Take Action For Stop Food Waste Day and Earth Day

Take Action For Stop Food Waste Day and Earth Day

April is a big month for our planet’s health and future. 

April 22nd is Earth Day, a growing movement and annual event to help protect and save our planet. This year’s theme is Invest in Our Planet with the message that “we need to act (boldly), innovate (broadly), and implement (equitably).” There are community-led events happening locally around the globe, such as outdoor cleanups at beaches, parks, neighbourhoods, rivers, lakes and so on, and EarthDay.Orgled initiatives to support and participate in. 

And, April 26 is Stop Food Waste Day. This is the largest single day of action in the fight to eliminate harmful food waste for good. Stop Food Waste Day aims to educate, inspire, and ignite action against food waste and its big impact on our planet. 

Stop Food Waste Day and Earth Day forces combined 

Take Action for Earth Day & Stop Food Waste Day 2023

How are these two events related? Fifty-eight percent of food produced for Canadians is lost or wasted every year. Food waste contributes to many of the problems that we face globally today. This includes climate change, hunger, poverty, and the health and sustainability of our oceans, land, air, water, and other natural resources. In fact, food waste and loss contribute 8% of our global greenhouse gas emissions every year. 

It is amazing, however, what we can accomplish together when we focus our efforts. 

Achieving the impossible when we focus and combine our efforts 

For Earth Day, millions of people come together every year to protect, clean up, and improve the health of our planet. And it makes a huge impact! For instance, hundreds of millions of trees have been planted through EarthDay.Org’s Canopy Project. Likewise, there have been 2.7 billion acts of green initiatives and 36 million cleanup volunteers all organized through this annual event.

Take Action for Earth Day & Stop Food Waste Day 2023

As you may know, Second Harvest’s vision for Canada is one of no hunger or food waste. We’ve seen first-hand the power of grassroots and community-led initiatives to make a positive, real impact. With the support, donations, and help of so many people, non-profits, and organizations, Second Harvest has rescued 53 million pounds of surplus food in Canada and redistributed it to those in need.

When it comes to protecting and investing in our planet and stopping food waste, there is still so much to be done. But it’s annual celebrations and educational days like Earth Day and Stop Food Waste Day that makes us focus our efforts and get the work done. 

Let’s act together to save our planet

Our challenge to you this year is to act. Take charge and help make the change that you want to see in your local community.

Take Action for Earth Day & Stop Food Waste Day 2023

Earth Day 2023 initiatives to check out and support: 

Stop Food Waste Day 2023 initiatives:

Learn more about Second Harvest and how you can help in Canada

The More You Know: Upcoming Second Harvest Webinars

The More You Know: Upcoming Second Harvest Webinars

Solving Canada’s Food Security Conundrum 

“Sometimes I have to make a choice – groceries or my medication. In the past I chose groceries, and my disease started growing,” – Joanne, a rescued food recipient at Loyola Arrupe Centre for Seniors. 

Across Canada, there are more than 5.8 million people like Joanne who often face a tough choice between buying food and paying for rent, medication and other necessities. Where do you go to when the grocery list is long, but funds are short? 

The invisible food network

Beyond food banks and soup kitchens, Canadians are also getting support from schools, senior centres, temples, mosques and other faith-based organizations, where distributing food is not always their main purposes. Together, they make up a massive but invisible patchwork system that distributes $33 billion-worth of food to Canadians facing food insecurity – equivalent to the second-largest grocery store in the country. For every grocery store in Canada, there are 4 charitable organizations that support people with food.

This disjointed network of community organizations faces a multitude of challenges. Second Harvest surveyed more than 1,000 of these organizations in late 2022 and found that they are anticipating a 60% growth in demand in 2023, following unprecedented 134% growth seen in 2022. Seventy percent of these organizations have reported needing a combination of food and financial support to meet this demand.  

How do we reach people facing food insecurity across Canada and what can we do to connect them with the perfectly fine food that would otherwise end up in landfills? 

Find the answers to these questions in Second Harvest’s research reports Canada’s Invisible Food Network and Wasted Opportunity. If we understand who is providing food and quantify the amount of surplus edible food produced and wasted by the food industry, we will be in a better position to get it into the hands of those facing food insecurity. 

For every 1 grocery store in Canada, there are 4 community organizations providing food to people who may not have the means to buy it.

