Medicine Hat, AB - Every year, 396 kilograms of food per capita is thrown away in Canada
In Medicine Hat, the Prairie Gleaners Society is trying to help cut down that number by taking local ‘unmarketable’ produce and sending it across the world for people in need.
The organization receives donated surplus or “rejected” produce from local growers and green houses.
“By rejected we just mean tomatoes that have a wart on the side or are too big or too small. That aren’t pretty, so they don’t end up in grocery stores because we like to buy pretty vegetables when we go to the store.” Said the society’s president Edward Codding.
From there, an average of 20 volunteers a day, work Tuesday through Saturday at the society’s plant in Cypress County to processes them.
“We then trim them as you’ll see in a bit. We dice them, dehydrate them. Which creates fundamentally a dehydrated vegetable soup mix.” Codding explained. “That is then packaged and through food agencies, international food agencies, that vegetable mix is shipped essentially around the world.”
The volunteers are able to get through about 1,000 kilograms a day to send to approximately 50 countries.
The society is celebrating it’s 10 year anniversary.
“It’s really quite amazing actually. The organization began from essentially nothing. And took a lot of volunteer effort to seek donations. A lot of the original equipment we had was all build by people in the organization.” Said Codding. “And to have the kind of support that we get, not only financially from churches and corporations and service groups and individual donors. But the consistent volunteer effort we have is really quite amazing.”
In honour of the anniversary, the Gleaners will be hosting an open house and BBQ on Saturday. It will be running from 10 a.m. to noon on June 1 and it is located at 11502 Range Road 63, Cypress County.
“It gives us an opportunity to show the facility to people who have maybe never been here before. People who haven’t been here for awhile. And to encourage them to come out and see what we do. Hopefully catch some of the vision and come and volunteer with us.”
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