In San Diego County 500,000 people live in poverty; at the same time about 500,000 tons of food is wasted every year. Across the United States 40% of food is wasted. This translates to $162 billion lost in wasted water, energy, fertilizers, cropland, and production costs (ReFed 2016). 

Food waste is a national issue which affects San Diego County in a distinct manner. Recent California legislation, AB 1826 and SB 1383, require progressively less food waste to landfill and increased donation of wholesome, edible food from businesses and from residents. 

Although planning efforts are underway, in San Diego County there are not yet robust systems in place to compost or digest food waste. This creates a timely and unique opportunity to work on source reduction and donation as priority first steps before new infrastructure and systems are realized---which is a preferred strategy that addresses highest and best use of materials, waste reduction, economic development, and hunger in our communities.

San Diego Food System Alliance is leading an initiative across San Diego County to reduce food waste and increase food donation to people.

How to use the Consumer Education Campaign

Participation Ideas & Opportunities 

Save The Food San Diego one-pager

Background and Partnership Scope

Save The Food San Diego assets

San Diego-branded Save The Food assets

Ad Council Save The Food assets

Save The Food national campaign

PSA assets on Reducing Food Waste

Save The Food San Diego Surveys

Share the continuous Campaign Survey I with stakeholders

Save The Food San Diego Reports

Save The Food San Diego Participant Report

Awards and Recognition

Recognition matters. Local and national award programs help us to gauge regional efforts and share best practice. Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic (2017, II) included "a certification system for businesses that demonstrate food waste reduction practices" as one of the top five strategies to include in the 2018 Farm Bill to support food waste prevention.

EMIES UnWasted Food Awards (2017)

EPA Food Recovery Challenge Awards

USDA Food Waste Challenge Champions

Food Recovery in San Diego Region

EPA food recovery guide, San Diego County

San Diego County Donation Guide

San Diego County Safe Food Handling Guide

San Diego County 2-1-1 Food Assistance


Further With Food

Case Study Template

Case Study Template – Save The Food San Diego Case Studies are important because they help make something being discussed more realistic and understandable, revealing practical solutions to real dilemmas. The real-life examples shared in case studies inform stakeholders about lessons learned and best management strategies.

As a part of Save The Food San Diego we will be supporting the development of case studies across the food recovery network in San Diego County. We will be sharing these case studies and best practice on this page, and during in-person and webinar presentations. 

Local Case Studies

San Diego Unified School District

San Diego Unified School District VIDEO

Jimbo's Grocery

Costanzo Farm

Cuyamaca College

Local Presentations & Webinars

"Save The Food San Diego" Introduction

"Results and Local Examples of Nationwide Public Service Campaign to Reduce Wasted Food". EPA Sustainable Materials Management Webinar. Pdf of the slide deck.

CalRecycle Workshop "Edible Food Recovery"

"Farm Bill 2018-Opportunities to Reduce Food Waste"

Save The Food San Diego Updates

Client-Choice: A dignified and personal approach for food pantries

Announcing the launch of Save The Food San Diego!

A Gentleman Farmer, 100 small Lemon Trees, and a group of Senior Gleaners?

What a collaboration! @ CSUSM

MarketShare 2.0

We Got Us Some #SaveTheFood Billboards!

Liability protections

The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, was created to encourage the donation of food and grocery products to qualified nonprofit organizations and provides liability protection to food donors.  Under this Act, as long as the donor has not acted with negligence or intentional misconduct, the company is not liable for damage incurred as the result of illness.

The 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 people in the United States.

Date labeling

(Federal and CA legislation pending)

Food Product Dating: USDA Food Safety Education

Tax incentives

Internal Revenue Code 170(e)(3) provides enhanced tax deductions to businesses to encourage donations of fit and wholesome food to qualified nonprofit organizations serving the poor and needy.  Qualified business taxpayers can deduct the cost to produce the food and half the difference between the cost and full fair market value of the donated food.

Additional Resources


EPA Food Recovery Challenge

EPA Sustainable Management of Food

USDA US Waste Challenge

USDA Food Recovery/Donation

EPA Feed Families, Not Landfills

Food Waste Reduction Alliance

Don’t Waste, Donate

Media and News

“Can the U.S. Halve Food Waste By 2030?”  

“These 27 Solutions Could Help the U.S. Slash Food Waste”

“On the Road to Reduction”

“One Third of Food is Lost or Wasted: What Can Be Done?”

“Wasted Food Means Wasted Nutrients”

“Wasted Food Contributes to Climate Change”

“The New Face of Hunger”

“To Eat or Not to Eat? The Food Date Labeling Act Could Help You Decide.”

“USDA Revises Guidance on Date Labeling to Reduce Food Waste”!ut/p/a0/04_Sj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfGjzOINAg3MDC2dDbwsfDxdDDz9AtyMgnyMDf3dDPQLsh0VAcy6FX0!/?1dmy&page=gov.usda.fsis.internet.topics&urile=wcm%3Apath%3A%2FFSIS-Content%2Finternet%2Fmain%2Fnewsroom%2Fnews-releases-statements-and-transcripts%2Fnews-release-archives-by-year%2Farchive%2F2016%2Fnr-121416-01

“Industry Streamlines Voluntary Date Labeling"

Contact: Barbara Hamilton, Director of Strategic Initiatives,