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

NCRD Board turns attention to Haida Gwaii

Fishing concerns, recreation commission, and Sandspit festival all receive focus

IV cancer treatment returning to Haida Gwaii

Arrival of a new pharmacy technician means the service can resume

Logging moves forward as court rules against Haida Gwaii protesters

Injunction won against activists seeking to protect culturally and archaeologically significant site

Bachrach one of eight endorsed by non-profit advocacy group LeadNow

LeadNow is working independently to get the climate vote out in eight different ridings

Haida artist and protesters fight to protect cedar forest in Masset, court decision looms

Robert Davidson filed an affidavit seeking to stop the cutting, while protesters form blockade

On the Wing: Reflections on forests and fog

“On Haida Gwaii it seems as though nothing has changed.”

Canadian Snowbirds plane crashes before air show in Atlanta

Pilot lands safely after ejecting from jet

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

B.C. VIEWS: Wolf kill, not backcountry bans, saving caribou

B.C.’s largest herds turn the corner from extinction

Pearson nets shootout winner as Canucks clip Flyers 3-2

Vancouver picks up second straight home win

Map on Elections Canada website sends Nanaimo-Ladysmith voters to landfill

Address for polling station correct, but Google Map address differs

BC Children’s Hospital launches 2 new virtual care sites bringing total to 19 across province

Provincial initiative allows pediatric patients to see health specialists through video

‘Wham-bam out the door’: Surrey man’s front yard left ruined by scamming landscaper

Resident warns neighbours to be careful of door-to-door salesmen

Most Read