SPUD, a sustainable online grocer founded in Victoria, is among those organizations donating 10,000 meals across Canada on Thursday (Feb. 10), as the United Nations World Food Program celebrates World Pulses Day.
Pulses, a.k.a. legumes, are edible seeds such as the common dried beans, lentils and peas found in dishes from Arabic hummus to Indian dal to the full English breakfast. At 1,000 meals for $100 or 500 meals per 50 kilogram bag, they’re a highly affordable source of protein and a mainstay for rural populations with limited access to diverse food choices, according to the U.N. program.
Despite just 13 per cent of Canadians consuming pulses on any given day, the nation is the second-largest producer in the world of dry beans, dry peas, lentils and chickpeas. The country is also a colossal contributor to the U.N.’s World Food Program through pulses, said SPUD sustainability manager Helena McShane, who has been coordinating with the U.N. organization for their meal donation project.
“We’re always trying to find ways for people to eat more sustainable food and inspire people to do so,” McShane said. While pulses go a long way and are super nutritious, she said, “it can be tricky for people to find ways to feed their family (with them) because they’re not used to it.”
Through World Pulses Day donations and programming, SPUD aims to educate Greater Victorians on the power of pulses and inspire them with recipes.
From Feb. 10 through the end of the month, SPUD will provide 10,000 meals to food kitchen services across B.C. and Alberta, including Esquimalt’s Rainbow Kitchen and organizations supported by United Way Southern Vancouver Island. Showing the value in pulses, those meals will cost just $1,500, McShane said.
Although hearing of the U.N. World Food Program may make people think of foreign countries, McShane said the number of people who are food insecure in B.C. is “staggering;” one in 10 households. Proliferating pulses across Greater Victoria is “the most efficient way of giving” to those experiencing food insecurity closer to home, she said.
“I do feel like food insecurity and food waste are becoming top of mind for people. They’re starting to care and think about what they can do.”
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