Pop-up supermarket lets shoppers pay what they can

Food relief: OzHarvest's Ronni Kahn at her rescued food supermarket in Sydney.
Food relief: OzHarvest's Ronni Kahn at her rescued food supermarket in Sydney. Photo: Jessica Hromas

Short of a buck but in need of a feed? Pay hasn't come through but the kitchen cupboards are bare? No matter, head over to Kensington in Sydney's east, where you can stock up on your weekly essentials and pay as little or as much as you can afford.

The OzHarvest Market, which is run by volunteers, aims to feed anyone regardless of the state of their bank balance.

The trial venture works on a "take what you need, give if you can" system, selling leftover food that has been rescued from cafes, restaurants, hotels and food businesses across the country.   

The space has been donated by the developer Toga, which is offering temporary shelter for young people at the former Addison Hotel on Anzac Parade as the site undergoes development approval.

Food rescue charity OzHarvest's chief executive and founder, Ronni Kahn, says the project offers a new way to tackle food waste and hunger at the same time.

"The concept is two-fold," she says. "One is to raise awareness about beautiful quality food going to waste, and the second is to make sure that we reach people that we might not ordinarily reach."

The shop's five aisles are filled with fresh fruit and vegetables, dried and canned goods, dairy, toiletries and fresh bread from the Bread and Butter Project. All food is fit for consumption and within date, but stock changes daily depending on what is available to the charity.

"It's really a case of what's in store today might not be in store tomorrow," Kahn says. "That is the whole point – it's about what's available and not coming into a shop with a recipe and 20 ingredients you might need rather than using what you've got or taking things in season."

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Can people take advantage of the system? "We're hoping people will have the conscience to do the right thing and ... give if and what they can."

If you can't pay with money, Kahn encourages shoppers to donate their time or skills, whether it be manning the tills, cleaning or stacking shelves. Just don't forget to bring your green bag.

OzHarvest Market, open weekdays 10am-2pm, 147 Anzac Parade, Kensington. See ozharvest.org/market.