"Every single day, throughout the day, we are going through our produce ... if we feel something is unsellable, something that you or I wouldn’t buy, we set that aside."
Mike Pare, store manager at Vernon's local Buy-Low Foods, says rather than throwing it away, that food is directed to the Foodmesh program.
Buy-Low joined the growing food recovery program nine months ago.
"Prior to February, all of these items would be thrown out into the garbage. So we are diverting all of our food that is unusable, back into a different means," says Pare.
Partners like Buy-Low help the North Okanagan Food Recovery program turn unsellable goods into meals for charitable organizations like the Salvation Army’s House of Hope.
Corps officer Neil Thompson says once the food is picked up from grocery stores, it is brought to their warehouse for sorting.
“It has enabled us to provide fresh produce, fresh milk, fresh meat to our clients in ways we hadn’t been able to do before,” says Thompson.
FoodMesh works with businesses, charities and farmers to recover food and put it to its highest end use and keep it out of landfills.
Food that isn’t fit for human consumption is shared with farmers, who either turn it into feed for their animals or nutrient-rich fertilizer for their land.
Along with providing 135,000 meals locally since the program’s inception, FoodMesh is also credited with reducing emissions by reducing CO2 that would have been created if the waste had ended up in the landfill.