May 2013 Newsletter

Our Spring (May) Newsletter has arrived! Read more about our open house, how we are taking food waste seriously, Artisan Bake Shoppe and more! Download.

UBC Students Donate to Quest

A few weeks ago, I was asked by Dennis, a lecturer at UBC, to explain to his class a bit about what Quest does. I was honoured to be invited into their classroom. All of his students are part of the Global Academic Internship Program (GAIP) at UBC and are fairly new to Canada. This meant that they were also unfamiliar with some of the social issues that face Canadians. My challenge was to get across the importance of food security and poverty reduction initiatives, specifically in Vancouver.

I couldn’t have asked for a more attentive and engaged group of students. It was nice to see a group of people so inquisitive about the culture and issues of their new country. We even brainstormed ideas in which the students could help fundraise for Quest. We threw around ideas of food drives and monetary donation matching. I was just glad to have piqued their interest on social issues in Canada and perhaps make them think twice about food waste.

This week, I was invited back to the GAIP classroom. The 16 students (pictured above) had raised $125 out of their own pockets, which was then matched by Dennis and Jennifer, Senior Program Leader at UBC, for a grand total of $250! I was so happy to receive the donation on behalf of Quest and so proud of them for taking the time to do this. Their donation will likely go toward paying for our new wheelchair ramp (pictured at right) at the Dundas location. This will facilitate access to our grocery market for our clients who have trouble with their mobility.

Thank you so much to Dennis and the students for their kind donation and for inviting me in to speak!

City of Vancouver Finally Gets Behind Composting

Quest volunteer, Kelsey, has done research on the City of Vancouver’s improved composting program. ‘Bout time!

It was announced this week that Vancouver City Council has approved plans to expand the multi-family food scraps collection pilot project throughout the city by next fall. The project will work toward decreasing the amount of waste the city produces through mass compost collection.
By next September, 2,000 homes in the Riley Park and Sunset neighborhoods will be able to compost dairy products, meat, and bread in addition to conventional compostable food scraps like fruits, vegetables, eggshells, coffee filters, teabags and yard trimmings. Additionally, residents and business owners in the area can expect their garbage pick-up to decrease to once every two weeks.

While changing one’s household routine no doubt takes some getting used to, it is evident that the benefits far outweigh the costs. Currently, in Vancouver alone, about 130,000 tonnes of food go to waste every year; about 20 per cent of that comes from residential properties and subsequently the project being approved can be viewed and a significant political and environmental gain for the city. At Quest, we know all about how much food goes to the landfill unnecessarily!

The program will not affect homeowners other than changing which bin they put their garbage in. There have been concerns that a bi-weekly garbage collection will draw rats and vermin, but Chris Underwood, Vancouver’s manager of solid-waste management has assured people that this will be minimal.

If the pilot is deemed successful the project will be expanded to other surrounding areas next year and will be a significant step towards creating a sustainable waste management system in Vancouver.

What are your thoughts on the composting program? We love it!

From Farm to Fridge to Garbage Can – From the NY Times

How much food does your family waste?

A lot, if you are typical. By most estimates, a quarter to half of all food produced in the United States goes uneaten — left in fields, spoiled in transport, thrown out at the grocery store, scraped into the garbage or forgotten until it spoils.

A family of four that spends $175 a week on groceries lest more than $40 worth of food each week go to waste and $2,275 a year.

Read more at:

Waste Reduction Week

It is waste redcuction week in Canada. Have you thought about what you can do to reduce your ecological footprint?

Waste Reduction Week aims to inform and engage Canadians about the environmental and social ramifications of wasteful practices. It strives to educate, engage and empower Canadians to reduce, reuse and recycle waste.

Since 1990, Quest has been reducing hunger and the amount of foodwaste in BC’s Lower Mainland. One of our great partners in this mission is Boston Pizza International, who also happen to be featured on the Waste Reduction Week Website. Check out their case study at

If you know a company in the food industry who is trying to find a way to paarticipate in the Waste Reduction Week, point them to Quest Food Exchange.