The Federation of Australian Muslim Students and Youth (FAMSY) invited guest speaker, Mariam Ardati from Muslim Aid Australia (MAA) to present an interactive workshop on Wednesday 10 May in Sydney, educating people on how to reduce food waste and providing them with practical tips and creative ideas to implement in their daily lives.

As part of the FAMSY’S weekly study circle, a group of 25 females gathered together at Punchbowl Community Centre for the ‘LOVE FOOD HATE WASTE’ pre-Ramadan workshop.

The free workshop was an awareness program funded by The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) which aims to educate people on how to value their food and reduce household food wastage.

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As Ramadan is around the corner, the seminar aspired to keep people mindful of how much they’re cooking and how much they’re throwing away.

Host speaker, Ramia Sultan welcomed participants and introduced national project manager of Muslim Aid Australia, Mariam Ardati to run the program.

Having a background in health science, Mariam understands the value which food and nutrition have in our daily lives and the detrimental impact of consuming in excess has on our health and environment.

Participants conducted a short quiz before the seminar regarding their experience with food and wastage at home.

These results were later discussed and compared in order to provide participants with suggestions on how to improve their wastage habits before the fasting month of Ramadan.

Mariam discussed the importance of re-evaluating the relationship with food before heading into Ramadan.

A member in the audience commented, “Ramadan has become more about feasting, not fasting”.

Statistical evidence shows that people are three times more wasteful in Ramadan and almost a third of leftovers in the fridge are thrown away.

Mariam Ardati said, “Ramadan is the perfect time to reset, to recalibrate, and have a look at where you’re doing things wrong and where you can do better.”

Muslims are repeatedly told in the holy Quran not to indulge in excess, and that is not limited to food. The theme of reducing waste is permeated through the holy Quran.

“Eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not those who waste by extravagance” (Quran, Al- A’raf, 7:31).

“Islam has taught us from a long time to love food and hate waste” Mariam said.

Mariam Ardati raised important factors about the ecological effects of food wastage.

According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation, One- third of food produced is lost or wasted and developed countries are 2-3 times more wasteful than other countries.

“We’re not conscious of how much we were throwing out every day,” she said.

During the workshop, participants discussed various methods of preserving food at home.

An approximate 20-30% of food is thrown away due to its unappealing appearance.

Mariam Ardati gave an example of ripe bananas that are constantly thrown away due to brown spots and suggested using ripe fruits to make smoothies and freezing fruits for later use.

The group worked together, discussing innovative ways to reduce food wastage at home.

This included planning meals, writing a shopping list, being mindful of the use by and best before dates, and measuring serving sizes accurately.

Contributors with creative suggestions received notebooks and recipe books as gifts.

The importance of food storage and the safety guidelines of food consumption at home was also thoroughly discussed during the workshop.

Overall, the event was a great success. All Attendees walked out with a gift bag, praising FAMSY for hosting such a beneficial workshop.

FAMSY has been committed to the education, training and development of future community leaders.

They will be hosting segregated Pre-Ramadan seminars for boys and girls to prepare for the fasting month.

For more information and registration, head to  https://www.facebook.com/famsyorgau/.

For more information on MAA’s food wastes initiatives this Ramadan, including a cooking competition, please visit local.muslimaid.org.au/lfhw.