SecondBite (Austrailia)

At a Glance

  • SecondBite was created in 2005 by Ian and Simone Carson as an initiative to end hunger and reduce food waste in their community and throughout Australia.
  • This case study shows how the hard work and determination of just two individuals can lead to a decrease in hunger and food waste and an indirect increase in food security for thousands of people by saving nutritious food from entering the landfill, and instead, entering the homes of many people who need it.
  • Lessons Learnt: surplus food from a variety of networks, such as grocery stores, can be used to reduce the prevalence of food insecurity and hunger, while also benefiting the environment through a reduction in food waste.


SecondBite was established in 2005 in hopes to make a difference in the hunger and food waste that is evolving in Australia. Ian and Simone gathered a group of friends and began to visit local markets in Melbourne and collect surplus food to donate and drop off at a local charities that have a food program established. This group continued to grow with increasing volunteers and staff, and luckily for the founders, created a national partnership with Coles in 2011, which helped the organization scale rapidly. Due to this partnership, the organization was able to scale across Australia to Sydney, Adelaide and Perth and eventually create more partnerships with organizations in Tasmania and NT.

What They Do

SecondBite works with many supermarkets and other organizations that create opportunity to offer a free-of-charge supply of nutritious, surplus food to local charities and non-profits. They distribute this food to over 1,000 communities across Australia, and are able to do a “direct deliver” in areas that are most efficient in doing so. With the help of over 600 volunteers and 75 staff members, SecondBite has successfully rescued and delivered an equivalent of 100 million meals. Through the help of the community and partnerships, this organization was able to grow on a national scale and is making a direct impact on hunger within Australia due to the increase in availability of nutritious foods. Not only will this make a great change for the reduction of food waste across a network of suppliers, it will also have a major impact on the environment due to the decrease of wastage in the landfill. In addition, the organization was able to create a “Community Connect” model that allows supermarkets and charities to directly connect with one another, allowing for a more personable, sustainable and efficient system in food delivery and access. Although there is no one solution to end hunger, food security or waste, SecondBite believes it is a step in the right direction in making an impact in Australia and, eventually, the rest of the world.

Food for Thought
Are there current food initiatives within your community that benefit from surplus nutritious food and networks?
What impact can donating surplus food have on the environment? Society?
How can Dietitians-Nutritionists support the development of these organizations and further add to their goals?

Contact Information
Phone: 1800 263 283
Address: 93 Northern road, Heidelber West, VIC 3081
Facebook: @SecondBiteAus
Instagram: @secondbiteorg
Twitter: @SecondBite_org
LinkedIn: @SecondBite

Responding to Crisis in South African Township: Community innovation for nutritious food in the time of COVID-19

At a Glance

  • This case study is drawn from a Blog Post created by Jo Hunter Adams, a research associate in the School of Public Health & African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town, and Jane Battersby, an associate Professor at the African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town, and was posted on the Nutrition Connect’s website during the global pandemic.
  • Adams and Battersby explain how emerging innovation within a community to help find a solution during a crisis can result in “building back better food systems and nutrition” by local people for local people.
  • Lessons Learnt: community kitchens can be sustainable both long and short-term and create resilience when including local farmers and growers and can be used as a sustainable safety net during times of crisis.


Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, “at least 1 in 5 households were impact bay inadequate food supply and 1 in 3 children were stunted”. With the pandemic having a direct impact on food supply, whether due to lack of transportation or increase need from families, these numbers were bound to increase as the crisis continued. In Masiphumelele, Cape Town, South Africa, food security is prevalent and on the rise. In 2019, a survey was conducted in Masiphumelele and showed that 80-90% of residents had experienced food insecurity as well as 40% of residents had experienced hunger. Unfortunately, high rates of food insecurity can result in the increase of non-communicable disease such as diabetes, high blood pressure and vulnerability to child stunting.

Innovation and Solution in Response to COVID_19 Pandemic in Masiphumelele

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, it impacted the food supply and quality for many places around the world, including Masiphumelele. With many businesses, schools, and establishments shut down and advising everyone to stay at home, the need for more food in the home had increased and so did the rates of food insecurity. In response to the pandemic, the community came together, and with help from private donors, three approaches were put forth to help supply households with access to nutritious meals:

  • Vouchers
  • Food parcels
  • Community kitchens

Even with support from NGOs, both the vouchers and food parcels were only sustainable for short term use, especially for existing retailers. However, the establishment of small, decentralized kitchens have proven to be a more long-term sustainable safety net for the pandemic and are able to provide support and nutritious meals for households within the community.

