Refresh Project Awarded Social Innovation Seed Funding

The SFU Student Social Innovation Seed Fund is a joint initiative of Embark Sustainability and RADIUS that supports radical change endeavours with social and environmental impact at their core. The Fund allocates sums ranging from $200-$1,500 to SFU undergraduate and graduate student social innovators. Our next application cycle closes Jan. 18th, 2018. Apply now!

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“A few years ago, my family took a cruise to Alaska. The whole experience was amazing for me: the views of the glaciers were amazing, the people were so friendly, and I made great use of the on board buffet. What deeply saddened me, though, was the amount of food waste I saw happening on that ship. I would see people would throw away whole plates of food just to go back for more a few hours later. Chefs would throw away perfectly good produce because it was easier to buy new food than to store it. The amount of food waste astonished me, especially when I realized that this is not an outlier situation, but rather a norm in our society.”   -Scott Quon, External Manager, Refresh
While other countries like France force supermarkets to partner with charities to stop edible food from being wasted, Canada still leaves much to be desired when it comes to food wastage. We waste over $31 billion of food per year while having no strong policies to help reduce this quantity.
Refresh is a student-run program that aims to lower that number, fruit by fruit, as well as change a culture that has grown to accept food waste as the norm. We take excess food products that grocery stores believe is unsellable because it’s bruised or misshapen, and we upcycle them into delicious snacks including jams and dried fruits, therefore diverting these unwanted fruits from the landfill. We are also able to reach a broad audience with our #tastenotwaste social media campaign to bring awareness to the problem of food waste, with our posts being viewed by over 1,000 different people.  
Thanks to funding from SI Seed Fund, we were able to purchase the equipment needed to make our products as well as getting our products tested to make sure our jam is safe and enjoyable for everyone to consume.
Over the next year we are enthusiastic to:

  1. Increase the number of jam jars we sell and to keep reducing the amount of food that goes to waste;
  2. Reach even more people with our social media campaign to bring awareness to food waste in our community; and,
  3. Introduce new and delicious products such as smoothies and fruit chips.
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Cheers to Refresh for a jam-packed first year! We look forward to seeing their next steps.

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