FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. –Mayor Lori Ackerman wonders why there aren’t more municipalities in the province partnering with industry to improve food security while at the Salvation Army’s Pass the Torch event.
The event saw Surepoint Group pass the torch onto Pacific Canbriam Energy, who stepped up to fund the S.A.’s food bank truck that has been collecting pre-packaged food, otherwise headed to the landfill, from the Atco Two Rivers Lodge at Site C for over two years.
The food is then distributed to the community through the food bank, which is available to any resident in need of food, regardless of income.
At the event, Ackerman, who was part of early conversations regarding the program, questioned why more municipalities and food banks don’t partner with industry to reclaim leftover food from camps and repurpose and distribute it to surrounding communities to improve food security.
“I sit on the National Net Zero Waste Council as well, and I’ve sat on panels. I’ve talked about this project, and some of them are so amazed. Can you imagine if you took all [the leftover food from all] of the camps in Canada?” Ackerman said.
Ackerman added that some teachers in the community have previously registered as clients of the food bank to get pre-packaged meals to hand out to students who either came to school without having breakfast or lunch.
“Once these [repurposed meals] are made, they can be transported safely at the right temperature to feed, not just the vulnerable, but the hidden vulnerable that we don’t always know about,” Ackerman stated.
“[Through initiatives like this] we can make sure that our children are fed before they go to school or while they’re at school, rather than it going into the landfill because that’s where it’s going,” Ackerman said.
Mindy Henyu, with Surepoint group, says the program is inspirational and notes there is an opportunity for growth.
“I think it should be more inspirational in the space that more municipalities could be adopting the same behaviours and addressing food security and net-zero waste,” Henyu said.
Ackerman said that her knowledge of being a FoodSafe instructor and understanding food security and food safety processes led her to ask ATCO what they do with their leftover food.
“They said, well, we throw it out. And I said, why? And they said, well, we have to. And I said, no, actually you don’t. So I gave them the B.C. Food Donor Encouragement Act,” Ackerman said.
The act, passed in 1997, states that members of a corporation that donates food or distributes donated food are not liable for damages resulting from injuries or death caused by the consumption of the food unless donated food was rotten or unfit for human consumption or in donating or distributing the food, members of the corporation intended to injure or to cause the death of any person who consumed it or acted with reckless disregard for the safety of others.
The bill intends to increase food donations to food banks and soup kitchens by limiting the liability of food donors.
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