When hearing the story of Ronnie Kahn – the Australian entrepreneur behind Australia’s leading food-rescue organisation OzHarvest – you’d be forgiven for thinking her larger-than-life achievements belong in a film.
Appropriate, then, that the food-waste crusader is the subject of a new film following her work with OzHarvest, which has rescued 28,000 tonnes of food and delivered more than 83 million meals to those in need since Kahn founded it in Sydney in 2004.
Food Fighter, which opens at Event Cinemas in Sydney on June 16, documents two years of her life – a period that turns out to be spectacularly eventful for both the charity and its charismatic leader.
Directed by Dan Goldberg, the film captures Kahn’s struggles against government inaction, spotlighting conflict with key partners including Woolworths and Qantas. It also traces her work in South Africa, Beijing, Thailand and the UK (with Jamie Oliver as an ambassador and the Duchess of Cornwall as a patron), as well as significant personal tragedy in her life.
The film shows Kahn’s determination to succeed, not to mention her many successes. But while it may capture her heroism, the film’s protagonist doesn’t find it easy to watch.
“They shot me for literally a million minutes, and the film is 86 minutes,” Kahn says. “So of course they don’t show the calm times and the every day; they show all the drama. When you’re being followed by a camera for two and a half years, you stop censoring yourself.
“But the film has the potential to bring the message to so many new people and to show them that they can join the fight. That’s why I agreed to it.”
The film arrives off the back of World Environment Day (June 5) and the launch of OzHarvest’s newest campaign Fight Food Waste, which feeds families tips to fight food waste at home.
“One in five bags of groceries ends up in landfill,” says Kahn.“$20 billion worth of food gets thrown out a year. We’re asking people to ‘look, buy, store, cook’. Look at what you’ve got in the pantry and fridge before you go shopping. Buy only the food you need. Store food properly, and cook the food you already have.” “Doing that could save a family $1000 a year.”
Kahn says she hopes her passion is evident in the film, and that it drives others to get up and do something.
“I want the film to empower people to campaign for change themselves. Passion is infectious, so I hope the film makes people feel like they have the power to do something. Makes them want to join the movement.”
Food Fighter will show at Event Cinemas from June 16. Book via eventcinemas.com.au.