How to set up a waste free kitchen and pantry

How often do you feel that ‘Yes! We need to not be so wasteful, buy sustainably and local… but I’m a poor uni student and can’t afford this… this… and this…’? Well read on for some easier, sustainable AND cheaper (yasss) ways to set up a waste free home environment!

Welcome! This is a series of 5 blogs bringing to you the take-outs of workshops hosted by Melbourne Farmers Markers in collaboration with Fair Food ChallengeYouth Food Movement and Leftover Lovers with the support from Sustainability Victoria and The University of Melbourne through a Love Food Hate Waste Victoria grant.

My name is Kameron Chan and I am a student at the University of Melbourne, currently volunteering with the Melbourne Farmers Markets as a Freelance Food Consultant. Over the next five workshops, I will blogging each workshop as well as provide tips, tricks and take-outs for you to up your food waste game in the home!

In the second of five Love Food Hate Waste Workshop, Sophie (the other one!) from Fair Food Challenge and Cip from Melbourne Farmers Markets provided a practical demonstration to the participants of how we can store and grow food sustainably in our own homes.

As we all know, plastics is the number one culprit of the world’s pollution as finding and practising alternative ways to package food at home is key! One way to avoid plastics is to use a ‘beeswax wrap’ – all you need is some beeswax (available at the farmers markets, source it from ‘Papa Chai’ Frankie at Heidi Honey Hurstbridge – Bee Rescue), cotton cloths and an oven. Click here for the method!

The beauty of this wrap is that it is reusable for many, many years so you never have to worry about throwing it away or making a replacement wrap! The wax helps prevent outside matter getting into the food as well as help the cloth hold its shape when you mould it – incredible versatile! Oh did we mention that DIY beeswax wrap is much cheaper than the commercial stuff? Do the sums: a pack of 4 for $30 compared to a $25 block of beeswax and some old cotton cloths to produce 100’s of wraps??? They also make a great gift for friends and family.

Speaking of cheapness, herb and vegetable gardens are a great way to produce your own foods on the budget. Cue scene: you’re cooking up that legendary spag bol and need some basil but oh no! There’s none in the fridge! Need to run to the shops (or markets) and buy a $2.00 bunch only to use a bit and then the rest goes to waste. Cut scene. Moral of the story – why not grow your own??? All you need is an egg carton, some seeds, soil and a spray of water! Click here for more info.

By growing your own herbs and vegetables, you’re reducing the amount that could potentially go to waste by having a sustainable source – it’ll keep growing (provided you keep nurturing it!). We’re not saying you need to start up a farm in your living room (though you could!) but in the spirit of fair food, if you feel you are using certain produce more often than not, then why not consider producing it yourself – often being part of the whole food system does induce positive energies! Plus being able to keep some plants alive is a good look for when the parents visit!)

As alluded to last week, there are a variety of ways to reduce our food waste footprint in the home environment and I challenged you to think about ‘how you will start’. This workshop has provided you two major ways to up your waste game on the student budget with massive long term results but do not fret! We will be bringing you more tips and tricks of different kinds over the next three workshops! Can’t wait for next week or want to join? Contact us!

After all, a bit of creativity and innovation is often required in setting up fairer and sustainable food systems at home… Hopefully with some inspiration, you will have that extra confidence! Think of it this way: it was ‘a small step for man, a giant leap for mankind!’.

Blog by Kameron Chan, Freelance Food Consultant – Marketing and Promotions, for the Melbourne Farmers Market’s exclusive use.