May 26, 2015 6:52 pm

Rescued food on the menu at Feeding the 5000 event in Vancouver

While the Vancouver event will be the first in Canada, there have been other events held around the world.

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Rescued food will be on the menu at the Feeding the 5000 event in Vancouver on Wednesday.

Using food that would have otherwise been wasted, the event aims to feed 5,000 people a free lunch and educate the public about how much food is tossed away every year.

“It takes a lot of finite resources – energy, water, land – to produce our food, and squandering it also wastes all those resources,” said Jen Rustemeyer, one of the organizers of the event, in an email.

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“There are many hungry people in this country that could use that food. Sending food to [the] landfill creates methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas contributing to climate change.”

Rustemeyer said, on average, a family in Metro Vancouver wastes more than $700 of food a year.

This event will be the first of its kind in Canada but the Feeding the 5000 movement started by Tristram Stuart in England in 2009.

“I wanted to take the message of food waste to a much wider public,” said Stuart. “So I organized a big banquet for 5,000 people all made out of food that otherwise would be wasted.”

“When we’re talking about rescued food, we’re talking about all the good quality, nutritious, wholesome food that would have been wasted but has been intercepted. This happens on a day-to-day basis across the world, there are organizations that capture food that would have been wasted and redistribute it.”

Stuart said it is important to prevent food waste because food is the single biggest impact that humans have had on the planet.

But many people do not want to use food that is aesthetically imperfect or blemished, uncommonly used parts of produce, and products that are at their ‘best before’ dates.

“I think people are not educated about what those date labels really mean,” said Rustemeyer. “Best before does not mean bad after. To some degree, we have to get back to understanding our food and trusting our senses. In terms of perfection, we have such an abundance in our society that we feel we can afford to be choosy and I don’t think people realize the quantities of food that are getting left in the fields or rejected by supermarkets.”

Feeding the 5000 aims to celebrate food and let people know about the quality of food that is being wasted in our region. Anyone will be able to come by, grab a free lunch of rescued food and learn about food waste.

“We want to celebrate food and illustrate to people the quality of food that is getting wasted in our region,” said Rustemeyer. “We want to help people get the most out of the food they buy and also provide them with opportunities to get involved in the issue through volunteering with local organizations.”

The event will be held at the Art Gallery in Vancouver Wednesday, May 27, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. You can also follow the movement on its Facebook page.

© 2015 Shaw Media

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