Who is Gratitude for Food?
Gratitude for Food was founded in the fall of 2018 by a small but enthusiastic group of Caledon residents with a passion for food and a concern for the global problem of food waste.
As ecoCaledon members we had recently completed a course together to learn how to create positive action in the face of climate change. The course was based on Project Drawdown, a global movement to reverse global warming by 2050. We knew we wanted to start a project to inspire change, but we weren’t sure where to focus all of our energy. Solar panels? Single use plastics? Regenerative agriculture? Reducing food waste? Since food is a daily part of our lives, it is a valuable issue and should be a priority for everyone. Reducing food waste is a climate change solution that literally everyone can get behind. We excitedly agreed, and after a rapid fire brainstorming session to come up with a name, Gratitude for Food was born! We are forever grateful to our dear friend, Susan Richards, who suggested this name. Susan has since passed away but we will always remember her for her thoughtful contributions to this cause.
Gratitude for Food is a subcommittee of ecoCaledon whose mission is to educate and inspire Caledon residents and businesses to take meaningful steps to promote a sustainable, local food system and reduce food waste.
Want to learn more about Food Waste and Gratitude for Food programs?
The Case for Reduced Food Waste in the Town of Caledon (hyperlink)
In a vast world of 7.7 billion people, all you hear about is our differences. There are also similarities that connect us, and one of them is food. Food connects us all. We all need it; depend on it; derive happiness from it; and, survive because of it (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations).
Unfortunately, according to Second Harvest (The Avoidable Crisis of Food Waste the Roadmap, 2018), world hunger is on the rise while an estimated ⅓ of all food produced globally is lost or goes to waste. In Canada alone, 58% (35.5 million metric tonnes) of all the food produced is lost or wasted every year. It is time to rethink our individual attitudes and behaviours related to food.
When we think of the causes of global warming, fossil fuel use most often comes to mind. Less conspicuous are the consequences of our breakfast, lunch and dinner (Drawdown, 2017).
Food is among the largest drivers of global environmental changes, generating 193 million tonnes of Greenhouse gases per year. Without substantial changes, greenhouse gas emissions from the food chain will continue to increase (C40: Good Food Cities). Each year, food is lost or wasted due to overproduction, product damage, imperfect “best before” labelling, and wastefulness in home kitchens and restaurants.
In 2017, the National Zero Waste Council conducted research on household food waste in Canada, and the results were astonishing.
63% of the food Canadians throw away could have been eaten;
For the average Canadian household that amounts to 140 kilograms of wasted food per year – at a cost of more than $1,100 per year;
For Canada as a whole, that amounts to almost 2.2 million tonnes of edible food wasted each year, costing Canadians in excess of $17 billion!
When food is wasted – by families, restaurants, and grocery stores – we are also wasting all of the resources that go into producing that food. That means we are wasting water, land, energy and labour, as well as the fuel that was needed to transport that food (Institute for Humane Education).
What’s the Big Deal about Food Waste?
Gratitude for Food offers seminars and workshops in the Caledon community. Youth groups, clubs, community organizations and church groups are just some of the participants who choose to take advantage of this outreach. Participants enjoy an interactive slide presentation that enlightens them on the issue of food waste. They later learn about strategies to reduce food waste at home and share their own ideas with other participants. They also hear about current projects GFF is developing in the community and are invited to take part. If time allows, the workshop ends with the creation – and sampling – of a yummy recipe. If you or your local organization are interested in hosting a workshop, please contact ecoCaledon (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Project Objective – to offer customized, hands-on, interactive workshops to members of the Caledon community in order to promote a greater understanding of the food waste dilemma and demonstrate ways residents can take steps to reduce food waste in their own homes or by joining existing initiatives in the community.
Just Eat It! Caledon’s Food Waste Challenge – COMING SOON!
Gratitude for Food will be recruiting families to take part in this unique and worthwhile online challenge. Participants will learn how to reduce food waste and will have fun sharing ideas – and recipes – with others. Join with your family for the chance to win some great prizes! Check back with us soon for the launch date.
Just Eat It! Caledon’s Food Waste Challenge aims to make it as easy and as fun as possible for people to change their behaviours around food in order to lead lives that are better for themselves and for the planet. Witnessing the collective impact of everyone’s individual actions will show participants that small individual changes really can lead to amazing overall impact (Behaviour Change for Sustainability, Cagle & Lacy, 2017).
The past 30 years has shown us that better strategies are needed in order to engage more people in behavioural change that has a positive impact on the planet. While many people claim that they care about environmental issues, their behaviours do not often align with their expressed environmental values (ibid).
Research has shown that the most effective behaviour-based campaigns combine environmental learning about a specific environmental issue along with the opportunity to take action. In addition, learning and action are much more fun and effective when done in a group setting (ibid).
Project Objective – to change food waste behaviours of Caledon residents by building awareness, building skills and knowledge, and getting more residents to take action on food waste.
FoodRescue.ca (https://foodrescue.ca/) is a free, easy-to-use online platform built by Second Harvest that connects businesses that want to donate their surplus food with pre-approved social service organizations that will pick up the donations. FoodRescue.ca tracks metrics and provides businesses with donation data and information about the positive environmental impact and community engagement resulting from donations.
Gratitude for Food has visited many local Caledon food retailers to make them aware of this convenient platform for donating surplus food. We continue to promote FoodRescue.ca whenever we attend community events.
Project Objective: To introduce FOOD RESCUE to local Caledon businesses and encourage them to enroll as food donors.
If you would like to stay informed or get involved in this project, please contact us at email@example.com.