British Columbia

'Surplus food' to be collected for hungry in Revelstoke

Call it "surplus food," call it "food waste;" either way, there's a lot of it going to landfills, Now a Revelstoke community group is conducting a study to see if it diverting it can help that community's food security.

Call it 'surplus food,' call it 'food waste;' either way, there's a lot of it going to landfills

A man handles donated food at the Revelstoke food bank operated by Community Connections. Community Connections is doing a feasibility study to see if reclaiming food that would be thrown out by businesses would help with food security. (

A group in Revelstoke is trying to find ways to divert edible food from local restaurants, butchers, and grocery stores and feed it to hungry people in the community.

Melissa Hemphill, food security coordinator with the group Community Connections, says food security is a growing concern in the community.

"We're already seeing it as a growing as a concern with rising food prices and the global awareness on food waste," Hemphill told Daybreak South host Chris Walker.

"We can pick up food around that [expiration date] where the store deems it not sellable any more, but it's still fit for consumption … it could be day-old bread, milk that's close to its expiry, produce that's been picked over, those sorts of things."

Hemphill says her group plans to sort food waste — or surplus food, as she prefers to call it — from area businesses into categories: fit for human consumption, fit for animal consumption and fit for compost and distribute it accordingly.

She says just because food is close to or beyond its expiration date, it still can usually be safely eaten — it just might be less fresh.

Study running until summer

Hemphill says her group doesn't know exactly how much food waste is fit for human consumption, so it is first doing a feasibility study to find that out, in addition to whether or not a food recovery plan would work in the region. Past research has shown about 36 per cent of landfill waste in the region is food waste.

"[It's] a big environmental issue with the methane gas that's produced from organic waste decomposition in a landfill, and also just a massive waste of resources while we have so many hungry people in our community," she said.

The study, funded by the Columbia Basin Trust, originally asked 75 businesses to come to a preliminary roundtable, though only nine showed up. Hemphill says her group will be working first with those who were interested in coming.

The feasibility study runs until the end of the summer and further funding is required before the project can become permanent.

With files from Daybreak South

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Revelstoke group wants to feed people with 'surplus food'


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