Food Recovery

Did you know that GVFB recovers safe, quality food from businesses such as farms, food wholesalers, grocers, restaurants, hotels and commercial kitchens which we in turn distribute to individuals and agencies?

Not only does food recovery help us feed people in need, but it also helps remove food from the waste stream and contributes to creating a sustainable food system.

We accept quality food from businesses that have excess product, or have product that is safe yet cannot be sold. This food is then shared both directly with our members and through our partner agencies.

This process of preventing safe, quality food from going into the waste stream, is called food recovery. There are different methods of food recovery and GVFB has two food recovery programs:

  • Large, pallet-sized quantities of shelf-stable or perishable food from industry, wholesalers and retailers.
  • Food Runners (formerly called Community Angel Food Runners) handles prepared and perishable food donated from restaurants, hotels and cafeterias. Our drivers inspect the food at pickup and if it is acceptable, they deliver it to our partner agencies the same day it is collected.


To ensure your donation is suitable for our Food Runners program and to arrange a donation of recovered food of any size, please contact Craig Edwards, our Director for Warehouse and Transportation by phone at 604-830-9786 or 604-216-2312 or by email: [email protected].


To see one example of how Food Runners impacts the community check out the below video:


It has been estimated that Canada wastes $31 billion worth of food a year. Food in landfills produces a gas that has methane, which is one of the main contributors to climate change. The environmental impact of wasted food is staggering – the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that global food wastage is one of the top 3 emitters of CO2 (after USA & China) and covers 1.4 billion hectacres of land.

Our food recovery programs remove quality food from the waste stream, reducing methane gas production, preserving the resources that went into growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, transporting, storing and marketing the food that is recovered and donated to us.


Many organizations and individuals have concerns over donating food so we have worked with a number of different local and provincial entities to further education and help businesses donate more easily. These include:

Vancouver Coastal Health Authority

GVFB has worked together with our health authority to develop food selection, storage and transportation guidelines for all donors and recipient agencies. All staff directly involved in routing or handling food must complete FoodSafe, a provincially recognized food safety program. Donor and recipient agencies must also have an appointed staff contact with FoodSafe certification.

Food Donor Encouragement Act

GVFB is committed to our generous donors, our recipients and to the safe handling of all food donations. BC’s Food Donor Encouragement Act is intended to protect donors from liability as they act in good faith to donate surplus perishable food, while ensuring recipients’ rights are protected. The act also encourages organizations to make donations of perishable food.

Industry Food Donation Guidelines

The GVFB has partnered with BC Centre for Disease Control, Food Banks BC, and Metro Vancouver to create Industry Food Donation Guidelines and Guidelines for Food Distribution Organizations with Grocery or Meal Programs to help support positive relationships between food distribution organizations and donors and to also encourage the redistribution (rather than waste) of safe and healthy foods.


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