Riley Yakabuski (left) and Elora Adamson (right) have been sourcing meals from dumpsters since January 8 to raise funds and awareness about food insecurity in northern communities. Pictured January 16, 2019. (Jesse Laufer / News Staff)

B.C. university students dumpster dive to shed light on food waste

Eating only from dumpsters, the students hope to raise money for food banks in Northern Canada

  • Jan. 18, 2019 10:00 a.m.

The first time Elora Adamson sourced food from a waste bin it was an ordeal.

“I remember vaguely the first time my roommate took me out dumpster diving,” Adamson said. “It was a big thing. We were wearing rubber boots and gloves and headlamps. It was an expedition. Now it’s like I’m on the way home, I’ll pass a dumpster or a grocery store I know and I’m think ‘oh, better take a look in here,’ and you pull out a couple loaves of bread and go home.”

Adamson and her friend Riley Yakabuski are sourcing all of their meals from foods wasted by grocery stores until January 18. The concept isn’t new to them — they say there’s a relatively large dumpster diver community in Victoria, notably in student circles. They’re doing this to both raise awareness about food waste, but also to raise money for Feeding Canada, an indigenous-led organization based in Toronto that helps combat food insecurity in northern communities.

Local Flavour: Food insecurity is related to income

Through GoFundMe, the two initially aimed to raise $1,000. After shooting through $1,500 they’ve now extended their goal to $2,000, and the crowd funding platform has listed their drive as a “trending” item.

“A lot of the food that we take is just coming from organics bins,” said Yakabuski. “So it’s not like there’s anything that would be toxic in there.”

“People will have varied reactions,” Adamson acknowledged. “In Victoria there’s a pretty big dumpster diving scene, especially in our circles and at the university it’s quite common. When I first told my parents and people back home and my broader circle, people imagine you eating scraps and rotting food, and that’s really not at all what it is.”

READ MORE: Victorians can give the gift of good food through to year’s end

Although they’ve primarily fed themselves through vegetables, they have managed to find protein sources. They say they haven’t noticed any decreased energy or ill affects from their new food sources. They say most food is discarded because it hits arbitrary best-before dates, or simply doesn’t look right to shoppers — like a discoloured pepper, for example. The pair would like to see increased education on best before dates and efficient food preparation, both inside and outside of grocery stores.

“In France, all grocery stores are not allowed to throw out food, they have to donate it,” Yakabuski said. “Then the people that receive the donations will sort through it – like soup kitchens, redistribution networks and stuff like that. I think that by implementing a policy it might be shocking at first, but I think that it’s something that can easily be adjusted to have a huge overall impact.”

Those interested in support their cause can do so here.



jesse.laufer@oakbaynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

B.C. premier says Greyhound replacement news could come shortly

Province is working with the private sector to find a solution, says premier

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: mix of sun and clouds

Environment Canada is calling for a chance of rain and risk of thunderstorms across the Okanagan tonight

Mellalieu running for Greens again in Central-Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola

Robert Mellalieu ran for federal Green Party in 2015 election and provincial Greens in 2017

Short notice for Keremeos residents for Highway 3 paving

The Village of Keremeos is advising residents today because of the short notice

Premier releases details on Keremeos affordable housing project

The proposed project will be designed to include one-, two- and three-bedroom units

Astronaut David Saint-Jacques returns to Earth, sets Canadian space record

Native of Saint-Lambert, Que., set a record for longest single spaceflight by a Canadian at 204 days

Vancouver Aquarium drops cetacean ban lawsuit in new lease agreement

Ocean Wise CEO Lasse Gustavsson called the updated lease an exciting new chapter for the aquarium

New river channel shuttle service in the South Okanagan

Company launches this Friday and offers services within City of Penticton limits

Okanagan RCMP bike patrol rolls up on alleged stolen vehicle from Burnaby

The driver, a 30-year-old Kelowna man, has been held in custody and is facing possible charges of possession of stolen property and obstructing a police officer

Trail Alliance to oversee Sicamous-to-Armstrong rail trail planning

Regional district relies on non-profit organization’s expertise on trail projects

Thieves steal two $40K chairs featuring gold serpents from Vancouver furniture store

Chairs believed to be the only two of its kind in Canada, police said

Okanagan businessowner challenges community to display Pride

“A huge reason why I made this challenge for other business was to offer LGBTQ+ community a safe place to eat, chat, shop, and get your haircut”

Okanagan bylaw officer best in B.C.

Al Harrison named Bylaw Officer of the Year at annual association conference

Poll: Rising gas prices force B.C. residents rethink summer road trips

63 per cent of respondents reported gas prices are impacting their day-to-day finances

Most Read