Feed Canadians, not landfills. This is the tagline for the brilliant new Canadian startup, Feed it Forward.
Their latest initiative is a retail store in Toronto that sells unused and unwanted food, collected from both individuals and larger establishments.
Then, customers pay what they can.
The startup was created by Chef Jagger Gordon, after he noticed just how much food was going to waste each night at the end of his catering gigs.
Research shows that 40% of all food produced in Canada ends up in landfill – a number which bothered Gordon.
Originally, Gordon created the ‘Feed Families’ freezer program – whereby a number of qualifying families were provided with nutritious meals donated by or made from donated food items from various food producers.
The response was overwhelming, so the idea, after time and dedication, expanded into what is now a permanent store including a bakery, cafe, rooftop garden, and soup bar.
The food collected by people and businesses may be bruised or misshapen or close to expiration – all is welcome.
Feed it Forward also uses some produce from their own farm.
The incredible thing about the pay-what-you-can system is that it boosts community spirit and encourages a pay-it-forward attitude, with some customers choosing to pay larger amounts in order to help those who can only afford a little.
Some rules apply – such as each family can only select one day’s worth of food.
This is to ensure the food doesn’t run out, which is a real threat for an establishment like this. Chef Gordon encourages businesses to think about donating:
“The numbers we are able to feed depends entirely on how much food has been donated – which is why I built this site: I need your help.
“Both ‘Feed Families’ and ‘Feed it Forward’ are not-for-profit programs which rely on volunteers with a social-justice, common-sense mentality.
“If you are a restaurant, café, grocery store, or food manufacturing facility that routinely throws away consumable food items, please consider joining the growing network of food donors who are already making a difference.”
If you don’t live in Canada, or don’t have expendable food items, donate or become a sponsor by visiting the Feed it Forward website.
Chef Gordon is also petitioning the Canadian government to make changes to legislation that makes it difficult to donate perfectly consumable foods to community food programs, due to looming expiration dates.
You can also find and sign the petition on the site – get to it!