Food for Thought
Are there any community kitchens in your community that can benefit from using local growers and farmers, volunteers, and support from local NGOs?
Why are food vouchers and parcels not sustainable?
In what ways do community kitchens contribute more sustainably to food systems?
A sustainable food system does not rely on emergency food aid (e.g., vouchers and food parcels) as a long term strategy. Explore the Learning Module: What are Sustainable Food Systems and Diets.

Contact Information
Nutrition Connect
Phone:+41 22 749 18 50 Email:
Twitter: @NutritionConnect
Address: Geneva, Switzerland, Rue Varembé 7, CH-1202 Geneva, Switzerland

Reviving Traditional Grain Production and Consumption (India)

At a Glance

  • Navdanya and the Organics & Millets e-Platform are part of a movement in India to revive the production and consumption of traditional grains such as millets
  • Millets are highly desirable for both sustainability and health reasons: there are dozens of varieties suited to varied local ecological conditions making them low input crops and they are highly nutritious, especially compared to rice and wheat and their more processed products that have largely replaced the diversity of traditional grains.
  • Lessons Learnt: reviving traditional crops that can meet both sustainability and nutrition goals requires a cultural shift as well as economic and policy supports. Rebuilding or creating infrastructure to promote these crops can have significant economic benefits for small-scale, rural producers and nutritional benefits for rural and urban communities.


Traditionally, a diversity of grains including millets, barley, rye, oats and corn were eaten in most parts of India. Since the middle of the twentieth century, these have been largely displaced by commercial grains such as rice and wheat. This shift has been driven in significant part by the pressures of globalized food, agriculture and trade systems.

In the 1950s and 1960s, a combination of industrialized agriculture and federal price supports led to an overproduction of wheat crops in the US. These surpluses were subsequently dumped as ‘food aid’ in countries like India, severely undermining local agricultural production capacity and bankrupting thousands of farmers. This dumping, in conjunction with the growth of the processed food industry, led to a significant shift in dietary patterns away from traditional grains and towards processed forms of wheat and rice. As products from the ‘developed’ industrialized world, these commercial grains were also seen as being socially and culturally more desirable. This trend continues today with traditional grains being perceived as old-fashioned and less appetizing.

In a 2020 study, Nayar estimates that this dietary shift was dramatic, including an 80% reduction in the consumption of millets across India since the 1960s . They have eroded demand and, in turn, production of traditional grains. Aggressive marketing and promotion of hybridized seeds and chemical inputs as well as growing demand due to dietary shifts has led to increased domestic production of monocultures of wheat and rice to replace traditional grain production.


Organizations such as Navdanya have been advocating for the revival of traditional grain varieties for sustainability, health and economic reasons:

  • Health: Millets, rye, barley, oats and corn are significantly more nutritious than wheat and rice, especially when those are consumed in highly processed forms such as polished rice and white flour or products made from these.
  • Sustainability: The diversity of traditional grains is adapted to different soil, water and growing conditions across India. As such, they are a more reliable crop option that requires minimal external inputs, is typically integrated in more biodiverse mixed cropping systems and is more resilient in the face of changing climatic conditions.
  • Economic: Seeds are open-pollinated and can be saved from year to year, thereby decreasing farmers’ reliance on expensive market-based inputs and the associated loans and debt that have been the cause of hundreds of thousands of farmer suicides.

Navdanya is supporting the revival of these traditional grains through awareness-raising campaigns and seed banks where traditional grain varieties are stored, propagated and distributed. The Organics & Millets e-platform and the Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR) are examples of organizations working to understand and promote the health and ecological benefits of traditional grains with the aim of increasing their popularity and reviving their consumption.

The creation of more familiar convenience foods such as cookies, breakfast cereals, and ready-to-eat snacks from whole, traditional grains is an approach being used to make traditional grains more interesting and attractive to modern palates and lifestyles. These efforts are having positive results, notes Dr. Vilas Tonapi, Director of IIMR, with demand increasing about 20-22% each year.

Food for Thought
What traditional foods can be produced sustainably and offer more nutritious options in your region than commercial, processed foods?
What supports are needed to revive the popularity and consumption of these foods?
What other benefits might this revival have (such as economic or cultural benefits) that would engage other stakeholders in such a project?

Contact Information

Phone: +91-135-2693025                   Email:

Organics and Millets e-platform
Phone: +91-80-22074111                   Email:

Indian Institute of Millets Research
Phone: +91-40-24599300                   Email:

updated 2023 April