Johannesburg, South Africa
|Nationality||Australian / South African / Israeli|
|Known for||Founder of the Australian food rescue charity OzHarvest|
Born in South Africa, Kahn moved to Israel where she lived on a kibbutz for many years before emigrating to Australia in 1998 and starting an events management business. On a vacation to South Africa, she was galvanised into action by a friend when visiting Soweto who told her that "she was responsible for electricity in Soweto". Kahn recalls that was the moment her life of purpose began. I knew I had to come back and do something meaningful for other people..." Building on her experience in corporate hospitality, she was shocked by the amount of food waste and founded OzHarvest in 2004, initially with the support of people in the restaurant and catering industries in Sydney.
It was important to Kahn to lobby for changes to civil liability and health legislation which prevented food donors from supplying excess food. The legislation was changed in four Australian states starting in NSW in 2005.
Kahn was the 2010 winner of the Australian Local Hero Award in recognition of her work founding OzHarvest, a non-denominational charity that rescues excess food which would otherwise be discarded and distributes it to charities supporting the vulnerable around Australia.
Kahn was behind the creation of the NEST program – Nutrition, Education & Sustenance Training – which aims to educate vulnerable Australians about nutrition and healthy eating, providing valuable life skills to disadvantaged and marginalised communities.
In her advocacy, Kahn highlights the broader global issues affecting food waste. In 2017 OzHarvest for the fifth year partnered with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) on the Think.Eat.Save Campaign. In December 2014 Ronni travelled to attend the Sustainable Innovation Forum in Lima, Peru as part of the Think.Eat.Save campaign - held at the margins of the UNFCCC Climate Change Conference. The event served to remind delegates of the level that food waste contributes to dangerous greenhouse gasses which affect climate change and the amount of resources squandered when food is wasted.
Ronni Kahn has been acknowledged as a leader in the fields of entrepreneurship, social impact and innovation. Her contributions have been widely recognised through numerous awards including:
- 2010 Australia's Local Hero, Australian of the Year Awards
- 2010 Enriched List, American Express
- 2011 InStyle Woman of Style Award - Community /Charity category
- 2012 Veuve Clicquot Award Business Woman Tribute Award for Innovation, Entrepreneurial Skill and Contribution to the Community
- 2012 Ernst & Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year
- 2017 BOSS magazine Top 21 True Leaders
- 2017 Gourmet Traveller Outstanding Contribution to Hospitality
- 2017 Griffith University Doctor of the University (honoris causa)
- 2018 The Australian Financial Review 100 Women of Influence award for social enterprise and not-for-profit
- 2019 Officer of the Order of Australia (AO). For distinguished service to social welfare, particularly through the development and delivery of innovative programs.
- "Australia Day 2012". Wagga Wagga City Council. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
- "Ronni Kahn" (streaming video). The Enriched List. 2010. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
- NSW Civil Liability Act 2002 - Sect 58C
- "Ronni Kahn 2010 Local Hero Award". National Australian Day Council. Archived from the original on 5 January 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
- "Rich harvest: Ronni Kahn, Founder of OzHarvest". Women in Focus. Commonwealth Bank. 26 September 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
- wearethenest.com.au, The Nest -. "NEST - Nutrition Education Sustenance Training - OzHarvest". OzHarvest. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
- Patten, Sally (2018-10-17). "Women of Influence 2018 winner fights for recognition of Indigenous Australians". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 2018-10-18.