Lori Nikkel is the CEO of Second Harvest, Canada’s largest food-rescue organization. In response to COVID-19, she has led the organization’s rapid scaling-up — growing from operating in Ontario and BC, to rescuing and redistributing surplus food in every province and territory. As a result of the pandemic and its economic fallout, more than 1.6 million Canadians are facing hunger or food insecurity for the first time. Under Lori’s leadership, Second Harvest has been a close partner to the federal government in meeting this desperate need.
When restaurants, foodservice businesses, and food distribution centres across the country halted activity in March, Second Harvest was there to ensure that instead of food going to waste, it was redistributed to those in need. On average in 2020, the food rescued through Second Harvest provided approximately 62,000 meals per day. This food was distributed by more than 2,300 partner organizations in more than 500 communities across Canada. Lori also led the expansion of Second Harvest’s web food donation app in April to reach food donors and nonprofits nationwide, and also led its transformation to become a funding hub that provided more than 1,400 non-profits across Canada with $20M+ in funds, grocery gift cards and food vouchers.
Lori was central to proposing and implementing the Surplus Food Rescue Program, buying surplus produce from farmers where it might otherwise go to waste, and ensuring it is distributed to community groups such as shelters and school breakfast programs. This enormous national food-diversion effort has yielded environmental benefits too, preventing more than 75 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions (food waste rotting in landfills is a leading contributor). As a seasoned non-profit executive dedicated to food security and environmental protection, Lori is advancing the mission of “No waste, No hunger.”