Lbs. of Food Saved
In Canada, 40% of food is wasted every year, resulting in $31 billion of lost revenue. In addition to the problem of food waste, food insecurity is a serious concern. 1 in 8 households in Canada are food insecure, and approximately 40% of students experience food insecurity. The University of British Columbia Okanagan was identified as a food desert with 42% of their students experience some form of food insecurity.
Enactus UBC Okanagan is taking action to address the issue of food waste and food insecurity through their social enterprise: Roots. Project Roots partnered with a local supplier, Farm Bound, created the ‘U-Box’, a $20 food box that utilizes second-grade produce (produce that otherwise would have been wasted). The food box can be purchased through project partners’ website and can be picked up on a weekly basis from the UBC campus. This $20 secondary-grade food box helps facilitate access to affordable and nutritious food while saving individuals 40-60% off grocery store prices. Each order is filled with an average of 12-20 lbs. of fresh produce, with items depending on seasonal availability.
Project Roots have successfully provided an option for all individuals on the UBC campus to access local, organic produce at an affordable cost. Fully launched in September 2018, Roots has saved students $8,170, decreased CO2 emissions by 1.7 tonnes, saved 4,452.37 lbs. of food and 900,724.23 L of water from waste from a total of 313 boxes sold, creating $6,260 in revenue for our local agricultural community! Project Roots is also creating jobs: for every 15 orders, Farm Bound hires one person from the community to help package the U-Boxes. So far, they have employed four people. Students shouldn’t be going hungry, and because of Project Roots, they wouldn’t have to.