In an effort to educate about food waste and waste reduction, the City of Red Deer is joining with a few other community partners to proudly host the Feed 500 Red Deer, Set Food Free event.
On Sept. 22nd, citizens are invited to City Hall Park at 11:30 a.m. to enjoy food prepared by Red Deer College cook apprenticeship students – all food that would have otherwise been thrown away.
All of the food used is high quality but may have had a size or aesthetic dysfunction, making it not eligible to be sold in stores. This is a problem that generates vast amounts of food waste and many in the City are working towards a reduction of that waste.
“We’re hoping to give people some practical ideas about how they can realistically reduce their food waste. We want to bring attention to the issue, but more than that we want to help people change their behaviours. On our web site, there are specific ideas and tips on how to actually make that waste reduction a reality,” said Laurin Maris of environmental services with the City of Red Deer.
“I’m really excited about this event, and it’s great to see how excited other people are about this event as well. We’ve had lots of media interest for a couple of months already, and have had great partners step up to help out. We’ve got the Downtown Business Association, CAPRA, Recycling Council of Alberta and Red Deer College, who has been instrumental.”
Maris said she’s pleased to have been able to speak directly with producers, growers and sellers to address this need and to generate a fantastic meal for the guests of Feed 500 Red Deer.
“I’ve been so impressed by how much enthusiasm and energy and excitement there is from those who want to be involved. I just think it’s a great idea,” she said. “We approached local grocery stores and talked to them about what kinds of food waste they have. We did the same thing with producers. We understood that there is no exact answer for when it comes down to the actual event week, but we got ideas about what is usually left and what quantities they have leftover.
“From there, it’s all up to the magic of the Red Deer College cooking apprenticeship program.”
Red Deer City council recently supported a motion to support a federal tax credit for producers to be able to donate food rather than have to throw it away and Maris said this is a display of a small movement towards this reduced food waste lifestyle.
“Food waste happens at many levels – production, in transport and at the hand of consumers. What we want to do is draw attention to all of those different levels and help consumers be able to make better choices and reduce their food waste,” Maris said. “There are about 300,000,000 meals worth of edible food that goes into trash or landfills.
“There are actions available and actions being taken that can change the attitudes and perception of understanding food waste and getting the best out of their food.”