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Food rescue combating waste and hunger in Quesnel

The GreenHope Society has rescued more than 350 pounds of food for people in need
The GreenHope Society in Quesnel has diverted hundreds of pounds of food destined for the landfill since launching in January 2022. (Photo submitted)

A new not-for-profit in Quesnel is helping fill bellies while reducing food waste.

Since January, the GreenHope Society has been rescuing aging food that is still fit to eat and donating it to people in need within the community.

Grocery items that would otherwise be destined for the landfill are redirected to the society through Second Harvest, said president Cindy Mighton.

From January to mid-March, Mighton estimates the GreenHope Society has rescued over 350 pounds of edible food, reducing the carbon footprint by 1,586 pounds.

Second Harvest also redirects aging food to the Salvation Army and their Warrior’s Song Cafe, for which the Wild Women of the North Society (WWNS) launched a community popup kitchen last year during their temporary closure.

Mighton said because the need was so dire, they had decided to start a separate organization solely focused on food security and providing a greener future for the next generation.

Read More: Wild Women of the North Society launch pop-up soup kitchen in West Quesnel

Besides the many misconceptions on best-before dates for food, she said there also seems to be a stigma about having to require help.

“I find a lot there’s a lot of pride in hardworking families and asking for help is sometimes hard, but if you put the focus they’re doing good for the earth, it’s sometimes easier to accept the help—you’re not only rescuing food, you’re doing good for the planet.”

Food rescue had become a passionate issue for Mighton at a young age.

Her family has called the Cariboo home since 1935 and have always had big gardens to share their surplus from with one another.

“There’s quite a bit of food in the Cariboo that shouldn’t ever have to go to waste,” she said, noting there are many people in need.

“There used to be a sense of community—everyone pitched in, and that’s kind of what we’re trying to get back to.”

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Mighton’s dad had also worked to combat food waste and would salvage it for their animals.

“If we hadn’t rescued for our pigs per se, it’d be like two tons (4,000 pounds) of dairy would come in that would feed our animals for months,” she said.

“But if that were going to the dump, that would just sit there and rot where it doesn’t do anyone any good.”

Food rescue hampers, supplemented with fresh produce grown by donated seeds, are currently assembled at the homes of Mighton and her sister before they are immediately distributed to list recipients.

Mighton said they are eyeing to secure grant funding for a location in West Quesnel for a free rescue food market and hope other grocers will express interest in joining Second Harvest which just Safeway participates in.

To learn more about the GreenHope Society and how you can get involved, email or visit them on Facebook.

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