Food waste goes from garbage cans to landfills, which are constantly increasing in size. There, food waste is mixed with other types of garbage, releasing methane and carbon dioxide, which are harmful to the environment. That is why it is necessary to minimize the amount of food waste, creating fertilizers from it or simply giving leftovers to the needy. In 2018, four girls from Calgary created the application Leftovers, which optimizes food distribution and helps reduce food waste. Read more about the history of its creation and the principle of operation at calgary-future.
A fateful contest
16 years old Traneice Aranda and Donnattella Salvador, 17 years old Veyra Pascual and 18 years old Leanne Bui developed the Leftovers application with the Leftovers Foundation. They all attended Calgary’s Bishop McNally High School.
In 2017, the girls participated in the Technovation Challenge, a global technology entrepreneurship competition for high school girls. There, young entrepreneurs presented their application project to fight food waste.
At the competition, they met Lourdes Juan, the founder of the Calgary charity Leftovers Foundation. Volunteers from this organization collect excess food from vendors and restaurants in Calgary and Edmonton. Then instead of sending the food to a landfill, they distribute it to service providers.
The girls had a similar idea. Lourdes Juan was looking for ways to expand the organization’s activities, as she needed people who could connect volunteers with vendors at different times of the day. So Lourdes decided to join forces with the ambitious four.
Works on the principle of Uber
The developers had mentors who helped them increase their technical skills while working on the project. For example, Brad Rougeau became their mentor. He began working with the team while earning a master’s degree in computer science at the University of Calgary. After graduation, he continued to work on the project. The girls received money for this work.
The application was launched in 2019 in Google Play and the App store. In the application, sellers write about the products they can give away. Volunteers receive a notification and those who are territorially closest take food and give it to the needy. The application works similarly to ride-hailing apps like Uber.
Leftovers also allow people to do analytics on the types of food being donated, as well as detailing how many cakes, sandwiches, etc. have been donated over some time.
By the way, in 2015, another application, called Too Good To Go, which helps to properly distribute excess products was created in Denmark. In October 2020, the platform launched in North America. Calgary became the first city in Alberta to join this initiative. The city again joined in helping businesses and consumers unite to fight food waste.
Reference: The Leftovers Foundation is one of Canada’s largest food waste reduction organizations, developing innovative social programs to create a world without poverty, food waste, and environmental damage. Leftovers work with restaurants, bakeries and grocers in Calgary and Edmonton.
After noticing how much-unsold bread was left at a Calgary bakery, Lourdes Juan was inspired to start the Leftovers Foundation. She was amazed at how much unspoiled food is thrown away at a time when so many people are in desperate need of food.