A Kelowna teen is doing his part to end food waste.
As of Friday, a petition created by Okanagan Mission Secondary student Justin Kulik, which aims to get rid of food waste in Canada, gathered 150,000 signatures on Change.org.
“Initially it was just the shock of finding out food was wasted in Canada per year, while also recognizing the number of Canadians living in food insecurity,” he said.
Kulik will personally present the petition to the Minister of Agriculture Lawrence MacAulay on World Food Day Oct. 16 in Ottawa as well discuss food waste with the prime minister’s policy advisor for health, he said. Kulik’s original goal was to reach 100,000 signatures.
“I was quite surprised to log on today and see the spike in the number of signatures from a couple days to today,” he said. He attributes the number’s sudden increase to a Huffington Post article which was published Oct. 11.
“I felt like hitting 100,000 was not necessarily going to be easy, but I did see it as going to be possible,” he said.
As for the meeting, “I’d say I’m optimistic about it,” Kulik said.
“It wasn’t out something I was planning for. I was optimistic about it gaining some traction and conversation about waste in Canada and the impact of that waste. So was I expecting this happy? Absolutely not. Was I hopeful? Of course.”
“Every year, $31 billion of food ends up in a landfill in Canada alone. This isn’t just stale bread and mouldy produce. This is good to eat food of all sorts. Produce, dairy, grain, protein, and everything outside of those,” the petition said.
“Yet, nearly one million Canadians rely on food banks each month, and about four million Canadians are food insecure, of which 1.5 million are children.
In just a few days, Justin will be delivering your signatures to the Minister of Agriculture on #WorldFoodDay.
He is asking our government to end food waste coming from supermarkets in Canada.
— Change.org Canada (@CdnChange) October 11, 2018
“In 2015, the French government passed a law forbidding supermarkets from wasting and deliberately destroying food that can still be eaten. Instead, supermarkets have since been required to donate all unsold food products to charity such as food banks.
“A similar anti-food waste law can and should be implemented in Canada, nationwide. As it is, Quebec is now requiring that all supermarkets give unused food to food banks. Doing the same on a federal scale is not inconceivable. It is doable, and it is already being done in communities worldwide,” the petition said.