Home Blog March 2017 As winners of Google.org Impact Challenge, we’ll use technology to acquire more food

As winners of Google.org Impact Challenge, we’ll use technology to acquire more food

As winners of Google.org Impact Challenge, we’ll use technology to acquire more food

Although much of our work happens behind the scenes, Food Banks Canada, together with the network of food banks and provincial organizations that we partner with, acquires enormous amounts of essential food to help Canadians in need.

Through our collaborative efforts, the network recovers more than 200 million pounds of food annually — that’s equivalent to over $500 million!

And soon, we will begin development of a technology solution that will make it possible to recover even greater amounts of good quality fresh and non-perishable food.

Accepting the Challenge

This new approach will tap into today’s mobile technology to enhance the work that Food Banks Canada has already been doing with our network for the past 30 years, by helping to divert good quality food away from landfill and towards people in need.

Our goal is to use innovative technology to make food recovery faster and more efficient by linking Canadian retailers, manufacturers, farmers and other businesses who have a surplus of good, safe food directly with the local food banks and food agencies who distribute donations to people in need in their communities.

Our concept was recently honoured by being shortlisted from 900 applicants in the 2017 Google.org Impact Challenge Canada.

The Impact Challenge invited Canadians to vote on their favourites out of the top ten technology ideas to help build a better world, faster. Voters helped decide how the $5 million in grant money would be allocated.

“We were delighted that Food Banks Canada was selected as one of the five winners in Google.org’s Impact Challenge, and also as the People’s Choice Award recipient,” says Katharine Schmidt, Executive Director, Food Banks Canada. “It was a great honour to be included in that lineup, and it really helped us get word out about the need and our project. This grant money will be an enormous boon in transforming our idea into a working app that will benefit millions of Canadians.”

Coming soon: an app for that

Nearly $31 billion worth of food is wasted each year in Canada, and much of it is of good quality. Meanwhile, one in ten households worry about whether they have food to put on the table.

“For many years we have worked with corporations at a national level, making it possible for them to reach out and help even the smallest and most remote communities,” says Katharine, referring to Food Banks Canada’s Retail Food Program and National Food Sharing System.

We are so grateful to Google.org, and to the half a million Canadians who voted for us in the competition in support of our vision of a Canada where no one goes hungry. This award will help us take a giant step forward in making that vision a reality.


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of food distributed by Canadian food banks is fresh (eg. milk, eggs, fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, bread)