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The Food Centre’s Food Recovery program might reduce landfill waste

Food Centre’s “Food Recovery” program partners with Save On Foods and Real Canadian Wholesale Club
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The Link is calling out to farmers, gardeners and locals to help them reduce landfill waste.

The Food Centre’s Food Recovery program currently partners with Save On Foods and Real Canadian Wholesale Club (RCWC).

This program keeps around 15,500 kg out of the landfill every year. This works out to be $109,585 in recovered food.

Roni Larsen, the Food Centre Manager said, “We pick up produce, bakery, dry goods and dairy items 4-5 times a week from Save On and bread, dairy and meat is delivered from RCWC once a week.”

For produce the staff and volunteers at the Food Centre use the mantra ‘would you feed this to your family?’ If the answer is yes, it goes out to people during weekly food distributions, if the answer is no – then they process the food through sorting, blanching, freezing and so on for the use of their hot meal program. Whatever they cannot use goes to farmers and ranchers for feed or compost.

The products from RCWC are frozen before the expiry date and then delivered to the Food Centre -free of charge by Burns Lake Freight and Delivery.

This is a significant source of food for the Food Centre as well as great way to reduce food waste in the community and keep food out of the landfill.

The Food Centre would like to increase the capacity of this program and expand to restaurants and other large organizations. They would also want to expand the program to more ranchers and farmers.

The program takes a lot of staff and volunteer time to build relationships and work on logistics and coordination. Once the program is up and running the ongoing operations of the program will include regular pickup, sorting and distributing of food.

Right now, they only have the capacity to pick up at Save On Foods during the week.

Larsen said, “It would be nice to be able to expand this to other businesses and organizations in town as well as in other parts of the region.”

Food that is in edible conditions will only be distributed to people.

She said, “If we would feed it to our own families, we would distribute it to clients.”

Larsen said, “Right now, we are only able to take food that was processed in an inspected facility. In the past we have collected and distributed old meat that we were able to distribute as dog food, but we do not have the capacity to do that right now.”

She also said, “In the past we have had volunteers pick apples from trees in the community, but it is dependent on volunteers as well as staff time to organize.”

Whether food needs to be boxed up or put in bags, Larsen stated, “Either works.”

Food that is fit for humans is distributed in hampers or used for hot meals.

The Food Centre also supports other community agencies and day-cares with food.

If there are any organizations farmers or local residence who would like to contribute should contact Scott Zayac. His contact information is szayac@thelink-ld.ca and the Food Centre’s phone number is 250-692-0316.

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