Kitchener-Waterloo

Creative cuisine: New campaign encourages you to use imperfect food

Guelph and Wellington County want people to think more about where their food comes from — and where it ends up. The communities are launching a public awareness campaign called Be a Food Future Star, with a goal of educating residents about nutrition and food waste.

Guelph-Wellington finalists for $10 million Smart Cities Challenge prize

Guelph and Wellington County are kicking off a new public awareness campaign to educate the community about nutrition and food waste. (Getty Images)

Guelph and Wellington County want people to think more about where their food comes from — and where it ends up.

The communities are launching a public awareness campaign called Be a Food Future Star, with a goal of educating residents about nutrition and food waste.

"We're hoping to better understand the public's perception of food waste and getting people to, when they open up their fridge, make better habits at home when it comes to food waste," said Jana Burns, the director of economic development for Wellington County.

Burns said it's important to be more considerate about the food we use and where waste goes.

"As a consumer we're used to walking into the grocery story or farmers' market and everything just looking perfect," she said.

The campaign will partner with local schools, libraries and organizations like the YMCA, and will feature tips from restaurants and chefs.

"The food industry has always been more thoughtful and diligent when it comes to the reality of food," Burns said.

"They use seconds and they use wholesale opportunities different from what you see on a retail shelf because they're thinking about their bottom line, and they also realize that the shape and the shine and the size don't affect taste."

Throwing out a bruised apple? Think again

The campaign is part of a joint Guelph-Wellington initiative to increase access to affordable food and reduce waste.

The city and county are vying for a $10 million dollar prize through the Smart Cities Challenge, with their pitch to become Canada's first circular food economy.

"With the Smart Cities initiative our aim is to change people's perceptions about food considered as waste and it turn do some behaviour changing, so that people aren't seeing food that has a bruise as food that is now no longer of use," Burns said.

Final proposals for the Smart Cities Challenge are due March 5.

The Region of Waterloo is also a finalist for the challenge, in the $50 million prize category.

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