Expedition #5- "Time, Talent & Money"- Service & Philanthropy Cohort

Words & Photos - Akhil P.

Our Expedition day was one filled with many perspectives and two very different ways of tackling the big problem of food. Our first stop of the day was The Mustard Seed warehouse, where we were given a tour of their vast facilities. They were well stocked and seemed to get donations from Thrifty’s and other supermarkets as a large chunk of their intake. I was particularly interested in a seemingly endless supply of non-branded grapefruit soda, of which I was told they had in excess of 1600 litres. I was put on mushroom bagging duty, and the name says it all. I portioned mushrooms into paper bags and put them in a large basket. I was then assigned to box flattening, as all the produce donations they receive come in large quantities and as a result usually come with boxes. After about an hour we all convened on a final task before we left. We were to sort bread into “past the expiry date” and “still fresh”. We went through maybe four or five large garbage bins of bread and only ended up with maybe five or six packages of hot dog and kaiser buns that were still good. Unfortunately, the rest we were not allowed to send out to the grocery front on Queens St. so we had to throw it out. It was eye-opening to see how much food is wasted, and we only went through only a fraction of what that warehouse received for the day.

The second half of the day we looked at the opposite when we “greened” our thumbs at Shelbourne Street Kitchen. We were introduced to Tree and David. We were immediately tasked with clearing the area and were given the plans for the day. We were to clear out the small sand pit next to the house to make way for some tomato plants. While I helped clear rocks and occasionally shovel out sand, my task was a little different. Tree introduced me to Ivy, and the effects it can have on plants and infrastructure. My job for the day was clearing the ivy and foliage out of a corner of the yard and making it a clean little corner to store our new found buckets of sand. We learned about small scale farming and how it can be more impactful, which was an interesting paradigm shift from what we did in the morning. Overall, I would call the day a success and an interesting view at multiple perspectives of the same problem. Thanks to Mr. Cook, Ms. Bateman, and Ms. Parker for organizing!