Having initially worked on a national research program – “Towards Zero Hunger: Improving food relief services in Australia”, a strategic partnership between service providers, policymakers, researchers, volunteers and community members that was co-funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage grant – Professor Bogomolova and her team prepared a blueprint for higher quality service in food relief through improving sector-wide collaboration.
Now Professor Bogomolova has received a $1.05 million Australian Research Council Industry Mid-Career Fellowship, which will drive a new associated project to continue food security research. Key industry partners are Foodbank SA, the largest food relief distributor in South Australia and the Northern Territory that supplies more than 600 charities, and state government agency Green Industries SA.
The project “Transforming harvest surplus into nutritious meals for food relief” aims to convert surplus fresh food into nutritional meals destined for people most in need. The beauty of the ARC’s Linkage grant and Industry Fellowship is their focus on the needs of industry and making connections across different parts of food systems and social services. “This gives our research the broadest possible scope and reach,” she says, “and it gives industry great confidence in working with researchers. It builds trust, so together we can aim high.”
The project will co-design a social enterprise model to meet food-relief demand for nutritious shelf-stable foods made from fruit and vegetables, by leveraging harvest surplus. It will also create bespoke training and skills development opportunities in all aspects of food production and supply.
“This funding will enable us to continue this good work to help tackle food insecurity in South Australia, building on the initial momentum from our earlier Towards Zero Hunger research. Our past research with partners clearly identified this new area of need, and now we are able to follow through with programs that will provide tools for industry to implement changes to their food distribution practices.”