Reducing food waste in the City of Yarra

Food Know How is a food waste reduction program jointly developed by Cultivating Community and City of Yarra with funding from Metropolitan Waste Management Group and support from our numerous other partners. Food Know How aims to help households, cafes and offices in the City of Yarra to avoid and recycle food waste through strategies such as menu and meal planning, using leftovers, and tips about smart shopping and food storage, as well as composting and worm farming.

Watch the Food Know How video!

Join Food Know How

Thank you for your interest in The Food Know How program. The program has now concluded.

Food Know How provided the opportunity for 34 cafes in the City of Yarra to start their own onsite food waste recycling systems, or to have their unavoidable food waste collected by our cargo trikes, and take them to community compost hubs, where we processed the scraps and turned them into nutrient-rich compost fit for use in our Community Gardens or elsewhere.

Food Know How empowered over 550 household participants to take control of their food waste, throughout an interactive and engaging behaviour change program which included free educational workshops, online resources, one-to-one support and subsidised compost bins, Bokashi and worm farms.

Information for Cafes

Registrations have now closed. Please use the tools available on our website  for information on ways to reduce and recycle food waste in your business. Please feel free to contact Matthew Nelson from the City of Yarra on 03 9205 5780 or regarding options for recycling organic waste from your business.

Information for Households

Registrations have now closed. Please use the tools available on our website for information on ways to reduce and recycle food waste in your household. Please feel free to contact Matthew Nelson from the City of Yarra on 03 9205 5780 or with any further queries on household food waste management options.

Information for Community Groups and Local Councils

If you are interested in bringing Food Know How to your area, please contact either:

  • City of Yarra: contact Matt Nelson on 03 9205 5780 or
  • Cultivating Community: contact our office on 03 9429 3084 or

What’s the deal with food waste anyway?

We all love food, but many of us don’t realise how much actually goes to waste, or fully understand the environmental impacts.

  • Australians discard up to 20% of the food we buy. That’s 1 out of every 5 shopping bags going to waste!
  • Avoiding this food waste can save the average household over $1,000 a year – that’s over a month of food shopping or six-months of electricity bills!
  • Over 40% of the average Commercial bin and over 50% of the average Household bin in Yarra is made up of food waste.
  • This waste goes to landfill where it rots with other organic waste to create Methane – a greenhouse gas 25 times more global warming than Carbon Dioxide.

The hidden impacts…

When we throw away food, it’s not just the item of food that we are wasting. It’s much more than that. The hidden impact is that when we waste food, we are also wasting all the water, fuel and resources that were used to grow that food and transport it from the farm to your plate.

The scale of environmental issues can seem overwhelming, but taking control of your food waste is an easy and effective way to have a positive impact in your community. Beyond the environmental benefits, reducing food waste is a great way to save money.

Read more food waste facts in this clever infographic developed by Foodwise.


Can I really make a difference?

Most households and cafes already do the right thing by recycling items like plastic, glass, paper and cardboard. By throwing less food in your bin, you will send less food waste to landfill where it would otherwise generate Methane, a gas which contributes to global warming and climate change. Learn more about what your Household or Cafe can do to make a difference!

Visit Participating Cafes

Click on icon to view Cafe details. View Food Know How Cafe Participant Map in a larger map


Get Involved

Are you a household, cafe or office in the City of Yarra?

Cutting down your food waste is easy with Food Know How! We’ll help you drastically reduce the amount of food waste you throw out by showing you the best ways to avoid and recycle food waste.

Sign up to participate!

We believe everyone can recycle unavoidable food waste. Households can get started with our range of fact sheets and tools designed to help you shop smarter, keep food fresher and get creative with the food in your fridge and cupboards. Cafe’s can learn what you can do to reduce waste with the business waste toolkit.

As a Food Know How participant, we’ll provide you with support and resources to help you get your head around composting, worm farmingBokashi, or even keeping backyard chooks! Cafes can get their food waste taken to their local compost hub. There it will be matured and used to help community gardens bloom.

If you are a Household or Cafe in the City of Yarra, why not SIGN UP to participate today?

Stay in the loop by joining our Facebook page, following us on Twitter and checking our blog for upcoming events and news.

Kitchen Know How

Get creative in the kitchen to rule out waste!

