Written by UWaterloo Faculty of Arts

Elle Honours Arts and Business | Peace and Conflict Studies

Elle Honours Arts and Business | Peace and by UWaterloo Faculty of Arts

“I’m a doer – always have been, always will be,” says Elle, Peace and Conflict Studies student and entrepreneur.

Elle’s recent startup Food Not Waste is a social enterprise that works with restaurants, catering companies and farmers markets to pick up food that would otherwise be wasted and deliver it to community organizations within the Kitchener Waterloo Area.

“Having just started a few weeks ago, we realized just how much of a need there was for a program like this when we collected over 1,100 pounds of food on our first day!“

Elle in front of Food Not Waste van

The idea arose during her PACS 401 senior research seminar, where she explored the issue of food waste. “There are people in need of food in our own community. So why not help local businesses to reduce food waste and redirect that same food to local emergency food organizations.”

As a social entrepreneur working out of St. Paul’s GreenHouse, and Conrad Grebel, Elle’s experience has been a bit different than other Arts student startups.

“Social enterprises are a little bit harder to support because the end product is not something you can hold in your hand and use like you would an app. The social entrepreneurship community looks outward to the world, addressing problems that affect many people, such as water, sanitation, mental health, and maybe even food waste.“

Food Not Waste van with Elle and a box of bananas
Elle holding out food in front of van

“The reward for me is not in the food that we pick up and drop off, but in the atmosphere when we are giving it out. When we set up the food distribution program there are always babies giggling, kids running around, people talking, and young boys helping. With social entrepreneurship you have to let go of the need for something tangible.”

Food Not Waste is currently operating with grants from the GreenHouse Social Innovation Fund and the Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation. Elle and her partner Jonathan Ramzan hope to explore new revenue-generating streams as they move forward to help sustain Food Not Waste.

Find out about St. Paul’s Greenhouse and Conrad Grebel or visit the University of Waterloo’s undergraduate admissions site.