Retail Food Recovery Program
For Farmers

Retail Food Recovery Program icon

Get a regular and reliable supply of food donations for your animals through the Retail Food Recovery Program.

Donations typically available

Bakery

Bakery icon

Dairy

Dairy icon

Produce

Produce icon

Where the food comes from

We work with stores to divert up to 100% of their surplus food. The food that is safe for human consumption is shared amongst a network of charities, to be turned into meals. Food that is no longer acceptable for people to eat, is available for donation to you, for your animals.

Corn
Cabbage

Benefits of joining the program

Get a regular and reliable supply of perishable food suitable for your animals

The food you receive is completely free

Collect your supply from one central location

Have the option to pass along what you don’t use to another farmer

Ready to get started?

Once you join the FoodMesh network, we’ll let you know when donations are available in your area.

FAQs

Is it free to participate in this program?

Yes – you can receive food donations to feed your animals at no cost.

How many days a week will I be expected to pick up food donations?

We rely on farmers to commit to picking up donated products at least once a week. Depending on the number of farmers in your area, we may be able to schedule you for more than one pickup a week, if desired.

Where is the pickup location and what time should I arrive?

When you are signed up to the program, you will receive an email detailing the charity hub you will pick up from, as well as the time window.

How much food can I expect to pick up?

The amount of food you will receive varies by location depending on how many stores are donating to the charity hub in your region. The amount of farm feed can range from 50 kg to 400 kg in total per day (for all daily farmers to share). We try to schedule the appropriate number of farmers per day to ensure that there is enough farm feed for everyone. You should be able to take as much feed as you need, but if you find there is too much or too little, please let us know and we will adjust the schedule accordingly.

What kind of food can I expect to receive?

The majority of the feed will be fresh produce along with some bread and dairy. There will be some food you receive that may be past the consumption period for your animals and best for compost. If this exceeds 20%, we encourage you to communicate directly with your charity hub

Do I bring my own containers to collect the food?

Yes. Most food will be bagged at the food hub, but please bring containers to place the food in to avoid leaking or bag breakage.

Is food safely handled?

Yes. Each charity hub in the program is qualified and trained to implement best practices in food redistribution. That means keeping a cold chain, and sorting the food as best as possible. Meat products (salad with bacon bits, etc.) are separated out to avoid contamination.

How much depackaging should we expect to do?

There will be some depackaging involved. Produce comes from the grocery stores in its store packaging, so there may be some plastic punnets, metal twist ties and elastic bands around some of the produce. Produce such as apples and tomatoes may still have stickers on them. It is the farmer’s responsibility to check all food for packaging before giving the food to their animals.

What do I do if I can’t make my scheduled pickup?

It is essential that you provide as much notice as possible if you cannot make your pickup. We have a backup list of farmers for each region who are willing to be contacted for extra farm feed pickups, which will be provided to you. Please reference this list to try to find someone to cover your pickup. If you are unable to find anyone, please inform us before 12 pm on the day of your pickup so that we can try to find someone else.

Farmers who have missed two pickups without notification may lose their guaranteed day and be replaced by another farmer on the waitlist.

I want to join the program, but there are no stores with donation programs in my region. What should I do?

We are adding stores across Canada all the time, so please join the network and we will be in touch with you once we are in your area.

Learn more about how the program works

Find out more about how the Retail Food Recovery Program works.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.

Contact us