Regional District of North Okanagan gives grants to groups for programs to reduce waste

ReThinking waste

The regional district is handing out money to several North Okanagan groups.

The Regional District of North Okanagan board of directors approved funding for multiple grant applications through the ReThink Waste Project Grant Program.

The successful applicants include FoodMesh, $45,000, Habitat for Humanity Okanagan, $10,000, Gaia Productions, $5,000, Destination Silver Star $4,700 and Fresh Outlook Foundation, $2,500.

Funds awarded to these organizations support a wide range of projects aimed at preventing the creation of waste and diverting and reusing materials to support a local circular economy.

FoodMesh works to build food recovery ecosystems by connecting organizations looking for alternatives to throwing out unsalable or surplus food with a network of charities and farmers.

Foodmesh will work to identify, expand and connect a network that supports the recovery of surplus food so it can be put to its best use.

Quality surplus food can support charitable organizations like food banks, and leftover food that is no longer acceptable for people to eat can go to farmers for animal feed.

Habitat for Humanity's Kitchen Salvage Program helps community members save money from contractor removal costs and waste disposal fees for kitchen renovations or demolition projects. Skilled Habitat staff and volunteers remove kitchen cupboards, islands, pantries, vanities and appliances and resell them in their ReStores.

This program diverts those items from landfills and provides a ready supply of high-quality building materials at a low cost.

Gaia Productions is making a documentary about food waste solutions in BC called Food Synergy, wht the goal of demonstrating how the food supply chain is connected and how the problems faced from farm to home and seed to soil can be solved with sound and practical solutions. The documentary is expected to be completed in 2023.

Destination Silver Star was awarded funding for two proposed projects. One is through their Bear Stewardship Group in support of a Black Bear Education Trail located around Brewer's Pond.

Grant funds will go towards installing two bear art pieces that encourage ReThinking waste, made of reusable materials. The project will also share stories which promote respectfully co-existing with wildlife.

The second project involves creating educational material to support the community's use of recently acquired composting and recycling facilities.

In collaboration with School District 22 and other community climate action leaders, the Fresh Outlook Foundation has plans to develop and implement the Climate Action Ripple Effect (CARE).

CARE engages youth and the broader community with on-the-ground projects that support a wide range of climate action initiatives, including waste reduction. Student projects were prepared and displayed at two CARE Summits in 2022, and another Summit is planned for 2024.

An average of 500 kilograms of garbage per person ends up in RDNO landfills yearly. Wasted resources negatively impact our environment and are a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. The RDNO ReThink Waste Project Grant program supports projects that reduce waste in our region and encourage a more circular economy. Priority is given to waste reduction projects focused on the first 2 “Rs” – Reduce and Reuse.

The grant program is expected to open for applications in fall 2023 for 2024 grants.

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