BC organizations donate unsold food from grocery stores

FoodMesh and Georgia Main Food Group work with 220 charities to feed British Columbians

0
273
A shelf in a grocery store full of produce
PHOTO: nrd / Unsplash

By: Hannah Fraser, News Writer

Since 2020, BC organizations FoodMesh and Georgia Main Food Group have collaborated to build a network of 220 charities and farmers to distribute food to people living in food-insecure households. While food insecurity is at an all-time high, they have put 3.5 million meals onto the tables of British Columbians by donating unsold food from stores like IGA and Fresh St. Market. For more information, The Peak corresponded with Megan Czerpak, head of communications at FoodMesh. 

Czerpak explained how “food is wasted for a variety of reasons, depending on where in the supply chain it is.” For example, she said retailers may be unable to sell their stock  if food is past its expiry date, has aesthetic imperfections, is overstocked, or has errors on the packaging. As a result, Czerpak noted that throwing out unsold food is “quicker, easier, and cheaper” for retailers. Georgia Main works to divert the most unsaleable food possible away from waste streams. According to Jessica Regan, CEO and co-founder of FoodMesh, “more than half of the food produced in Canada goes to waste,” showing “deep flaws in Canada’s food system.” 

“Since our collaboration began in April 2020, IGA and Fresh St. Market have diverted over 2.1 million kilograms of food from ending up in waste streams,” Czerpak said. 

Czerpak said FoodMesh coordinates the daily collection of unsold food to “ensure it is rescued and redistributed quickly and efficiently.” As FoodMesh measures the volume of food each store is diverting, “Georgia Main can track its progress against its food waste reduction goals.” 

“Since our collaboration began in April 2020, IGA and Fresh St. Market have diverted over 2.1 million kilograms of food from ending up in waste streams.” — Megan Czerpak, FoodMesh.

For example, the Immigrant Link Centre Society (ILSC) picks up and delivers fresh food from Fresh St. Market for newcomers to Canada who are otherwise unable to afford groceries. The CityReach Care Society also distributes food to underserved communities in Surrey, the Downtown Eastside, and 50 schools in the Greater Vancouver Area. 

Further, Czerpak explained “the most recent Statistics Canada data showed that ‘nearly nine million Canadians live in food-insecure households” which makes up approximately 23% of the population

Czerpak said FoodMesh hopes “others see the example they are setting for the industry and follow suit.”

Leave a Reply