Inside Toronto’s pay-what-you-can soup standJuly 6, 2017
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Every year in Canada, a staggering $31 billion worth of food gets thrown away, not to mention the 40 per cent of food produced in our country that ends up directly in landfills. Perfectly good food is wasted everyday, yet each day many individuals and families go to bed hungry. Needless to say, there is a gap here that needs to be addressed.”
This is where chef Jagger Gordon comes in. Gordon has identified that gap and is actively seeking to close it. What started as a desire to limit wasted food as a chef and caterer turned into a non-profit community food program with a goal to feed those that cannot always afford a nutritious meal.
Gordon’s Feed it Forward program takes unused and unsold food from restaurants and other food retailers and puts it on the table. The program initially began as a smaller initiative called Feed Families, in which Gordon and his team collected unused food from restaurants, turned it into freezer friendly meals, and delivered the meals to qualifying families on a monthly rotation.
“I started reaching out to certain restaurants, asking for their trimmings, their ends, their rotating cycle of what’s on their tables, and I started packaging that up,” explained Gordon. “And giving biweekly and weekly meals to families in crisis every day.”
After seeing the overwhelming demand for Feed Families, Gordon decided to take the program to the next level.
“I felt that there had to be a reason and a way to give back and to pay it forward, or feed it forward,” said Gordon.
With Feed it Forward, Gordon runs a similar operation to Feed Families but on a larger scale. Every Monday, Gordon and the Feed it Forward team sets up at Nathan Phillips Square and provides free, freshly cooked meals to those who are in need.
He also has a more permanent location called the Soup Bar, which runs out of a shipping container at 707 Dundas St. West. The Soup Bar is Toronto’s first subsidized pay-what-you-can restaurant.
“The Soup Bar is an amazing directive that we have for the feed it forward initiative,” said Gordon. “It gives the community more of a conscious awakening.
As part of Feed it Forward’s mandate, Gordon is also actively petitioning for the government to started a legislation that forbids restaurants and supermarkets from wasting edible food. The petition proposes following a similar model to France’s recent legislation, which states that grocery stores must donate food to local organizations that will either reuse the food or donate it to local farms for compost.