Unwanted vegetables turned into healthy soup for food banks

The Farm to Food program at the Unemployed Help Centre is turned unwanted produce into hot meals.

Since May 2019, 550,000 servings of soup have been made by the Farm to Food program

Farm to food soup

2 years ago
A program at the Unemployed Help Centre is putting unwanted food to use. The farm to food program takes tomatoes and turns theminto tomato soup. 1:21

The Farm to Food program at the Windsor-Essex region Unemployed Help Centre is turning unwanted produce into hot meals.

Since May 2019, 550,000 servings of soup have been made through donations of food from farms and greenhouses. Almost 60,000 kilograms of food was collected to feed people ranging from Windsor to Toronto. 

"There's a lot of vegetables and at least 300 pounds goes into each soup kettle at a time," said Anthony Dalupan, lead chef for the Farm to Food program.

The program addresses both food waste and food insecurity, while also creating jobs for low-income individuals. The meals are shared through food banks and hunger-relief agencies across Ontario.

All manners of vegetables, from carrots to potatoes to peppers, can go into the soup. Two other chefs and 475 volunteers have assisted with the program.

On Thursday, tomato provolone soup was on the menu.

Chef Anthony Dalupan, right, and team work to turn unwanted produce into delicious soup. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

"We get carte blanche on whatever we want to make, so it's a pretty good program that way. So it's whatever we have that's available in the food bank is what we do," Dalupan said.

Everyday there are usually at least three volunteers, but some days there can be more, Dalupan said, adding that the program always welcomes more volunteers of all ages. 

His organization also won't turn away more spices.

"Let's face it, you have pureed vegetables is one thing, but kicking it up a notch, different spices is a whole different level," Dalupan said.

Packaged tomato provolone soup is ready to go to the freezer and will soon be given to those in need from Windsor up to Toronto. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

The program was created in direct response to food waste, according to June Muir, executive director of the Unemployed Help Centre.

"We have a lot of farmers in Essex County and we know that there's a lot of produce that can be rescued," she said.

The UHC plans to make and distribute over 2.5 million servings of soup by October 2021, which will feed more than 500,000 people throughout Ontario and 37,000 people locally.

"We started this program and Food Banks Canada will be evaluating it to try and mirror it throughout Canada."

With files from Stacey Janzer


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