2015 Food Waste Solution Summit Recap & Next Steps!
The San Diego Food System Alliance Food Waste Solution Summit held on October 6th was a tremendous success! The event sold out and had close to 130 individuals in attendance. We managed to convene a wide range of stakeholders to help connect the dots and brainstorm solutions around addressing food waste in San Diego county.
We managed to raise significant media attention on the issue of foodwaste and hunger locally:
KPBS Mid Day Edition/ Evening Edition "Summit to Tackle Impact ofFood Waste in San Diego County"
San Diego Reader "Southern California wasters, listen up. 'Hunger is not a supply problem. It's a distribution problem.'"
CW6 "Summit addresses foodwaste and hunger around San Diego community"
CB6 Channel 8 Interview
The event kicked off with an introduction on why the San Diego Food System Alliance Food Recovery Working Group organized this summit by Richard Winkler, Co-Director of Victory Gardens San Diego. Dr. Dean Sidelinger, the emcee of the summit and Child Health Medical Officer for the County of San Diego, spoke about the medical impacts of food insecurity, particularly as it relates to children. Then, Michael Wonsidler, Program Coordinator for Solid Waste Planning & Recycling Section of County of San Diego, provided further context on food wasteissues. Michael also shared the EPA's Food Recovery Pyramid and Ramona Unified School District's case study.
Big Ideas & Best Practice Talks included 5 speakers offering solutions around each tier within EPA's Food Recovery Pyramid. First, we had Andre Villasenor, Southern CA Sustainability Coordinator for EPA, speaking about source reduction of food waste. Next, we had Rick Nahmias, Founder of Food Forward and Chuck Samuelson, Founder ofKitchens for Good, on different solutions around rescuing and using surplus food. Then, Chuck Voelker, VP of Sales and Operations from San Pasqual Valley Soils and Frank Konyn Dairy, spoke about their animal feed operations. Lastly, Mary Matava, President of Agri Service, highlighted the economics of community composting vs other methods.
We also had a brief introduction of the San Diego Food System Alliance Food Recovery Working Group which organized the summit. The group has been collecting data around the scale of food waste in San Diego county, identifying stakeholders to bring to the table, researching best practices, and catalyzing collaborative projects.
Burgeoning programs/ projects highlighted:
1) Food Cycle aims to connect waste generators (or wasted food donors) to recipients (food pantries, composting sites, etc). The program will be managed by Solana Center for Environmental Innovation.
2) Food recovery program at Sweetwater School District (with a pilot starting in Southwest High School)
To close the session, Danny Calvillo of Sunrise Produce (Lead Food System Sponsor) spoke about the scale offood waste he sees and the need for solutions around the food system.
The attendees split up into two tracks:
Track 1- Peer Collaboration session for food recovery and recycling groups (facilitated by Colleen Foster from City of Oceanside) & Track 2- Panel discussion on City of San Diego food waste practice case studies (moderated by Ana Carvalho from City of San Diego)
The attendees in both tracks identified strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities/ needs to expand best practices. Groups from Track 1 were split up into different topical areas (surplus food donation, gleaning/ farms, composting, renewable energy) and worked on SWON frameworks (strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and needs). Both of the breakout sessions highlighted the need for an awareness campaign to educate consumers and businesses onfood waste source reduction and recovery needs.
Attendees identified their unique organizational strengths (image above) and continued networking/ knowledge sharing during the "Resource Matching Fair". Resource tables were also available for attendees to gather information to support their food waste management efforts. Resource tables included Kitchens for Good, EDCO,City of San Diego, City of Chula Vista, County of San Diego, Solana Center, ProduceGood, Harvest Crops, Urban Plantations, Feeding America San Diego, and San Diego Food Bank.
The closing keynote speaker was Dr. Emily Young, VP of Community Impact of the San Diego Foundation. She spoke about the connectivity between food waste, our food system, and climate change. Thank you to San Diego Foundation for supporting efforts to impact the food system in San Diego!