Top (Free) Resources on How to Stop Food Waste

Top (Free) Resources on How to Stop Food Waste

Food waste is a challenge that spans far beyond Canada’s borders—and so do its solutions. As Canada’s largest food rescue organization, Second Harvest has dedicated much of our time, energy, and thought into growing an online library of free resources, tools, e-learning, research, and blogs that will help all of us put an end to food waste at home (wherever that may be). 

Here is a collection of our top food waste resources to help us all in our collective mission to eliminate food waste for good. But before we jump in, here is a little food for thought to help inspire you to make new (and good) food habits. 

Food For Thought on Reducing Waste

From Stop Food Waste Day to Waste Reduction Week and Circular Economy Month in Canada, these annual awareness days are meant to educate, inspire, and ignite change. All of us must overhaul our consumption habits in order to make a real impact. We must place a higher value on our resources, including those that helped put food on our plates.

Take a carrot, for instance. In order to grow a carrot, a farmer took the time, effort, and resources to prepare the land, plant the seed, water it, weed, fertilize, spray, and then harvest it, before a manufacturer washes, sorts, cuts, destems, packages, markets, sells, and ships it to a distributor, who then transports it to your grocery store. It took time, money, energy, freshwater, soil, sun, seeds, fertilizer, sprays, labour, packaging, refrigeration, and fuel to get that carrot to you. 

A carrot, therefore, is so much more than just a carrot. It is all of the precious and often finite resources that went into getting it from the farm to your plate. And all of that combined is why we must stop food waste. 

Explore These Resources and Stop Food Waste for Good 

Bookmark this post and refer back to it on your journey toward a sustainable food future. Together, we’ve got this! 

Top (Free) Resources on How to Stop Food Waste - Second Harvest

The Avoidable Crisis of Food Waste Report

Did you know that 58% of all food in Canada is lost or wasted—and that 32% of that could be redirected to feed Canadians? In a first-of-its-kind report, The Avoidable Crisis of Food Waste demonstrates the need to radically change how we value food. The report follows a year-long research project by Second Harvest and Value Chain Management International, a leading public and industry voice in food waste. Among many other findings, they discovered that every year, 56.5 million metric tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions are created by food waste in Canada. 

Explore the Report and Arm Yourself With Facts That Inspire You to Make Big Changes

Second Harvest’s Blogs on Food Waste Reduction

We’re experts in the field of food rescue and waste reduction—and we’ve done the research for you! Check out our collection of blog posts on food waste to find more statistics, hopeful stories, thought leadership articles, and inspiring tips, tricks, and challenges to start doing at home and at work. 

Here are some of our top blog posts on food waste to help you get started and inspired:   

Explore Second Harvest’s Food Waste Articles.

Top (Free) Resources on How to Stop Food Waste - Second Harvest

Second Harvest’s Get Involved at Home Tips

Second Harvest’s Food Rescue App helps businesses donate food to local non-profits and organizations in need of it. In other words, we help organizations both give and receive food. At home, we can all do our part to be food rescuers—and this page is an excellent place to start for Stop Food Waste Day.  

Visit this site to find helpful links and ways to get involved in food waste reduction at home. Tips include eating “ugly” produce and getting creative with leftovers or wilting produce. There are also links to get even more involved by volunteering with or donating to Second Harvest or signing up for our monthly Harvest Journal, sent via email. 

Find Out How to Get Involved at Home.

Top (Free) Resources on How to Stop Food Waste - Second Harvest

Free Online Workshops on Food Waste Prevention Training

Second Harvest offers free online workshops, including several quick e-learning courses based on Food Waste Prevention. These workshops give businesses, corporations, individuals, and non-profits strategies, challenges, solutions, and tips to maximize food, while reducing unnecessary and environmentally harmful waste (and spending). 

Some of the food waste prevention e-learnings include:

  • Food Date Labelling
  • A Guide to Food Date Labelling
  • A Donor Guide to Food Recovery
  • Food Storage
  • Food Waste Audit

Discover Second Harvest’s Food Waste Prevention Training.

