Fed up with seeing the amount of food waste growing in Vancouver, and the percentage of people going hungry increase, one determined man from New Westminster, Danison Buan, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to tackle food waste head on.
Buan, a self proclaimed entrepreneur, has an ambitious plan to provide nutritious food to people in need and help prevent food waste, all while helping people and businesses give back to their community.
Dedicated to finding food waste solutions, Buan created Refood, a social enterprise, which converts excess or defected produce from local vendors into more nutritious products. These products are then redistributed to charitable organizations, like Union Mission Gospel, St Barnabus, and Aunt Leah’s Place, whose mission it is to aid and feed the disadvantaged.
Regardless of whether they’re big chain names or small independent retailers, grocery stores often discard fruits and vegetables that aren’t cosmetically appealing. In the food industry, it’s called “excess food,” but to Buan, and researchers across the country, it is simply a waste that costs around $31 billion a year.
This tossing out of non-picture perfect produce is where Buan swoops in. Despite his incredibly busy schedule (Buan is also the founder of DMLC a micro finance company in the Philippines and Marketing Director for the Vancouver-based Mr. Arancino food truck) Buan manages to complete food pick-ups three times a week, from various grocers around the city, including Save on Foods, River Market, and Donald’s Market.
Not only does Buan drop off the food he has collected to a host of charitable organizations but he also cooks and packages it too, transforming bruised or ripening fruits and veggies that would otherwise be thrown out into safe, wholesome fare, like smoothies that can be frozen or easily stored.
Connecting food suppliers to charitable organizations Buan is most certainly fulfilling his dream to make an impact. Rather than creating a totally new charitable scheme, Buan strives to add value to organizations and food assistance programs already in place.
Through his crowdfunding campaign Buan hopes to zero in on the amount of food waste generated in the city, whilst at the same time raise $50,000 so he can provide 50,000 meals to people who need them most.
Currently criss-crossing all over town to various partnering grocery stores in his modest-sized car, Danison hopes that once Refood’s monetary goal has been reached he can secure a new refrigerated van. This new van would allow Buan to visit more grocery stores and keep the produce he gathers fresher for longer.
Buan founded Refood with the $2000 prize money he was awarded after winning New West River Market’s ONE Prize in 2015, for his Refood project proposal.
Fixed on turning food waste into fuel, Buan hopes to partner up with even more stores and charities to grow this food rescue program. Buan is also interested in collaborating with local chefs to concoct simple recipes for the food collected, and enlist the help of high school students to gather the raw ingredients from participating grocery stores and markets, and then distribute the resulting dishes to social service agencies.
You can support Refood through Buan’s Fundrazr campaign, which will help avoid food waste and feed the disadvantaged.