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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Feature: Quest Food Exchange

What do you think happens to surplus food from wholesalers, supermarkets, and farmers?

Credit: Stefan Szczelkun via Photopin (cc)

While much of it has often gone to waste, Quest Food Exchange offers another outlet for leftover food. Quest partners with local farmers, grocers, restaurants, and other institutions to divert surplus food into a number of programs, which distribute fresh food to people in need throughout the Lower Mainland. Not only does this help reduce food waste, but it also allows surplus food to be redistributed instead of going to waste.

Just last year, $5 million worth of food was distributed this way!

Quest runs four food programs that strive to ensure that people living on low incomes have access to affordable, healthy food:

Not-for-profit grocery markets: Four market locations in Vancouver, Burnaby/New Westminster, and Surrey offer eligible clients a way to shop, by referral, for healthy food, nutritional supplements, and household items at affordable prices. (These locations are not open to the public.)

Bulk food orders: This program provides a variety of items available for order to social service agency food programs, such as community kitchens, food banks, and residence programs.

Gift certificates: Social service agencies can purchase gift certificates for use at Quest markets to distribute to their own clients. The certificates can act as a substitute for emergency food hampers, since clients are able to choose their own food items according to their individual needs.

Community Training Kitchen: The aim of the kitchen, located at the Dundas Street site, is to provide education in the area of nutrition, best shopping practices, menu planning, and cooking techniques.

Want to know more about Quest? For more information about their programs and volunteer opportunities, please visit their website: http://www.questoutreach.org/

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