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Pilot project prevented thousands of meals from going to waste in P.E.I.

The Food Recovery Network project wrapped up recently. Operations program coordinator Emily Browning says she's happy with the results. (Shane Hennessey/CBC - image credit)
A pilot program that ran in P.E.I. for a year helped save thousands of meals from going to waste, the people who ran the project say. 

Last year, the City of Charlottetown partnered with Farm and Food Care P.E.I. and Second Harvest to help encourage businesses and groups to donate surplus food to non-profits.

The P.E.I. Food Recovery Network project involved research and an infrastructure fund to help groups buy fridges and freezers. But the project mostly focused on an education campaign that promoted the Second Harvest Food Rescue app, which aims to make the process of donating food easier.

The pilot wrapped up this January, but the people who managed it say they plan to carry on doing the same work.

Emily Browning is Second Harvest’s operations program coordinator for Atlantic Canada.

“I really went around and built rapport with donors as well as non-profits and just worked to build out the food recovery network,” she said.

Browning has been working to help people feel more comfortable using the app to make donations, and helping non-profits learn how to claim them. 103 users — 81 donors and 22 non-profits — took advantage of the app while the pilot was taking place.

“We were really able to really increase the numbers of donors and non-profits,” Browning said. “I call it almost like a matchmaking app between donors and non-profits.”

‘A lot of potential to be tapped into’

Browning said the pilot prevented 147,000 meals from going to waste. She said it also helped reduce greenhouse gases, preventing about 250 tonnes of CO2 equivalent from being released into the atmosphere.

The Food Recovery Network got $47,700 through P.E.I.’s Climate Challenge Fund. They applied for the fund with the help from the City of Charlottetown.

Shane Hennessey/CBC
Katrina Cristall, the city’s climate action officer, said Charlottetown wanted to partner with Second Harvest to look more closely into the issue of food insecurity in the province and try to “do something about it.” 

“[We wanted] to put that food that was going to waste unnecessarily into the hands of the people that needed it,” she said.

Researchers ran a survey as part of the project. They found that about 80 per cent of businesses who responded threw out their surplus of food instead of donating it.

“That showed us that there was a lot of potential to be tapped into with that food waste,” Cristall said.

Second Harvest
Adam Loo, the executive chef with the Murphy Hospitality Group, has dealt with the issue of food waste in the restaurant industry first-hand. 

He said that after the Cavendish Beach Music Festival, there was a lot of leftover food like cheese, cut-up fruit and vegetables that couldn’t be used elsewhere. So the group donated the leftovers through the app.

“It gets food where there’s a need,” Loo said.

The process was simple, he said. Now, the Murphy Hospitality Group plans to work more with the app and donate food from some of its restaurants as well.

Charities grateful

The app has not only made a difference to P.E.I.’s restaurant industry, but also to charities like Gifts from the Heart.

Founder Betty Begg-Brooks said the group is currently helping 1,800 families, providing everything from clothing to food.

Her charity is usually able to do two “rescues” a week through the Second Harvest app.

“It includes meat, fresh food, fresh fruit and all those things for healthy food hampers,” Begg-Brooks said.

“It’s been a real blessing.”

Second Harvest
Begg-Brooks said it’s healthy food, and that sometimes they even get higher-end items that clients are grateful to receive. 

The charity recently got food from Atlantic Superstore, Sobeys and Shoppers Drug Mart.

“The more people are aware of it, the better,” Begg-Brooks said.

Gifts from the Heart received a freezer thanks to the Climate Challenge Fund. That’s let the charity keep more food — and even re-distribute it to others.

For Browning, the job is not done just yet.

“The work that we did and are doing is going to continue,” she said.

“We need to build on this. I want to see it get better.”

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Credit belongs to : ca.news.yahoo.com

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