In March, we kicked off a series of five webinars to discuss the key findings from this research, starting with a closer look at the patchwork system of community organizations stepping up to nourish Canadians in need. Our first guest speaker was Jules Montgomery, Coordinator, Drop-in Services at The Neighbourhood Group.

In the upcoming sessions, we will dive into food loss and waste in the food industry and redefine the value of surplus edible food, which has the potential to feed millions of people.

See the full schedule of the webinars here and join us online! We look forward to seeing you there!

Roasted Balsamic Beets

Roasted Balsamic Beets

In this recipe, by McCormick Gourmet and Chef Juriaan Snellen, this delicious roasted beet recipe brings out the sweetness of the beets with a delicious balsamic glaze, resulting in a perfect blend of sweet and sour flavours.

PREP TIME: 15 min || COOK TIME: 1h 45 min || Serves 12


  • 3 1/2 pounds (1.75 kilograms) assorted small beets, trimmed and cleaned
  • 2 small red onions, each cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (7 milliliters) Organic Rosemary Crushed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (7 milliliters) Organic Thyme Leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 milliliters) Sea Salt Grinder
  • 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) balsamic vinegar


Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Wrap 3 beets at a time in foil. Place in shallow baking pan.

Roast 1 hour or until beets are tender when pierced with small knife. Cool until able to handle. Peel then quarter beets. Toss beets, onions, oil, rosemary, thyme, and sea salt in same baking pan.

Roast 35 to 45 minutes or until onions are tender. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over vegetables. Roast 5 minutes longer or until vinegar is the consistency of syrup. Gently toss vegetables before serving.

*As seen in the 2022 Toronto Taste Recipe Collection.

Heartwarming thank you messages from non-profit partners

Heartwarming thank you messages from non-profit partners

With the generosity, help, and support of many, Second Harvest rescued and redistributed 53.3 million pounds of food in 2022. This means that 4.3 million Canadians were fed good, healthy meals with rescued food across the country. We know that behind these statistics are people. They are individuals, families, parents, and children—our neighbours, peers, friends, and loved ones—who struggle daily to get the nourishment they need and deserve.

This holiday season, we’re thankful for our non-profit partners who work tirelessly to help distribute rescued food to Canadians facing food insecurity. Without Canada’s invisible food network, the work we do would not be possible.

To warm your heart this challenging, yet hopeful holiday season, here are thank you notes from Canadians. Thanks to you, they got the nourishment they needed for themselves and their neighbours. 

Notes of gratitude from Second Harvest partners

“We thank you from the bottom of our hearts, it’s truly because of your generosity that our drop-in members are able to enjoy a fabulous meal and feel the holiday spirit.” 

—Parkdale Activity Resource Centre, Toronto, Ontario 

Heartwarming thank you’s this holiday season from Canadians in need of food | Parkdale Community Food Bank, Canada

“Kids Kottage Foundation is Edmonton’s only crisis prevention and intervention shelter for infants and children. The number of families who have benefited from the donations through Second Harvest is too many for me to count.  Food means nourishment; life. Food provides a sense of security and predictability. When there is food at home, there is hope and happiness for everyone in that household. On behalf of Kids Kottage and the clients, thank you. Your donation has made such a difference and is appreciated beyond measure.” 

— Kids Kottage Foundation, Edmonton, Alberta

 “South Parkdale was struggling before the pandemic and since has become a COVID-hot spot. Families are struggling to pay their rent, phone bills, and everyday expenses. The help of Second Harvest has helped ease the burden by providing over 2,000 lbs of free healthy food  into the community WEEKLY.” 

— MJKO, Mentoring Junior Kids Organization, Toronto, Ontario

Rescuing P.E.I.’s potatoes—and enjoying them across Canada 

Potatoes, believe it or not, are a very important staple for Canadians and our local economies. This is especially true in Prince Edward Island, where 1 in 4 potatoes in Canada are produced. When there was an unforeseen surplus of 300 million P.E.I. potatoes that couldn’t be exported to the U.S., Second Harvest and the Government of Canada came to the (food) rescue. Food charities from coast-to-coast-to-coast received donations of P.E.I. potatoes and are still making delicious meals to feature them.  

Read our story: Saving P.E.I.’s potatoes: A truly Canadian food rescue story

Rescuing P.E.I.’s potatoes—and enjoying them across Canada  | Heartwarming thank you notes this holiday season
Caption: Heartwarming thanks all around as a delivery of rescued P.E.I. potatoes arrives!

