March Student Profile: Elle Crevits and Food Not Waste

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Growing up on a small farm in Delhi, Ontario, food has always been close to Elle Crevits’ heart. But it wasn’t until her fourth year research seminar class in Peace and Conflict Studies that she really discovered what that meant.

Last fall, Elle devoted her final research paper to the topic of food waste and how we could reduce it.

Elle Crevits

My research triggered this overwhelming need for a solution to this problem, because we waste 40 percent of our food between farm and fork.  

While 51 percent of this is wasted by consumers, another 12 percent is discarded by grocery stores. And Why?

Because they want the best: the nicest, the freshest, and the cheapest. Anything that doesn’t meet their criteria is thrown away.

In January 2015, Elle joined St. Paul’s Greenhouse with an idea: Food Not Waste. Through this social enterprise, Elle hopes to reduce the amount of food waste coming from small businesses, and redistribute any surplus food that is still good to emergency food services in the Waterloo Region, which currently serve more than 34,000 people.

To do this I would like to certify businesses as being food waste free, and using that as a tool to promote to customers the businesses that are making an impact and why that’s a valuable trait.

GreenHouse has been an excellent resource for turning her idea into a reality. With one-on-one mentoring and access to resources and professionals, they help keep her on track and setting achievable goals.  While so far she’s been mostly laying the groundwork, this August she plans to launch a pilot project with five local businesses, diverting food waste to one community organization once a week.  

Elle shows us what is possible. In PACS, it can be hard to know where to start: everyday students grapple with tough, challenging, and complex issues that don’t always have answers. But Elle shows us that all it takes is an idea and the motivation to see it through. While motivation isn’t always easy to come by, the most important thing is to just keep going, one step at a time.

Elle says: 

my biggest challenge is getting the right people involved to move forward, I am currently working alone but with help from others Food Not Waste can really take shape!

If you’re a passionate student looking to get involved in this project, Elle’s looking for volunteers over the summer. You can check out her website: foodnotwaste.ca for volunteer job descriptions and follow her on twitter to stay updated on her latest progress @Food_Not_Waste.