(Brandon Cook is the store owner, with his wife Megan, of Brandon & Megan’s No Frills on Hazeldean Road in Stittsville. Stittsville Central is pleased to share Brandon’s environmental solutions for consumers and businesses alike that can be used to reduce food waste.)
We’ve all heard it before – food waste is a waste.
While we’ve known about the social and economic downsides to food waste – like the stories of community members not being able to access nutritious food or the statistics around the food that ends up in landfills, there’s so much more to the food waste story. For example, did you know that there are environmental impacts to food waste? You might not know this but as food waste rots, it releases methane gas, which can be 25 times more damaging to our environment than carbon dioxide.
So, here at our store, Brandon & Megan’s No Frills, we’re on a mission to end food waste. According to Second Harvest, nearly 60 per cent of the food made in Canada, a whopping 35.5 million tonnes, goes missing every year, and that’s a $49 billion loss for our economy. No matter where food waste comes from – whether from farms, factories, grocery stores or our own kitchen – it is time to end the cycle of food waste.
Everyone has a part to play in food reduction. Here’s some food for thought on how grocers like me are reducing food waste:
Food for the people: First and foremost, we’re making sure that good food ends up going to those who need it most. Thanks to a partnership with Second Harvest, we have been able to provide our Stittsville community with over 27,000 meals over this past calendar year. By participating in partnerships like this, as well as with organizations like Children at Risk Ottawa, West Carleton Food Access Centre, the Stittsville Food Bank, and more, we are not only able to help families put food on their table but also make meaningful connections with community members.
But, what about food from our store that is no longer okay for people to eat? Like waste from our bakery, salad bar or other departments? In this case, we’re reversing the food lifecycle – by taking waste from table to farm.
The power of biogas: Working with organizations like ZooShare Biogas Ltd., we’re supporting a new and innovative way to transform food and animal waste that would otherwise end up in landfill into biogas to power the electricity grid. The first of its kind in Canada, ZooShare converts thousands of tonnes of animal manure and food waste from grocery stores, restaurants and other businesses into renewable power. In Ontario, ZooShare generates 4.1 million kilowatt-hours of energy each year from biogas, which is enough to power about 250 homes!
Feeding Canadian farms: Through organizations like Loop Resource, stores support local farmers across the country by repurposing food not fit for human consumption into animal feed. Partnerships like this help stores send millions of kilograms of food waste to more than a thousand farms. For example, in Stittsville, we’re able to donate produce trimmings and scraps to a local rabbit and chicken farm for them to use as animal feed. Not only is an opportunity for us to divert food waste, but it strengthens bonds within our community as we’re able to support local farmers.
Each of us has a part to play in keeping food out of the landfill. Together, we can ensure that no food goes to waste.