Fraser Valley Regional District’s Food Recovery Network

The issue of food waste is increasingly on the mind of businesses and governments alike and many are grappling with what they can do to address this issue. Local governments through Solid Waste Management Plans have set goals to reduce the amount of waste disposed and municipalities are now turning towards FoodMesh to help them achieve these goals.

A great example of what local governments are doing is the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) whose communities include eight unincorporated electoral areas as well as the municipalities of Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Harrison Hot Springs, Hope, Kent and Mission.

Collectively they have decided to tackle this challenge by partnering with FoodMesh to create the Fraser Valley Regional Food Recovery Network with the goal of working together across the region to raise awareness and implement change by creating a more connected food system.

This project involves connecting surplus food from business to non-profits, charities and other food businesses through the FoodMesh Online Marketplace. This online exchange platform is helping food processors, distributors and foodservice providers save money and reduce waste while making more food available to feed people. There are currently over 60 businesses in the FVRD using the FoodMesh Marketplace to exchange or donate their surplus that would otherwise have gone to waste.

A pilot of the Retail Food Recovery Program also launched in Chilliwack in October 2018. This program involves diverting 100% of the surplus from Save-On-Foods grocery stores, that were destined for the landfill, and redirecting it to a local charity.

The charity then sorts the food into what is edible for people, what’s edible for farm animals while the rest goes to compost. It’s all about finding the highest end-use for the food. The Retail Food Recovery Program has since expanded into two other regions in the FVRD including Abbotsford and Mission as well as several other regions across BC.

“This project is helping the FVRD region reduce the amount of food waste being disposed of and finding higher uses that benefit the environment, our economy and communities.”

Jason Lum, Chair of the Fraser Valley Regional District Board

One of the major benefits FoodMesh provides is the ability to track the metrics of all food donations and exchanges, allowing local governments a clear view into where food waste was previously occurring and how much is now being saved.
Since partnering with FoodMesh, the FVRD has rescued 540,000 Kg of food, saved 1,040,000 Kg of C02 and provided 739,000 meals!

This work has helped to fulfil the FVRDs Regional Solid Waste Management Plan, and they even managed to surpass the projected numbers at the end of the year-long pilot. Due to the outstanding success of this project, the FVRD has decided to continue this program into 2020.

If you are a supplier, processor, distributor, restaurant, non-profit, charity, or any other business that needs food, you may register on the Marketplace to help divert your surplus food, packaging or equipment.

It’s a practical way to achieve your sustainability and waste reduction goals, build your local food recovery network and create a more connected and efficient food system.