Food economists, experts and environmentalists weigh in on Canada’s food waste problem and the lack of a national food waste strategy. The six million tonnes of food wasted yearly in Canada has serious environmental and economic repercussions. France has led the way on food waste policy with a new law implemented this February requiring supermarkets to donate their leftover food to charities and food banks. Whether something like this could be implemented in North America is yet to be seen, and while many are wishing it would, some say food banks and charities is not the way to go.
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“It’s so unsustainable to make all these meat products, and so much of it gets thrown out anyways because it goes bad. It just doesn’t make sense. It’s not sustainable and it’s not practical economically… Either we produce less food, or we find a better way to not waste our food.”
Jordann is a fourth year environmental science student at Carleton University. She is passionate about the environment and conservation in all forms. She goes dumpster diving every week, not because she wants to save money, but because she wants to help cut down on food waste any way she can.
“Food waste is becoming a really important topic around the world… I don’t think Canada is necessarily at the forefront of that, but it’s really hard to ignore these issues. Most statistics out there now show that anywhere from 40-50 per cent of all food produced is wasted.”
Irena is a professor of communications at Carleton University, and an expert in communication, culture and health. She has written extensively about food, in relation to the economy and She is especially interested in the economic inequalities present in our food systems, and has conducted research projects like “Nourishing Communities,” a sustainable local food systems research group.
“If you look at the history of food banks, they’ve always said they’re an industry that would rather be out of business…For governments to be actively supporting the food bank system is to say this is how we should be addressing food insecurity in Canada, but there are other ways to address food insecurity.”
Peter is a political science professor at Carleton University, though he holds a PhD in environmental studies from York University, which he completed in 2004. His research focuses on the politics of food and the environment, and he is a leading expert on food waste. He is the co-editor of the book, Globalization and Food Sovereignty: Global and Local Change in the New Politics of Food.
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