This Montreal Company Turns Juice Pulp Into Food
By Harriette Halepis
More food isn't the answer to a growing population problem. Sustainably upcycling food is, and there's one Montreal man who knows how to make that happen.
Jonathan Rodrigue is the former business development director of Moisson Montreal, the largest food bank in Canada. His job at Moisson was to take as much edible waste as he could find and distribute it to various food banks throughout the city.
That upcycled juice pulp looks good enough to eat!
Rodrigue developed a program at Moisson that collected edible waste from more than 200 of the province's grocery stores to feed people in need. You could say that he has seen his fair share of food waste (two tonnes per store monthly). "I saw the scope of food waste at many levels," said Rodrigue.
He is talking about not only the food wasted in grocery stores and other markets but also the massive amount of food wasted during production. It's not uncommon for edible food to wind up in trash bins or on warehouse floors, mostly due to poor planning. Having this bird's-eye view gave Rodrigue a different perspective.
He saw many different types of products that were not being collected, distributed or upcycled. He and his team looked for basic ingredients that could be turned into other goods.
This led him to create Stillgood Inc., a company that upcycles juice pulp and spent grains by turning them into tasty bars, snacks, cookies and other treats. Rodrigue chose to focus on pulp and grains because he was looking for a way to upcycle items that were not yet being used.
"Non-profits usually choose products like bread and bakery goods that are already manufactured and ready to be eaten, but those aren't basic ingredients," he said. "They're already produced." Stillgood is still on the hunt for raw ingredients that may be the perfect addition to the company's products to decide what's needed to create a new product.
Rodrigue's passion for upcycling is evident, and he puts great emphasis on the fact that Stillgood isn't just a passing trend or fad. "For me, upcycling and reducing waste are a way of being," he said. "I didn't wake up one day and decide to cash in on a trend. My background is in food waste reduction."
While Stillgood is gaining traction in Montreal, that's not Rodrigue's end goal. "For me, building a company that reduces food waste is a way to try to change the way that food manufacturing is done right now."
Rodrigue wants other companies to see Stillgood as a sustainable model for food waste reduction. "We want people to look at what we're doing and say 'Hey, it's actually possible to reduce food waste and here's how,'" he said.
Stillgood products can be found in various stores in the Montreal area and through the city's rooftop farming initiative, Lufa Farms. Rodrigue has plans to expand the company's product line in the near future and is currently working on developing vegan snack options.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Naomi Larsson
For centuries, the delicate silver dove has been a symbol of love and fidelity.
Biodiversity and Habitat Loss<p>Their near extinction is a symbol of the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/global-biodiversity-outlook-targets-extinction-summit-new-york-pledge/a-54932895" target="_blank">biodiversity crisis</a> in the UK, largely driven by habitat destruction. Britain is now one of the countries with the most <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/future-of-UK-nature#:~:text=The%20UK%20is%20one%20of,than%20half%20are%20in%20decline" target="_blank">depleted nature</a> in the world according to the World Wildlife Fund. Half its plant and animal species are in decline and more than <a href="https://www.rspb.org.uk/about-the-rspb/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/let-nature-sing-wales/#:~:text=a%20natural%20tragedy.-,Over%2040%20million%20birds%20have%20vanished%20from%20UK%20skies%20in,unaware%20of%20the%20impending%20danger" target="_blank">40 million birds</a> have vanished in just half a century.</p><p>"[Turtle doves] are the canary in the [coal] mine because there are all these other species before it and after it," said Tree. "It's an umbrella for all the other species that are heading that way."</p><p>Turtle doves migrate south through Europe to sub-Saharan Africa between July and September, ending up in dry woodland and farmland areas of countries like Mali and Senegal for winter. </p><p>Droughts in West Africa and the Sahel region are believed to have contributed to the fall in turtle dove species recorded in northern Europe, with low rainfall reducing supplies of the seeds and insects the birds rely on for energy for the long journey home.</p>
Conservation and Farming<p><a href="https://www.operationturtledove.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Operation Turtle Dove,</a> a partnership project of charities including the Essex Wildlife trust, works with landowners and farmers to actively build turtle dove habitat.</p><p>Outten works with <a href="https://www.ebws.org.uk/birdsites/blue-house-farm-ewt-north-fambridge" target="_blank">Blue House Farm</a>, a 660-acre nature reserve in the UK county of Essex, where they have replicated weedy fallow plots. </p><p>"We work on it every year to make sure it's in the condition it needs to be with plants such as clovers and black medic," Outten said. "These plants are native to the landscape and produce the seed the birds feed on." </p><p>The birds eat a wide range of seeds from various plants that would have been abundant 50 or 100 years ago, added Guy Anderson, program manager for species recovery with The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). </p><p>"But it's simply true that with the gradual process of <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/farming-without-pesticides-how-can-we-make-agriculture-greener/a-52216796" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">intensifying our agricultural production</a>, the availability of those seeds has dropped and dropped," said Anderson.</p><p>Part of the project includes supplementary feeding — providing sources of food in the form of seed or grain. Under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme in England, farmers can receive financial support to create a turtle dove habitat. </p><p>Though they haven't recorded an increase in doves across the sites in the four years of working on the project, Outten said they are seeing improvements in how landowners and farmers manage habitat for the birds. </p>
A Turtle Dove Haven<p>The 3,500-acre Knepp Estate in West Sussex is another project taking a different approach and one of the few places where turtle dove numbers are increasing.</p><p>Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell converted their intensively farmed land into a rewilding project almost 20 years ago. They have let the land return to nature.</p><p>Just one year after they'd finished <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/uks-most-talented-architects-are-not-human/a-35952128" target="_blank">rewilding</a> the southern part of their property, they heard turtle doves for the first time. It's now a breeding hotspot for the birds with an estimated 19 pairs. Knepp is also home to <a href="https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/rewilding/rewilding-projects/knepp-estate" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2% of the UK's population</a> of nightingales. </p><p>Tree is critical of supplementary feeding schemes that, in her view, are short term. She questions the chances of turtle doves getting to feed on scattered seeds before other mammals eat them first.</p>
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