Help us Stop Food Waste Every Day

Second Harvest is Canada’s largest food rescue organization. Last year, we rescued 41 million pounds of food that would have gone to waste and sent it to Canadians in need. That’s equivalent to averting 162 million pounds of greenhouse gases from the environment. Second Harvest works across the food supply chain to stop food waste and support hunger relief in Canada. But we’ve never done it alone. We all have to do our part to stop food waste both in our homes, our communities, and at our workplaces. 

Learn More About Second Harvest and How You Can Help.

Summer’s Arctic Shipment: When Nunavut’s Sea Ice Melts, Food Rescue Delivers

Summer’s Arctic Shipment: When Nunavut’s Sea Ice Melts, Food Rescue Delivers

In the summer of 2021, a partnership between Second Harvest and Arctic Co-operatives Limited (Arctic Co-ops) was formed. Together, we delivered 61,700 pounds of rescued food from the Greater Toronto Area directly to community members and food banks throughout Nunavut by sealift. The remote communities that received shipments were so grateful—explaining that anything we can send them helped—that we did it again the moment that the sea ice melted and ships could go north in the summer of 2022.

This is the story of how Second Harvest and Arctic Co-ops partnered for a second year to ship food rescued by Second Harvest in spring 2022 to send on three different sailings to the shores of dozens of Nunavut’s remote communities throughout the summer. 

Caption: Unloading an NSSI ship in Nunavut in June 2022 to deliver to the shores of remote communities.

From Spring in Southern Canada to Summer in Nunavut: Organizing a Logistical Feat

The Harvest Journal team had the pleasure of connecting with Marie-José Mastromonaco​, Second Harvest’s Head of Operations for Quebec and Nunavut. When we spoke in early July 2022, the first summer shipment (10,785 pounds of food rescue; the second sealift was set to deliver 32,690 pounds) had already left the port in Montreal and was sailing north on its two-week journey to the first communities receiving Second Harvest’s donation. 

“This is an amazing project for the simple reason that these communities are so far away that for anything to be shipped, we start planning in April for the first sail at the end of June when the sea ice melts,” Marie-José said. 

“All of that time is organizing and overcoming very challenging logistics. We have to find the products that have a best-before date that is far away enough for it to make sense to ship. But of course, we’re dealing with rescued food surplus that most often is coming near its best-before date.” 

“From the moment that we decide that those are the products that we have to send and they want them, they won’t get them for 4 or 5 months. So it’s not like when we have food surplus in Toronto, it leaves the warehouse and a few hours later, many organizations receive the food. For us, 10 organizations will receive the food, but in months.”

Caption: Photo of one of Arctic Co-op’s ships full of supplies, deliveries, and food in Northern Canadian waters. 

Arctic Co-op and NSSI Ship Second Harvest’s Food Rescue to Nunavut

The shipping company is Nunavut Sealink and Supply Inc. (NSSI), an Inuit majority-owned Nunavut-based company with a sizeable fleet of multipurpose cargo ships and tankers. NSSI’s main shareholder is Arctic Co-op, Second Harvest’s partner. These Arctic Co-ops are independent stores in Nunavut communities that represent the interests of thousands of Inuit members and sell and distribute local foods, traditional arts and crafts and furs. 

“A lot of the communities don’t have grocery store facilities, but the ones that do, it is the Arctic Co-op,” Marie-José said. Once Second Harvest organizes and packs the food rescue for each community, the GetPaq puts it in the sea can for that community, packs it on the NSSI vessels and ships them north to communities, regardless if they have a store or not there. These hamlet communities don’t have ports though, so the sea cans are often dropped right on the beach and community members unload and distribute them.

Caption: An Arctic Co-op grocery store in Nunavut.

