FOUND gets off the ground: New initiative intended to reduce Halifax's food waste
Halifax business will make use of fruits and vegetables otherwise thrown away or left in fields to rot.
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Although it’s just getting off the ground, a new initiative to reduce food waste in Halifax by “gathering and sharing forgotten fruits and vegetables” is attracting a lot of attention.
The idea behind FOUND is to use food that would otherwise be left in a field to rot or farm fresh food that would typically be thrown away because of its short shelf life.
“We’ve already made partners and had calls from farmers already who have food left over and … they’re really interested in us partnering with them to pick it up so that should start soon,” FOUND’s co-director Lindsay Clowes said Wednesday.
“We’ve also had community organizations that feed people calling and asking us if they can have food when we start getting food.”
Clowes, along with her business partner Laurel Schut, brainstormed the organization a year ago.
The pair recently finished their masters degrees in environmental studies at Dalhousie University and shared concerns about food security. They plan to turn the initiative into a social business enterprise.
FOUND has a three-pronged approach. Clowes said the first goal is to help farmers by taking care of left over food at farmer’s markets.
“We will take that food and it can be donated to food banks and also we’re going to preserve it to be resold to go back into FOUND,” she said.
The women have also paired with farmers outside the city. They’ll plan harvesting days with volunteers and pick food that would otherwise rot in fields. That food would go to food banks and to the volunteers.
The third piece of the puzzle is promoting urban harvest days in the fall.
“There are a lot of trees and gardens in the city that are growing and just aren’t being harvested, either because they’re on private land and people don’t do it or because they’re on public land and there’s nobody organized to go out and harvest it,” Clowes explained.
“We’ll organize specific days in the city this fall and get volunteers out to pick food in the city to raise awareness and to donate to the food bank and volunteers. If it’s on privately owned land, part of that harvest will also go to the homeowner.”
Halifax residents who have fruit bearing trees or gardens with edibles they won’t harvest themselves can register on FOUND’s website at www.foundns.com.
Because the movement is still in its infancy, FOUND is presently confined to peninsular Halifax. But Clowes expects it will eventually grow into other parts of HRM.
“Halifax is so excited about the local food movement and the slow food movement, so we just couldn’t believe that it didn’t exist in Halifax already,” she said.
“It’s the perfect spot for it.”