2018 EMIES UnWasted Food Awards

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In San Diego County, almost 500,000 tons of food waste goes into the landfill annually. Meanwhile, nearly 500,000 people in San Diego County don’t always have enough food for an active and healthy life.

The San Diego Food System Alliance is working collaboratively with state and local government agencies, food establishments, food banks, and food pantries to catalyze efforts to reduce food waste and increase donation. We hosted our fourth annual Food Waste Solutions Summit on September 25th, 2018 and were honored to recognize 20 entities devoted to reducing food waste and food insecurity in our community.

The 2018 EMIES Unwasted Food Awards honor businesses, organizations, and institutions with exemplary practices around food waste prevention and recovery. The EMIES Awards are designed to honor the legacy of Congressman Bill Emerson, sponsor of the 1996 Federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, which, in order to encourage food donation, protects donors from liability.

More information about the EMIES Awards can be found here.

2018 EMIES Award Winners

GNF Novartis

Demonstrates  and shares best practice for upstream food waste reduction, auditing production and engaging staff, excess food donation, and composting. Landfill diversion is 78%; up from 4.4% in 2010.

Sharp HealthCare

Collaboration as an innovator and early adopter with upstream "unusual but usable" procurement, soup stock program, organic gardens, animal feed and composting. 18,000 lbs. of good food donated in 2017.

San Diego County Regional Airport Authority

Programs depth and breadth. Green certified 38 concessionaires. Increased food donation six-fold. Pre- and post-consumer food waste composting. Education and signage. Saved over $9000 in landfill fees.

Escondido Union School District

Plate waste study & Smarter Lunchroom program. Designed four compartment trays to reduce plate waste. Zero waste goal. "Healthy Sustainable Living, Every Day Counts!"  student education campaign.-

BrightSide Produce

“Anchor Institution” collaboration, healthful produce at University pricing for 13 small to medium grocery stores in National City. Assists with pricing, displays, sales, signage, and nutrition education.


Four to seven weekly gleaning events, distributing 11,000 servings/week. Diverse and scalable volunteer opportunities By the end of this calendar year will have logged one million pounds of rescued produce.

Vista Unified School District Child Nutrition Services

Integrated food waste curriculum into 6th grade science standards. Tracked & measured food waste in café, students created posters, set up and monitored share cooler in cafeteria, “alumni” outreach.

Food Recovery Network at UCSD

Fresh and Full Food Transportation program, with AB54 funding, secured vehicle and hired student drivers. Hot meals for students who self-identify as food insecure. 6000 lbs. food recovered last year.

Public Health Alliance of Southern California

CA Food Waste Prevention Week collaboration and promotion guide. DEH Directors across state trained in safe food donation. Nutrition education and SNAP education to include food waste prevention.

 2018 EMIES Distinguished Programs:  

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Culinart Group at Francis Parker School uses menu control, smaller portion sizes, ok to ask for more.

Solana Center for Environmental Innovation for education/recycling in communities across the region.

San Diego Rescue Mission provides shelter for over 200, prepares donated/recovered pre-school meals.

Café Bon Apetit buys imperfect produce, Food Recovery Network Verified, Chefs to End Hunger partner.

Sprouts North Park donated 180,000 lbs. food in 2017, 140,000 lbs. produce, with San Diego Food Bank

UC San Diego Health usesupstream” prevention strategies, 40% decrease in organic waste to landfill.

LeanPath provides innovation, thought leadership. Developing technologies and sharing best practice.

Aztec Shops are the first university markets in the nation to be Green Restaurant Certified.

2018 EMIES Emerging Programs:  

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Harvest CROPS empowering residents/gleaners, over 320,000 lbs. fruits and vegetables since inception.

Resource Management Group provides bins, user education for food waste reduction & recycling.

California State University San Marcos educational outreach, composting tours, Cougar Pantry access.

Visionary Staff Leadership:

Ana Carvalho, City of San Diego

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Ana has been providing leadership and guidance to food production facilities across the City of San Diego. She has been an active member in the Food Recovery Working Group of the San Diego Food System Alliance, and has participated in regional and national efforts to share best practice and reduce the impacts of wasted food. Ana’s visionary leadership has helped many organizations and the City of San Diego to build strong programs in support of their waste reduction and healthy climate goals.

Jennifer Winfrey, County of San Diego

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Jen has been a strong and informed advocate for food waste reduction and donation at the County of San Diego. She has served on the steering group leading the Food Recovery Working Group of the San Diego Food System Alliance. Jen’s visionary leadership has inspired students and residents across unincorporated San Diego County to develop innovative strategies to share messaging, to source reduce food waste, to increase donation, to provide animal feed, and to compost in our rural areas.