Our Green Journey

To help save energy, cut operation costs and help the next generation by providing a cleaner environment, Gleaner’s Food Bank’s green journey started with the Veridian Energy Retrofit program which is designed to remove older, inefficient lighting, HVAC components and other inefficient equipment and systems.
Gleaners Food Bank has an organic garden where we produce fresh produce for our clients. Through dedicated volunteers and support from industry we have created a beautiful and bountiful garden where once there sat a parking lot. The garden features raised beds and fruits, vegetables and herbs.
Through funding from Royal Bank Canada, the food bank converted all of its refrigerators and freezers to Energy Star appliances.
Veridian also helped us receive an Ice Bear energy air conditioning system which has been installed at our facility at 25 Wallbridge Crescent. This unit reduces the cost of air conditioning during peak times.

Green Initiatives

1.  Recycled cloth bag program. Betty coordinates a team and creates up to 500 bags per year from recycled cloth. This program addresses the reduction of plastic bags to land fills.
2.  Recycled laser cartridge program diverts to date over 40 skids of laser cartridges from land fill sites. 
3.  Veridian Energy Audit. All lighting and freezers updated. 
4.  Organic Garden lowers carbon imprint in industrial neighbourhood. 
5.  Organic Garden Rain Harvesting system conserves 36,000 litres of water each growing season. The garden harvests 8000 litres every time it rains out of our 10,000 sq. ft.  Tri-County Food Network Warehouse. Solar powered lighting and pump conserves energy. 
6.  Ice Bear Energy Air Conditioning Pilot Project  reduces 90% of air conditioning costs.
7.  72 15KW Solar Panel System raises between $1500-$1800 per month. 
8.  Expired and discarded food is sent to local farmers for their livestock. 
9.  We recycle 10,000kg of cardboard and 4,500kg of plastic each year. 
10. Recycled work boot program. Slightly used Work Boots are available to those starting work and in need of steel toed boots.
11. Gleaners uses a variety of recycling to assist in product breakdown including egg cartons, milk bags & water bottles.  

Rain Harvesting

The garden is outfitted with a rain harvesting system provided by TAB Mechanical and supervised by Michael Tiffe. TAB Mechanical also installed a solar panel to operate the pump for the rain harvesting system in the garden.

The Rain Harvesting system conserves 36,000 litres of water each growing season. The garden harvests 8000 litres every time it rains out of our 10,000 sq. ft.  Tri-County Food Network Warehouse. Solar powered lighting and pump conserves energy.

Through this system, the organic garden is able to remain off the grid, thereby allowing Gleaners to grow & glean produce at virtually no cost. The garden also provides a green space to the community and lowers the carbon footprint.

Organic Garden & Companion Planting

The organic garden uses a companion gardening technique for a variety of reasons including:

  • Pest control
  • Pollination
  • Maximizing space
  • Increase productivity

With this technique, the garden is able to use no pesticides as the planting of the seeds are specifically designed to reduce pests.

By using the companion planting, we are able to plan and create a planting system that will naturally increase the yield of produce. For example, planting certain plants together will not only decrease the amount of pests but will also foster a good growing relationship. Planting tomatoes with basil or onions will naturally foster good growth and due to the plants natural properties, will ultimately reduce pests. With this method, the garden is able to produce higher quantities of produce with less waste.

Solar Energy

We received funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to replace our roof with a new insulated roof. The peak of the Gleaner’s Food Bank’s green face lift was the installation of 72 15KwH PV solar panels that allows the food bank to produce energy for Veridian and offset a lot of the monthly energy costs. The funding for this program was provided by the John M. & Bernice Parrott Foundation. 

Greenest Food Bank in Canada

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Intelligencer, Belleville, Ontario

Gleaners is now the greenest food bank in Canada. While unveiling its innovative grid solar panel conservation project Monday morning, Director of Operations at Gleaners Food Bank Quinte, Susanne Quinlan, said the non-profit organization is leading in green initiatives.

“Hunger has no season and solar energy is the future of Gleaners sustainability,” said Quinlan. “We decided to pursue solar energy to create a healthy and sustainable environment for residents and families we serve, and to help greatly offset power costs. “Our partners, the Parrott and Trillium Foundations, Tab Mechanical, Veridian and the City of Belleville, have been vital to our success as a resource to families in some of the most challenging times of their lives, and we are excited to now be able to produce clean solar energy to help us provide our services to even more people in need.”

The sustainable energy shift at Gleaners started about two years ago when a committee was part of the planning process with the Ontario Power Authority Application Process, brainstorming about what should be done at the Gleaners to help save energy, cut operation costs, and help the next generation by providing a cleaner environment.

The food bank’s green journey started with the Veridian Energy Lighting Retrofit program which is designed to remove older, inefficient lighting, motors, HVAS (Heating, Ventilation, Air Condition), and other inefficient equipment and systems.

Through funding received from RBC, the bank converted all its refrigerators and freezers to Energy Star appliances. Also, an ice energy air conditioning system has recently been installed in the 25 Wallbridge Crescent facility. The Ontario Trillium Foundation supported the Gleaners by funding a new insulated roof on the building. Finally, Batawa’s TAB Mechanical Inc.’s Michael Tiffe supervised the installation of a rain harvesting conservation and solar energy organic system for the garden located near the food banks’ warehouse.

But the peak of the Gleaners green facelift was the installation of 72 15 kW PV solar panels that will allow the Gleaners to soon produce their own energy and offset energy costs.

Tiffe said the panels were installed within a week and will be hooked up to the meter and producing energy by next week.

“The system will produce 22,704 kWh per year of electricity and reduce emissions by 12,178 kg of CO2,” said Tiffe while inspecting the panels before the unveiling ceremony Monday. “This basically represent taking two cars off the road or 1,383 gallons of gas or 38 barrels of oil. This solar system that we installed here will help the Gleaners to lower utility costs, improve energy system efficiency, and grid reliability.”

The $100,00-solar-panels project was entirely financed through the support of the Parrot Foundation.

“This funding from the Parrot Foundation made a huge difference in the realization of this project,” said Quinlan. “Without their support we could not ensure that public funds are directed to purchase of food supplies. In 2010, the Gleaners food and food transport budget has increased to date to approximately $46,800 compared to 2009’s total costs of $37,821,”

Mayor Neil Ellis congratulated the Gleaners and its team for their hard work and dedication toward the sustainable environment initiatives.

“Gleaners Food Bank is an integral part of the community and has a long tradition of providing assistance to those in need,” said Ellis. “I want to congratulate Gleaners for demonstrating leadership in energy conservation management. They are doing their part to help the province reduce peak electricity demand, while at the same time assisting the less fortunate in our society.”