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Food Rescue App Tackles Canada’s Food Waste Problem
By: Rrain Prior
(Rrain is a journalist with NACTV, funded by the Government of Canada through the Local Journalism Initiative).
To understand what the Food Rescue app means to our community, you first need to understand the purpose of Second Harvest. They are the largest Canadian food rescue organisation, who work across the supply chain to capture surplus food before it ends up in the landfill. Food that ends up in a landfill not only keeps it from the people who need it most, but also is damaging to the environment.
There are a lot of reasons that food ends up wasted that have nothing to do with whether or not the food is safe to consume. Sometimes the food is past its best before date, which indicates the optimal time to consume the food and is not an expiry. Sometimes the food is excess to the needs of the retail store and is simply unsold at either the farm, the warehouse, or the retail level. According to Second Harvest, nearly 60 percent of food produced in Canada is lost and wasted annually, of which 32 percent is avoidable.
The Second Harvest Food Rescue app is a program that connects businesses with surplus food directly with social service organisations. That means the program doesn’t just work on a large scale. A small grocery store can register with the app and be connected with a local shelter, breakfast program, drop-in centre, or many other services which have registered on the other side of it.
Amanda Naughton-Gale, who runs the local food bank, takes us through how the app works for her and for the community. The local Safeway store has registered with the app, which means she gets notified when they have excess food available. She can then choose to pick it up or receive it, if it’s something that the food bank has the capacity to handle, or she can pass it along to the next organisation or program. Organisations and businesses with no pre-existing connections or even awareness of each other can be connected through the app.
Naughton-Gale also stresses just how big a problem food waste is in the community, as well as in Canada as a whole, and what regular consumers can do about it, including increasing the lifespan of the foods they have on hand instead of wasting them.
Since November, which is when the food bank started using the app, they have saved $3697 worth of food, which is the equivalent of 1,064 meals. This has diverted 1072 kg of greenhouse gases which would have been released into the atmosphere if the food had reached the landfill. That sounds like a win for everyone.
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As Neepawa and area’s local access television station, NACTV has been serving the community since 1977. The station is a community-owned not-for-profit organisation that broadcasts 24 hours a day and reaches homes throughout Manitoba and Canada on Bell ExpressVu 592, MTS Channel 30/1030, and WCG 117 as well as streaming online at nactv.tv.
NACTV’s content is primarily filmed and produced by local volunteers and focuses on issues, activities, achievements, sports, and news by, about, and of interest to our community.
Neepawa is located in western Manitoba, about two hours west of Winnipeg and 45 minutes southeast of Riding Mountain National Park.
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