Gateway Gazette

High River Food Rescue: Filling Needs, Reducing Waste

“Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”

World Food Summit, 1996
High River Food Rescue

Wild Rose Food Connections is a food security initiative created by Wild Rose Community Connections. This initiative is meant to identify all the food related existing programs in the community and build on those capacities to aim for a coordinated approach. Wild Rose Food Connections has four goals:

• Reduction in food insecurity

• Education and awareness of food related issues

• Social connectivity surrounding food

• To develop a consciousness around food waste and our environmental impact.

High River Food Rescue is one of many initiatives of wild Rose Food Connections. High River Food Rescue volunteers rescue food from local grocery stores/businesses/restaurants that would otherwise be thrown out due to damage, excess or imminent best before dates. The food is sorted, labeled, and distributed through “Markets” held at The Commons (55 8th Ave. SE). There have been 82 Markets since the program started in October 2018 in which over 3200 people have accessed free milk, yogurt, fresh produce, meat, grocery items, etc. Over 45,000 pounds of food has been diverted from the landfill! The fridge and freezer have been proudly donated by Western Financial Group and Rotary. At the Markets, there is no identification required. ANYONE can access the Market up to four times per month and help us to keep good food out of the landfill! When you walk in to the Market you will be greeted by one of our volunteers who will give you a tour, and answer any questions you have. You may then choose the items you know your family will enjoy. Each household can fill one full bag (please bring a plastic grocery bag or a small reusable bag).

Markets are held at the Commons (address above) on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:00-1:30 pm (except the second Thursday of every month the Market is 5:00-6:30 pm instead of 12:00-1:30 pm). As well, when there is extra food there will be “pop-up” Markets other days/times of the week. (keep an eye on our Facebook page for times/dates.

If you are interested in donating to High River Food Rescue or Wild Rose Food Connections please contact Sarah at 403-601-0979 or email highriverfoodrescue@gmail.com. We are also accepting fresh garden produce through our “Grow A Row” program, which is a campaign requesting gardeners to grow an extra row of garden items to harvest and donate to the Food Rescue. The Shepard Family Park Society has graciously donated cold storage so we can put out fresh produce in our Markets throughout the year! Ideas of what to grow include beets, carrots, potatoes, kohlrabi, parsnips, but we will also gladly accept lettuce, berries or even frozen fresh items! Produce can be dropped off at Wild Rose Community Connections (127 3rd Ave. SW) from 10 am-4 pm Mon-Thurs or at the Commons, Tuesday or Thursday mornings between 9:30-10:30 am.

High River Food Rescue

Wild Rose Food Connections also runs the following programs:

Food Asset Maps: A resource guide updated monthly of all food related resources located in High River that is provided to local agencies and community groups. Offered in Spanish and Tagalog.

Lunch in a Crunch: During the summer months/all school breaks students can anonymously text/call 403-813-9819 to be directed to where they can pick up a free nutritious lunch. Funded through the United Way/High River Partnership. Lunch in A Crunch will be available from July 1st-August 30th, 2019. Available Monday-Friday from 10am-3pm.

Food Alliance Meetings: A monthly meeting of all local food related agencies, businesses and interested individuals intended to assist in sharing resources, ideas and programs with the goal of reducing food insecurity in High River. Next meeting is September 26th from 2-4 pm at the Commons. Anyone is welcome.

Kids in the Kitchen: A cooking class for kids aged 10-14 teaching cooking skills, kitchen safety, food safety and FUN! Keep your eyes peeled on our Facebook page for upcoming Fall sessions!

Snack Shacks: During the summer months, the High River Library and Bob Snodgrass Recreation Center will have fridges full of nutritious snacks (open July 1-August 31st, 2019). There are also two Snack Shacks (aka Book Bungalows), one located at the Skate Park and the other by Colossi’s (4th Ave. Downtown) that are filled with nutritious snacks for anyone to access. Proudly funded through the United Way/High River Partnership.

Soup for the Soul: This program links isolated seniors/individuals with a volunteer wanting to share a hot meal and some good company. Volunteers can set up their own visitation schedule. The meal (soup and a bun) are proudly provided by Medicine Tree Manor and the Whistle Stop Cafe. Volunteer/referral/ intake forms are available upon request.Food Connections Speaker Series: Classes have included Maximizing Your Garden Output, 75 ways to Save and others. Our next class is 75 Ways to Save on September 12th at the Commons from 6-8 pm. You can RSVP at highriverfoodrescue@gmail.com. Keep an eye out for other upcoming classes!

Toiletry Collection: In partnership with businesses, sports teams and service clubs we collect toiletry items (shampoo, toilet paper, shaving kits, feminine hygiene products, etc.) every January to give to agencies that work with families and individuals in need. If you are interested in donating, please contact us.

Harvest High River: In partnership with the Town of High River, the locations of trees, shrubs, plants and planters containing edible items will be shared on their website (https://highriver.ca) so that the public can harvest items like zucchini, apples, plums, mint, saskatoon berries, etc. As well, edible trees will be offered in the species lineup in the Memorial Tree program.

Wild Rose Food Connections provides these programs through the power of volunteers. If you would like to help or have questions about our programs, please contact highriverfoodrescue@gmail.com or call Sarah at 403-601-0979 or Brianne at 403-498-5255.

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