Community Fridge @ Onward Willow NG

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Road to Zero Waste (RTZW): Overview
Onward Willow Neighbourhood Group (OWNG), with support from the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition and The Cooperators, has partnered with Toronto’s Road to Zero Waste (RTZW) in an exciting new project! RTZW and OWNG will be providing and maintaining a FREE Community Fridge, stocked with edible surplus from restaurants and grocers that would typically go to waste. The fridge will be launched at Onward Willow Community Centre on Saturday April 6th, 2019 and is accessible to anyone experiencing food insecurity. Surplus food that is donated from local restaurants and grocers will be repackaged, to ensure folks utilizing the fridge are receiving meals/food items in a dignified way. The Community Fridge aims to provide accessible, healthy food without barriers.

Shabeeb Hassan and Laylo Atakhodjaeva launched RTZW in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood in 2018 to share surplus food with those experiencing food insecurity. They implemented a free Community Fridge in both Parkdale and Rexdale and are now launching their third fridge in partnership with Onward Willow Neighbourhood Group! The partnership’s purpose is simple; focusing on combating a lack of access to healthy food in Guelph by utilizing food surplus and the collaboration of our community. The hope is we’ll also be able to offer more culturally relevant foods to our community.

*More than 35.5 million tonnes–a staggering 58% of all food produced within Canada–is wasted or lost with about ⅓ of that, perfectly good food, eligible to be “rescued” and redistributed into the community.

● To provide easier access to (healthy) food
● To create awareness around food insecurity and food surplus within Guelph.
● To create a community cookshare (using rescued food) with objectives to build on      community development work and provide opportunities for nutrition education.
● To curb the massive amounts of methane gas created by food in landfills — methane gas creates 25xs more environmental damage than carbon dioxide.

How Does Road to Zero Waste Work?
Road to Zero Waste food donation pick-ups are coordinated with the help of volunteers with Safe Food Handling certificates and transported using insulated safe food handling bags. RTZW and Onward Willow NG work together to contact potential food donors, arrange a convenient and agreed upon schedule for pick-ups, stock the Community Fridge, and safely manage food donations. Community can freely access the fridge during opening hours at OWNG. Food content labeling, tamper-free packaging, clear best before dates, and strict fridge maintenance are all essential parts of the process.

The Specifics
Donors are wholly protected by Canada’s Food Donation Act (Donations Food Act, 1994 S.O. 1994, Chapter 19–Food Banks operate under the protection of this act). The act states anyone donating food is exempt from all liability when offering surplus food. The sole involvement potential donors have is to place surplus food aside for RTZW volunteers to pick up at a pre-arranged time. There is no cost associated to potential donors who are protected under RTZW’s non-disclosure agreement unless donors choose to be recognized for their generosity through social media channels and media coverage where possible.

National Zero Waste Council Canada

For Potential Donors
If your organization is interested in discussing this innovative opportunity and how you can help, please don’t hesitate to reach out to:
Mohammed Shoaib @ OR Susie Stauffer