Sending Non-Perishable Rescued Food to Northern Canada 

When we spoke, Marie-José was in the middle of coordinating the next shipment of 26 pallets or 32,690 pounds of non-perishable food and supplies. This required dividing and labelling each shipment by pallets to be delivered to nine individual communities, including Nunavut’s capital of Iqaluit as well as Cambridge Bay, Clyde River, Sanirajak, Kugluktuk, Qikiqtarjuak and others, set to receive this second shipment. A lot of the first logistics in rescuing the suitable donations is being handled by the team led by Ian Gibbon at Second Harvest.

All the food being shipped is shelf-stable and includes products that the Inuit communities will use. Some of the shipments had canned goods, including tuna and dried goods, such as cereal, oatmeal, baby cereal, as well as baby puree and vitamins. All of this rescued food was donated to Second Harvest by organizations and businesses that, for one reason or another, had a surplus. 

“We’re sending pallets so we have to think that we’re sending it to a community of 1,000 people and those people are 150-200 families, so they won’t use all of that cereal, for instance, all in one week. It has to last in time for months. So all of that logistical planning has to revolve around best before dates to make sure that the products are going to last and are good for their cultural diet.” 

Caption: Nunavut’s capital of Iqaluit on a summer day at Frobisher Bay in the arctic circle. Image by @carodownunder via Destination Nunavut.

Locals Receiving Food Rescue Shipments in Nunavut 

Marie-José explained that finding folks in those remote hamlets who can actually receive, unload, distribute and store the donations is the most challenging part of the Arctic shipments. “Say someone somewhere in Nunavut opens a food bank, but then they don’t receive food for months until summer’s melt, the food banks or other community organizations are often run by volunteers, which sometimes makes it difficult to stay functional. Then we need to make another connection. It happens a lot, unfortunately.” 

Marie-José explained why it can be so hard to find community members to receive donations in the first place. “It’s very logistically challenging to coordinate with such remote places,” she said. “Phone lines [or landlines] exist, but it is very hard to reach anyone and there is a language barrier, plus the internet is spotty or non-existent in some parts. It makes things extra complicated.” 

That’s another reason why Arctic Co-op is so essential to making this partnership work. But even those communities that don’t have an Arctic Co-op might receive shipments from our partnership together. From the Arctic Co-op’s 2021 annual report: “Additionally, we helped facilitate the delivery of food bank contributions for the people in Clyde River, NU despite not having a Co-op to support in that community; it was simply the right thing to do. Arctic Co-operatives worked together in partnership with Second Harvest and Food Banks Canada to help overcome the distribution challenges of the Arctic and supply food to several communities.”

Waiting for Summer Shipments in Remote Nunavut Communities 

“If you miss the boat, you miss the boat!” Marie-José said of shipping goods north every summer. The NSSI ships are already full of other sea cans with items like cars, clothing, building materials, snowmobiles and all kinds of deliveries that people bought throughout the past year and they’re on the first boat up there. “Everything is sent by sea cans on boats,” she said. “Unless it’s sent by plane, but that’s very expensive so most people wait for summer, especially for the heavy stuff.” 

Caption: Unloading pallets of supplies for an Arctic Co-op location in the winter of 2021.

Sea cans are most often dropped right on the beach. “Community members unload and distribute everything,” she said. “They don’t have a port like the port of Montreal; they don’t have the infrastructure for that.”

“Most communities are just happy that we’re thinking of them. Without our partners though, we wouldn’t be able to help them. And once we helped them once, it honestly feels so amazing for Second Harvest to be able to and be allowed to help them. And they need the help.” 

“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

Caption: The Qajuqturvik Community Food Centre team in Nunavut with a delivery of laundry detergent from the summer of 2021 shipment. 

Feeding Our Future Tackles Summer Hunger for Kids in the GTA

Feeding Our Future Tackles Summer Hunger for Kids in the GTA

Eating healthy and nutritious meals every day is essential for children and youth. A well-balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and healthy fat nourishes and fuels their growing minds and bodies. Plus, it sets a lifetime of good habits early on. 

In 2021 in Canada, 1 in 5 children lived in food-insecure households. That is 1.4 million children and youth under 18 in Canada’s ten southernmost provinces who experience some level of food insecurity.

