A new study is underway to look at how to reduce food waste in Revelstoke.
Melissa Hemphill has been contracted by Community Connections to conduct a feasibility study for a food recovery program.
“The food recovery program is to get food that is not fit for sale but is fit for consumption to vulnerable citizens,” she told the Review.
Community Connections received $4,300 from the Columbia Basin Trust to conduct the feasibility study. Their goal is to collect food that is close to or at its best-before date, or leftover food from a banquet, and get that to people in need through the food bank.
“It’s part of an attempt to decrease food waste, because food waste is a huge issue in terms of environmental impact,” she said.
Hemphill said food waste in landfills produces methane, which is a greenhouse gas, making this an environmental as well as social concern. “Environmentally food waste is a really big deal,” she said.
According to a 2014 Solid Waste Management strategy produced by the City of Revelstoke, 32 per cent of all garbage that gets put out on the curb consists of food waste.
Hemphill started the feasibility study last month with a meeting of local stakeholders. She said she invited 75 businesses, though only nine showed up. “We had some key people there and some great conversations,” she said. She has spoken to Cooper’s about arranging pickup and deliveries of food that has reached its best-before date.
“Best before dates are not expiry dates, their freshness guidelines,” she said.
Through the program, they’re hoping to increase the quantity, quality and variety of food available to food bank clients.
Donors would be protected by the provincial Food Donor Encouragement Act, which states that someone who donates food isn’t liable for injuries or death as long as the food is fit for human consumption.
Part of the study will be looking at ways for the food bank to collect and store the food.
Last week, Hemphill and Patti Larson, the manager of the food bank, went out collecting “rescued food” to see how much food the program might be dealing with. In three days, they collected more than 100 pounds of food worth about $500.
“Hopefully we can come up with some arrangements to get more food going to the food bank,” said Hemphill.