How it started

Canada’s largest free outdoor lunch will be served outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Wednesday, May 27th, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and all 5,000 servings will be crafted from rescued food. The public event is part of Feeding the 5000, a global food waste initiative.

Feeding the 5000 (metro) Vancouver puts the food waste issue on the table,” said Elaine Cheng, one of the event organizers. “This is a positive way to bring people together for a delicious meal, highlight the organizations that are working on solutions to combat food waste and offer educational tips and resources that will help people use more of the food they bring home.”

The meals will be prepared by culinary students using donated food that would otherwise have been wasted. “We’re using perfectly good, delicious ingredients that will be hitting their peak freshness too soon to sell to restaurants and grocery stores,” said Chef Don Guthro from North Shore Culinary School, a tuition free, culinary training program for underprivileged and at-risk people. “People will be surprised by the variety and quality of the food that we’ll be serving.”

The event, which is the first of its kind in Canada, aims to bring awareness about the amount of edible food being thrown out in our region. These include aesthetically imperfect or blemished produce, uncommonly used parts of produce, and products that are at their “best before” dates (but that are still edible).Metro Vancouver residents currently throw out over 100,000 tonnes of edible food a year, and recent research by Metro Vancouverconfirmed that on average over half of the food disposed of at home could have been eaten.

“Food connects all of us,” said Jennifer Rustemeyer, producer of the award winning documentary Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story, “Feeding the 5000 (metro) Vancouver is a positive way to get people talking about food waste in the region because the best way to appreciate the quality of food that is getting thrown out is to taste it.”

Feeding the 5000 (metro) Vancouver is being organized by a grassroots coalition of volunteers and organizations that want to help businesses and residents get the most out of their food. It supports global efforts to tackle food waste and aligns with local initiatives including Metro Vancouver’s organics bylaw, implemented earlier this year (banning food scraps from the landfill), and the recent launch of the “Love Food Hate Waste” campaign. Community partners include local farmers markets, food rescue organizations, food retailers, distributors and other local businesses.


About Feeding the 5000

Originating in London, UK in 2009 by founder, Tristram Stuart, this food waste movement has launched in other major cities across the world including Paris, Dublin, Manchester, Sydney, Amsterdam, San Fransisco, Brussels and (soon to be) Cannes (May 20).