In the US, 40% of food is thrown away somewhere between farm to fork, equating to a $165 billion loss each year in resources including energy, land and water. Most of this food waste ends up in landfill causing methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more powerful in global warming than carbon dioxide.
This food system challenge also provides a unique opportunity. It would only take about 10% of the half a million tons of food going into landfill per year to support the half a million food insecure individuals in San Diego County. On Tuesday October 6th 2015, we call food recovery and recycling changemakers, food businesses, institutions, and community advocates to come together to learn and take collective action towards a hunger-free and sustainable San Diego County.
Be inspired and contribute to big ideas. Take away practical solutions to address food waste now.
Tuesday October 6th 2015 Recap
Materials and Resources:
What to expect
Big Ideas: TED-style talks by local, national, and international experts on food recovery and recycling
Local Practices: Opportunity to learn from local businesses and technology providers on food waste solutions
Knowledge Share: Opportunity to share your community food waste initiatives to maximize collaboration in San Diego County
Visioning: Ideation session around initiatives and policies to address food waste and hunger in San Diego County
Resources: Plenty of resources and guidance on how to address food waste now in your businesses, institutions, and homes
Highlights - Event Recap
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.
For those who attendeded, please take five minutes to fill out this five question survey to inform our continuous improvement.
We managed to raise significant media attention on the issue of food waste and hunger locally:
KPBS Mid Day Edition/ Evening Edition "Summit to Tackle Impact of Food Waste in San Diego County"
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 waste issues. 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 of Kitchens 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 of food 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 on food 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!
More photos of the summit are available here.
Powerpoint slides of all the speakers are available here: setting the stage, big ideas & best practice talks, City of San Diego case studies discussion panel
Videos will be available on our website later this month.
Next Steps: Food Recovery Working Group
We encourage you to continue collaborating across the Food Recovery pyramid to address food waste and stay involved with our network. The San Diego Food System Alliance Food Recovery Working Group plans to support collaboration through arranging periodic happy hours to bring like-minded groups together (ex: gleaning, food recovery, composting, renewable energy, etc). We are also looking into technology solutions to facilitate communication and access to useful resources.
If you are interested in contributing to sector-change efforts around food waste through supporting collaboration infrastructure, research, and policy initiatives, we would love to have you join our Food Recovery Working Group. Skill sets/ expertise around food waste and recovery policies, project management, web design, technology, project management, graphic design, marketing, communications/ PR, campaign management, data analysis and report writing are particularly helpful for our sector-change work.
Save the Date: Tuesday November 10, 2015 (Location: TBD)
- Next Food Recovery Working Group Working Group Meeting (2:30-4:00pm)
- First Food Waste Collaboration Happy Hour (4:00-6:00pm) - for those who want to come and continue networking and exchanging ideas
Lead Food System Sponsor
If you are interested in being a sponsor for this event, please contact Elly Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org).
404 Euclid Avenue San Diego, CA 92114
This event is organized by the San Diego Food System Alliance Food Recovery Working Group
Groups involved with the Food Recovery Working Group: