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For many years, CGC has strived to create greater access to nutritional food throughout the Cowichan Region.
With almost one in four children living in poverty, our community has never needed better access to food as much as now. At the same time, we have an overwhelming global food waste problem. Canada alone wastes over 55% of the food it produces, equaling over 35 million tons annually, much of which ends up in landfills creating a large and unnecessary environmental issue.

In early 2018, the Food Recovery Project was established through a Government of British Columbia Job Creation Partnership, to both ‘recover’ food from large food retailers while also servicing the community by delivering this perfectly edible produce to vulnerable community members at no cost.

To date, this now essential community program has redistributed over 500,000lbs of fruit and vegetables to all corners of the Cowichan Region to those who need it most. With a transport vehicle and sufficient cooler and freezer space, the program delivers around 1000lbs of fresh food daily to over 15 local service providers and community organizations.

The Food Recovery Program lies under the umbrella of ‘reFRESH Cowichan’
which utilizes an onsite commercial kitchen and retail space to process and sell a small percentage of the recovered food from specific retailers. This, in turn, covers some of the necessary ongoing operational costs, while making sure all food is directed into a number of sustainable streams.

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Since March 2020, CGC established the Emergency Food Task Force with a number of other local community organizations, service providers, the school district, non-profits, and the City of Duncan. The Task Force’s goal is to ensure food is distributed to the most vulnerable communities of people affected by the current pandemic, addressing the food insecurity it has generated. A panel of representatives has been meeting weekly via Zoom to discuss food shortages and develop plans to alleviate them as they arise. Getting so many passionate people in a virtual room together has enabled a solution-driven approach to getting food, meals, and support together very quickly.

Program Staff:

  • Nathan Harben – Program Supervisor
  • Julika Pape – reFRESH Operation Manager
  • Mike Elford – Driver & Delivery Coordinator

If you would like any more information on the project or would like to donate time or money to this project, please contact Program Supervisor Nathan Harben at nathan@cowichangreencommunity.org or 250 748 8506