The activist brought attention to food waste in the city—and succeeded in diverting nearly 4,000 pounds of food waste each week.
The Food Fighter: Lourdes Juan
Founder, Leftovers Foundation, Calgary
Six years ago, Lourdes Juan found herself picking up a load of day-old bread from a local bakery to bring to a drop-in centre and got to thinking about how much other food might be lost to the landfill each night around the city. She began calling restaurants and coffee shops, asking if they could wrap up their food at the end of the night for her to pick up and donate to agencies in need, and her grassroots idea took off. The Leftovers Foundation now has almost 200 volunteers between Calgary and Edmonton; in the two cities combined, they rescue more than 4,000 pounds of food each week, connecting 36 vendors with a number of service agencies.
Last year, Juan and her team launched their first annual Feeding the 5,000 event in Calgary, a global initiative that began in London, U.K., to raise awareness of food waste. Enlisting hundreds of volunteers and chefs from the SAIT Culinary Arts program to collect food that would otherwise be discarded, she helped the team transform the ingredients into half a dozen dishes (think bread pudding with fruit compote, potato salad, carrot bisque and cookies made with spent brewery grains) to serve 6,750 Calgarians lunch—further proof that we can all eat well and waste less.