Pictured are Food Bank volunteers Donna and Glenda (left and right) and Food Bank Coordinator Heather (middle) receiving a donation of recovered food from the Healthy Kimberley Waste Recovery Depot. (Submitted file).

Healthy Kimberley Food Waste Recovery Depot celebrates soft launch

The program aims to re-direct healthy food that would otherwise be thrown away.

Healthy Kimberley’s new Food Recovery Program celebrated a soft launch on Monday, Nov. 19, 2018 and in the first day of operation they received 230 pounds of food.

The program helps to reduce food acquisition costs of partner agencies, including the local food bank, through the Food Waste Recovery Depot that is set up near the Kimberley Loan Cupboard at the Kimberley Health Centre.

The program was made possible through a $95,000 social grant from Columbia Basin Trust.

Food Recovery Coordinator Kandice Mueller says that of the 230 pounds they received Monday, 150 pounds was produce, less than 20 per cent of which went to compost.

“The biggest thing is that the food [at the depot] cannot be sold,” explained Mueller.

“We are taking food that would otherwise be thrown out at the local Save-On-Foods store, and recovering it to local programs.”

The food recovery depot is currently open Monday, Tuesday and Thursdays while they sort out the kinks before their official launch in the new year. They are currently only recovering food from one partner, Save-On-Foods, but hope to broaden pick-ups from other donating partners as they grow.

The depot accepts primarily perishable food items such as fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy, and all of it is inspected, sorted and stored following food safety regulations.

Mueller adds that since it is a Healthy Kimberley initiative, they will only be accepting healthy foods; things like donuts won’t go through the depot.

The various food programs at Selkirk are able to take advantage of the program, along with the Kimberley Helping Hands Food Bank and KSDDA – a community cooking group that helps handicapped individuals who are living independently.

Mueller referenced the mangos that were sitting in the fridge as an example of what they are dealing with.

“I might not buy those mangos,” she said, noting the few bruise marks on the fruit, “but it doesn’t mean they should be thrown away.”

She adds that a similar program “Food Connect” in Revelstoke has been running for almost 3 years, they were able to divert over 70,000 lbs of food waste in their first year, and have continued to increase their capacity over time.

“We will be learning for their experience, as well as reaching out to other successful programs in Golden, Kamloops and Nanaimo,” said Mueller.

If you are interesting in volunteering, donating or receiving food through the Healthy Kimberley Food Recovery Program, give Mueller a call at 250.255.6494 or email her at healthykimberleyfrd@gmail.com.


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