Advertisement

Vancouver company giving back to community with a hearty soup

Click to play video '‘Unwanted’ food finds new home in special B.C. food bank program' ‘Unwanted’ food finds new home in special B.C. food bank program
WATCH: Food that otherwise would be going to waste is finding a new purpose. And as Catherine Urquhart reports, it's doing more than helping feed people in need - it's providing them with jobs – Mar 8, 2019

After testing and distributing hundreds of litres of soup, a local initiative is forging ahead with its first product that will not only feed those in need, it will also help people gain valuable employment skills.

Goodly Foods uses produce that isn’t deemed high quality enough for grocery store shelves. Instead of the produce being thrown away, the company turns it into something good.

Goodly Foods co-founder Yuri Fulmer said the produce is donated by supplier partners, including wholesalers, growers, re-packers and distributors, “folks who have tomatoes that are too round, not round enough, too red or not red enough.”

WATCH: Making the most of food waste

The program has another huge benefit.

“The employees are generally people who have at least one barrier to employment so they may be living in poverty,” Fulmer said.

Story continues below advertisement

WATCH: Community reporter Michael Newman visits some of the charities making sure children and families don’t go hungry

Click to play video 'Innovative hunger solutions in Metro Vancouver' Innovative hunger solutions in Metro Vancouver
Innovative hunger solutions in Metro Vancouver – Mar 6, 2019

“They may have had an injury in the workplace. They may have a substance abuse issue. It’s absolutely a win-win. Consumers get a fantastic soup. Organizations like the Food Bank receive food that they can distribute to people in need and folks here get meaningful employment that helps them get back on their feet.”

All of the proceeds go back into the project as its first product, a hearty tomato vegetable soup, starts to hit the shelves. For now, the soup will be distributed through soup kitchens and other agencies that feed people in need.

READ MORE: ‘People do go hungry’: Langley food bank fears the worst as it faces eviction

Story continues below advertisement

Goodly Foods general manager Alexa Pitoulis has even bigger goals.

“We really have a dream of seeing this soup in public institutions, so schools, hospitals, seniors living facilities,” she said.

READ MORE: Happy ending after thieves target Surrey food bank

“It’s a nutritious, healthy, beautifully-made soup that I think will have a lot of legs in a lot of places.”

Pitoulis added the issues of food waste, people needing jobs and supportive employment opportunities are not unique to Vancouver, “so we really see the potential of working across Canada and beyond to do similar models.”

Thursday’s launch was made possible in part because of the Walmart Foundation, which granted the Greater Vancouver Food Bank a $1-million investment grant to help grow the Goodly Foods initiative.