Regional Innovation Director Stories

Sparking Connection with Lavina Gully, Regional Innovation Director – B.C. and Linda Fox, Regional Innovation Director, Ontario.

The Power of Connection: Tackling Canada’s Food Waste From Coast to Coast

The CFIN community is working together to connect innovators around some of the country’s most pressing food related challenges.

When many think of food innovation, food waste may not be top of mind, but according to recent Second Harvest research, 56.6 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent of emissions created annually comes from food waste.

Enter Food Cycle Science, an Ottawa based company on a mission to change the way the world thinks about food waste by empowering the global community to sustainably recirculate that waste. Their products convert everyday food scraps into nutrient-rich, garden-ready fertilizers for households, businesses, and municipalities.

The team at Food Cycle first met CFIN’s Ontario Regional Innovation Director, Linda Fox as part of an Accelerated Growth Services program, and was able to take advantage of CFIN’s connections when looking for an enzyme partner for their latest project to break down bioplastics. After Linda connected them with a supplier, she learned more about their project and helped them secure CFIN’s Food Innovation Challenge funding. Their project, which is currently in the validation phase, is in partnership with Weaving Baskets Group and Bridgehead Coffee. These two organizations are piloting Food Cycle’s FoodCycler (FC) system that rapidly degrades biodegradable plastics and transforms them, along with food waste, into a beneficial soil amendment that reduces reliance on artificial fertilizers and contributes to a circular food economy.

“Innovation is more than just a disruptive idea, it’s about making that idea work in the real world,” said Brad Crepeau, CEO, Food Cycle Science. “That’s where the power of partnerships comes in. Linda and the CFIN team have been instrumental in building a network to help us get the exposure and introductions we need to form vital connections.”

A profile on Food Cycle featured on CFIN’s YODL platform quickly caught the attention of Sid Mehta, Senior Director of Ancillary Services at Simon Fraser University (SFU). The university’s Food Program is working towards food system transformation through several targeted initiatives, aligning their food-focused commitment with SFU’s overarching sustainability and climate action goals. Their program not only provides outstanding food experiences, but is also at the forefront of climate action, like their sustainability focus to tackle waste.

With this goal in mind, Sid reached out to CFIN’s B.C. Regional Innovation Director, Lavina Gully, to help connect with the Food Cycle Science team as he wants to do more within the food waste space. Food Cycle Science and Simon Fraser University are currently exploring a potential partnership for the near future.

“Reading about Food Cycle Science’s story on YODL, I was inspired about the work they’re doing in the realm of food waste and thought there could be an interesting opportunity to collaborate,” said Sid Mehta, Senior Director Ancillary Services, Simon Fraser University. “In thanks to Lavina for making the introduction, we’ve started conversations and are looking forward to exploring what a potential partnership could look like.”