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The greater good: Integration in a surplus food management system

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This study explores surplus food management in the City of Vancouver, including the organizations involved, how it behaves as a system, and opportunities for optimizing the system. The analysis incorporates environmental policy integration, systems thinking for sustainable development, food systems planning, and approaches to food security. Data collection included eight semi-structured interviews with individuals familiar with surplus food management, a review of literature and information from various organizations’ websites, and my personal experience volunteering with a food redistributor. Results showed that the surplus food management system has developed organically, seemingly serving the needs of organizations involved. However, financial constraints, agenda conflicts, and ineffective relationship management are hurdles to reducing food waste and ensuring that people in need receive nutritious foods. To begin to improve surplus food management, an intermediary is proposed, which would ensure that there is sufficient capacity to use surplus food appropriately and mediate relationships among participating organizations.
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