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Eat healthy and save food from landfills

by Brianna Ballard October 13, 2015
Eat healthy and save food from landfills

Buy fruits and veggies by the basketful from SecondLife without breaking the bank

For students, eating healthy is a challenge. Produce is expensive and fresh food often goes bad before it can be used. But what if students could get fruits and vegetables by the basketful without going over budget?

Even if produce doesn’t look perfect, it’s still packed with vitamins. Photo by Cristina Sanza.

Even if produce doesn’t look perfect, it’s still packed with vitamins. Photo by Cristina Sanza.

You can—just as long as you don’t mind if your produce is  a little ugly.

SecondLife is a Montreal-based company co-founded by Thibaut Martelain and Quentin Dumoulin. The two students came up with the concept for the company in 2014, and a year later, their little seed of an idea grew into something big. SecondLife sells fruits and vegetables—just a little differently.

Grocery stores have criteria for the produce they carry. Fruits and vegetables can’t be too small, too big or have deformities that make them look “ugly.” SecondLife takes the produce rejected by supermarkets and sells it by the basket for a much cheaper price. Not only are they offering an alternative for students to the more pricey fresh foods found in stores, but they are saving large amounts of food from going to waste in landfills.

Co-founder Thibaut Martelain said that the goal of SecondLife is to reduce food waste. “Producers tell us that more than 20 per cent of the produce they grow goes to the landfill because of their shape,” said Martelain. Most of the time, it is because the vegetables simply don’t look nice. Carrots are bent, potatoes are too small, tomatoes look odd—they are all rejected and thrown away.

Since the start of SecondLife, the company has made huge steps in countering the issue of food waste in Montreal. To date, they have saved approximately four tons of produce from going to landfills, according to Martelain. They get their fruits and veggies from about 17 different producers in and around Montreal, and have a client base in the hundreds.

However, Martelain also said that 50 per cent of food waste in Montreal happens at home. “A lot of it goes to the trash because we don’t have the time to consume it,” he said. This is not only a huge waste of produce, but a waste of money. For students, buying fresh and healthy food is already expensive—but throwing away produce from their fridge that has gone unused is an unnecessary expense, he said.

Martelain said that students should plan their meals for every day of the week to avoid food waste. By deciding what they are going to eat at every meal, students can shop only for the foods they need, and be able to buy fresh fruits and veggies at a lower cost.

By buying oddly-shaped produce, students won’t have to sacrifice nutritional value either. “[Rejected produce has] the same qualities, the same maturity,” he said, adding that SecondLife goes directly to local Quebec farms to pick up their produce.

For more information, or to order a basket of produce, visit their website at www.second-life.ca

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