Millions of children and youth rely on school nutrition programs during the school year. In Toronto, for example, more than 200,000 kids participate in daily Student Nutrition Programs run by thousands of volunteers. The Breakfast Club of Canada feeds more than 580,000 children in 3,500+ school nutrition programs each morning. They do this to help ensure that all children are well-fed and thus have an equal chance to learn and thrive.

What happens in the summer when school food programming ends? How do we ensure that food insecure children and youth get the daily nutrition they need and deserve?

Feeding Our Future: Canada’s Free Summer Food Program for Kids 

Feeding Our Future: Canada’s Free Summer Food Program for Kids

Second Harvest launched Feeding Our Future in 2012 to tackle summer hunger by providing healthy food and resource kits to agencies that run summer programs for kids in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Since then, the program has grown to become Canada’s largest free summer lunch program. 

In 2022, Second Harvest partnered with 32 agencies in the GTA that host summer camps or offer free lunch pickups for children and youth. The communities served through this program are situated in what the City of Toronto describes as Neighbourhood Improvement Areas. They are highlighted by their need for support to improve social, economic and physical conditions. For instance, the North York Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples and several neighbourhood Boys and Girls Clubs that run kids’ summer camps participate in the Feeding Our Future program. 

Last year, we supported 2,500+ children and youth at camps with food and resources in the summer. This year, we had requests to support more than 6,000. This growth in demand speaks volumes about the growing level of food insecurity in our community.

In the summer of 2022, with the generosity of 222 volunteers donating more than 885 hours, Feeding Our Future produced and distributed more than 16,000 food and resource kits. This year, the program has supported more than 5,500 children and youth in the GTA. While the demand for healthy food persists, these nutrition-packed kits made a world of difference, ensuring that many kids had the energy and nourishment needed to learn and play and that families don’t have to choose between food or rent this summer.

Breaking the Cycle of Summer Hunger for Kids in Canada 

“The kits have been helpful in breaking the cycle of hunger, in addition to the learning around clean and healthy food. Week after week, our program participants continue to express heartfelt appreciation for this kindness expressed by Second Harvest and all the donors and funders of Feeding Our Future program. With our hearts full of gratitude.”

—Lady Ballers Camp

Feeding Canadian Kids Healthy Food in the Summer Thanks to Donors

Feeding Kids Healthy Food in the Summer Thanks to Donors

Each kit includes a rotating fruit component, vegetable, grain, protein, snack and beverage—plus something fun for the kids as a recreational item. Most of these items were purchased by Second Harvest or donated by some of our generous donors. 

This program would not be possible without the support and generosity of financial supporters, in-kind donors who donated food and recreational items for the kits, hundreds of volunteers and our agency partners working on the ground in communities across the GTA. 

A special thank you to all of our Feeding Our Future donors:

In-Kind Donors

  • Blue Triton
  • Buddha Brands
  • Frontier College 
  • Mastermind Toys
  • Nature’s Path Organic
  • Penguin Random House
  • Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada


  • Green Shield Insurance
  • Loyalty One
  • Marner Assist Foundation
  • The Otto and Marie Pick Charitable Foundation
Feeding Canadian Kids Healthy Food in the Summer Thanks to Donors

Words of Kindness From Feeding Our Future Agency Partners

“Parents are very thankful for the program as it has helped to offset the cost of feeding the children while at home.”

 —Rhema Food Bank

“The program reflects the strength and impact of community partnerships to help marginalized communities dealing with food security issues.”

—Toronto Central SDA

“Participating in this program has been great and has allowed us to reach a new youth audience that we haven’t been able to engage in our catchment area.”

—Toronto Centre for Learning and Development

“We are immensely happy and thankful to Second Harvest for allowing us to be part of this program. The MLMIF has been able to help low-income families with children every week thanks to the contributions provided by Second Harvest.”

—Maria Luisa de Moreno International Foundation (MLMIF)

“Everything has been great. A lot of our children arrive with snacks that are not sufficient or not very nutritious so it’s great to be able to offer additional snacks to keep them fuelled up with healthy food!”

