Panel Discussion - Food waste management to address hunger

"450k tons of food scraps is going to landfill in San Diego each year.... And it takes less than 10% of the current food waste in San Diego to eliminate hunger." 

The San Diego Food System Alliance hosted an expert panel discussion at the March 3, 2015 Alliance meeting on the following topic: 

Food Waste Management to Address Hunger: Best practices, challenges, and local opportunities

Mike Wonsidler- Program Coordinator, County of San Diego Public Works, Solid Waste Planning and Recycling (moderator)
Gabriel Posard- Founder, Donate Don’t Dump
Chuck Samuels- Founder, Phoenix Foods USA
Alicia Saake- Director of Operations, Feeding America San Diego
Panelist Presentations PDF

Summary of Facts:

  • 80 million pounds of food per year is needed to address hunger in San Diego = 40k tons
  • 450k tons of food scraps per year is going to landfill in San Diego (43% was edible at the time of disposal according to figures in DC)
  • So, it takes less than 10% of current food waste in San Diego to address hunger 

Opportunities where the Alliance may be able to provide support:

  • Coordination, sharing best practices, and coming up with solutions to utilize local resources
    • Creating an efficient model for food rescue
      • Direct connections to local farmers
      • Directly connecting agencies to food waste donors  
    • Learning from nationally recognized model, Waste Not OC
    • Silver trash can for donations 
    • Leveraging technology such as Food Cowboy app, a decentralized model of donating excess food from distributor to facility 
    • Direct connections to local farmers
  • Awareness-building
    • Educating the public on food waste (that a perfect-looking apple is not necessary) and food donations 
    • Proper food storage so they can be used longer 
    • Reclaiming food and cooking heritage so people get excited about cooking with what is available in the fridge
  • Advocacy
    • Food preparation
    • Rules around proper food storage (best buy vs expiration – when things are bad vs most suitable for sale)