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Don’t throw that away! Food recovery program launching in Jasper

The Canadian Press

Perfectly good food in grocery stores and restaurants is going to waste, and Melody Gaboury wants to change that with a food recovery program in Jasper.

“I don’t like the idea of waste,” she said. “It makes me sad to think about any type of waste – food, clothing.”

Gaboury said she was worried about the future of the world for the next generation and decided to take action and make change locally.

“I’d like to (create) positive change, starting in our community, reducing waste,” she said.

Expiry dates, a few spots on fruits and vegetables, and items that aren’t used in a recipe all contribute to the huge amount of food thrown away regularly by businesses. 

But Gaboury said with careful scrutiny much of the food that is thrown out is actually still safe to eat.

The mom-of-two, and owner of My Jasper Nanny, is continuing an effort started almost a year ago to get a program, Jasper Food Recovery, up and running. 

She has reached out to local businesses with emails and through Facebook to make a connection for a supply of goods to be used by community members.

“We want to convey the message that food recovery is for everyone – anybody who wants to reduce waste,” she said. “Some people might think it’s not for them because they can afford food, but it’s about changing your perspective. Just because something has a bruise on it doesn’t mean it’s not good to eat.”

Jasper Food Recovery, she said, already has a location in place and volunteers to carry out their plan.

Volunteers will pick up food at contributing businesses and the group will accept low-risk donations like fruits, vegetables, canned food, dry, unopened packaged goods, and baked goods without perishable filling.

The donations will be taken to the Anglican Church Hall, where community members can pick up the free items set out on tables on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., using their own bags.

To facilitate COVID protocol, folks will enter in one door and exit through another, to keep the traffic going in one direction. There will also be a guest registry used for contact tracing.

“We’ll be relying on the fact that community members come and take what we have,” said Gaboury.  “I hope everyone will participate – businesses and community members.”

Watch the Jasper Food Recovery Facebook page for updates about the start of the program or email for more information.

By Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter / Jasper Fitzhugh

Christine Sponchia photo