—BGC Toronto Kiwanis (St. Mary Site)

Words of Kindness From Feeding Our Future Agency Partners in Canada's GTA

Learn more about Second Harvest’s Feeding Our Future program today.

The Farm-to-Table Story of Surplus Food in Canada

The Farm-to-Table Story of Surplus Food in Canada

An interview on donating surplus food in Canada with Holburne Mushroom Farm

Farmers in Canada ride a rollercoaster of good times and bad when it comes to supply and demand. Sometimes, farmers can’t produce enough inventory to keep up with the needs of distributors, retailers and consumers. Other times, however, sales slow and they’re left with surplus edible food.

Holburne Mushroom Farm is a family-owned and operated wholesale farm business based in Queensville, Ontario. In fact, it’s currently the largest supplier of fresh organic shiitake and oyster mushrooms

in Canada.  It produces 25,000 pounds of organic shiitake mushrooms and 5,000 pounds of organic oyster mushrooms every week from its 20,000-square-foot facility. Annual distribution from Holburne surpasses 1.3 million pounds. Recently the company has begun donating surplus mushrooms to Second Harvest.

We recently caught up with Stephen Rotiroti, co-owner and logistics manager of Holburne Mushroom Farm to talk about the recent donations, discuss the current climate around

produce manufacturing and to learn about the farm-to-table lifecycle for mushrooms in Canada.

“Mushrooms are harvested 365 days a year. Every day we pick a fresh crop so there is no ‘not picking the mushrooms’ day. It has to be done every single day. When they’re ready to be harvested, they need to be harvested. You can’t leave them growing while you wait for more sales, because if you leave them, they spoil.”

—Steven Rotiroti, co-owner and sales and logistics manager, Holburne Mushroom Farm 

Donating Surplus Food: An Interview with Holburne Mushroom Farm, Canada

How’s it going?

Steven: These are crazy times for produce in Canada; people are speculating different things when it comes to why. The main one is the general consensus that people are being more money conscious at the grocery stores. 

Is this a sign of the times for food in Canada?

S: I’ve talked to other farmers and wholesalers and they’re all saying the same thing. Whether they’re farming mushrooms like us, or fresh or root vegetables, or fruit, the last four or five months have been a rollercoaster for produce in Canada. There’s been lots of inventory, then no inventory. Great sales; no sales. So far, 2022 has been very slow and I think it’s a perfect storm. 

Everything is more expensive, interest rates are going up, gas is ridiculous, as are food prices. We’re not really affected by climate changes growing-wise, because we’re farming indoors, but all of our inputs are going up. For instance, cardboard has more than doubled in price over the last year—that’s how we package and ship our mushrooms to our distributors. When gas or diesel prices go up then our carrier rates go up. So on. Everybody feels it.

Mind you, the mushroom industry tends to fluctuate and the summer is one of our slow seasons, whereas fall and winter are our busiest. 

When Food Becomes Surplus: The Farm-to-Table Story xanax online of Surplus Food  

Caption: A glimpse into one of the growing rooms at Holburne Mushroom Farm in Ontario, Canada.

Tell me more about mushroom farming and harvest. What’s the farm-to-table lifecycle of a mushroom?

S: The shelf life of a mushroom is very short – like a couple of weeks. So there is a constant supply of fresh mushrooms going from our farm to distributors and retail stores—and eventually to tables. 

It starts with our own compost mixture that has mushroom spores in it and other good things. That ferments for 10-12 weeks before it’s ready for the grow room where we actually grow the mushrooms. Harvest happens 6-8 days later. We harvest the mushrooms, package them and a day or two later, they go through the rest of the food supply chain. It’s repackaged, branded, shipped and on the shelves within days. Everything depends on how fast people move. It’s a pretty short timeline from farm to table for mushrooms. 

It’s summer, so you’re harvesting mushrooms every day, but people aren’t buying as much because it’s your slow season and these are unprecedented times. What do you do with the surplus?

