Grocers, Innovators in Canada work to save $31 billion in Food from being dumped each year

Food waste has become a salient topic, not only because edible food gets tossed out while millions of people remain hungry. Organic waste also produces methane when it decomposes in landfills, making it one of the biggest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions. 

A zero waste momentum is increasing all over the world.  Vancouver recently hosted the Zero Waste Conference, where the focus in part was on reducing food waste. About 40 percent of all food produced in Canada, totaling some $31 billion goes to waste. More than half of that occurs before it gets to the dinner table, when it's discarded by farmers, food manufacturers and distributors. 

Lori Nikkel first discovered how much food gets wasted in Canada when she was a single mother to three hungry boys in the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke.  Nikkel and a group of other low-income mothers had convinced their local Loblaws grocery store to donate food to their children's school for a student nutrition program. Often they found out that the store was overstocked because it ordered too much of certain items. The excess food now went to the school, but otherwise, it would have gone to waste. 

Nikkel is currently the CEO of Toronto-based charity Second Harvest, which connects suppliers and distributors with non-profit organizations across Ontario to distribute excess food so it doesn't end up in landfills. This week she was on a panel at the Zero Waste Conference in Vancouver.  The Toronto charity Second Harvest collects excess food that would otherwise go to waste and delivers it to non-profit organizations across Ontario. 

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