Turning leftover produce into a healthy food choice
Ongoing dry spells have caused a steady decline in food production in South Africa and the future of crop yields for this country remains uncertain. The country’s looming food crisis is requiring new and creative ways to generate adequate supplies to meet growing demands. To address this pressing issue of food insecurity, the University of Pretoria Enactus team devised an initiative that reprocesses and packages leftover produce as a means to provide economically feasible and nutritious food.
When the team discovered a local market typically disposed of two tons of their surplus produce per month, they approached the market about donating these leftovers to reprocess. (All of the surplus food is still of the highest quality and thoroughly inspected to make certain that it is safe to eat.) The team developed a plan to dehydrate and packaged this food. The team then entered into a pilot contract with a local school to allow students to purchase this healthy food option with the sales used for school supplies. The team also persuaded the school to use these profits to develop an on-site vegetable garden to have produce for the students and to sell at a profit.
The “Paradise Fruits and Vegetables” project has impacted more than 2,200 people, including a previously unemployed individual who transports the products. In addition, the school is now fully managing its own profitable vegetable business and this model is now being used at other disadvantaged schools. This effort is effectively combating food insecurity and ensuring that tons of food that would otherwise be discarded is available for consumption.