Sources Community Resources Society wants people to look at food waste in a different way with its latest venture.
The Sources Food Hub, which had a soft opening in the spring, is a centre for promoting food waste recovery through facilitation and education. It’s officially launching this fall.
The food hub received funding from Walmart Foundation.
“It’s a community model, looking at food waste in a different way. That’s what our passion is, is working with community,” said Denise Darrell, executive director for community services at Sources.
“What we want to do is basically… define food waste. What is food waste? We all play a part in that, so it could be everything from leftovers from our dinners — and we have a lot of those kind of things — to leftovers in the backyards. But what I love is that the work we’re doing is all around collaboration.”
Deirdre Goudriaan, with Sources and a part of Seeds of Change Surrey, said she and Darrell have had the vision for a food hub for four or five years.
The food hub, Goudriaan said, does a number of things such as “rescue” what would become food waste and sent to the landfill from grocery stores, glean food from people’s backyards and educate people.
The first priority is getting the rescued food to people, but if there is some left over, it would then become animal feed, Goudriaan said.
Within the food hub, is the learning centre, the commissary kitchen, the community harvest program and food rescue and redistribution.
The learning centre is where people can learn about food waste and what people can do to reduce it at home, at work and in the community.
“We have an education site, so we bring in people and educate them about food waste and how to reduce food waste because most of it is avoidable and most of it happens at the household level,” said Goudriaan.
The commissary kitchen is available for small businesses and corporate events to rent the space, which is located below the Old Surrey Restaurant. Currently, Sources has two small businesses using the commercial kitchen, and they’re looking for eight other businesses.
“It’s really hard to find affordable commercial kitchen space,” said Darrell, adding that the commercial kitchen comes with all the equipment needed. “There’s a lot of mom and pops that have great business ideas and want to do business start ups, so that’s why we’re looking for eight other businesses to work with that need access to a commercial kitchen.”
The commissary kitchen has two price rates for either not-for-profit and corporate. To apply to use the kitchen, people can email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
The community harvesting program allows volunteers with Sources to gather food surplus from fruit trees and farms in Surrey and White Rock.
“So if people have fruit trees or nut trees, we have a team of volunteers that go in and gather up that fruit and nut and make it into a useable product like a jam or jelly,” said Goudriaan.
For food rescue and distribution, Sources has partnered with Loblaws in South Surrey and Save-On-Foods to recover food waste from their grocery stores.
Darrell said through the food hub, “thousands of pounds” of food have been recovered, such as dairy, meat, fish and produce.
“If you take a package of tomatoes and there’s one spoiled tomato in the package, they can’t sell it at the grocery store, so we recover it. That’s five other tomatoes in a package of six that are perfectly good for consumption,” Darrell said.
With the food from the grocery stores, Darrell said Sources is able to then redistribute the food with partners such as NightShift Street Ministries and Surrey Urban Mission, which they can then use in their food programs.
For more information on the Sources Food Hub, visit sourcesbc.ca/our-services/food-hub.