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Vancity providing grants to help restaurants reduce food waste

10 grants worth $1,500 each are up for grabs, and a $10,000 prize
benliegey-attable-cc owner and CEO Ben Liegey consults hospitality businesses on how to reduce food waste | Chung Chow

Restaurant owners can now apply for grants provided by Vancity and its partner, BetterTable, to help their eateries reduce food waste.

The plan is for 10 restaurant owners to be selected from however many applications are received in an unspecified timeline, BetterTable owner Ben Liegey told BIV.

The timeline depends on interest, he added. 

"I may have 100 people applying by by next week," he said. "It really depends."

He plans to go through the applications and select 10 grant recipients. The grant recipients would then pay him their grant money in exchange for a three-day, on-site audit, where he and his team provide advice on how to operate kitchens more efficiently and how to reduce food waste. 

He expects to do all of those audits by the middle of 2024, and then to award one $10,000 prize to the business that has best integrated his suggestions. 

Vancity this year chose BetterTable as one of the recipients of its Vancity EnviroFund grant program, and it is giving BetterTable $25,000 to finance the project.

Liegey is making a documentary film about reducing food waste, but his main business is consulting restaurant owners and others in the hospitality sector on how to reduce food waste.

He provides recipes; he also urges clients to offer different-sized portions to diners, as that can enhance customer satisfaction while enabling people to sample more of the menu, he said.

Vancity’s Community Investment Associate Krista Loewen told BIV that she was excited about this project because it aims to reduce food waste before it happens, with that being better than trying to figure out how to deal with food after it has been determined to be unneeded. 

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