S: We have three options. One: when we’re coming up on slow seasons, we can predict it and hold off a bit on production. We do this by putting out less compost so that we grow fewer mushrooms, but then we have a surplus of compost. Everything is connected and impacts something else in farming. Two: we can let it go to waste, which of course, does not benefit anybody and is a waste of a product that is still perfectly fine for the market. Or, three: we can donate the surplus to a good cause and put our food to use. 

Caption: Steven Rotiroti, co-owner of Holburne Mushroom Farm

How did you hear about Second Harvest? 

S: Other wholesalers and I were talking about the slow season and these challenging times that are making our sales and inventory fluctuate at unpredictable levels. Someone mentioned Second Harvest food rescue; so I got in touch. I saw the opportunity for us to do something good.

How has donating surplus food to Second Harvest gone so far?

S: It’s been a win-win, actually. We’re all about helping people. We’re a small family business and if we can do anything to help the community or province—or further, depending on how far these mushrooms go—why wouldn’t we? We farmed them to be eaten! 

Plus, our mushrooms are niche, so it’s high-end gourmet and not everybody knows about shiitake or oyster mushrooms. Second Harvest distributes our product to their vast network of food banks, kitchens, and organizations and feeds people who may never have tried our mushrooms before. We’re getting great feedback that people are loving them! So there’s this added marketing perk that we hadn’t considered when we donated the mushrooms in the first place. 

Not only are we getting our mushrooms out there to more people, but we’re also helping to feed people something healthy and nutritious while avoiding wasteful surplus. We can’t complain, but it’s a hurdle we must overcome. We have to adapt. We don’t know what the future brings, but we need to remain optimistic that the market will rebound and sales will start to get back to normal.

“Thank you to Second Harvest and to Holburne Mushroom Farm for this great donation of mushrooms! Now more than ever access to fresh produce is so important for being able to serve healthy balanced meals to the community. We really appreciate it!” 

––Feed it Forward, a non-profit organization in Toronto

Thank you for talking with us (and donating)! Any parting wisdom for your fellow farmers when it comes to donating surplus food?

S: The way that I see it, sometimes, for whatever reason, we farmers and producers have a surplus of products. The right thing to do is to give it to people and organizations who will be able to do something good with it. There are lots of people going through hard times, and we donors should be proud of the fact that we are helping organizations that impact people’s lives for the better.

Learn more about donating surplus food with Second Harvest food rescue.

Caption: The Farm-to-Table Story of Surplus Food in Canada. What happens to food when the supply of a product is greater than the demand?
Saving P.E.I.’s Potatoes: A Truly Canadian Food Rescue Story

Saving P.E.I.’s Potatoes: A Truly Canadian Food Rescue Story

This is the story of how potatoes have the power to connect a country-wide community of Canadians. In 2021, two potato fields in Prince Edward Island (P.E.I) were found with potato wart—a fungus that is harmless to humans. This prompted the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to close the Canadian-US border for all exports of potatoes. That left 300 million pounds of P.E.I. potatoes without a home (that’s the equivalent of 5,300 tractor-trailers). Thousands of local farmers and workers, as well as P.E.I. potato importers and buyers, were left in the lurch.

“This decision by the federal government has shocked and devastated our industry,” said Agriculture Minister Bloyce Thompson. “Now more than ever our farmers deserve our support.”

Let’s put this problem into perspective:

  • 1 in 4 potatoes in Canada was produced in P.E.I.
  • P.E.I. potatoes feed nine million Americans annually.
  • The potato industry contributes $1.3 billion to P.E.I.’s economy.
  • In 2019, 85,500 acres of P.E.I farmland were dedicated to potato production (one acre is roughly the size of a football field).
  • In 2016, the industry generated $48.9 million in taxes in P.E.I; 5,016 full-time equivalent jobs; $240 million in wages.
  • P.E.I. potatoes represented 23% of Canada’s total international exports of potatoes between 2009 and 2018.

Something had to be done. 

