TORONTO – Second Harvest and the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) have been approved for $22 million to purchase and redistribute perishable food to communities across Canada, 10 per cent or more of which will be directed to northern communities.
Food that would otherwise be at risk of going to waste during the ongoing pandemic will be matched and distributed to local charities and non-profits across the country, such as shelters, community groups and meal programs, who help feed Canadians who need it most.
The acquired food – including produce, eggs, meat and seafood – is being made available as early as this week through FoodRescue.ca, a digital platform and mobile app created by Second Harvest to connect community groups with food resources.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our national systems of food production and distribution. With so many restaurants and food services shut down for months, Canadian farmers and food producers have been experiencing unprecedented surpluses of goods,” said Second Harvest CEO Lori Nikkel.
“At the same time, more Canadians than ever are facing food insecurity, many wondering for the first time where their next meal might come from.”
This initiative was made been possible through a $50 million contribution from the Government of Canada made to various food rescue organizations through the Surplus Food Rescue Program, Second Harvest officials note in a press release.
“Canadian farmers, ranchers and fishers don’t produce some of the best food in the world to let it go to waste,” said CPMA president Ron Lemaire.
“We know many communities are facing a change in demand for food services due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When so many people are worrying about feeding and supporting their families, we can’t afford to let good, healthy food produced by Canadians go to landfills.”
“This is a win-win,” added Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau.
“Not only are we helping producers who cannot sell their goods to restaurants, but we are also aiding Canadians that have had to seek help from food banks.
“These eight impressive partnerships between food businesses and not-for-profit organizations, target those food commodities that had significant and urgent surpluses, making a difference both at the level of the producer and the food bank, from coast-to-coast-to-coast.”
As Canada’s largest food rescue organization, Second Harvest has national resources and networks in place to recover perishable food from the supply chain and provide it to the charities and non-profits that redistribute within their communities to those who are hungry or food insecure.
Community groups of all kinds facing increased demand for food services and support should visit FoodRescue.ca, where they can complete a simple application to be connected to potential food donors in their communities, officials state.
Organizations with a food surplus should also visit FoodRescue.ca to be connected with local community groups in need and avoid needless waste during this time of great need.