We Grow Food Waste Solutions
As the above image illustrates, a lot of food waste happens at home. But that doesn’t mean that retailers, wholesalers and farmers aren’t taking steps to combat the problem.
Here are some of the standout initiatives that our community partners have launched in an effort to end local hunger and help the environment.
We’ve heard it time after time: Food goes to waste while thousands in our own backyard go hungry. Rising to this moral, economic and environmental challenge, the Ontario Food Terminal and its tenants want to end this refrain. With the help of Daily Bread Food Bank and their partner agency in this initiative, Second Harvest, our wholesalers divert unsold produce to thousands who don’t have enough to eat. Instead of going to landfills that contribute to greenhouse gas production, the Market’s time-sensitive produce is picked up three times a week by the two charities.
In 2014–2015, fresh vegetables accounted for 26 percent of the food distributed by Daily Bread, the lead charity in this initiative. All told, volunteers sorted, packed and distributed 1.7 million pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables. The more sensitive items are trimmed and used in community kitchens, while the stable produce is distributed through Daily Bread’s food banks and network of community agencies.
All of us at the Ontario Food Terminal feel fortunate and honoured to be in the fresh produce business where we can share nature’s bounty with Toronto’s most vulnerable.
RETAILERS: “UGLY” IS ATTRACTIVE
For the past several years, a number of grocers in the GTA have made a point of pushing naturally imperfect produce. What’s naturally imperfect produce? It may be an orange with too much navel, an apple fused twin-like with another apple, or a carrot with multiple ends — what some might even call “ugly.” Instead of discarding the misshapen produce, many grocers now offer the items at a discount, saving consumers money while keeping perfectly good food out of landfills.
FOODSERVICE: MAKING GREEN CONNECTIONS
On the foodservice side, a growing number of GTA-based catering companies are going green. In addition to adopting extensive recycling and compost programs, these businesses source seasonal and local produce for their menus, which cuts down on waste at the transportation and distribution stages of the food cycle.
Bringing the restaurant scene into the mix, there’s a new app that connects suppliers, including restaurants, grocers and catering companies with hungry Toronto consumers. Josh Domingues is the founder of FlashFood, an app he designed in response to his sister’s complaint about food waste in the restaurant sector, where she works as a chef. The app identifies suppliers nearby with excess food to sell. A picture of the food and an estimated expiry date is posted, and the buyer can pay for it online and pick it up. A win-win-win for suppliers, consumers and the environment!
FARMERS: NEW INCENTIVES
In 2013, Ontario made history by becoming the first province to offer farmers a tax credit for food donated to food banks. Although farmers traditionally donated thousands of kilograms worth of fresh produce to community agencies out of pure generosity, this tax credit is a great incentive for farmers to reduce food waste even further. We are proud to say our partner charity Daily Bread Food Bank played an important role in advocating for the tax credit.