#SaveTheFood San Diego!
Save The Food San Diego was officially launched with some fanfare at the Food Waste Solution Summit 3 on September 26, 2017. Save The Food San Diego is a county-wide food waste awareness partnership that leverages the national “Save The Food” public service campaign, a partnership between NRDC and the Ad Council.
According to research from ReFed (2016, 21), consumer education campaigns offer the highest ROI for strategies to reduce food waste. So yes, part of Save The Food San Diego is this engaging consumer education campaign, to raise awareness about Food Waste and empower behavior change.
But it is more than that, Save The Food San Diego is also addressing the intersecting issue of hunger. In fact, it was knowledge of the intersecting issues of food waste and hunger, that prompted an anonymous donor of the San Diego Foundation to fund this work.
NRDC (the Natural Resources Defense Council) and the Ad Council have allowed us to co-brand our campaign as Save The Food San Diego, because although it does include their broad-based consumer education campaign, our initiative also includes developing peer learning networks, and sharing best practice within each industry sector, among both food waste generators and food recovery networks.
According to the latest research by the San Diego Hunger Coalition, 1 in 6 people (16%) and more than 1 in 5 children (22%) in San Diego County are food insecure. This means that they “don’t always have enough food for an active, healthy life” (Hunger Coalition 2017).
And yet, we waste so much food. According to CalRecycle (2016) we generate 6 million tons of food waste per year in CA. Food waste is 18% of what goes into the CA landfills. Food waste is a national issue that affects San Diego County in a distinct manner. Recent California legislation AB 1826 and SB 1383, require less food waste to landfill from businesses and from residents---as well as increased donation of edible food.
Developing strong, regional peer learning networks is what will really help to build a robust and lasting food waste reduction and recovery network.
This year we’ve been talking with and convening local jurisdictions, food waste generators, and food recovery agencies from across the region. This is new territory for many, and it is important for us to look at the big picture. To understand the mix of food waste generators, regulators, and the food recovery and feeding agencies.
We’ve been casting a wide net this year, to engage an ever growing and diverse group of potential food donor organizations that want to participate in a county-wide consumer education campaign, as well as participate in best practice and case study development and sharing---addressing both food waste source reduction and donation of edible, wholesome food to people.
Casting that net further, we are also engaging Food Banks (we are fortunate in San Diego County to have two food banks, both of which bring unique talents and resources), Research and Advocacy groups, Food Recovery Agencies (these are the food pantries, shelters and meal providers, churches and other community groups), Added Value processers (who take food that would otherwise go to waste, or is imperfect in some way, and turn it into prepared meals and shelf stable products), Gleaning organizations (who pick produce from home gardens and small orchards, farmers), as well as Community Education and Training organizations.
There are a lot of people coming together in San Diego County to Save The Food!
With the launch of Save The Food San Diego we are encouraging you, and all of our participants, every one, to message to each our own stakeholders using the creative communication materials at SAVETHEFOOD.com. Using whatever normal channels we use, to communicate both internally and externally.
There are tv and radio ads, posters, food service display items, great community outreach materials, web banners, and lots of social media bits---all free and easy to use!
It’s all available at SaveTheFood.com on the “Share It” tab.
As we go forward into next year... In addition to the consumer education campaign, we are also encouraging our participants, new and existing, to participate with us in network building and resource sharing, helping us to build out the local story and share best practice.
You can learn more about local efforts and resources at www.sdfsa.org/savethefoodsd/
And we’ll track outcomes:
- How many organizations are participating?
- How and where will these organizations share messaging? And how many people will they reach?
- How many hits to the national SaveTheFood website are coming from San Diego County during our campaign? And what do those number indicate?
- How many case studies will we collect and share?
- How many dollars will be saved?
- How many additional pounds or tons of food waste will be avoided?
- How many additional pounds or tons of food will be rescued? And how many additional meals will we provided with this rescue?
We want to share the numbers, but we also want to share your stories. Share and check for updates at sdfsa.org/savethefoodsd
After a short Save The Food San Diego launch presentation and a screening of the Save The Food Strawberry Video, we surprised attendees at the Food Waste Solution Summit with---you guessed it---a Save The Food San Diego FlashMob!
We know how important it is to get the young people involved in K-12 schools and in colleges and universities, demonstrating leadership, inspiring innovation and behavior change. We shared information about the issue of food waste with students from High Tech High Middle North County and Ballet Folklorica Linda Vista---and we taught them a dance routine that worked great with the food-waste themed Global Citizen remake of an Ed Sheeran music video.
We want people all over San Diego County to think differently about food waste, at home and at work… Individual actions matter. Each of us can have an impact. And together, we can actually make a difference.
Post by Barbara Hamilton, Director of Strategic Initiatives