Planet Earth is plagued by many problems. However, one of the most severe may be food waste. Even though we, as a species, cultivate enough food to feed 10 billion people, approximately 795 million individuals still go to bed hungry each evening.
What are we doing wrong? There are a few answers to this question. To start, people have gotten into the habit of putting profit before others. An unfair distribution of resources paired with greed has contributed to the phenomena known as “lack.” Secondly, citizens have been taught to believe that if a food item looks anything but perfect, it is no longer edible. The misguided public also believes that as soon as a food reaches its expiration date, it must be tossed into the landfill or composted. In reality, most items retain a shelf life of several more weeks.
All three are contributing to world hunger, which is why each of us must take action in our own lives to reduce food waste. A novel grocery store in Toronto, Canada, is taking action by selling expired or bruised food at a very discounted rate. In some cases, it is free to those who are in need.
Feed It Forward is the world’s first pay-what-you-can grocery store. As GoodNewsNetwork reports, the establishment retails the kinds of food larger grocery supply chains are prohibited from selling. Items include misshapen or bruised fruits and vegetables, products that have reached their expiration date, and food that was thrown out simply because there was too much warehouse stock to accommodate it.
Whoever visited Feed it Forward is encouraged to take what they can and pay what they can, or what they feel is fair. If they don’t have any money, they are still free to take whatever they want. To ensure the store stays stocked, families are encouraged to take only enough food for one day. Those who have a little change to spare can opt to cover the cost of someone else’s groceries.
Chef Jagger Gorden, a well-known Canadian advocate for reducing food waste and feeding the hungry, came up with the idea for Feed it Forward in 2014. At the time, he was managing his own catering company. The experience showed him first-hand how much food is wasted at events. With leftover ingredients, he began to open pop-up restaurants across Toronto. In 2016, he served over 600 hot meals to hungry residents on Christmas Eve. Then, in May 2017, he opened a soup bar that became the first pay-what-you-can restaurant in Toronto.
Chef Gorden wants Canada’s food laws to change and is doing his part by opening Feed it Forward. He told The Star:
“The concept behind the store is showcasing how Canadians can utilize the food that’s destined for landfills: perfectly edible food that shouldn’t be thrown out and can be filling the empty bellies of our citizens.”
If you would like to donate to the nonprofit or volunteer at the grocery store, visit the Feed It Forward website.
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