Embark’s Food Rescue Program increases its distribution this fall

Kevin Chau, Food Rescue Program Manager, shows one of the bins that is filled with produce each week.

It’s time to support those bruises on the fruit and vegetables in the produce aisle.

Embark (formerly Sustainable SFU), a not-for-profit society serving the SFU community and providing sustainable programs to improve SFU’s ecological footprint, has launched an initiative called the Food Rescue Program.

The program is dedicated to salvaging and redistributing organic waste to the SFU community. The Food Rescue team has re-allocated “edible yet imperfect produce from Nesters at each distribution,” said Ali White, program manager at Embark. Food Rescue Program manager, Kevin Chau, also told The Peak that “students repeatedly came back throughout the summer [for produce] and we hope that it continues to support them.”

The Food Rescue Program aims to decrease the amount of food waste that many supermarkets create by providing an affordable way for students to receive nutritious produce. Second Harvest, the number one food rescue service in Toronto, released a report in 2014 that shows food waste costs Canadians $31 billion dollars a year, with 53 percent of that waste occurring from foods deemed in imperfect in grocery stores.

The SFU program is continuing to live up to its name, “rescuing” healthy fruits and vegetables that can be collected for free or by donation. It has accomplished many of its goals since its June 2 inception. Ali White explained that the Food Rescue team has reached its distribution goal, and will be moving from distributing once every two weeks to a weekly distribution which began on September 8. There have been a total of eight bi-weekly distributions since the project began. Kevin Chau told The Peak, “we originally started the program with one bin of produce every two weeks weighing between 20kg to 30 kg.” The Food Rescue program now has two bins of produce a week with roughly 50kg to 60 kg of produce each week. The team also plans to reach out to the SFU Harbour Centre for distribution.

The program aims to show SFU students that there is more than what meets the eye when buying produce. It stresses the importance of having access to healthy and nutritious products, while also addressing a growing problem of food waste in supermarkets. It also allows students to understand that most imperfect fruits and vegetables are still edible and a healthy choice for students.

You can join the Food Rescue team and pick up your produce in Blusson Hall on Thursdays from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Be sure to bring your own bag!

With files from Ashley Fraser.