• Reducing Food Waste Today for a Better Tomorrow

    This article was published on February 13, 2017

    Reducing Food Waste Today for a Better Tomorrow

    Food for Life recently launched their Reducing Waste to End Hunger website (www.reducewasteendhunger.com), with the goal to raise awareness about wasted food and how businesses and individuals can make a difference. The Burlington Foundation was the principal funder of this project that resulted in Food for Life, Feeding Halton, Halton Food Council and the Halton Poverty Roundtable collaborating to serve the community.

    “We are proud to support collaborative initiatives such as Reducing Food Waste to End Hunger,” says President and CEO of the Burlington Foundation, Colleen Mulholland. “We believe that by working together through community partnerships we can make a greater difference in addressing complex social issues such as hunger.” 

    Food for Life partners with community organizations such as retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers, farmers and distributors, that are also committed to ending food waste and hunger. Food for Life provides an outlet not only for these organizations to manage inventories, provide solutions for excess quality food and contribute through donations, inevitably reducing their waste management expenditures all while helping a person in need in their community by donating and supporting the community with excess food.

    “Quite often, organizations need to clear current inventory to make room for new inventory. Although the term waste is referenced, the food we distribute must be within its best before date and its condition to be suitable for retail sale. It is simply excess food or straight donations that we accept,” says executive director, Brenda Hajdu. “We are extremely thankful to all the organizations who donate food to aid in the alleviation of hunger in Halton,” say’s Hajdu.

    With these donations, Food for Life is able to provide food to people in need to more than 80 food banks and hunger relief programs in Halton Region.

    The battle against food waste is a global issue. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations one third of food produced for human consumption worldwide is wasted. That is approximately 1.3 billion tons per year. In Canada, according to Value Change Management International more than $31 billion worth of food is wasted every year.

    This project brings awareness to waste reduction of quality food and links it to the 1 in 10 families in Halton struggling with hunger. In the winter month people are faced with the devastating decision of whether to feed their family or heat their home. This decision is one that no person should have to make, which is why Food for Life is able to step in and provide food for 38,239 neighbour visits per month. The number of neighbour visits has increased 28% in the past year.

    “This latest initiative, largely driven by leaders in the Halton food security sector, is yet another innovative approach to empowering individuals and businesses to make well-informed decisions. Through a greater awareness of the impact of food waste,  community members can explore opportunities to re-direct excess produce and make better decisions about their food purchasing habits.” added Leena Sharma Seth, Director of the Halton Poverty Roundtable.

    Text Box: Tips to reduce food waste

Consumers can make a difference by following these easy steps:

• Be a smart shopper and plan meals to reduce purchasing excess food
• Be a mindful eater, including limiting portion sizes or having leftovers
• Purchase imperfect food or food with minimal packaging to reduce the amount of waste generated
• Businesses can donate fresh, perishable food to Food for Life

These and many other tips on reducing your food waste can be found in the various tool kits online at www.reducewasteendhunger.com. Whether you’re part of the agriculture community, general public or a corporation there is a tool kit to provide you with information on reducing your food waste. 

The idea behind the Reducing Food Waste website is to educate the public on this topic and provide them with ways to reduce their waste impact. Consumers are the number one contributor to food waste contributing 50% of the 31 million pounds Canadians do not eat and throw out.

     “The agricultural community is actively engaging in the donation of excess food to the charitable food sector through Food for Life and Feeding Halton.  Halton farmers are growing an abundance of fresh, healthy produce, meats and grains and are providing for their community through their donations”, notes Meaghan Richardson, P.Ag, Consultant for Feeding Halton. Feeding Halton has developed a flyer which speaks to potential for donated harvests to assist farmers with excess produce as well as information pertaining to tax receipting for raw farm products. 

    "The Halton Food Council formed a working group made of educators and researchers to put together a comprehensive tool kit of resources and activities for teachers of grade 4-6. Our goal is to raise student awareness about food waste, provide them with simple solutions and tips to limit food waste, and overall inspire them and their families to reduce wasted food at school and at home", says Adeline Cohen, Community Food Network Manager at the Halton Food Council. 

    “Quite often, hunger is the result of lack of money and not lack of food,” notes Hajdu. “When a someone does fall into a crisis situation, we want to be able to help them reduce their household expenses by providing fresh, nutritious food.”

    To learn more about Food waste please go to www.reducewasteendhunger.com

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    For more information please contact; 

    Sarah Wolf - Community Engagement Coordinator - 905-635-1106 ext. 225