Flanked by Cowichan Neighbourhood House Association president Moe Vesey, and MP Alistair MacGregor on the left and Jan MacKirdy, program manager Nate Harben and Dennis Jess on the right, B.C. agriculture minister Lana Popham stopped by Cowichan Green Community headquarters on Friday to announce $84,000 in provincial funding for the Cowichan Food Recovery Project. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Editorial: Waste not, want not; redistributing food good for everyone

We waste more than $31 billion worth of food in Canada every year.

We waste more than $31 billion worth of food in Canada every year. It’s a staggering number.

On one hand we have this tremendous amount of wasted food. On the other, we have people struggling to put meals on the table.

These really are complementary problems, and yet they continue to exist side by side, without the go-between that could alleviate both — or at least that’s largely been the case in the Cowichan Valley until now (though there are some small-scale very successful food recovery programs already running).

We were encouraged to see the provincial government announcement last week of $84,000 for Cowichan Green Community to create a system where unused food from farmers and grocery stores is collected and redistributed to those who need it.

It only makes sense.

The 2014 report that gives us the $31 billion figure, also tells us that doesn’t even include waste from prisons, jails, hospitals, schools and other federal institutions. Individual food waste is about $14.6 billion every year. Ten per cent of waste happens at the farm, and 10 per cent at retailers. The rest takes place elsewhere in the food chain.

So while this isn’t a perfect solution that will take care of all food waste in the Valley, it sure gets to the heart of a couple of the biggest sectors where food can be redistributed for the good of all.

We hope this program can prove to be such a big success that the model can be taken and replicated elsewhere in B.C. and across Canada. Our entire country needs to make strides on this issue, as Canada is far behind other countries when it comes to dealing with the food waste problem. In France, for example, supermarkets were forced to sign agreements with charities so no edible food is put in the garbage.

We also hope this program will inspire residents to take a look at ourselves on a micro-level. How many people left a tree to just drop its fruit last summer? Not only is this a food waste problem, it attracts bears to the area every year, sometimes putting them in the crosshairs of the Conservation Officer Service if they become too accustomed to eating at the backyard all-you-can-eat buffet. All it takes is a call to another of CGC’s programs, FruitSave, to solve this problem if you don’t want, or can’t deal with the fruit yourself.

The amount we currently waste is an insult to those in need both here at home and around the world. It’s past time for us to get our act together.

Just Posted

Duncan family seeks return of stolen Crosby jersey

Hockey community rallies to replace boy’s gear after theft

Editorial: RCMP have their focus in the right place: drugs

There’s a lot of money involved in illegal drugs; some are doing very well off the misery of others.

Duncan Christian hosting Island girls A basketball championships

Five teams battle for two spots in provincials

LAKE FLASHBACK: Forest land sell-off, environmentalists a threat, and sewer system fix costly problem at L

TimberWest selling, a forest industry report scares locals, and sewage in the basement. Yikes!

Three men arrested after assault in Duncan

Victim suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Coming up in Cowichan: Bowl for Kids; Leaders of Tomorrow

Bowl for Kids Sake coming up in Cowichan Valley on March 3… Continue reading

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

Trudeau tells Canadians to listen to clerk in SNC-Lavalin matter

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick delivered a blunt assessment at the House of Commons justice

Mueller report looming, new attorney general in hot seat

Robert Mueller is required to produce a confidential report to pursue or decline prosecutions

Regulator’s report unlikely to settle Trans Mountain pipeline expansion battle

The Trans Mountain pipeline will remain a controversial topic both in the political ring and out

B.C. woman shares story of abuse with church officials ahead of Vatican summit

Leona Huggins was the only Canadian in the gathering ahead of a historic summit at the Vatican

Galchenyuk scores in OT as Coyotes edge Canucks 3-2

Vancouver manages single point as NHL playoff chase continues

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

Most Read