Fridge freezes nutrient loss with cool project

Second Harvest program takes on more stock for better distribution

Salt Spring Island Community Services is hosting a program that will see perishable food from local businesses and farms that can’t be sold redistributed to the needy.

The program, called Second Harvest, will accept food that is still fine to eat but that grocery stores do not want.
SSICS and Country Grocer have converted a container into a refrigeration unit that is being kept at the Core Inn on McPhillips Avenue. The program aims to help make Salt Spring more food secure and self-sufficient by redistributing good food that would otherwise end up being composted off-island.

“Distribution channels will include meal programs throughout the organization and community, as well as a number of new and innovative ways of getting food directly into homes,” SSISC wrote in a press release.
Simone Cazabon is the head of the project. Five years ago, she was given a half-acre plot of land and was asked to grow food for people who needed it.

“I started just showing up with bins of food at places, like, ‘Hey, boom, here’s some peas and carrots. Does this interest you guys?’”

This slowly grew from a 16-hour-per-week job to a full-time position with volunteers and workers who help out with the farming and distribution. By taking the time to assess people’s needs, Cazabon has a unique knowledge of how to distribute food.

“I’m going to low-income housing . . . and literally putting food in their fridges,” she said. “People are crying, people are happy, they don’t have to go to the food bank as much.”

Now, by getting Thrifty Foods and Country Grocer on board to donate good food that would otherwise end up in a compost bin, Cazabon is able to host even more food.

“It’s food that’s good food. It’s not [composting] food, it’s not crappy food, it’s like an apple that’s slightly blemished, it’s like yogurt that’s going to be expired in two months. It’s actually really good stuff. It’s just day-old bread that’s still fine, but gets thrown out,” she said. “It just doesn’t look as pretty and fresh as the other stuff so they have to throw it away.”

For more on this story, see the Aug. 9, 2017 issue of the Driftwood newspaper or subscribe online.

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