Montreal's impressive food recovery program will expand throughout Quebec

food collection by Moisson Montreal
© Moisson Montreal (via Facebook)

A partnership between Moisson Montreal and the largest grocery chains in the province will continue to salvage hundreds of tons of food that would otherwise be discarded.

An organization called Moisson Montreal is working hard to fight food waste while feeding hungry residents of Quebec. Moisson Montreal, whose name appropriately means “harvest” in French, has been operating as Canada’s largest food bank since 1984, but it was only in October 2013 that it created a partnership with local supermarkets – to collect and redistribute food that the stores would otherwise discard.

The “Food Recovery Program with Supermarkets” – the first of its kind in Canada – has been responsible for redistributing 534 tons of food since 2013. This includes 197 tons of meat, 137 tons of baked goods, 52 tons of fruits and vegetables, and 148 tons of varied products and frozen items. (Meat is an often-neglected food category for donation, due to the difficulty of transportation and refrigeration, but Moisson Montreal manages to salvage an impressive 8 000 kilos / 17 637 lbs of meat and meat substitutes monthly.)

In less than two years, the program has been so successful that Moisson Montreal will be expanding throughout all regions of Quebec.

Newswire reports: “In order to collect these foodstuffs, meat and meat substitutes in particular, Moisson Montreal signed a provincial agreement with Quebec’s largest grocery chains. The organization anticipates nearly 210 participating supermarkets by March 31, 2017.”

A wonderful aspect of this partnership is that, by getting food from supermarkets that would otherwise be discarded, it frees up much-needed funds for community organizations to do other valuable work; an estimated $4.2 million has been saved and allocated toward alternative projects since the Food Recovery Program’s launch in 2013.

“This enables [community organizations] to provide their clients with higher quality services and resources,” says Newswire. It is especially important at a time when many communities in Quebec have been hit by an economic downturn and job losses.

Food waste is a serious problem, with an estimated 24 percent of calories produced for human consumption getting lost somewhere along the journey from farm to plate. We writers at TreeHugger have written extensively about how to reduce personal food waste, from better meal management at home to changing your shopping habits, but it’s particularly gratifying to see organizations such as Moisson Montreal fighting food waste on a larger scale. Hopefully other communities will take note and consider implementing similar partnerships between local supermarkets and food banks.

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