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.
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.
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:
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.
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.