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Food rescue program expands in Delta

Earthwise Society, Tsawwassen Rotary Club and Vancouver Food Runners working together
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Vancouver Food Runners (pictured) is working with Earthwise Society and the Tsawwassen Rotary Club on a food rescue program here in Delta. Photo courtesy Vancouver Food Runners

A food rescue program in Delta is growing through the collaborative efforts of the Earthwise Society, Tsawwassen Rotary Club and the Vancouver Food Runners.

Recently, the groups received financial support through a Grow Grant from the Giustra Foundation.

According to Second Harvest, a Canadian food rescue organization, 58 per cent of the food produced in Canada each year is wasted or lost, and 32 per cent of this food is edible and could be used to support community food programs. In addition, almost one quarter of food waste (24 per cent) happens during the production phase on farms or in greenhouses across the country.

To address this complex challenge, this partnership redirects surplus produce from Delta and Tsawwassen farms to Earthwise Society where it is turned into harvest boxes for the community. Volunteers registered on the Vancouver Food Runners app, many from the Rotary Club of Tsawwassen, support with collecting produce donations from farms as well as delivering the harvest boxes to nearby charities running food programs for individuals experiencing food insecurity.

In 2022, during the pilot phase of the project, nearly 2,000 pounds of surplus produce was distributed; and they are looking to double their impact this summer and fall, with the help of local farms wishing to donate their surplus produce.

“More and more farmers are realizing the benefits of sharing their excess produce with people in need,” said Earthwise Society executive director Patricia Fleming. “These farmers are really the key to the success of this initiative and having the coordination support of Vancouver Food Runners will ensure that the donation process is straightforward and efficient for the farms involved.”

This creative initiative helps to solve a complex problem – making the food donation process free, simple, and convenient for farms – and provides fresh, healthy produce to members of our community who are experiencing food insecurity.

“One of Rotary International’s main areas of focus is fighting hunger throughout our world. Bringing that fight to our own community is a perfect fit for a service project for our local Rotary members,” added Tsawwassen Rotary Club vice-president Garry Shearer. “Vancouver Food Runners has given our Rotary Club a platform to deliver a consistent and sustainable service on a weekly basis and the opportunity to serve many families in our community.”

Farms in Delta and Tsawwassen can reach out to Chloe Leslie, program manager at Vancouver Food Runners, to learn more about donating their produce and getting involved.

Email: chloe@vancouverfoodrunners.com or call 236-471-4728.