As the fight to combat food waste in Canada wages on, one group on Salt Spring Island has come up with a unique solution to their local waste issues.
Salt Spring Island Community Services has paired up with County Grocer to initiate Sky Harvest – a program that recovers near-expiration food from grocery stores on the island and houses it in a large, refrigerated shipping container for long term storage.
According to Simone Cazabon, Food Security Coordinator for SSICS, the greatest challenge in collecting unwanted foods from grocery stores has been distributing it before goes bad, especially for such foods as fruits and vegetables, which have a shorter shelf life. The shipping container helps mitigate this issue by serving as a mid-point where collected foods can be refrigerated before they reach their next destination.
This effort by SSICS comes as a response to growing concern over the overwhelming amount of food that is thrown away by grocery stores in Canada each year. Food Banks BC estimates that 30% of fruits and vegetables are rejected purely for cosmetic reasons, while packaged foods that have reached (or nearly reached) their best-before date are thrown out despite being perfectly safe and palatable.
SSICS already has a great impact on its community, serving approximately 200 people each week in its food bank and providing an average of over 500 meals per month through its various programs. With the addition of Sky Harvest, even more low-income families, community kitchens and seniors programs will be provided with healthy and affordable food.
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