At The Freed Food Society, we believe that food is a gift. As with all gifts, you treat it with respect and courtesy.
Bringing the old world with the new with a thought full approach, we are striving to change perceptions and behaviours of the people today.
We could go on and on about the amount of food that this world wastes and how many people are going hungry, but if that’s why you’re reading this then you will be disappointed. All of that information is already out there and easy to find.
There was a time (believe it or not) that everybody grew their own food and knew how to preserve it for long to very long periods of time. That knowledge and experience was passed down from generation to generation, until recently (well recently, meaning your grandparents generation, for myself, so it might be a give or take a generation depending on your age). The industrial generation changed many things, and today most people do not grow their own food, even less preserve it(although there is a quite a big permaculture/sustainable movement happening).
As I stated in the opening sentence, we are bringing the old with the new, with a thought full and transparent business model. Let’s start with how we are bring the old with the new.
Preserving food was the quintessential part of life, because we were dependent on the weather and the seasons. Unlike today where we have greenhouses that can produce food all year in a controlled environment and be able to stimulate plants to produce more and more often, that didn’t exist back then. Though they have survived or thrived (depending on the year), to preserve was to live. Today we don’t rely on preserving to live, we rely on the centralized systems in place to accommodate our appetite. Which is quite expensive to keep in place and disconnect most people with their food and where it comes from.
Being conscientious of all these factors, we decided to take action. We started investigating the amount of food that was being wasted, why was it being wasted, and also how are we able to take this and benefit the community.
As all of the evidence had suggested, there was food being wasted, quite a bit of it. Having a thorough look at why it was being wasted, we discovered several factors, first and the most obvious, our shopping habits. In north america, for the most part, we shop for the week, which means two things, one, the grocery stores must have more of everything; two, their fresh produce and meat must last 5-6 days (no one wants an angry customer, right?). The second reason is the disconnect between what it takes to produce the food and how it gets at home. The third reason, the impact is has on expectation and quality that customers expect. It’s the big three, their all intricately linked.
We could have just kept this to ourselves and take the more traditional approach of dumpster diving, but we felt it didn’t serve the community. We know how to preserve, we want to contribute to community and create strong ties between all of us. A plan started emerging, with many different opinions and suggestions, and after investigating legalities and conducting a few presentations, we came up with a plan.
First step was to incorporate as a non-profit organization here in British Columbia, Canada. The laws in BC allow the grocery stores to give food to either a non-profit or charitable organization without being legally liable. Then went to the grocery stores to make a short presentation, in order to make an arrangement to collect the food that would otherwise be wasted. We then decided that if there was no need to transform it (because it would be good, still, for a few days) we would give it to the food bank. If not, we take the produce, transform it into different products, such as ketchups, relishes, pickles, etc. can them , and sell it. Then with those profits, we re-invest it into the community, in different forms.
Thoughtful, isn’t it?