The Brewer, the Baker, the Community Maker

Vancouver Island not-for-profit raises a glass as they work to address the issue of food waste.

reFRESH Cowichan, the Cowichan Green Community Food Recovery Project, has teamed up with Small Block Brewery and True Grain Bakery to develop a series of beers made with bread that would have otherwise ended up in the landfill. The aptly named Rye-Cycled Fresh Hopped Rye Ale (or “Rye-PA” for short), is already receiving a lot of attention after its release on October 6that Victoria’s Fresh Hop Harvest beer festival.

The idea for a rye-based bread-beer came up after the Vancouver Island based food recovery group started supplying fresh produce, donated through partnerships with local grocery stores, to regional food banks. Indicating that they receive such high volumes of bread, the local food bank is barely able to give it away fast enough, especially the rye bread.

The idea to use bread beer as a way to spark community conversation and action on the issue of food waste came from TOAST, a line of bread-beers originating in the UK. After contacting TOAST to thank them for the inspiration, Chief Toaster, Rob, sent the group a message:

It’s amazing to see Toast inspiring bread beers across the world. We built Toast to brew systemic change in the beer industry, getting as many people as possible producing amazing beer with surplus bread. We are collaborating and sharing our expertise directly with many of these breweries, and have open sourced our recipe online which has been downloaded over 30,000 times. We are delighted that other breweries are incorporating bread in their beers too, we really couldn’t be prouder to see the revALEution in full swing.

Small Block Brewery and reFRESH Cowichan have already started their next batch of bread-beer by diverting over eighty kilograms of sourdough bread from True Grain Bakery, Loaves & Fishes Food Bank, and the Cowichan Valley Basket Society. A release event is taking place November 30that Small Block Brewery.

These collaborative brews are available at Small Block Brewery’s taproom at #203-5301 Chaster Road in Duncan, BC.

Cowichan Green Community Society, (CGC) is a non-profit organization that has been focusing on environmental sustainability in the Cowichan Region since March 2004. Since 2007, the CGC mandate has focussed on improving community food security by developing strong relationships with local food producers, increasing urban and rural food production, and working to address distribution issues in the current food system through a food recovery project.

reFRESH Cowichan, an initiative of the CGC, is a committed group of individuals focused on the fair distribution of quality food in the Cowichan Region on Vancouver Island, Canada. reFRESH Cowichan has established a brand new food-hub to help achieve their vision; to increase community access to delicious, healthy foods by diverting edible food from the landfill to those in need.

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