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
Kerby Centre Food Rescue
Zero Waste YYC
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.
Suspect in stolen vehicle kills one and seriously injures another in wild chase
News release from Beaumont RCMP
Beaumont RCMP seeking public assistance in locating suspect in fatal collision
On Feb. 24, 2024, at approximately 9:00 p.m., Beaumont RCMP located a person suspected of theft, in a parked 15-foot cube moving truck, at a business on 50 Street in Beaumont. When members approached the truck and attempted an arrest, one male driver and one female passenger rammed into a police vehicle and fled the scene at a high rate of speed. Patrols were initiated to find the truck and, a short time later, it was observed on 50 Street and Highway 814 in Beaumont at a high rate of speed.
Meanwhile, Edmonton Police Service’s (EPS) Air One Helicopter was notified and provided its location to RCMP members. Multiple surrounding RCMP detachments, including Leduc and Strathcona, responded to assist. As the truck was driving into Edmonton, a tire deflation device was deployed by RCMP, disabling multiple civilian vehicles. Consequently, an adult female exited one of the civilian vehicles and was fatally struck by the suspect truck. The truck failed to stop and continued driving into Edmonton.
The suspect vehicle then collided with another civilian vehicle, leaving an adult male in serious non-life-threatening condition. The truck was located at 50 Street and 22 Avenue in Southwest Edmonton.
Further investigation revealed that the driver of the truck, an adult male, then proceeded to steal a parked 2020 Honda Civic at a nearby convenience store. This vehicle contained a child who was safely recovered and reunited with his family a short time later. The male suspect has yet to be located.
No other members of the public or officers were injured during this incident.
“On behalf of the RCMP, I would like to send our heartfelt condolences to the family members of the victim,” said Superintendent Leanne MacMillian, Assistant Central Alberta District Officer. “This is a devastating incident that will leave a mark on family and friends for years to come. Please understand that you will be in our thoughts as we progress through this investigation.”
In compliance with legislative requirements, the Director of Law Enforcement was immediately notified causing the deployment of ASIRT to conduct an independent investigation. The RCMP believes in accountability and transparency and in so doing will provide full support to the ASIRT investigators and also conduct its own internal review. Events like this are difficult for the communities in which they occur, as well as the general public and RCMP officers involved. RCMP officers recognize the trust placed in them to use force that is necessary, proportional and reasonable and in so doing remain fully accountable.
The RCMP are actively investigating this occurrence and are seeking the public’s assistance in locating a stolen, dark grey 4-door Honda Civic with Alberta license place E98-099. The vehicle was stolen by a male suspect described as being approximately 5’11’’ and was last seen wearing a black hoodie with white text on the front, brown shorts and black shoes.
If you have any information about this crime or those responsible, you are asked to contact the Beaumont RCMP at 780-929-7400. If you wish to remain anonymous you can contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 1‐800‐222‐8477 (TIPS), by Internet at www.tipsubmit.com or by SMS (check your local Crime Stoppers www.crimestoppers.ab.ca for instructions).
Canadians owe a debt to Premier Danielle Smith
From the Frontier Centre for Public Policy
In recent days, Premier Smith has endured criticism from many people about her recent announcements relating to treatments for what is often described as gender transition.
Instead, she deserves praise for decisions that are as important for how they were made as for the gender transition issues that concern her and her colleagues. Her actions on this matter demonstrate how public policy should be developed and explained.
The most important quality of the recent policy announcements by the Alberta government is that they are evidence based.
There is an emerging consensus outside Canada that the evidence supporting pharmacological and surgical procedures to change genders in minors is either very weak or nonexistent.
Sweden, Finland, the UK and Norway have restricted or forbidden the use of these treatments on minors, as have twenty-three American states. Ms. Smith referred to these in her press conference announcing the changes her government is making.
Leaders in other countries have done this after conducting detailed studies including one by the UK High Court of Justice and another by Dr. Hilary Cass, a former President of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health in the United Kingdom
Dr. Cass is an independent expert commissioned to provide advice to the National Health Service on gender treatments. She concluded that “evidence on the appropriate management of children with gender incongruence is inconclusive both nationally and internationally’’.
