British Columbia

3 British Columbians get creative to stop mountains of food from hitting the trash

Three British Columbians find ways to repurpose food that would otherwise be tossed.

Tactics include turning bread into beer; forcing stores to donate food that's still edible

About 396 kilograms of food per capita is wasted in Canada every year, according to a report released by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Three British Columbians are fighting waste which leads to an estimated $31 billion worth of food being tossed into  landfills or compost bins in Canada each year.

Teen activist travels to Ottawa

Justin Kulik, a 17-year-old student activist from Kelowna in B.C's Okanagan, recently traveled to Ottawa to deliver a food waste petition containing 165,000 signatures.

It calls on the government to bar grocery stores from wasting unsold edible food and to instead donate it to charities such as food banks.

"I care so much about this issue because it has not just social aspects that are impacted, but also environmental ones,"  Kulik said.

Justin Kulik, 17, travelled to Ottawa to ask the Canadian government to consider a law to help cut down on wasted food. (Julie Byrnes/ Canada )

He also met with federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay.

"[The meeting] went very well, the minister was receptive to our message," the teen said.

"We had a promise from him and his office that they would read through each and every comment."

Jenna Fraser came up with the idea of using bread collected from stores to make beer which will be sold to raise money for the food bank. (Radio-Canada)

Brewed from bread

A brewery in Revelstoke is trying out an experimental brew made with bread collected in a food recovery program. 

Jenna Fraser, a community food outreach coordination with Community Connections, came up with the idea while looking for creative ways to use excess bread, buns and baguettes.

"We'd been seeing some patterns of most wasted food," Fraser said. "Last month alone, we donated over 2,500 pounds of bread to a local farmer for animal feed because we couldn't deal with the amount of bread that we were receiving."

The beer called Our Daily Bread is created and served at Mt. Begbie Brewery in the town nestled in the Columbia Mountains. It's part of a fundraiser for the local food bank.

"Hopefully, we can help to educate and bring awareness about food waste and to not be wasting food — instead to be utilizing it, eating it and also repurchasing it," said Fraser. 

Maegan Stuart is a third-year medical student UBC Okanagan. (UBC Okanagan)

Saving food from Save On Foods

A new food recovery project in the East Kootenay community of Kimberley is using food waste from grocery stores to create healthy eating options.

Maegan Stuart, a third-year medical student at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, is helping the Healthy Kimberley Society launch the project.

"Food waste and health and medicine are all very connected," Stuart said.

Food that's still edible, like bruised fruit or vegetables, will be collected and distributed to community programs. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

She recently met with the grocery store Save On Foods to coordinate how to collect and reuse the rescued food items.

"It includes vegetables and fruit that may not be aesthetically pleasing and would otherwise be thrown out or composted, but are perfectly edible," Stuart said.

The program is expected to launch in November and the food will be distributed to community initiatives like school lunch programs, seniors' programs, daycare programs and the food bank.

With files from Daybreak South.

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