October is Tackling World Hunger Month, and in celebration of the Thanksgiving season, we were pleased to join our new grocery partner, Save-On-Foods, in their ongoing efforts to campaign for I Can For Kids, a charity focused on alleviating childhood hunger here in Calgary. Giving back to the local community is something we should all strive toward, but what many people don't realize is that this can start in places as small as our pantries.
When was the last time you thought about your food waste? In a time of well-intentioned grocery purchases and busy schedules, it’s all too easy to throw out groceries that have languished for too long in our pantries and fridges, but calling attention to our habits is the first step in putting an end to food waste in favor of a higher purpose.
Food for thought
Non-profit Calgary organization, LeftOvers Foundation is taking a grassroots approach to combating hunger in tandem with helping local businesses cut down on what they throw out, in favour of giving high-quality leftovers to people who need them most. Redirecting excess food is the name of the game at LeftOvers, and they want to change the way Calgarians are handling their unwanted edibles.
According to LeftOvers Foundation, nearly half of food produced worldwide is wasted—often discarded in processing, transport, grocery stores and restaurants. Canada’s food waste costs 31 billion dollars annually, and Calgary’s own food waste accounts for 36% of landfill material. Figures like these are the driving force behind LeftOver’s mission— to deliver perishable food to locations where it can then be dispersed to the people who need it most.
Each week Leftovers helps businesses donate 4,000 pounds of food, and every $20 donated enables LeftOvers to rescue 500 lbs of food with the help of 200 volunteers and counting—and if you’re interested, you can become part of their growing team of YYC volunteers.
Simple tips for minimizing food waste at home
LeftOvers understands that change begins where we live—and offers valuable advice for those looking to cut back on what’s being thrown out at home.
Some of the tips include:
Organize cupboards and the fridge from oldest to newest—placing older items at the front make you more likely to notice and use them before expiry.
Use your freezer—being cognizant of what you will and won’t get around to using quickly will allow you to keep things longer once frozen.
Best before dates are not the same as expiry dates. Knowing the difference can save money and multiple trips to the store— unlike expiry dates, best before dates are generally suggested for peak quality, but if foods smell, look and taste as they typically do, they should be fine for consumption.
Don’t forget food banks. Too many cans taking up space in your pantry? They could make Calgary Food Bank better stocked, and fellow Calgarians fuller.
Interested in joining the conversation about eliminating food waste here in Calgary? Have ideas for how we can help? We want to hear from you—let us know what you think by following LeftOvers and University District on Twitter!