How we shop has a huge impact on how much food ends up in our rubbish bins. Here you’ll find everything you need to plan meals, shop effectively, and cook creatively for minimal waste. It’s quick, easy, and makes a big difference!

Tired of looking in the fridge and feeling devoid of ideas? Wish you had a better idea of how to keep food fresh for longer? Working with FoodWise, we’ve developed some tools that will help you toward being a thrifty and low-waste kitchen. By reguarly using these tools, you can take the guess work out of shopping and cooking on a daily and weekly basis.

Cafe owners and offices will know that changing habits in the kitchen can make a huge difference to their bottom line. Our waste toolkit has tips and advice for every business.

Waste Know How

Turn food waste into soil food!

Composting your food scraps doesn’t have to be smelly, dirty or attract unwanted critters. If properly managed, a compost pile or worm farm can become a source of valuable plant food for your garden and a great way to save money.

With the help of our team you’ll soon learn that composting can be fun and easy to fit into your day-to-day routine. It can also be incredibly rewarding to work with nature to produce the “black gold” that all gardeners love so much! Increase your waste know how by digging deeper into our links and resources.

Which food waste recycling system suits you?

Composting? Worm Farming? Bokashi? Chickens? It is important to consider a number of factors before you decide which food waste system is right for your household. Find Out Which Food Waste Recycling System Is Right For You (more information given in comparison tables below)

We’re here to provide you with help and and assistance, so feel free to contact us or why not come along to one of our regular workshops.

Summary of Benefits & Limitations of Systems*


  • is the easiest system, but is not a complete processing system and must therefore be combined with compost or by burying into soil (e.g. in garden or backyard). There is a small ongoing cost. Most suitable for office and apartment contexts, and requires least amount of training and management.


  • is the most resilient system. Need a medium level of training and management.

Worm Farm

  • a very popular system, however have a number of limits compared to compost and Bokashi. The most serious limitation is the sensitivity of worms to extreme heat that is common in Melbourne Summers. Also of note is their slow start-up period and sensitivity to overfeeding during this time. If people are willing to manage over summer and recommend people may want to order additional worms (typical start-up is 1,000 worms, however recommend 1,000 per household member) to boost population and create useful feeding rates as early as possible.

*Based on Food Know How Program experience

Comparison Tables

You can find more information in the summary tables below, or on the sub pages of this website.

Which system is right for you IMAGE

Note: Click table above to view enlarged image.


For more detailed comparative information to help you choose your system refer to this table below:

Food recycling systems comparison table

Note: Click table above to view enlarged image.

Latest News

Food Know How at Yarra Sustainability Awards

Posted by on September 15th, 2014 | Categories News, Newsflash

Food Know How receives an award at the 2014 City of Yarra Sustainability Awards


The Cultivating Community team attended the City of Yarra Sustainability Awards on Thursday 11th September. Local comedian Dave O’Neil hosted the community celebration that honored … Read more

Welcome to our August newsletter!

Posted by on August 25th, 2014 | Categories News

Read about:

  • Celebrating ‘ugly food’ and supporting our farmers
  • How to join in the food revolution
  • The first waste-free supermarket
  • and more….!
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Read more

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Vote for Food Know How in 2014 Yarra Sustainability Awards

Posted by on July 24th, 2014 | Categories Events, News, Newsflash

Vote for your most inspiring local leaders taking action in environmental sustainability in the City of Yarra. Great to see our very own Food Know How program nominated, amongst the many other talented individuals and groups!

Vote here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/YSA2014PeoplesChoice

You … Read more

Welcome to our June newsletter

Posted by on July 2nd, 2014 | Categories News

In this latest newsletter, read about:

  • Food Know How attends the ‘Environmental Oscars’
  • Good bye and good luck to the wonderful Kat!
  • Cultivating Community receives exciting news
  • What’s happening next for FKH?

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FKH Wins UNAA World Environment Day Award

Posted by on June 18th, 2014 | Categories News, Newsflash

Congratulations to the Food Know How Team, winners of Sustainability Education Award for United Nations Association of Australia World Environment Day!

The UNAA Awards recognise individuals, organisations and business who have established themselves as leaders in environmental excellence in Australia, … Read more

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