Enactus Okanagan College team builds business out of apples that would normally be discarded

Unusually Good treats

Students from Okanagan College are working with the North Okanagan Valley Gleaners to provide tasty treats to those in need.

The business venture, Unusually Good Food Co., was launched by the Enactus program at Okanagan College and will be part of a regional competition that could end with a national championship.

Since its creation in 2018, Unusually Good Food Co. has diverted 66,550 pounds of apples from going to waste, conserved more than 13.9 million litres of water, and offset more than 130 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

All this while providing more than 100,000 servings of nutritious fruit to children and people in need.

By dicing and dehydrating apples that would otherwise go to waste, they created Unusually Good Apple Bites, which are distributed free of charge to school children and those faced with food insecurity.

In addition to distributing locally to schools and food banks, Unusually Good has even sent apple bites as far as Nunavut, Guatemala, North Korea, Ukraine, and Armenia.

Local students will present the project virtually at the Enactus Canada Regional Exposition March 7-12, competing against schools from across Western Canada for a chance to represent their school and region at the National Exposition in May.

“We love them, the kids love them, and we would love to see them in all of our programs and locations. Another benefit is that they are healthy for the environment. We don’t get many healthy donations for our kids. It’s just fantastic,” said the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club's Tracy Anderson in a testimonial.

“We started the breakfast program at our school after a student approached me about being hungry and not having breakfast. After speaking to teachers, I found that this was a regular occurrence. (Unusually Good) was our first food source supplier that became available. They’re available year-round and the kids love it. I mean, who doesn’t love dried fruit?” said Angie Mendes with Okanagan Landing Elementary School.

Enactus OK president Danielle Walker said there are many benefits to the program.

While the Gleaners help distribute the apple bites on a global scale, area service groups distribute the food locally, and it is all free of charge. The apple bites are also provided to food banks.

The apple bites are not available in stores, but apple juice is.

“Because we are a social enterprise we sell fresh pressed orchard apple cider and the money we generate from that we use to produce the apple bites,” said Walker. “Some of it also goes to paying farmers for their apples for the cider. Essentially, the apple bites are created from apples that are left to rot, or they have to pay to have them disposed of.”

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