Zero waste by donation ‘saved food’ market in Vancouver

Every Thursday, from 3-5pm, Food Stash Foundation hosts a “rescued food” market in a warehouse just off Main Street near Olympic Village and Mount Pleasant to promote zero-waste circular food waste.

Like a zero-waste supermarket, Food Stash supplies the market with surplus perishables from farms, grocers and wholesalers that would otherwise have been thrown away. Overstocking, canceled orders, aesthetic standards and expiration dates all contribute to food being thrown away prematurely.

Whole Foods, Fresh Street Market, Save On Foods, IGA and Spud.ca are all food donors, and 80 percent of what is collected each day by Food Stash is shared between other nonprofits and community partners who run food security initiatives. The other 20 percent will go to the rescued food market.

Visitors to the market are welcome regardless of socio-economic status and do not have to prove that they are in need. Individuals are limited to one tote bag per person and after selecting what they want from the available inventory, they can choose how much they want to donate in return, either by cash, an online donation link or e-transfer.

Food Stash is a registered charity that collects more than 80,000 pounds of food each month and was founded in 2016 by a Vancouver teacher to reduce food waste and help a few families in need. It has since grown into an organization that helps more than 30 other charities and has several programs of its own.

Recently, the organization moved to a new warehouse at 290 E1st Ave off Main Street, which required the installation of a $130,000 cold storage system that is currently on loan. They must raise $70,000 by the end of 2022 to pay for the equipment essential to preserving the food that also serves a community refrigerator and rescued food box delivery program, as well as the market.

So far, Food Stash has received a $15,000 donation from Concert Properties for the outstanding balance, but they are asking the public, especially corporate donors, to give if they are able.

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