Living Standards | Poverty, Food
Environment | Sustainability

Leftovers Foundation

The Leftovers Foundation (Leftovers) is one of Canada’s largest food rescue charities with a mission of mobilizing community to decrease food waste. Leftovers works with over 80 local restaurants, bakeries and grocers in Calgary and Edmonton to ensure nutritious food is kept out of the landfill and instead upcycles and/or redirects approximately 6 tons per week to over 60 service agencies and into the hands of those who need it most. Our mission is to mobilize community action to reduce food waste, protecting our people and planet. Every $1.25 that is invested in Leftovers results in one meal for those who need it most.

Our Story

Why We Exist

Fighting Food Waste

There’s no other way to put it – we have a food waste problem. Millions of pounds (worth $49.5 BILLION dollars) of perfectly edible food ends up in Canadian landfills each year. Not only does this food loss and waste have an enormous economic cost to businesses and society, it also has a significant impact on the environment. We connect perfectly good, healthy, unsold food to service agencies that help those in need and to local vendors who repurpose the food, giving it a second life.

Fighting Inequitable Food Access

Despite the abundance of food in Canada, not all Canadians have access to healthy and affordable food. More than 1 in 10 Albertans experience food insecurity, meaning that they cannot obtain enough food to lead an active, healthy life. Limited food access has been found to disproportionately affect low-income individuals who are more likely to live in communities with limited availability of healthy foods, specifically fresh fruits and vegetables. These types of under-served communities, often referred to as “food deserts”, tend to have few food retailers who sell healthful and affordable food products and more food retailers who sell less healthful foods.

Low-income individuals living in communities with limited healthful food access tend to have less healthful diets and run a higher risk for chronic disease, such as various cancers, cardiovascular disease, and Type 2 diabetes, compared to individuals living in higher income communities.

Leftovers works closely with Fresh Routes, a social enterprise that provides Albertans with access to affordable, nutritious food and information to make healthy decisions. Working with neighborhoods, schools, grocers, farmers and policymakers, Fresh Routes provides a comprehensive approach to improve food access that combines nutrition education and greater availability of affordable, healthy food.

Fighting Climate Change

From 2010 to 2016, food waste accounted for 8 to 10% of human caused greenhouse gas emissions. According to a recent study, food loss and waste represents 60% of the entire food industry’s environmental footprint. In addition, food that ends up in landfill creates methane gas which is 25 times more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide.

The need to tackle food loss and waste is an urgent priority that must be addressed by all levels of government, industry and individuals. If any progress is going to be made, we need society to rethink how excess food is viewed. We need behavioural change from consumers and industry. By redirecting food to be consumed rather than wasted, Leftovers has already significantly reduced the amount of methane gas produced in Alberta. In 2017 alone, Leftovers diverted 616 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere (the equivalent of 134 vehicles).

Our Impact

What We Do

  • With the help of over 800 active volunteers, Leftovers picks up unsold, surplus food from local food vendors and delivers the food to social service agencies that feed those in need and to local businesses to upcycle.
  • Leftovers has over +80 food vendors (not including spontaneous donors), +50 social service agencies and was Founded in Calgary, Alberta.
  • Leftovers rescues an average of 6 tons of food per week.
  • We connect perfectly good, healthy, unsold food to service agencies that help those in need and to local vendors who re-purpose the food, giving it a second life.
  • In 2018, we rescued almost 320,000 pounds of food, providing over 170,000 meals through over 50 service agencies and over 80 vendors.
  • In 2017, Leftovers diverted 616 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere (the equivalent of 134 vehicles).
  • Leftovers works closely with Fresh Routes, a social enterprise that provides Albertans with access to affordable, nutritious food and information to make healthy decisions. Working with neighborhoods, schools, grocers, farmers and policymakers, Fresh Routes provides a comprehensive approach to improve food access that combines nutrition education and greater availability of affordable, healthy food.

Our Programs

How We Do It

Leftovers addresses the food waste, food access, and greenhouse gas emissions in three main ways: food redirection, education, and policy work.

1. 360 Food Rescue
Leftovers works to ensure that nutritious food is kept out of the landfill and instead redirected to service agencies and into the hands of those who need it most. We work with vendors of all sizes, from mom-and-pop restaurants and bakeries to national grocery chains to save food that would otherwise end up in the landfill. In 2018 alone we rescued almost 320,000 pounds of food, providing over 170,000 meals through over 50 service agencies and over 80 vendors. Food that is not suitable for human consumption gets redirected through a partnership with Loop Resources, a company that brings farmers food waste for their animals.

2. The Rescue Food App – Engaging Youth
We have built a smartphone app with high school students that makes redirection of surplus food more accessible, convenient, and easy for people to volunteer. The app was created by 4 high school students in 2017, through a program that helps young women develop skills in STEM at a young age. The app they built is available on the App Store or Google Play. Participants can sign up as a volunteer to redirect food. The young women continue to be involved in the development of the app throughout grade 12 and first year university, and will be launching version 2 fall of 2019.

3. Partnership with the Fresh Routes Mobile Grocery Store
An initiative started by Leftovers to bring fresh food into ‘food deserts’, or communities where nutritious food is scarce. Working in partnership with communities, the  Mobile Grocery Store brings healthy, fresh, and affordable food into neighborhoods facing barriers – allowing choice, maintaining dignity, and building community. Together with Fresh Routes, we support operating over 60 routes per month in 20 communities throughout Calgary and Edmonton.

4. Education
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

To achieve our vision of a society where everyone in our community stops wasting good food, we need to educate the younger generation to ensure awareness. Our education team focuses on disseminating information and encouraging critical thinking around the food habits of individuals and organisations. We strive to encourage food retailers to reduce the amount of excess food they produce, and then to repurpose the remainder as part of our food redirection programs. We need to remove the educational barriers to people finding safe, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food. Policy and regulatory frameworks

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

5. Policy and Framework Consultation
We support and use the most current and relevant research around Canadian food waste to inform policy makers at municipal, provincial, and federal levels. We look for best practices from groups around the world and provide guidance to local policy officials on how to best implement reducing food waste at each level, from production, to processing, to retailers and our own plates

Our Requests

What You Can Do

Whether you’re a food donor, a volunteer food rescuer, or a receiving agency, the future of the food rescue movement fits in the palm of your hand.

Food Recipients

These charitable and welfare agencies include homeless shelters, women’s and men’s refuges, youth groups and organisations that service people with alcohol or drug addictions, mental health issues, people with disabilities and the elderly. If you would like to sign up to receive food donations, please email [email protected]

Food Rescuers

Pick up surplus food from our Food Donors (grocers, restaurants, etc.) and deliver it directly to local Service Agencies (homeless shelters, food pantries, addition agencies, etc.) that feed our hungry neighbors. In your own vehicle and on your own time, it typically takes only about 30 minutes to complete this incredibly rewarding and essential mission. Get started on the app to see the complete schedule of local food rescue opportunities.

Our Funding

The core of our funding comes from governmental agencies, local organizations, and generous individuals. The majority of our funding directly supports program development and delivery. The funding that has been provided to date has been largely Program Funding, supplying salaries for our staff, honorariums for the community and supplies for volunteers to comply with Alberta Health Services regulations.

Program delivery: (staff time, honorariums, etc.) 55%

Operational: (rent, utilities, volunteer supplies, equipment, gas, fleet costs etc.) $30%

Program development: (marketing, conferences,) 15%

 

 

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Contact

Lourdes Juan

Founder

4036196373

Charitable Number: 78298 3522 RR0001

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