Saving P.E.I.’s Potatoes: A Truly Canadian Food Rescue Story
Potato farm images from P.E.I. Potatoes’ Facebook

How Canada’s Surplus Food Rescue Program Saved P.E.I. Potatoes

When the border closed to P.E.I.’s potatoes, we knew there would be an outstanding surplus of 300 million potatoes that needed to be rescued and redistributed before they went to waste. This was during the pandemic, too, when millions of Canadians found themselves reliant on food charities that were struggling themselves to meet the immense food demand across the country. That’s when Second Harvest partnered with the Government of Canada and P.E.I. farmers.   

While our procurement team worked with P.E.I. farmers to find a solution to their surplus of potatoes, our CEO connected with the federal government to see what could be done. The Minister of Agriculture’s Emergency Food Security Fund provides money to the charitable sector to help Canadians access needed food services. The federal program is called Canada’s Surplus Food Rescue Program—and Second Harvest was able to position a portion of funding to purchase and redistribute the surplus potatoes. 

Second Harvest secured $3.9 million from the Canadian government grant. Working directly with the P.E.I. Potato Board, we purchased $2 million worth of potatoes or 12 million pounds of potatoes. The remaining funds were used to cover transportation costs, where trains, trucks, and even planes in a few locations helped move the shipments.

Potato farm images from P.E.I. Potatoes’ Facebook

Delivering 12 Million Pounds of P.E.I. Potatoes to Agencies Across Canada

Second Harvest worked with logistic companies and deployed our own fleet of trucks, using our warehouse for storage, to rescue and redistribute the potatoes. We partnered with dozens of food charities and organizations across Canada to help. 

Here’s a look at some of the logistical feats Second Harvest accomplished with help:

  • 12 million lbs of potatoes rescued and redistributed this year
  • Potatoes are distributed by train, plane, and trucks across the country
  • 3,900 lbs of potatoes distributed in Ontario from January 2022 until end of May
  • 2,120,000 lbs of potatoes distributed to BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba from January 2022 until end of May 2022
  • 1,267,000 lbs of potatoes redistributed to Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and PEI from January 2022 until end of May 2022
  • 79,500 lbs of potatoes distributed to Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon from January 2022 until end of May 2022

Through this project we’ve provided a small revenue stream to support P.E.I. potato farmers and managed to provide much needed fresh food to communities in every province and territory. All of the potatoes were purchased from the 25 Licensed Potato Dealers in P.E.I. that had interest in the program and in total this would include over 50 P.E.I. potato growers. We took great care to stagger deliveries and to not disrupt the market or saturate any regions.

Gratitude for Surplus Potatoes in Local Communities Across Canada

Potato farm images from P.E.I. Potatoes’ Facebook
Potato farm images from P.E.I. Potatoes’ Facebook

“This means our clients will have fresh produce for a long time now.” 

—Chair Bernice McLean, Athens Food Bank, Ontario

“I just wanted to provide you with an update about the 50,000 pounds of potatoes that was provided by Second Harvest to the Dauphin Friendship Centre… The Dauphin Friendship Centre would like to thank Second Harvest for providing the potatoes to our organization, and commend you on how organized everything seemed to be. The potatoes were clean, and surprisingly out of all 5,000 bags, we only found one where the potatoes had spoiled. This speaks volumes to the preparation that was done by Second Harvest prior to the potatoes being shipped to our building.”

—Dauphin Friendship Centre, Dauphin, Manitoba

“Potatoes are such a good staple and thank God for producing them. Also for the generosity of Rotary Brockville and The Brockville and Area Food Bank, so we can assist those in our community.”

—Major Stephen McNeilly, Salvation Army Brockville, ON

“Volunteers and the community got together to help this food bank that didn’t have a loading dock or a lift to properly unload the potatoes. Through effort and determination, they unloaded 25,000 lbs of potatoes by hand in about 2 hours to help feed the community! 

La BASE food bank, Gatineau, Quebec

“Thank you so much for allowing us to be part of the Second Harvest distribution of P.E.I. potatoes to so many groups in need.”

