reFRESH Cowichan

Food Recovery Program

Since 2004, CGC has strived to create greater access to nutritional food throughout the Cowichan Region.


With almost one in four children living in poverty, our community has never needed better access to healthy food as much as now. At the same time, we have an overwhelming global food waste problem. Canada wastes over 55% of the food we produce, equaling over 35 million tons annually, much of which ends up in landfills creating a large and unnecessary environmental issue.

In 2018, the reFRESH Cowichan Food Recovery Program was initially established

with support from a grant from the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Job Creation Partnership Program. The program’s objectives were to both ‘recover’ food from food retailers while also servicing the community by delivering this perfectly edible produce to vulnerable community members at no cost.

With a transport vehicle funding through a grant from the Cowichan Valley Regional District, the program team delivers up to 1,000 pounds of fresh food daily to over 15 local service providers and community organizations across the Region.

By December 2022, the team had redistributed over 1,000,000 pounds of fruit and vegetables to all corners of the Cowichan Region to those who need it most.

The reFRESH Cowichan Food Recovery Program falls under the umbrella of ‘reFRESH Cowichan’

which utilizes the CGC’s onsite commercial kitchen and includes the reFRESH Cowichan Marketplace grocery store to process and sell a small percentage of the recovered food donated by specific retailers. This in turn, covers some of the ongoing operational costs, while ensuring all of the excess food is redirected in the most sustainable way possible.
If you would like any more information or would like to volunteer or make a donation, please contact Project Supervisor Nathan Harben at [email protected] or 250 748 8506.

Food Recovery Boxes
Food Recovery Infographic