The second reason the decisions taken by Alberta are important is that they were taken despite ideology advocated by the Government of Canada and the unwillingness of federal officials including the Prime Minster to support their opposition to the Alberta policies with any evidence.
In his initial comments, the Prime Minister made no reference to any of the many studies that have been done describing the dangers of pharmacological and surgical procedures to change the gender of minor children.
He also displayed no understanding of the experiences of other countries on this matter. He did not refer to the Cass report and its seminal conclusions.
The comments by Federal Health Minister Mark Holland lacked any evidence the public could use. He also used offensive rhetoric.
Mr. Holland described the Alberta decisions as being behaviour that is “extremely dangerous to engage in …. which is, I think, playing politics about children’s lives.” He also referred to the “devastation that its going to bring”, referring to the Alberta changes.
Federal communications marked by a factual vacuum and excessive language are not going to help resolve serious differences of opinion on serious issues. They are also not condusive to good relations between the federal government and an important province.
The third and particularly significant reason the recent changes announced by the Alberta government are so important is that they will protect children.
Adolescence, a phase of child development that has been with us for thousands of years, is an important part of everyone’s life.
It is a vital part of what it means to be human. Delaying or blocking it is dangerous, something that many observers have noted but that the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health do not recognize.
Federal leaders need to inform themselves, particularly about the negative impact of puberty blockers on bone and brain development and the lifelong medical attention many transitioners will need because of the pharmacological and surgical procedures used on them to change genders.
The Prime Minister and the Minister of Health should also learn about the increasingly large number of transitioners who regret their transition and later seek to reverse it. Their situation is particularly tragic because many of the negative consequences of changing genders in children cannot be reversed.
Federal leaders also support hiding from parents the decisions children make in schools about the pronouns they use to describe their genders. This is another practice that many feel is harmful and divisive.
The federal perspective on this is unreasonable.
Our species survived over the centuries because the first priority for most parents is their children and most take good care of them.
There is no basis for a lack of trust in them and in the relatively few cases where parents do not provide appropriate care, the child protection laws come into play.
It is particularly important that federal leaders recognize the grave problems that puberty blockers and related surgeries often pose for children who are gays or lesbians.
These children sometimes display some of the attributes of the opposite sex as they grow, and these are often misinterpreted as gender dysphoria. They then get treated for a problem they don’t have, with serious lifelong consequences.
Unfortunately, this happens in many Canadian pediatric hospitals.
There is nothing wrong with these children. They should be allowed to develop and grow in their own way and be who they are. That means no puberty blockers or surgeries to change them.
The fourth reason to respect the new directions on gender issues Ms. Smith and her colleagues have decided upon is the moderation displayed by the Alberta government in putting them forward and communicating with the public about them.
The language used has been understated. The changes are lawful in every respect including in relation to the Charter of Rights and Freedom and other legislation.
The evidence has been clearly presented in a way most citizens can readily understand and great care has been taken to deal with those who may have concerns thoughtfully, including allowing time for debate and discussion before the changes are made.
This is a good example of how governments should behave. Federal leaders should show some respect for the approaches taken by Ms. Smith and her colleagues as they dealt with a very complex issue.
The final reason for the importance of the Alberta approach is that it has avoided many of the problems associated with medical practice standards and regulation that are so evident in Canada and which have been a major cause of the difficulties our country faces on gender issues.
Provincial Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons and many regulators elsewhere regulate doctors based largely on prevailing practices by physicians rather than clinical outcomes.
This means that there have been many cases over the years, in Canada and elsewhere, where evidence to support medical procedures has been lacking. Current practices toward gender dysphoria in Canada and some US states are examples.
In these cases, if something is done often enough by enough doctors, that procedure becomes the standard and not clinical outcomes. This often leads to perverse outcomes that everyone ultimately regrets.
In the years to come, unless we change course soon and unless others follow the Alberta path, people will be wondering how the problems summarized in this article developed and why we damaged so many children by an approach defined more by ideology than factual reality.
David MacKinnon is a Senior Fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy