Second Harvest, Canada’s largest food rescue organization, is undertaking the first national study of food programs offered by public sector and community service organizations though a $1.8 million CDN grant from the Walmart Foundation. Lori Nikkel, CEO of Second Harvest, is making the announcement today in Montréal at Americana, a three-day international environmental forum, joined by Cyrille Ballereau, Vice President, Regional Operations, Walmart Canada.
Second Harvest will again partner with Value Chain Management International, a leader in food industry research, to map food programs across Canada. Their recent research collaboration, The Avoidable Crisis of Food Waste, reported that 11 million metric tonnes of potentially rescuable food is lost or wasted across the food chain each year. This new study will determine the location and capacity of current food programs, as well as identify gaps in existing food rescue networks.
Recognizing our country’s unique geography and population densities, the funding from the Walmart Foundation will also be used to accelerate food recovery in varying community sizes, using FoodRescue.ca, Second Harvest’s online platform for donating food. FoodRescue.ca is a match-making tool that connects a wide range of charities, not-for-profit organizations and schools with all types of food donors, including multi-national manufacturers and retailers, chain and independent restaurants, food processors and farms.
“It has been incredible to see the social and environmental benefits that FoodRescue.ca brings to communities,” said Nikkel. “Our non-profit partners tell us that access to good food has positive impacts for the people they assist and also helps their operating budgets go further, so they can do more with their programs. Plus, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced when healthy food is rescued instead of going to landfill. That’s a win for all of us.”
“We remain committed to being part of the solution on the important issue of food waste in Canada,” said Eileen Hyde, Director of Strategic Initiatives, The Walmart Foundation. “Today’s announcement will build upon our efforts to help accelerate momentum on improving food recovery in Canada.”
Second Harvest will also use some of this new funding to enhance FoodRescue.ca with a transportation module which will allow volunteers and community support groups to pick up donated food and deliver to people in need. This feature is designed to help get nutritious food to those who need it while reducing the impact food waste has on the environment.
Second Harvest believes that all unsold, edible food should be universally accessed to keep Canadians healthy and strong. All provinces have a form of Good Samaritan legislation, such as Ontario’s Donation of Food Act, 1994, which protects businesses against liability when donating food in good faith.