—Rotary Club, Brockville, ON

“Thanks so much for the potatoes. Rotarians Rock! This truckload of potatoes will be used for nine weeks—we go through 100 pounds of potatoes a week! We can’t thank Second Harvest enough for all of these potatoes!”

—Program Supervisor, Laurie Prichard, Loaves and Fishes, BC

“We are a non-profit daycare and this will go towards our Easter Meal and help us due to rising food costs.”

—Kampus Kids, ON

Lac La Biche community in Alberta received 52,800 pounds of potatoes that went to over 25 organizations with the help of over 70 volunteers.

“This project empowered our organization to reach people from every area in Lac La Biche
County, Buffalo Lake Metis Settlement, Kikino Metis Settlement, Heart Lake First Nation, Beaver
Lake Cree Nation, and Whitefish Lake First Nation. People of all ages and cultural backgrounds
came to The Great Potato Pickup.

As always it is so great to work with the staff at Second Harvest. The support provided always
organizations like Community Learning to help so many families in remote rural areas. With
rising food and household costs it is so difficult for some to make ends meet. It is rewarding to
keep food and agriculture waste out of the landfills and feed people as well. We look forward
to working with Second Harvest in the future.”

—Stone Soup, Lac La Biche, Alberta
Cooperative Care Centre in Brockville, Ontario, receiving their P.E.I. potatoes
Cooperative Care Centre in Brockville, Ontario, receiving their P.E.I. potatoes

Food Charities and Agencies That Received P.E.I.’s Surplus Potatoes 

Food charities from coast to coast to coast in Canada gladly received the surplus potatoes—and are continuing to into mid-2022. These potatoes are being made into meals by the generosity and hard work of food charity workers and volunteers for families and folks who are in need of a good meal. Here are some of the organizations and communities that received potatoes:

Ontario Food Charities: 

  • Helping Hands (Hanmer, ON)
  • Homelands (Little Current)
  • United Way Sault Ste Marie Algoma (Sault Ste Marie): Each palette was about 2,000 pounds and they received 26 palettes (for an approximate total of 52,000 pounds of potatoes for people of the Sault in need of food).
  • Daily Bread Food Bank (Toronto)
  • Plentiful Harvest (Unemployed Help Centre) (Windsor)
  • Rotary Club Simcoe/Collingwood
  • Rotary Club Kingston/Brockville 19 skids to Community Food Redistribution Warehouse, operated by Lionhearts Inc, Kingston. And 5 skids to Brockville Area Food Bank, Brockville. 

Quebec Food Charities: 

  • Moisson Montréal (Saint Laurent-Montreal) 
  • Banques Alimentaires du Québec (BAQ) (two Locations Quebec)
  • Mission Nouvelle Generation (Brossard)

Saskatchewan Food Charities: 

  • Prince Albert Grand Council  (Prince Albert)

Alberta Food Charities: 

  • Calgary Family Peer Connections (Fort Mcleod)
  • Harvest Hills Cares Calgary (Calgary)
  • Edmonton’s Food Bank (Edmonton)
  • Calgary Food Bank (Calgary)
Wings of Hope for Africa received potatoes from a distribution that Calgary Family Peer Connections hosted and gave them out to families in Calgary. They are very thankful for the donations and said the families receiving them were incredibly grateful.

British Columbia Food Charities: 

  • Central Okanagan Food Bank ( Kelowna)
  • Loaves and Fishes (Nanaimo)
  • Queen Elizabeth Lions ( Delta)
  • Greater Vancouver Food Bank (Burnaby)
Fishes and Loaves organization receives potatoes shipment in BC

Newfoundland and Labrador Food Charities: 

  • Society of Saint Vincent de Paul
  • The Salvation Army Mount Pearl Food Bank

Nova Scotia Food Charities: 

  • Feed Nova Scotia (Dartmouth)
Salt River First Nations community in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories picking up their potato shipment

Thank you to everyone involved across the country. This was a true testament to the outstanding work that we Canadians can accomplish when we set our minds to it and work together.

Read our top (free) resources on how to stop food waste and do your part.