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Save the Food, San Diego! is a county-wide educational campaign to raise awareness about the issue of wasted food and provide resources for reduction.

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.



It’s time to Save the Food, San Diego. Click to learn how to make an impact:

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




Small actions can lead to big changes. Waste less and enjoy more with these food waste reduction strategies

Food waste makes up the largest portion of our waste stream, and households generate 43% of all wasted food in the United States


We think of food waste as something that happens at home. But really, it 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


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.

+ 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!


One of the most effective ways to prevent food waste at home is to plan meals ahead of time. If you’re the planning type, you may already do this. For the rest of us, planning ahead doesn’t have to be difficult. 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.

+ 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


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 — until we’re poised over the trash can holding our noses and scraping moldy, three-week-old casserole into the trash vowing to do better next time. For those of us who want to break the shop-cook-waste cycle, the good news is that with practice, wasting less food can become an effortless cooking habit. Become a zero-waste chef with these sharp techniques.

+ 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!




Institutional Resources

Institution-specific resources and toolkits for food waste reduction programs and initiatives

+ Schools

  • K-12 School Food Recovery Roadmap: best practices and a customized roadmap on how to save surplus food at school, as well as resources for school food waste reduction and sorting
  • Local Case Study: San Diego Unified School District
  • Food Recovery Network: an initiative on college and university campuses to fight food waste and hunger by recovering perishable food that would otherwise go to waste
  • CalRecycle Resources for Schools

+ Institutional Kitchens

+ Grocers

+ Jurisdictions

  • Compliance with Mandatory Organics Recycling Laws: CalRecycle’s FAQ page on how to comply with the California Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling Law (AB 1826)
  • Food Too Good to Waste Initiative: community food waste prevention tool designed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • San Diego Regional Food Systems GIS Map: a partnership between the San Diego Food System Alliance, the North County Food Policy Council,and Palomar College GIS Department, this tool estimates quantities of food waste produced at sector-specific sites
  • CalRecycle Local Jurisdiction Contacts




Law and Policy

Federal and state level policies that support and enhance wasted food prevention efforts

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Date Labeling

+ 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 and 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.