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

Parksville youngsters design problem-solving robot

Lego robotics team gearing up for gold in Victoria competition

Parksville wants consultant to examine feasibility of rec centre

Strong demand from residents for a multi-sport facility

Developers withdraw rezoning application for huge Parksville waterfront plan

IAG to create new draft after processing public feedback

Part Three: 10 questions with a Qualicum Beach historian

Local guide shares stories of town’s foundations

‘I shouldn’t have done it,’ Trudeau says of brownface photo

Trudeau says he also wore makeup while performing a version of a Harry Belafonte song

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Chilliwack woman wins right to medically assisted death after three-year court battle

Julia Lamb has been the lead plaintiff in a legal battle to ease restrictions on Canada’s assisted dying laws

B.C. bus crash survivor petitions feds to fix road where classmates died

UVic student’s petition well over halfway to 5k signature goal

NDP, Liberals promise more spending, while Tories promise spending cuts

Making life more affordable for Canadians a focus in the 2019 election

UPDATE: Police probe third threat against a Kamloops high school in eight days

Police have not released any further details into what the threat includes

Most Read