Red River Co-op has announced news of their food waste reduction program, first of its kind in their market. The co-op partnered with Compost Winnipeg, and the local chapters of Leftovers food rescue and Loop to divert over 540,000 kg of food since the program’s inception in May 2021.

“We knew we had good food going to landfill and we are happy to have found local partners to help build this solution where we simultaneously divert food away from landfill and build more sustainable communities,” said Doug Wiebe, CEO of Red River Co-op.

Food access is a key concern for Red River Co-op and the partnership with Leftovers rescues food nearing its sell-by date, but is still good to eat, and gets the food to people. Leftovers volunteers pick up food donations from Red River Co-op food stores and takes them directly to social agencies for their clients.

For Red River Co-op’s rural food stores, Loop resource is used to connect the stores with farmers. Farmers pick up the donated food to use for animal feed, helping them save on costs so they can further invest in their agricultural production.

Red River Co-op also uses Compost Winnipeg, a social enterprise of their community partner Green Action Centre, for composting. The composting process reduces methane gas emissions and Compost Winnipeg turns collections into nutrient rich soil for community gardens.