SalvagED by the Alder Food Security Society

The Cause

The Alder Food Security Society (AFSS) is a new non-profit organization in Edmonton, Alberta which aims to make healthy, local food available to all, regardless of income. The AFSS is launching a number of programs in order to mobilize Edmonton\'s food community to make access to local food attainable for all citizens. The programs AFSS is launching includes a community kitchen initiative, food chats to draw attention to food security issues in Edmonton, and SalvagED.

SalvagED aims to address the food waste in the Edmonton food system, including within restaurants, hotels, grocers, farmers and home kitchens. SalvagED includes a number of events and programs in order to raise awareness about food waste, encourage donations to food crisis centres in Edmonton, and promote the usage of refuse produce in the food system. SalvagED will launch in the summer of 2015 and will include:

1. A series of pop-up events at three of Edmonton’s most popular restaurants in June, July and August, which will focus on the use of reclaimed food and creative uses for unwanted produce,
2. A major weekend-long event in September with multiple participating restaurants. This event will include restaurants, grocers and local farms signing pledges to reduce food waste and donate unwanted, edible produce to local community kitchens and crisis centers, and
3. Ongoing food waste reduction programming, including cooking and preservation (ie. canning and drying) classes, online information and food chats, available for home cooks to reduce food waste at the household level.

The long-term goal of SalvagED is to save food that we Albertans are not using, including through supermarkets and farming activities, and all excess, unwanted produce donated to local crisis centres, which will redistribute this produce to food-insecure individuals and families in Edmonton.

Who Will it Benefit?

The primary beneficiaries of SalvagED will be users of food crisis centres and community kitchens in Edmonton. According to the 2013 Edmonton Vital Signs report by the Edmonton Community Foundation, roughly 13,000 Edmontonians accessed food services through the Edmonton Food Bank alone; larger numbers access free dinners and meal hampers through other community organizations in the city. The beneficiaries of these crisis food services include low-income families and individuals, newcomers to Canada, and marginalized groups. The SalvagED Food Waste Reduction Festival will encourage consistent and significant volume donations of healthy produce to crisis food service centres in Edmonton, improving the quality of food assistance to these target groups.

Secondary beneficiaries of SalvagED include Edmontonians who participate in AFSS’s food waste reduction programming which will include cooking classes, food chats and online educational material. These participants are likely to include Edmontonians of all income levels, however AFSS will focus on targeting low-income households in order to build cooking and preservation skills which will increase the consumption of nutritious food and help stretch household food budgets.

Finally, local businesses participating in SalvagED, including restaurants, grocery stores and farms (the majority of which will be locally owned and operated) will benefit from reduced food costs resulting from less waste, as well as promotion through the event series through the AFSS website and social media.