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.
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)

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)

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

Foodfood securityUVic

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
211 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

Currently, there are 875 active cases of the virus in the region

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. As of April 19, more than 230,000 doses have been administered across the Interior Health region. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
More than 230K doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered across Interior Health

A total of 220,216 first doses and 13,775 second doses have been given to residents across the B.C. Interior

The City of Penticton is beginning work to install gates at the 200 Block breezeway on Main Street. (Dustin Godfrey/Western News file)
Penticton breezeway closed while city installs ‘decorative’ gates

The gates, estimated to cost $20k, are being installed to prevent ‘unwanted activity’

Louise with another load of bottles for ALERT. This super volunteer helps ALERT in so many ways. (Submitted)
Meet Penticton super volunteer Louise Hivon

Louise spearheads ALERT’s recycling fundraising, collecting bottles from anyone, everywhere

Oliver
A couple more South Okanagan schools with COVID-19 exposures

Penticton Christian School adds more exposure days, Oliver Elementary new on the list

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

A strange odour at a West Kelowna apartment building prompted the evacuation of 150 residents on Sunday morning, April 18. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
‘Do not occupy’ order lifted, residents of West Kelowna apartment allowed to return home

The building was evacuated early Sunday morning due to a strange smell

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

Vernon Search and Rescue’s helicopter team was asked to be on standby to rescue a missing hiker in Naramata. (Air Rescue One/VSAR photo)
Lost hiker rescued in Okanagan Mountain Park

COSAR, PENSAR, and VSAR worked together to rescue a hiker in Okanagan Mountain Park

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Increased COVID-19 activity brings vaccine clinic to Enderby

Registration opens Tuesday, April 20 for May clinic for anyone over the age of 18

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

courts
Penticton man guilty of assaulting young boys

Bryan Lamb was found guilty of two counts of assault

Abandoned Rail Brewing Company, located at 1220 Davenport Ave. on the KVR trail, has applied to the City of Penticton for a manufacturing facility and lounge endorsement. The city will review the application in their April 20, 2021 council meeting. (City of Penticton photo)
A new brewery could be coming to the KVR trail in the South Okanagan

The patio would seat up to 113 just 10 feet from the trail

Most Read