Vancouver -“Life is so short that one has to do what you can now and not wait,” says Danison Buan, the man behind the recently launched Refood ( refood.ca) – a social enterprise to recycle food that would otherwise be wasted and share it with charities.
A recent study found that $31 billion of food is wasted every year in Canada and when energy, water and other resource costs are factored in, the true cost could be up to three times that much.
A professional chef, Buan said that that the death of a good friend by suicide instilled in him the sense of urgency – “what happens tomorrow?” he asks.
The Winnipeg born and raised Buan, 29, is so driven to do what he dreams of that even at his young age he has already started several ventures – among them DMCL, a micro financing venture, Vacation Assisted Living (VAL),Arancino and Skyvox. In addition, he operates two restaurants – Golphi’s Steakhouse and Lobster and Cafe 5th Avenue, both in New Westminster.
“I stay focused on what I am doing at the moment,” he told Philippine Canadian News.com as we chatted at the offices of The Hub Network, another enterprise run by Filipino-Canadian Jay Catalan.
To help him stay focused and be productive, he employs a ‘virtual assistant’ who is in the Philippines and chats with him everyday, checking on his schedules,etc.
He parlayed a $2,000 prize money he got from Donald’s Food and River Marke ONE award to launch Refood to steer excess food away from the disposal bins to local groups serving seniors and families in need, or inner city schools, via his own restaurant’s commercial kitchen.
Buan will collaborate with other local chefs to concoct simple recipes to turn bruised or ripening produce into safe, delicious fare like smoothies that can be frozen and easily stored.
High school students will be enlisted to help collect the raw ingredients from participating grocery stores and markets, and then distribute the resulting dishes to social service agencies.
Buan said recent changes to municipal bylaws to divert organic waste from landfills into composting programs is causing many grocery stores and markets to rethink how they deal with excess food.
“Grocery stores’ compost bills are rising because of new laws,” said Buan. “By reducing the amount of food that is collected for compost, it reduces their cost.”
It also makes them more socially responsible.
“The food is going to a good use,” Buan told the New Westminster Record in an interview.