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What happens to the Market’s food waste?

Food waste is a huge problem around the world, and closer to home, the Market is always looking for ways to tackle the issue. In 2016, the Market partnered with Eco Guardians to recycle and repurpose food waste from various vendors including the fresh produce and seafood stalls along with the eateries in the Food Hall. The Market installed a GG-1200H SoilFood™ System (also known as a Gaia Machine), which dehydrates and breaks down up to 1.2 tonnes of leftover fruit, vegetables and fish offal per day. This diverts a massive amount of food waste from landfill and also produces a nutrient rich fertiliser called SoilFood.

Currently, food waste decomposition in landfill generates 8% of the planet’s greenhouse gases. Dehydrating and repurposing food waste into a valuable fertiliser keeps it out of landfill and reduces methane emissions. Recycling food waste onsite also allows the Market to avoid the costs of transporting the waste for offsite disposal. And in a truly sustainable circular initiative, SoilFood fertiliser created from the leftover food and produce is collected from South Melbourne Market and used to grow crops across Melbourne farmlands. The produce grown is then supplied back to markets across Melbourne.


For avid gardeners, SoilFood is available to purchase at the Market, giving local green thumbs access to an organic product that can significantly improve long-term soil conditions without the side-effects of chemical fertilisers.

SoilFood is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium which are extremely important for good plant health in the following ways:
● Nitrogen is great for leafy plants such as lawns, cabbage and kale
● Potassium is helpful for increased floral and fruit production
● Phosphorus is important for structural integrity and strength, helping plants to form sturdy roots and branches

Want to learn ways you can reduce food waste at home?
Finding ways to cook food into a new and tasty dish before it goes bad is an excellent way to divert food from landfill, improve sustainability and help you save money, too. The Leftover Lovers Cooking Show (Friday, September 27) will be demonstrating to Market visitors ways to reduce food waste in the kitchen. Look out for other activities and events around sustainability during Sustainable September at the Market – you can find out more here.

For more information about Eco Guardians and the SoilFood System, click here.

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