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Save the Food, San Diego!

A county-wide educational campaign to raise awareness about the issue of wasted food and provide resources for reduction


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our top tips & tricks


Actions for reducing household food waste can be categorized into four strategies: Smart Shopping, Proper Storage, Meal Planning, and Zero Waste Cooking.


proper Storage

Proper storage can go a long way to keep food fresh and tasty for as long as possible. Here are some of the best tips to help you store all your food for optimal freshness.

smart Shopping

Food waste starts with what we put in our grocery carts. With supermarkets designed to tempt us in every aisle, it’s easy to end up overbuying. Get smart with your shopping with these strategies.


+ Shopping tips

  • Create a shopping list with specific recipes and meals in mind. Purchase only what's on the list when you do groceries
  • Those who grocery shop on an empty stomach spend 64% more than not-hungry shoppers. Resist impulse buys by shopping with a full stomach. Eat a snack or a meal before going grocery shopping
  • Bigger carts make us feel like we need to fill them! Use a hand basket to improve grocery store discipline and prevent over-purchasing
  • Purchase local, seasonal produce, which will likely stay fresh longer as it was picked more recently than supermarket produce.
  • Grocery shop more often, and buy fresh foods in smaller quantities

+ Storage tips

  • To keep bananas from browning quickly, break up the bunch and separate
  • Store apples up to 7 days on the counter, then move them to the refrigerator
  • Roll unwashed lettuce in a dry towel, then store in a sealed bag in the refrigerator
  • Store fresh herbs just like cut flowers in a jar with 1-2 inches of water and covered with a plastic bag to maintain moisture

Check out this resource for more storage tips and tricks!

Meal Planning

One of the most effective ways to prevent food waste at home is to plan meals ahead of time. There are an abundance of tools and strategies out there to help you plan smarter to save food and money! Plan for success with these master tips.

Zero Waste Cooking

Most of us don’t want to waste food, but in the dash to make dinner, food waste might not be the first thing on our minds. Break the shop-cook-waste cycle and become a zero-waste chef with these sharp techniques.


+ Planning tips

  • The freezer is your friend! Store any leftover food in the freezer for a quick weekday meal or freeze fruits that are getting ripe to use for a delicious smoothie later
  • Use a portion size guide to ensure appropriate portions when cooking.
  • Plan an Eat the Leftovers night by creating a tasty “smorgasbord" or use a recipe that repurposes leftovers
  • Keep a fridge inventory to stay up to date with what you have in the fridge before going grocery shopping

+ cooking tips

  • Missing an ingredient for a recipe? Check this list to find the best substitutes
  • Store vegetable scraps in your freezer and use them to make veggie stock
  • Extend the life of your food by trying different preservation strategies like pickling, drying, or jamming
  • Rescue limpy produce like leafy greens or carrots by soaking in an ice bath

websites we love

Craving more? Many websites exist with an abundance of helpful articles, handy worksheets, and tasty recipes. Check out a few of our favorites.


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resources by institution type

Kitchens in large facilities like schools, hospitals, universities, and hotels can save money by implementing best practices for food waste reduction. Grocers can play a role as well by donating to local food recovery agencies. And finally, cities should educate constituents and businesses, plan efficient food recovery programs, and provide capacity for increased organics waste reduction and recovery.


+ Schools

+ Institutional Kitchens

+ Grocers

+ Cities


Save the food, san diego! Champions program

Interested in receiving a free monthly toolkit with sample social media posts that educate your constituents about food waste and provide tips and tricks for reduction?

Email to become a Save The Food, San Diego! Champion and receive a free monthly toolkit with sample photos and content that you can plug into newsletters, digi-boards, intra-net messaging, etc.


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Date Labeling

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+ USDA Guidance on Date Labeling to Reduce Food Waste

Issued updated information on food product labeling, including new guidance aimed at reducing food waste through encouraging food manufacturers and retailers that apply product dating to use a “Best if Used By” date label.

+ California Food Labeling (AB 954)

Quality and Safety Dates requires the California Department of Food & Agriculture to promote the widespread use of uniform phrases: “BEST if Used by” or “BEST if Used or Frozen by” to indicate food freshness, and “Use by” or Use or Freeze by” to indicate food safety.

+ Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association

A voluntary initiative, this industry-wide effort will help reduce consumer confusion over dates on the product label and potentially help consumers avoid unnecessary food waste.

Liability Protection


+ U.S. Federal Food Donation Act of 2008

Specifies procurement contract language encouraging Federal agencies and contractors of Federal agencies to donate excess wholesome food to eligible nonprofit organizations to feed food-insecure.

+ Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act

As long as a food donor has not acted with negligence or intentional misconduct in their food donation, the donating company or organization is not liable for damage incurred as the result of illness from the donated food.

+ California Good Samaritan Food Donation Act (AB 1219)

Clarifies and strengthens the laws that protect food donors, extends protections, and requires Environmental Health Officers to promote food recovery by highlighting the laws which exist to protect food donors.

State Mandates & Tax Incentives


+ California AB 1826: Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling

Requires the state’s commercial sector, including restaurants, supermarkets, large venues, and food processors to separate their food scraps and yard trimmings and arrange for organics recycling service.

+ California SB 1383: Short-Lived Climate Pollutants: Organic Waste Methane Emissions

Establishes food waste reduction targets in a statewide effort to reduce short-lived climate pollutants (SLCP). The law also establishes a target that not less than 20 percent of disposed edible food is recovered for human consumption.

+ Internal Revenue Code 170(e)(3) and the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act

Federal policies providing enhanced tax deductions to corporations and small businesses to encourage donations of food to qualified nonprofit organizations serving the poor and needy.


This initiative is supported by an anonymous donor fund via The San Diego Foundation. The San Diego Foundation improves the quality of life in all of our communities by providing leadership for effective philanthropy that builds enduring assets and by promoting community solutions through research, convenings and actions that advance the common good.

For more information about the Save the Food, San Diego! campaign, or to learn about ways to get involved, contact Geertje Grootenhuis (