November 23, 2015 8:02 pm
Updated: November 23, 2015 10:01 pm

City of Calgary calls for federal tax breaks for food donations

WATCH ABOVE: A Calgary city councilor is spearheading an idea that would give food growers a new and better tax credit, so they ship more produce to the food bank and less to the dump. Global’s Doug Vaessen reports.

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CALGARY – City council passed a motion Monday calling for Ottawa to do more to help feed the hungry.

The Calgary Food Bank already supplies three million meals a year and the need is growing.

Fresh produce is in highest demand, but for many companies it’s less expensive to throw excess produce away than it is to send it to food banks.

READ MORE: Shelves bare at several food banks as usage increases

City Councillor Brian Pincott put forward the motion Monday, urging council to support a nation-wide initiative headed by the National Zero Waste Council. The group aims to divert large volumes of edible food from the landfills across the country.

Credit: National Zero Waste Council

National Zero Waste Council

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Council wants to see a federal tax incentive to encourage restaurants and grocery stores to donate.

“When we have so many Calgarians, so many children that are hungry every day – that is a crime and this is something we can do to help that,” said Pincott.

READ MORE: Food bank visits spike across Canada – in Alberta most of all

Growers like RedHat Cooperative, a group of 35 producers out of Medicine Hat, said they love the idea. They grow five million boxes of tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers every year and suggest five per cent could be used at food banks.

Mike Meinhardt with RedHat Cooperative said the company already donates what they can, but would like to do more.

“We have boxing costs, bagging costs, shipping costs, all those costs to get product from the farmer to the food bank,” said Meinhardt.

Calgary’s city council isn’t alone: every major city in the country is making an appeal this November to the federal government to come up with a better plan.

© 2015 Shaw Media

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