Edmonton Journal

Gourmet event draws attention to food waste

SalvagED event held to raise awareness of wasted food

- LIANE FAULDER lfaulder@edmontonjo­urnal.com Bookmark my blog at edmontonjo­urnal.com/ eatmywords or follow me at twitter.com/eatmywords­blog

Chefs make everything look easy. Still, the message was clear at the SalvagED popup lunch held Friday at the café in Earth’s General Store downtown. You don’t have to boast a Red Seal designatio­n to turn wilted produce into something delicious.

“If you have an interest in cooking, you’ll find something to cook with these ingredient­s,” said chef Eric Hanson of Get Cooking.

Hanson was mixing a bowl of roasted carrots and potatoes with grilled, pickled radish and ginger-wilted spinach, tossing the whole business with a generous dollop of creamy sauce made from puréed radish tops, olive oil and garlic.

All of the ingredient­s at the SalvagED event, organized by the Alder Food Security Society, were donated from local businesses including Riverbend Gardens, Steve and Dan’s Fresh B.C. Fruit and Prairie Mill Bread because they weren’t fresh enough to be sold to the public. But the tired spinach or bruised apples still made for good eating when prepared with a dash of imaginatio­n. Hanson worked with fellow chefs Rylan Krause and Jade Wu of the Mercury Room, a vegan restaurant and special event space, who made pressed sandwiches with reclaimed apples, carrots, spinach and pesto, on bread spread with cashew cheese and topped with cranberrie­s and herbs.

“This was a no-brainer for us,” said Krause. “Our big focus (at The Mercury Room) is sustainabi­lity. And it’s a really great cause, to get people to eat forgotten-about produce and foods.”

Carley-Jane Stanton of the Alder Food Security Society, a new organizati­on that aims to address food insecurity in Edmonton, said the goal of the pop-up lunch was to create awareness of the issue of food waste, a growing issue that sees $31 billion worth of food wasted in Canada yearly. About half of that is wasted in the home. So teaching people how to use all the food in their fridge, to understand best-before labels, and to think before they toss could make a substantia­l difference.

Stanton, an agricultur­e student at the University of Alberta, is also helping to organize a weeklong, food waste reduction festival in September that will inspire restaurant­s, grocery stores and households to pledge to reduce food waste, and to donate excess food. Stanton also plans other SalvagED pop-up lunch events over the summer.

Michael Kalmanovit­ch of Earth’s General Store, who hosted the event, was onsite, wearing a T-shirt that sported an apple core and the word “compost.”

“I wore this for a reason,” he said.

“Compost should be the final stage for food.”

If home cooks toss rather than taste, the chain of energy, nutrients, water and labour that went into creating the product is also discarded.

“It’s disrespect­ful to throw food away,” says Kalmanovit­ch. “It’s a chain we should honour.”

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 ?? ED KAISER/EDMONTON JOURNAL ?? Chef Eric Hanson prepares a roasted root-vegetable salad at SalvagED, a pop-up lunch at Earth’s General Store Cafe.
ED KAISER/EDMONTON JOURNAL Chef Eric Hanson prepares a roasted root-vegetable salad at SalvagED, a pop-up lunch at Earth’s General Store Cafe.

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