Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

COVID-19 Updates Features Policy
Recipients of $50-million surplus food rescue fund announced


August 14, 2020
By Stephanie Gordon


Topics
Program recipients, which include not-for-profits Food Banks Canada and Second Harvest, and La Tablée des Chefs, will redistribute products such as potatoes, walleye, chicken, turkey, eggs, and more. Photo by Joel Muniz/Unsplash.

Eight organizations across Canada will split a $50-million government fund to redistribute surplus food to food insecure families.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian government launched the Surplus Food Rescue Program: a $50-million federal initiative designed to address urgent, high volume, highly perishable surplus products falling under fruit, vegetables, meat and fish and seafood. These surpluses were created because the COVID-19 pandemic largely shut down the restaurant and hospitality industry, leaving many producers without a key market for their food commodities.

The federal government awarded contributions, of varying amounts, to eight organizations that leverage existing food redistribution and recovery networks and agencies, who will bring the food to every region in the country. The program included a target of up to 10 per cent for all food under the program to reach remote and northern communities specifically.

Advertisment

Recipients of the program’s fund, which include not-for-profits Food Banks Canada and Second Harvest, and La Tablée des Chefs, will redistribute products such as potatoes, walleye, chicken, turkey, eggs, and more. In total, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the program will redistribute approximately 12 million kilograms of surplus food to more food insecure families that would otherwise have been wasted.

In total, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the program will redistribute approximately 12 million kilograms of surplus food to more food insecure families that would otherwise have been wasted.

Food will be matched and distributed to local charities and non-profits across the country, such as shelters, community groups and meal programs. The acquired food is being made available as early as this week through FoodRescue.ca, a digital platform and mobile app created by Second Harvest to connect community groups with food resources.

“This is a win-win. Not only are we helping producers who cannot sell their goods to restaurants, but we are also aiding Canadians that have had to seek help from food banks. These eight impressive partnerships between food businesses and not-for-profit organizations, target those food commodities that had significant and urgent surpluses, making a difference both at the level of the producer and the food bank, from coast-to-coast-to-coast,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of agriculture and agri-food, in a released statement.

The eight partnerships announced involve over 100 different organizations and will help farmers meet the needs of vulnerable Canadians and recover the cost of their efforts.

The eight partnerships announced involve over 100 different organizations and will help farmers meet the needs of vulnerable Canadians and recover the cost of their efforts.

Through the Surplus Food Rescue Program, egg producer Nutri Group will be providing Food Banks Canada and Second Harvest more than 1 million dozen eggs at cost. The eggs will be redistributed to many food banks and local food organizations across Canada, notably across the network of moissons in Quebec.

“We are very grateful for this investment by the federal government. It leverages the deep supply chain expertise and knowledge the food banking network has, thereby helping those in Canada experiencing food insecurity in the most efficient manner. We are thankful for the opportunity to build deeper partnerships within the agri-food system as well as helping ensure that highly nutritious, available food feeds people in need and that these resources are stewarded responsibly,” said Chris Hatch, CEO of Food Banks Canada.

According to Statistics Canada, one in seven Canadians indicated that they live in a household where there was food insecurity over a one month period during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, there were 1.1 million visits to food banks and 5.6 million meals served on average each month.

Approved projects under the Surplus Food Rescue Program

Approved projects under the program include:

Second Harvest – $11,007,095

Second Harvest will rescue multiple surplus commodities, and flow those foods in current and processed formats to vulnerable populations across Canada. Distribution will be done via the FoodRescue.ca online platform and mobile app to determine when and from where specific surplus foods are acquired, and ensure that the rate of distribution does not exceed the handling and storage capacity of individual food charities. The project’s scope encompasses the purchase, further processing, storage, and distribution of surplus to regional charitable partners across Canada.

Les Fermes Dani – $1,430,000

Les Fermes Dani will distribute surplus potatoes to Indigenous communities throughout their distribution network. The project’s scope encompasses the packing, transportation, storage, and distribution of surplus potatoes to communities in New Brunswick and across Canada.

Canadian Produce Marketing Association in partnership with network of charitable agencies – $11,429,926

The Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) will rescue multiple surplus commodities and flow those foods in current and processed formats to vulnerable populations across Canada via its network of charitable agencies and distribution and transport companies. The project’s scope encompasses the purchase, further processing, storage, and distribution of surplus to regional charitable partners across Canada.

“Historically, our industry has stepped forward when asked to support our community, and this year we have increased our efforts to support those in need, from our frontline workers to Indigenous groups,” said Davis Yung, CPMA Chair. “I am very pleased that 10 per cent of the product in this program will be targeting northern communities to ensure all Canadians are supported in these unique times.”

Charitable organizations, community groups, food banks and other food hubs that service Canadians in need can register at FoodRescue.ca to be identified as a distribution point.

Green Seafoods Ltd. in partnership with Feed Nova Scotia – $55,230

Green Seafoods Ltd. will purchase 24,000 lbs of vacuum-packed, cooked, frozen blue mussels. The mussels will be distributed to vulnerable populations through Feed Nova Scotia’s existing distribution network.

Food Banks Canada – $11,358,529

Food Banks Canada will rescue multiple surplus commodities and flow those foods in current and processed formats to vulnerable populations across Canada via its network of more than 3,000 local food banks and community agencies. The project’s scope encompasses the purchase, further processing, storage, and distribution of surplus food to regional charitable partners across Canada.

Fisher River Cree Nation – $10,845,048

Fisher River Cree Nation will rescue up to 2.9 million pounds of freshwater fish (walleye) caught from inland lakes of Canada. Working with the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation, the surplus product will be distributed to more than 75 Indigenous communities throughout Manitoba, Saskatchewan and the North.

Clearwater Seafood in partnership with Membertou to Mi’kmaq communities -$1,491,072

Clearwater will purchase 150,000 pounds of surplus seafood to distribute in Indigenous communities in Nova Scotia and across Canada. The project includes the harvesting, the processing, storing, and distributing the seafood to Indigenous communities.

La Tablée des Chefs – $1,522,900

La Tablée des Chefs will recover more than 350,000 kg of surplus products to turn into meals by the network of chefs of Les Cuisines Solidaires in Quebec and in major Canadian cities, namely Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver and Winnipeg. The food will be redistributed to vulnerable populations through the Banques Alimentaires du Québec, Second Harvest and other organizations that feed thousands of people in need.