News / Vancouver

Bananza! Vancouver food bank deluged with 40,000 lbs of bananas

Even though they were in their prime, the bananas were labeled too ripe to sell and rejected by a Vancouver retailer.

Stuck with 48 pallets of castoff fruit it didn’t want to throw out, the transport company offered to donate the produce to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society.

Little did the food bank know that saying yes would lead to a delivery of 40,000 pounds of bananas.

“We couldn't let them go to waste, so we gladly accepted them,” food bank spokeswoman Kay Thody said Wednesday, although she wouldn't divulge the name of the supplier.

But even after it distributed bananas to 15 food bank depots across the region and to community-based agencies, there were still boxes and boxes and boxes of fruit left behind.

 How d'ya like dem bananas? (Contributed/Potluck Cafe)

How d'ya like dem bananas? (Contributed/Potluck Cafe)

So the food bank enlisted the help of Potluck Café Society, a Downtown Eastside non-profit that employs neighbourhood residents and to cook and serve healthy food, to bake some banana bread to distribute across it’s network.

That’s a lot of banana bread – 6,500 loaves, in fact.

“We’re still baking” a week and a half later, Potluck director Heather O’Hara said. “These were good bananas.”

Eight staff perfected a recipe using 80 cases – or 6,400 – bananas, 10,000 eggs, 400 kg of flour, 500 kg of sugar, 400 kg of canola oil and five cases of baking soda.

The food bank donated all the ingredients and Potluck provided the paid work.

“This was a really great collaboration between food bank and us,” O’Hara said.

Not only were they able to salvage and repurpose healthy food that otherwise have gone to a landfill, but they were also able to support jobs in the DTES, Thoday said.

The bananza is a great example of effective, sustainable and healthy management of Vancouver’s food supply, she added.

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