Wasting Food

I attended a Vancouver Food Policy Council meeting this week. The topic was food scraps, so I was motivated to attend on a warm summer evening. It was lovely to see the enthusiasm around the room and especially wonderful to see the interest in food recovery or food rescue as it is sometimes called. So much of what winds up in our landfills is still perfectly edible food and could be redistributed. In break out groups, we were asked to put forth ideas for the food scraps committee to work on in the year ahead. Here are a few of mine, most of which focuses on community garden composting where bins are usually a disaster.

  • recommend that all City and Park Board community gardens have lockable, rodent resistant wood and wire bins installed for their communal composting areas (could be funded through neighbourhood green grants);
  • recommend that each community garden have a trained compost team that manages the bins; team could be trained at City Farmer or in on-site workshop (see next);
  • recommend that the City funds one on-site composting workshop per community garden each year (spring/fall);
  • recommend that the City provide garbage cans near community gardens so dog walkers can deposit their doggy doo there instead of in/on/around compost bins;
  • provide proper signage (how to/what goes in, etc) for compost area (in process);
  • provide more composting resources on City website;
  • offer compost bin distributions at community centres or neighbourhood houses with mandatory workshop;
  • continue to promote backyard composting in tandem with curbside pick up of food scraps;
  • consider the needs and priorities of a neighbourhood before parachuting in a model from another neighbourhood. Partner with individuals and community groups who are already working in this area and have the knowledge and experience, but need help with capacity.

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