All too often, perfectly good food ends up in the trash. Banff Food Rescue was launched in 2016 as a means of preventing this good food from becoming food waste, and it continues to be a vital lifeline for many during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alanna Pettigrew, founder of Banff Food Rescue, is a lifelong resident of the mountain town. Years spent working in grocery stores and the hospitality industry meant seeing her share of food waste and it struck a chord.
“I also had experience with the local food bank and saw, quite often, what we were giving were things that were basically what people were already living on, so pasta, pasta sauce, tinned corn, tinned peas, cans of tuna,” says Pettigrew. “But they’re lacking the veggies that are really required to have a healthy, balanced diet. One day I decided, ‘OK, that’s it. I’ve made up my mind. This is what I’m doing, and it took off from there.”
Banff Food Rescue began in Pettigrew’s home, where her husband and volunteers helped pack up daily donations from local grocery stores, and it expanded to its current location on Banff Avenue in June 2019. In addition to providing fresh, healthy food to those in need, it promotes environmental sustainability within the community. Pettigrew receives ongoing support from numerous community organizations, including the Wim and Nancy Pauw Foundation, as well as donations from Gordon Food Services and local grocery stores. She’s recently partnered with the Banff Hospitality Collective to facilitate donations and expand their food-storage options. Katie Tuff, Chief of Operations and Development with Banff Hospitality Collective, also added a Banff Food Rescue page to their own website to help get the word out.