Food recovery has skyrocketed at Nesters Market since the store introduced food waste tracking
Last month, the Whistler Center for Sustainability (WCS) presented the Sea to Sky Food Recovery Strategy and Action Plan to Whistler officials, which is possibly the most comprehensive view of corridor food waste to date.
The numbers are terrifying, to say the least, and show the tremendous potential for food recovery in hotels, restaurants, grocery stores and homes across the region. It is estimated that between 6,000 and 9,400 tons of edible food waste are generated in the Sea to Sky annually, of which only 165 to 530 tons are recovered for redistribution. These amounts range from $ 26.9 million to $ 42.9 million in annual food waste costs and between 21,500 and 62,700 tons of CO2 emissions. Broken down to the community level, Whistler generates between 3,130 and 4,880 tons of edible food waste annually, of which only 19 to 275 tons are recycled.
It is always a difficult thing to get a better grip on our food waste in order to address this problem in the future, says Shannon Gordon, planning, engagement and sustainability coordinator at WCS.
“Having a better grip on the whole system is something that can be improved and something we can try to help with only given our background in monitoring and reporting,” she said.
This was confirmed at Nesters Market, where the store began working with FoodMesh, a Vancouver-based company that helps organizations “waste less and feed more” about a year ago, by diverting and measuring unsold food. Although much of the salvage work that Nesters was doing – making soups, juices, and smoothies from unsalable or surplus products, for example – was in progress before FoodMesh got on board, the ability to measure the amount of food being recovered turned out to be. as an effective incentive for employees.
“We have made a decision to stop going to waste,” said Bruce Stewart, GM of Nesters Market. “I think we’re doing a much better job than in the past, and FoodMesh is just a small step that helps us organize the organization, that inspires us to keep doing this and do it even better. ”
Between May and November of that year, Nesters found approximately 6,800 kilograms of food, all of which were donated to the Whistler Food Bank. This total does not include the amount of groceries recovered in-store, nor does it include items donated to the grocery bank by Nesters customers.
Nesters employees also worked with the Tafel to create a more flexible pick-up and drop-off schedule this year, which benefited from the additional cold storage in the Tafel, which meant fewer items were wasted.
“It used to be difficult to store anything that needed to be refrigerated or frozen. Now we can even offer them meat products that are close to their sell-by date. We throw it in our freezer and then they can dispense it frozen, ”Stewart said, noting that shipments to the grocery bank are now made six days a week.
After the food recovery plan was released, the organizers of Whistler’s annual Food and Drink Festival, Cornucopia, took the chance to do their part. At 11 a.m., event producer Watermark Inc. added two events aimed at promoting food recovery: Fridge Miracles: Making Something Out of Nothing, where Executive Chef and Milestones Whistler GM Bruce Worden will be making several soups that will be completely out local kitchen waste and leftovers exist; and Pickle n ‘Preserve, where health food supplier Astrid’s Fine Foods guides diners through pickling, preserving, smoking and drying the basic ingredients people lay around in their kitchens. Both events are scheduled for the last day of the festival, November 28th. Tickets are available at whistlercornucopia.com.
Cornucopia organizers go a step further and have also taken the lead on a new initiative called Sea to Sky Soup Kitchen, where local chefs commit to making soups on tables in all over the world donated the corridor. The first serving of soup will be donated to the Whistler Food Bank at the end of the festival thanks to Worden, whom Watermark President Sue Eckersley called “the godfather of the Sea to Sky Soup Kitchen”.
“Kudos to Bruce Worden for saying, ‘Hey, I can make soup for the table.’ I was like, ‘Well, if you can, why can’t others?’ ”She added.
After the first round of donations, Eckersley hopes to get the weekly program started in earnest in the New Year.