Nicole Knauf is the founder of Fernie Fresh Food Share. Alexandra Heck/The Free Press

Less waste, more happiness

Fernie Fresh Food Share turns food waste into help for families in need

Nicole Knauf grew up in a household that just didn’t waste food, period.

As a kid she and her siblings would joke that dad would eat anything, but as she grew older she realized she felt that same twinge of pain when throwing away food.

It became really obvious while she was working at a bakery as a teenager, when at the end of the day she would have to throw out dozens of day-old goodies.

“It hurt,” she said, recalling the helpless frustration she felt discarding perfectly good cinnamon rolls.

She offered to drive them to the food bank herself, but was told no, because of risk of providing expired food to people.

“A lot of people use the best before date as an expiry,” she said, explaining that since the passing of the Food Donation Encouragement Act, restaurants and stores are not liable for expired food that they donate.

Knauf, who has lived in Fernie for a number of years, building a family and raising children, realized she wanted to do more.

“What’s my passion,” she said, recalling a conversation with her husband, where she joked, “I’m really good at not wasting food.”

The next day, she saw a Columbia Basin Trust leaflet about a food recovery program in Revelstoke.

“Everything just fell into place really fast,” she said, explaining that she went to the food bank in Fernie, who was on board immediately.

“It’s going to help so much more,” said Barbara Osbourne, the Community Ministries Worker with the Salvation Army Food Bank, explaining it will provide “for a healthier food choice for our clients.”

Currently, grocery stores provide non-perishable food to the charity but do not have agreements to provide fresh food. Knauf says in the summer, she’ll look to build partnerships with local farmers as well, to bring produce to the food bank.

“I’d rather see it get used than thrown away,” she said.

“Most people are stoked about it,” she said. “It’s taking things out of the landfill and it’s helping people too.”

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