“Thanks to this gift, over 300 families (almost 1,500 individuals) were fortunate to have a grocery box delivered right to their door to help support the community during the global pandemic. The impact of these food boxes has been incredible and would not have been possible without Second Harvest. The gratitude from families has been heartwarming, and many have told us that without this box of food, their families would go hungry.  Thank you for making sure families in Saint John didn’t go without food.” 

— Bee Me Kidz, St. John, New Brunswick 

Connecting locals with Second Harvest’s Food Rescue App

With food insecurity and the need for hunger relief, as well as food waste on the rise in Canada, Second Harvest expanded its scope nationally with our Food Rescue App. Our app helps connect food businesses that have surplus food to donate with organizations that need it in local communities everywhere in Canada. 

“The Second Harvest food rescue app has been a wonderful program to be a part of! It can be easy to overlook how important having a good meal is as it’s something many of us take for granted. I’m grateful that this program was created and that I am able to participate in allowing our residents’ easy access to healthy food.  With the serious concern of food equity and access in our community, it’s great to know this food is going to good use and to know that none of it will be going to the landfill.”  

—Rain City Community Housing and Support, British Columbia

Heartwarming thank-you’s this holiday season from Canadians in need of food | Second Harvest food rescue

Northern Canada’s summer shipment of rescued food

Getting nutritious, surplus-rescued food from southern to northern, remote Canada is no easy feat. It’s a massive logistical undertaking that would be impossible without our partner, Arctic Co-op. Our teams begin to organize food donations fit for long-haul transport in early spring for deliveries in the summer, once Arctic sea ice melts enough for sealift’s safe passage. In 2022, we rescued and redistributed over 40,000 pounds of surplus food to over 15 Northern Canadian communities in Nunavut. 

Read our story: Summer’s Arctic shipment: When Nunavut’s sea ice melts, food rescue delivers.

“I thank you very much and I wish you many blessings for your good work to lessen the hunger in the world.”

—Dorica, Chesterfield Inlet, Nunavut

Second Harvest food rescue in northern Canada | holiday thank-you's from coast-to-coast-to-coast
Caption: Unloading pallets of supplies for an Arctic Co-op location in the winter of 2021.

Second Harvest also redistributed rescued food to Canada’s Northwest Territories. Here are some heartwarming thank-you’s from the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation in Ulukhaktok, NWT. 

“On behalf of Ulukhaktok, I would like to thank Second Harvest for their generous food donations to our community members. Fresh, nutritious food is not always accessible in our remote community, so Second Harvest’s contribution is greatly appreciated as it provided multiple meals to the majority of families in Ulukhaktok. Thank you, Second Harvest!”  

—Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Ulukhaktok, NWT 

“These donations provided healthy meals to hundreds of Inuvialuit living in the ISR where access to affordable, quality food is often challenging.  Due to the high cost and logistical issues of shipping food to our isolated communities, as well as the socio-economic inequities that persist, food sovereignty has long been an issue in the ISR.  It is in partnership with great organizations like Second Harvest that we will begin to alleviate some of the historic and systemic causes of strain on individuals and families in our region. Once again, on behalf of Inuvialuit, I would like to extend sincere gratitude to Second Harvest for their generous donations to our region. Quyanainni. Thank you.”  

—Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, NWT 

Wishing happy and healthy holidays to all Canadians

Every Canadian deserves equal access to healthy, nourishing food to thrive every day. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we are able to help relieve hunger and food waste. Our work is ongoing and far from done, but sometimes it’s good to pause, look back, and give thanks for all that we’ve accomplished together.

Learn how you can help by donating this holiday season

Second Harvest food rescue donations
Read more: 7 Holiday employee engagement ideas for good causes.

Julie Miguel & TwoMomsInMotion at Second Harvest

Julie Miguel & TwoMomsInMotion at Second Harvest

Second Harvest’s main location in Etobicoke, Ontario, is a hub of activity and the warehouse is always buzzing. Between loading trucks, receiving donations, sorting food and engaging volunteers, there’s never a shortage of excitement for food rescue on site.

This past month, as a part of a current Ziploc campaign Food Rescue fundraisers | Second Harvest, our warehouse was visited by influencers Julie Miguel and Twomomsinmotion.

During the holiday season every Ziploc brand product sold at Walmart in Canada supports Second Harvest. Learn more about this campaign.

Here’s some of the content that was filmed at our location: