nation Australia wastes four million tonnes of food each year (it ends up in landfill), yet two million people per year still rely on food relief and food relief agencies can’t meet demand. Founded in November 2004, OzHarvest is a food rescue organisation that collects quality excess food from commercial outlets and delivers it to 100s of charities – providing much needed assistance to vulnerable men, women and children across the country.