Portage la Prairie's Homestead Co-op has been trying to get in the "loop" for about a year and thanks to store efforts, they have been successful. It's a program in partnership with Loop Resources Canada. 

Store manager Wes Hamilton explains how it benefits local farmers and hopefully will help the extravagant costs that groceries have now reached in such a short time.

"The program started out in BC, and they're now working with over 200 stores and over 2,000 farmers. They take the food that is no longer sellable and then divert it out to farmers to help feed livestock. Then hopefully, the end result is we help them reduce their costs and it'll reduce the cost that they're passing on to the consumers."

He adds that the method of giving back to the farmers inspired the title of the program, Loop. It comes around full circle when the farmers produce food for the grocers, and get back that which isn't sold.

"We've got a website that they can go to. They fill out a form, they go through training about what they can and cannot do with the the stuff they receive. Anything that they're not allowed to use, they do have to compost as well as the cardboard boxes that the the product is shipped out in. That's a pretty straightforward and simple process."

Their website is www.loopresource.ca. 

Hamilton says the program began in Portage in late March and they already have about a dozen farmers signed up who pick up food on a daily basis, seven days a week.

"Basically, it's diverting stuff that we used to throw out and that would go straight to the landfill, but now goes to help support the farmers. We've got pastry products and our produce products go to feed, pigs, cattle, sheep, all that. Any of the meat products go to feed their cats dogs and many farm animals. Unfortunately, meat products cannot be fed to anything that's going to be sold for human consumption. It's an amazing program." 

He notes Loop sets up a schedule for which farmer picks up on any given day, and farmers involved will get a phone call that day informing them that it's their day and they can pick it up at the store between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. 

"A half hour before they arrive at the store, they give us a call letting us know they're going to be on their way. So, then we can get everything ready at the back door for them. They pull up, we help them load up, and they're on their way."