With our sleeves rolled up, gloves on, the Trendi misfits walked in ready to fight food waste alongside the Food Stash Foundation. They are a Vancouver-based registered charity that keeps surplus GOOD food from being wasted by reallocating it to members of the community.
When our team arrived, we were welcomed in by Anna and her team, who gave us a tour of the facility and caught us up to speed about Food Stash. Started in 2016 by a local teacher who was inspired to reduce food waste, they have been named as finalists in the Burnaby Business Excellence Awards for: Not-for-Profit Organisation of the Year and Environmental Sustainability. Today they are rescuing over 70,000 lbs of food each month and redistributing it through to over thirty charities they have partnered with and over 100 members.
Their working definition of rescued food refers to food that was not sold due to over-stocking, cancelled orders, lack of storage or not meeting aesthetic standards. In other words, this food is perfectly good to eat. Over 75% of the rescued food is taken to their Community Partners to support hot meal, market and food hamper programs. The remaining amount is brought back to their warehouse to support their in-house programs. Every Thursday, Food Stash opens their doors to host a Rescued Food Market – a zero waste grocery store where anyone is able to purchase surplus food by donation.
Because it was a Friday, we were responsible for packing Rescued Food Boxes. This is a weekly program for members of the community that meet certain criteria: facing food insecurity with a disability or health condition that limits them from accessing food and being located within their delivery location. Each 25 lbs box was tailored to an individual’s diet of meat, seafood, plant-based protein, dairy items and produce; packed by staff and volunteers and delivered through Shift Delivery.
We were shocked to see that most of the produce was still in perfect condition, but were not able to be used in another capacity. This puts the full amount of wasted food into perspective for us. Food Stash is one of many local places you can donate excess food, and their operation alone saves more than 70,000 lbs per month.
Food Stash’s commitment to reducing food waste, providing healthy and accessible food to people while mitigating their environmental impact parallels Trendi’s philosophy and we are so happy we were able to work alongside these Food Waste Heroes – we can’t wait to go back!
If you’re interested in volunteering, you can find the link here!
Article written by:
Chloe Almeida, Marketing Coordinator
Chloe has always been interested in the “how” and “why” that create our social, cultural, and physical environment. With a background in health sciences, she is committed to spreading awareness and solving issues that affect public health and wellness.