Maybe you’ve been recently approached by a customer or an employee about how little food you donate vs how much you simply throw out at the end of the day, or maybe it’s been a long-term concern of yours, but you feel that your hands are tied with legal liability. Or you know that, in Canada, legal liability isn’t an issue at all, but you’re daunted by the logistics of it all.
Good news: you’re not in this alone.
There are several non-profit organizations set up across Canada to take excess food from your business (be it a small coffee shop, a huge supermarket, or anything in between) and put it directly into the hands of those that need it. Here’s a list of several of these groups and what they can do to help. Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive, nor is it a listing of “the best” ones out there, but a few that could be found with a quick internet search in Vancouver.
Second Harvest is a nationwide charity that focuses on food rescue. They have a number of initiatives that are ongoing, a particularly exciting one is their Food Rescue App. You can make a list of the food you have for donation, and groups in your area that use the app will come and pick up what they need.
The Leftovers Foundation
The Leftovers Foundation offers a similar app (in Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Hinton, and Airdrie, as of this article), but the donated food will be picked up by volunteers who then bring the food to participating service agencies.
If you’re a charity, farmer, or grocer (in BC, AB, or SK) and don’t want to interact with an app, then Loop Resources might be a good choice for you. Loop will liaise with grocers to take away their excess food. Loop analyses the food in order to determine where it can be distributed. The first pass will be for food that is suitable for human consumption, and the charities that Loop partners with will be given first refusal. The next pass will filter food that can be sent to farms as animal feed, then bioenergy, and the remainder will be composted.
Food Stash is a registered charity based out of Vancouver that distributes over 30,000kg of food per month to over 30 partner charities. They’ll send their Food Recovery Drivers to your location to pick up and record your donation, and deliver roughly 80% of that directly to their community partners that have their own hot meal, market and food hamper programs. For more information, see their website.
What’s Available In Your Community?
There are also many apps out there that will facilitate selling not-quite-perfect food at a reduced rate to consumers, if there isn’t a local solution for donation. This article is just a first step to seeking out solutions that support multiple provinces, but there’s many, many more out there that are strictly regional.
If none of the suggestions listed work for you, why not reach out to some local (or national!) charities and see if they’re already working with someone? In terms of national organizations, Second Harvest might be a good place to start. Or there’s local community message boards like Next Door. We’d love to hear your stories, successful or otherwise, it might be easier than you think!
Article written by:
Brian Lynchehaun, Content Writer
Brian has long been interested in practical solutions to a variety of social justice issues, at the systemic level. With a BA in philosophy he is looking at everything with an interconnected macro lens.