Richmond shows leadership with launch of new food recovery network

The City partners with local company to launch its food recovery solution, designed to divert edible commercial food waste.

Richmond, BC – In the first initiative of its kind in Metro Vancouver, the City of Richmond is launching a Food Recovery Network to help address food waste and food insecurity.

The City is partnering with FoodMesh, a local organization with a proven history of fighting food waste and using it to match supply with demand.

The unique program is designed to prevent 225,000 kg of food from going to waste over the next year and using it to create approximately 300,000 meals for Richmond residents experiencing food insecurity.

The web and app-based exchange platform creates an online network where Richmond‑based food businesses and farmers with surplus food can either donate or sell it to charities, farmers or businesses that can use it.

“This partnership supports goals in Council’s strategic plan to create a sustainable and environmentally conscious city that demonstrates leadership by exploring and implementing innovative new ideas” said Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “The implementation of a food recovery network continues Richmond’s commitment to promote a circular economy.”

With Council’s approved one-time contribution of $25,000, this initiative stands to generate approximately $1.25 million in savings to local food brands and charities. Registering is free and Richmond businesses who join the network can securely find a home for their overstock, mislabeled, close to expiry, distressed and aesthetically-imperfect food by choosing to either sell it to another business and recover some of the cost, or donate it to charities to support those in most need.

 According to The Avoidable Food Crisis of Food Waste: Technical Report, 58 per cent of all food produced in Canada is never consumed. Over half of that waste is avoidable, but the food is discarded because it is easier and cheaper to waste it than to redistribute it. Meanwhile, the need for food is at an all-time high. Almost 3,500 people accessed the Richmond Food Bank over 27,000 times in 2018, and more than 100,000 people across Canada visit food banks every month.

“We are very pleased with the results of our partnership with FoodMesh” said Hajira Hussein, Executive Director of the Richmond Food Bank. “Since beginning our perishable food recovery with the help of FoodMesh this past July, we have been able to recover 10 times more perishable food compared to the months prior to the partnership. Not only are we able to provide an increased quantity of perishable food such as produce, meat and deli to our clients, we are also able to share more food with our community partners”.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with the City of Richmond, to support them in reducing the food waste within the city,” says Jessica Regan, Chief Executive Officer, FoodMesh. “We are hopeful that other municipalities will follow suit once they see what a significant impact this network can have on their own sustainability and environmental efforts.”

FoodMesh is actively working to engage Richmond businesses and non-profits to complete the free online registration and become either a food provider or recipient. For more information and to register, visit foodmesh.ca/richmond.

Posted on December 3, 2019

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