2018 #SFTop25 finalist - Stephanie Quon
HOMETOWN: Vancouver, British Columbia
TRADITIONAL TERRITORY: Unceded xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) territory
From strolling through Stanley Park and feeling the pulse of water beat while paddling, Stephanie Quon has fallen helplessly in love with nature.
Stephanie is passionate about sustainability because she want to preserve the environment for the animals and organisms that live on our planet and the people who have yet to experience Earth. She believes small changes can preserve the planet for ourselves and future generations. With that in mind, she aims to be an environmental activist in all aspects of my life.
When Stephanie was nine years old, her mother picked up a sack of potatoes from a family friend that worked at a farm. She was shocked to learn almost 30% of their potatoes were considered junk for not being the correct shape or size for distribution. They would save a few ‘bad’ potatoes for the employees, but the rest were too much effort to deal with, and were therefore destined for the garbage.
In the summer of 2017, Stephanie attended the Metro Vancouver Sustainability Toolbox program, where she remembered those ‘ugly’ potatoes and began an initiative, Sprout-Save-Share. The project collects unsellable end-of-day food from bakeries to donate to people in need.
She emailed local bakeries and asked if they would donate their food that was still perfectly edible but not up to selling standards. It was only a week later when she began preparing lunches of unsold bread for the homeless people living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
Sprout-Save-Share is partnered with local bakeries that donate unsold food products, which are brought to the Vancouver Native Housing Society that controls the distribution of food in a same and effective manner. Stephanie is a part of a group of nine volunteers that aim to minimize waste while also helping the community.
She soon realized that many other similar programs were existing, and were much more established. That didn’t deter Stephanie, where she was able to find her niche. She learned that the larger programs were only picking up food a few times per month, which often left food discarded and wasted in between those pick-ups. Her group capitalized on making more frequent pick-ups and found a way to save the planet and help those in need.
The team estimates they have transported and donated over 3,000 meals, and are currently looking to expand to tackle food waste at farms. They also want to expand the foods they pick up to ensure they are providing balanced diets to those in need.