It had been a really long time since I last volunteered and I felt that volunteering for something I believe in and have a deep connection too would be a great start to getting into again. The Feeding 5K event is an event that started in the UK. Rescued food is food that is edible but for a number of reasons it gets wasted and thrown out. Households just in Metro Vancouver throw away over 100,000 tonnes of food per year, let alone in the entire world. This event was help to promote the concept of wasting less food. As much as 40% of produce goes uneaten for a number of reasons such as retailers food standards or “ugly” fruit and vegetables appearances. There are about 1 billion people in this world who are undernourished and hungry and the food that we waste could save them. Food that looks “ugly” is just as nutritious and as delicious, so never judge fruits and veggies by its appearance. After watching the documentary, Just Eat It directed by Grant Baldwin, I was really inspired and upset at the same time. I was inspired by the couple that went around digging in what we believe to be garbage and gathering food that stores didn’t want. What made me upset was the amount of good food that was being wasted and learning that stores throw out food that hasn’t even expired yet instead of giving it to others who need it. Food is something that some of us take for granted. Not finishing a meal or a dish may seem like something normal or something that we are used to, but in reality, you are wasting perfectly edible food. All I ask for is to think about your actions before you do them and also check out the documentary Just Eat It to really understand how much is being wasted and how a little bit can actually go a far way.
The Feeding 5K Metro Vancouver Event was definitely a success. Some of the stands actually even ran out of food before 1:30p.m. I started the day as a volunteer for set-up. At 7:00 A.M. we met, and set up the tents for the event. We also mingled and talked about how we found out about the event. Some were even involved in other organizations that were also helping to reduce wasted food around Metro Vancouver. It was interesting to learn and meet so many people who are willing to help out around Vancouver.
The fruits and vegetables definitely looked cuter to me than “garbage”. I was surprised that there were so much fruits and vegetables that were found in the waste. It was presented there by Farm to Food Bank. Many of the people asked how much the fruits and veggies were and we were proud to tell them that it was free. After learning about the fruits and veggies, many people were surprised at the quality of the food.
The Free Lunch we were giving out for the event included on the menu: Tofu Puff Profiteroles with mango custard (surplus tofu puff, close-date jarred mangos), Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding with Soy Milk (kaiser rolls and soy milk, close-date chocolate), Tofu Puff with spicy beef filling (close-date tofu puff repurposed beef surplus cucumbers mixed peppers), Beef Burger with tomato chutney and pickled cucumber (over-ripe tomatoes, blemished cucumbers recovered marinated beef skewers overstock lettuce), vegetarian spring rolls with sweet chilli sauce (recovered cabbage, mushrooms, rice, bean sprouts and vermicelli). The North Shore culinary students were very good at getting out the food on time to all the people lining up without sacrificing the quality. It was great seeing local chefs and culinary professionals participate in this event and support the use of wasted, “ugly” produce.
Not only did I get a free meal and learn about the food wasted in Metro Vancouver, I also rediscovered my love for volunteering and helping society. Meeting new friends and learning about other people’s stories is really something that I see as really important after this event. I met a lot of people at the event who practice dumpster diving and they shared their thoughts on it with me. Now, more and more people are beginning to dumpster dive. Some people initially may find it weird and unable to accept but if you think about it, the people who dumpster dive aren’t people who don’t have the money to afford fruits and vegetables or clothing. They are people who understand the world is wasting resources and are doing what they can do to help out. It’s basically urban foraging. Lots of food goes wasted every year and we can do tons to salvage wasted food and supplies.
You can check out this link above to find out more about dumpster diving and how you can salvage goods to use that are perfectly clean and useful. There are also instructions on how you can share the food and materials that you find. But of course not everything you find in the dumpster is safe, so be sure you know the rules and safety precautions you should take before going out and acting on it. Check out the “Don’ts of dumpster diving” in the article above. Help cut down waste and make the world a better place my practicing and spreading the word about Dumpster Diving!