The Kimberley Helping Hands Food Bank will be a stakeholder in Healthy Kimberley’s Food Recovery Program (Corey Bullock/Kimberley Bulletin file).

Healthy Kimberley to launch Food Waste Recovery Depot this fall

The project aims to reduce food aquisition costs of partner agencies, inluding the local Food Bank.

Healthy Kimberley will soon be launching the Kimberley Food Recovery Project, which will help to reduce food acquisition costs of partner agencies, including the local food bank, through a Food Waste Recovery Depot.

This week, Columbia Basin Trust announced their Social Grant recipients, and Healthy Kimberley is one of them, receiving just over $95,000 for the program.

Dr. Ilona Hale explained that Healthy Kimberley is working with the Kimberley Helping Hands Food Bank, community agencies, and stakeholders to implement this project.

“The project will reduce food insecurity, increase nutritional value of current offerings distributed to community members and reduce the amount of food materials disposed of in our local landfill,” wrote Hale in a background report.

She adds that this will be achieved by diverting food that local supermarkets have deemed unsaleable to a central depot for sorting and appropriate storage.

“The project will accept primarily perishable foods (fruits, vegetables, dairy etc.) which our Food Bank currently is unable to accept. Community organizations that require food can access this centralized depot,” Hale wrote. “Food that cannot be diverted to community organizations will be composted. The feasibility of diverting donated food waste to local farmers and making it available to individuals at low or no cost will also be explored.”

Healthy Kimberley received a 2017 Community Grant from the City of Kimberley, from which their health promotion consultant was able to conduct research and identify multiple gaps and opportunities in the community efforts to provide food security, redistribute food from retailers and address environmental responsibility.

Hale adds that the central depot for the Food Recovery Project will be within Kimberley city limits. Potential locations include the Baptist Church, or more likely the Health Centre (to be determined). Community agencies’ clients which will benefit from the depot are located throughout the Kimberley area (Meadowbrook, Marysville, St. Mary’s Lake area).

In terms of who will be involved, Healthy Kimberley will oversee the implementation of the project, while multiple stakeholders have expressed interest in the project and bring their experience.

Those stakeholders include the Kimberley Food Bank, CBAL, Seniors Helping Seniors, St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, Baptist Church, United Church, Lee Haskell Youth Center, McKim Middle School, and the Community Action Program for Children – Early Years team.

The Kimberley Open Gate Garden program and Wildsight have expertise in redirecting food waste to compost, while Save-On-Foods has committed to redirecting food to the depot.

Hale says this project is important because the entire community will benefit from it.

“The population of Kimberley, 8,115, will benefit from this project. It is estimated that one-third of all edible food is wasted or lost each year and although not all citizens of Kimberley are vulnerable and require healthy food choices from agencies and organizations, all citizens will benefit from efforts to reduce the amount of edible food that is wasted and directed to our local landfill,” she said.

“Children at our Middle School and Elementary schools receive snacks or school lunches through the local Food Bank. The Food Bank will benefit from access to nutritious but perishable foods that they currently must purchase for immediate distribution. Community partners that redirect food waste to the Kimberley Food Recovery Project are demonstrating a concrete example of corporate social and environmental responsibility which benefit retailers’ marketing and community engagement efforts.”

The funding from CBT allows for the project to continue for three years, however Hale says she expects it to run beyond those three years through partnerships with other agencies, programs, and the province.

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