The Richmond Food Recovery Network

City of Richmond logo

The City of Richmond is leading the way to tackle food waste in Metro Vancouver.

In partnership with FoodMesh, the City of Richmond built a Food Recovery Network of Richmond-based food businesses, charities and farmers to connect those with surplus food to those who need it.

Richmond food recovery network people

Award-winning regional network

The City of Richmond won the 2021 Community Project Award from The British Columbia Economic Development Association for their regional food recovery network.

The problem

58% of food produced in Canada is never consumed
84% of that waste occurs along the supply chain

Over half of that waste is avoidable, but the food is discarded because it’s often easier and cheaper to discard it than redistribute it.

Meanwhile, over 100,000 people access food banks each month, and that number grew rapidly since the outbreak of COVID-19.

There isn’t a food shortage problem. There’s a distribution and connection problem.

The solution

From Nov. 2019 – Nov. 2020, the City of Richmond collaborated with FoodMesh to build a Regional Food Recovery Network, bringing together local food businesses with charities and farmers, into a connected and efficient food system.

Through the network, businesses with surplus food were able to safely and easily divert that food to those who could put it to good use – whether to charities for meals, or farmers for animal feed or composters.

See what the network accomplished below.

“As the mayor of Richmond and Chair of the National Zero Waste Council… I personally endorse FoodMesh for taking a needed approach to addressing (food waste) that affects us all.

This combination of entrepreneurialism and innovation on the part of FoodMesh is welcome and the type of thinking needed to reduce food waste and create a closed loop food system.”

Mayor Malcolm Brodie, The City of Richmond

Katie Ferland, Economic Development Manager for the City of Richmond, shares the rationale behind the creation of the Richmond Food Recovery Network.

What the network accomplished

A total of 59 businesses, charities and farmers participated in the Richmond Food Recovery Network. In just one year, the network yielded outstanding results – far surpassing the expectations for the project in almost all areas.

Richmond Food Recovery Network results
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Meals provided (meal size 600gr)

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Food rescued (KG)

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CO2 emissions saved (KG)

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Donation value ($)

“FoodMesh enabled us to address the ever-present problem of overstocking some items. The easy-to-use Marketplace facilitates the efficient transfer of stock to meet undiscovered demand in the local market.

Furthermore, FoodMesh allows for the recovery of purchase cost and avoidance of destroying/discarding precious food items that are perfectly within shelf life.”

David Chen, Supply Chain & Marketing Manager, Western Rice Mills

Hajira Hussain, Executive Director of the Richmond Food Bank, speaks about how the program has helped meet the growing demand for food in her community.

The Richmond Food Recovery Network supports the City’s strategic plan to be a sustainable and environmentally-conscious city.

This outstanding network of food business, charities and non-profit organizations and farmers, are supporting the city in:

2.1 Increasing the capacity to process, warehouse and distribute local foods.

2.2 Including local foods in the purchasing policies of large public institution.

2.3 Increasing direct marketing opportunities for local foods.

3.1 Enabling residents (‘businesses’) to make healthy food choices.

3.2 Communicating on how food choices support sustainability.

4.1 Improving access to nutritious food among vulnerable groups.

4.3 Enabling non-profit organizations to recover nutritious food.

5.2 Reducing waste in the food system.

5.3 Facilitating adoption of environmentally sustainable practices.

“I wanted to say what a great model FoodMesh has been providing for our community meal program.

We normally shut down during the summer to give our volunteers some R&R but in 2020 we felt that people needed us to be open more than ever. We are now serving on 2 separate nights to make space for people who need it. We would not have been able to afford to do this without FoodMesh being able to reduce our costs.

Thanks to the FM staff who look for ways to reduce the food insecurity in Richmond.”

Wayne Masing, Food For Life Coordinator

How the City of Richmond is building a circular economy

Hosted by BC Food and Beverage, and introduced by the City of Richmond, FoodMesh CEO, Jessica Regan, led a discussion on how food businesses can incorporate circularity into their current processes.

Featuring Hajira Hussein of the Richmond Food Bank, Mark Wandler of Susgrainable and Alexa Pitoulis of Fresh Roots Urban Farms, the participants demonstrated how a circular economy builds long-term resilience, generates better growth opportunities, and provides environmental and societal benefits.

Hajira Hussain, Executive Director of the Richmond Food Bank, shares some of the impact the program has had on their clients

“We have lots of chickens and ducks, plus goats and now some pigs. Thank you so much! This is an amazing program that has saved me so much money, and makes my chickens and other animals very happy!”

Adele Acreach, Farmer

Be part of a network of organizations that are ensuring surplus food from Richmond is quickly and efficiently diverted to the people in our community who need it most.

Join the network