Food reclamation as an approach to hunger and waste: A conceptual analysis of the charitable food sector in Toronto, Ontario


  • Helen Thang


The study of the organized practice of food reclamation for charitable distribution can be situated within broader debates of hunger, poverty, social justice, ecological sustainability, and community development. In this paper, a conceptual analysis will be used to explore some of the debates surrounding the use of food reclamation as an approach to social policy and waste diversion. Focusing on the charitable food sector in Toronto, Ontario, and the work of organizations such as Second Harvest Toronto, this paper will briefly address criticisms of food reclamation in response to food insecurity and proposed alternatives to the charitable food assistance system. Although the development of alternative food security approaches that move away from donor-driven initiatives will be crucial to challenging the larger socio-economic and political factors that produce and perpetuate poverty, hunger, and the prevention of access to nutritional food, it is clear that charitable food reclamation and distribution organizations will continue to play a significant and valuable role as a food security actor within the communities they serve.






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