A new initiative in Lindsay will address the avoidable crisis of food waste at the local level, with a dual mission of hunger relief and environmental protection.
“The Kawartha Lakes Food Source recognizes that we need to change the way food is valued throughout production, processing, distribution, retail, and at home,” says Heather Kirby, general manager of Kawartha Lakes Food Source.
“Food waste accounts for nearly 60 per cent of the industry’s environmental footprint, and most of it is completely avoidable.”
Avoidable food loss and waste refers to any loss or waste which is unplanned or unexpected, such as food that does not meet aesthetic criteria, surplus production from incorrect demand forecasting, processing inefficiencies, confusion about date coding, and so on.
Across Canada 58% of all food produced is lost or wasted. Of this 58%, 32% could be rescued, which is equal to 11.2 million metric tonnes per year. At the same time, 4 million Canadians, 10,182 of which live within the City of Kawartha Lakes, struggle to access sufficient, safe, and nutritious food which meets their preferences for an active lifestyle. The gap between these issues presents an opportunity for food businesses to come together with social service agencies to divert perfectly edible food from landfills in order to meet the immediate needs of community members.
To begin developing the connections between food businesses and social service agencies the Kawartha Lakes Food Source has partnered with Second Harvest and Value Chain Management International to introduce FoodRescue.ca to the City of Kawartha Lakes. The project is made possible by a $1.8 million-dollar investment from the Walmart Foundation for the study and acceleration of food rescue across Canada.
FoodRescue.ca is a free and easy-to-use online platform which connects any type of food business which would like to donate surplus food to any registered charity or non-profit organization that can make use of it. Food businesses and non-profits register online and agree to abide by safe food handling guidelines. When a business has surplus food available for donation, they create a post on FoodRescue.ca indicating the type, amount, and when it is available for pickup. A notification of the available donation is sent out to all non-profits registered with the capacity to retrieve and store it, and an interested organization can claim the donation and go to the donor for pickup.
“There are many direct benefits to both donors and rescuers, including reduced tipping fees for waste, positive community connections, and a metric system which shows the amount of food redirected, number of meals provided, and green house gas emissions averted” said Jessica Topfer, the FoodRescue.ca Coordinator at the Kawartha Lakes Food Source.