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Calgary

Practice Sustainable Fashion at Calgary ReLove Market

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On Sunday, November 15, 2020, The Pioneer on Stephen Ave will be hosting the ReLove Market, a premier consignment and vintage pop-up featuring 20 unique vendors and a beautiful selection of preloved garments. 

This will be ReLove’s 12th feature pop-up market in the city since their original launch in March of 2019, and while it is a fun way to connect with the community and find up-scale affordable clothing, it is much bigger than that. ReLove Generation is a part of the global movement for sustainable fashion, promoting the repair, reuse, repurpose and recycling of preloved clothing to encourage waste reduction and ethical practices in one of the world’s largest and most wasteful industries.
“We are bringing local awareness to a global movement.” Says Sarah Little, Founder of ReLove Generation, “By shining a light on sustainability, human rights and environmental rights, ReLove is a platform that helps local people change the world.”  

Sustainable fashion is an ongoing global movement dedicated to educating the public on the damaging environmental and social impacts of “fast fashion”, and encouraging the transition towards ethical and sustainable alternatives. Fast fashion refers to the rapid mass production of inexpensive clothing in line with constantly changing industry trends by major corporations. In order to maintain low costs and rapid turnover, the fast fashion business model is built on the exploitation of cheap labour and use of environmentally damaging materials that produce excess amounts of waste and pollution. 

According to The World Bank, the fashion industry uses 93 billion cubic meters of water every year, and is responsible for 10% of annual global carbon emissions. Only 15% of secondhand clothing and garments are recycled or donated, with the remainder being incinerated or ending up in landfills, where their synthetic fibers can take up to 200 years to decompose (1).
In addition to inflicting large-scale, harmful impacts on the environment, the fashion industry is also guilty of exploiting workers and violating human rights for their products. A transparency survey by fashionchecker.org revealed that 93% of surveyed brands do not pay their garment workers a living wage. 

The sustainable fashion movement, also known as slow fashion or eco fashion, is working to combat the damaging social and environmental impacts of fast fashion by promoting ethically sourced clothing and sustainable practices, such as repairing, reusing, repurposing and recycling clothing. By consuming less, donating old clothing and purchasing second-hand or preloved alternatives, shoppers contribute to the creation of a far more sustainable and significantly less wasteful circular economy.

The ReLove Generation’s pop-up markets represent just one method in an ongoing, multi-level approach towards ethical, sustainable and environmentally sound fashion practices gaining momentum around the world. “Everyone can do their part,” says Little, “there are so many different ways to recycle and repurpose clothing so it doesn’t end up in the landfill. Every contribution counts.”

Visit the ReLove pop-up market at The Pioneer this Sunday to learn more about sustainable fashion and how to be a part of the change! The event is free for all to attend, but does require patrons to sign-up and book a time slot on the ReLove Eventbrite page. For more information, visit https://relovegeneration.com

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

Alberta

Fighting Food Waste in 2021 – The Leftovers Foundation

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It’s 2021, and world hunger persists.  

Statistics show the global agricultural industry produces enough food to successfully feed the population of the entire planet. Yet, hundreds of millions of people in both developing and developed nations experience food insecurity and poverty every single day. Food waste represents a massive modern crisis. 

Food waste, not to be confused with food loss, refers specifically to edible items that are discarded, despite being completely fit for human consumption, following initial production stages such as harvest and transportation.
Between restaurant, retailer and household waste, massive amounts of edible food are wasted every single day, all around the globe. Despite much of this waste being avoidable, the fact remains that thousands of pounds of viable food travel from farms to landfills each year. From both a human interest and environmental perspective, food waste represents a crisis with significant consequences.  

According to a 2018 report on Global Food Waste and its Environmental Impact, “An estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted globally each year, one third of all food produced for human consumption.”

A 2019 Technical Report on The Avoidable Crisis of Food Waste by Second Harvest highlights that in Canada alone, the annual avoidable food loss and waste totals 11.2 million metric tonnes, reaching a total value of $49.5 billion. According to the report, this amount “equates to 3% of Canada’s 2016 GDP and would feed every person living in Canada for almost 5 months” (6). 

In addition to harming the community, food waste negatively impacts the environment by creating a massive drain on existing resources without reason. “When edible items are discarded, it’s not just food that is wasted. Consider all the resources required to bring food from the farm to your table: water for irrigation, land for planting, fuel for powering harvest and transport vehicles … when restaurant owners fill their rubbish bins with uneaten meals, all those resources are essentially wasted” (1).

Reallocating surplus goods, as opposed to throwing them away, is a critical step in reducing food waste, minimizing the carbon footprint of the agricultural sector, and aiding individuals in gaining access to basic needs. According to Second Harvest, “Four million Canadians have insufficient access to food. Nevertheless, of the avoidable and edible food loss and waste (FLW) that occurs along the value chain, an estimated 86 percent is currently not rescued and redistributed” (6).

In Calgary, a number of citywide and business specific “food rescue” programs are in place with the goal of addressing and reducing those staggering statistics. Organizations such as the Leftovers Foundation reduce food waste by collecting and redirecting leftover products to places in need, such as shelters or charities, as opposed to letting them be thrown away at the end of each day.  

With three locations across Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg, the Leftovers Foundation works with local restaurants, bakeries, grocers and distributors to redirect excess edible food where it is needed most. In Calgary, city coordinators work closely with food donors and service agencies to establish weekly and bi-weekly routes for pick up and drop off by volunteers. The Leftovers Foundation fulfills service agency food needs on both a scheduled and as-needed basis. “We are the connection point between people who have good, edible, nutritious food to donate,” says Audra Stevenson, Interim CEO for the Leftovers Foundation, “and those who are unable to put food on their plates.” 

In 2019, the Leftovers Foundation launched their Food Rescue app in partnership with Technovation, to streamline connections between volunteers and food redirection routes. Stevenson describes the app as a “game-changer” for the organization, and as a result, the Leftovers Foundation has been able to standardize and scale their operations much more effectively.

In this line of work, where the ultimate goal is to reduce food waste, food poverty, and the associated environmental impacts, collaboration is key. The Leftovers Foundation works collaboratively with other food rescue services around the city to avoid duplication and ensure all the food that can be saved, gets saved. “We’re supportive of every possible food rescue initiative,” says Stevenson, “It’s about every pound of food that makes it way onto someone’s plate instead of into the landfill.” 

Other food rescue resources: 

Calgary Food Bank Food Rescue and Share Program
https://www.calgaryfoodbank.com/foodmovement/

Kerby Centre Food Rescue
https://www.kerbycentre.com/support-services/foodrescue/

Zero Waste YYC
https://www.facebook.com/yyc.zerowaste/

In the war on food waste, every effort counts. “Food insecurity is becoming a bigger and bigger problem with COVID,” says Stevenson, “It’s not going to just go away. Any way you can get involved with our systems, whether it’s volunteering, donating, just paying attention to gaps in the community – now is the time to get involved and help reduce food waste.” 

For more information on the Leftovers Foundation and how to get involved in Calgary’s efforts to reduce food waste, visit https://rescuefood.ca

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

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Alberta

We Haven’t Been Able To Extract Ourselves From Our Industry

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For more videos, see WeMaple.

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