Listed below are recent posts across all of CalRecyle's blogs.

  • Food Rescue Group Receives Second CalRecycle Grant

    CalRecycle has awarded $266,795 to the Kern County Public Health Services Department to expand its Waste Hunger Not Food program, which collects unserved food from local schools and restaurants and distributes it in local neighborhoods.

    The funds will be used for a refrigerated box truck and walk-in refrigeration to store food safely. The box trucks will allow Kern County to partner with food donors that donate food in large quantities. Since Waste Hunger Not Food launched in September 2018, the group has rescued more than 304,600 pounds of food.

    CalRecycle’s Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Grant Program aims to reduce methane emissions by keeping edible food out of California landfills and redistributing it to the 1 in 8 Californians (including 1 in 5 children) who are food-insecure. Many of these families live in disadvantaged communities, which means they have a disproportionate exposure to pollution and less access to healthy food.

    Kern County partners with City Serve, a local nonprofit that brings churches together to serve the community. Waste Hunger Not Food uses refrigerated trucks to collect food from restaurants and schools and quickly deliver it to churches that have been trained in food safety best practices.

    Churches are often located within residential neighborhoods, making it easy and convenient for volunteers to distribute the food. Some church volunteers simply carry signs through the neighborhoods that say “Free Food,” and word of mouth travels quickly. City Serve churches distribute food with no restrictions on how much food people can take.     

    This is the second grant CalRecycle has awarded to Kern County for the Waste Hunger Not Food program. The first grant for $191,963 was awarded in fiscal year 2016-17 and enabled the county to buy several refrigerated trucks to collect and transport donated food to distribute to the needy.

    The Waste Hunger Not Food mission aligns with the goals outlined in SB 1383, which requires California to reduce the disposal of organic waste (like food and yard waste) and divert at least 20 percent of edible food to food rescue organizations. Although SB 1383 regulations don’t go into effect until Jan. 1, 2022, the program is giving schools and businesses a head start on compliance by donating edible food they would otherwise send to a landfill.

    Women loading refrigerated truck with donated food

    See the "Waste Hunger Not Food Overview Video"

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Jul 11, 2019

  • New California Climate Investment Serves Up Benefits for Butte County

    There is an unmistakable buzz on the streets of Butte County. The Northern California agricultural region, already well known for its orchards and farms, its tight-knit communities, and its commitment to sustainability just added a new attraction to its community profile.

    Welcome to California’s newest hub in the state’s battle against climate change.

    “You can see the enthusiasm around town. People are stunned and excited about this opportunity,” Laura Cootsona says before sharing her own reaction to news of a half-million dollar California Climate Investment. “I actually jumped up and down for days.”

    Cootsona is a Butte County resident and executive director of the Jesus Center in downtown Chico. For more than 30 years, the humanitarian nonprofit has offered meals, resources and other services to those struggling in and around Butte County. Now, with the help of a $499,789 California Climate Investment, the center is launching one of its boldest efforts yet to combat hunger—and climate change—by rescuing food for the hungry before it becomes waste.

    Californians throw away an estimated 6 million tons of food each year. When it decomposes in landfills, food and other organic material emits methane, a super pollutant responsible for roughly 20 percent of current global warming and 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2).

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    The Jesus Center operates a farm in Butte County and plans to begin a second farm soon to help provide fresh produce to neighbors in need.

    In partnership with the Community Action Agency of Butte County, which includes the North State Food Bank, the Jesus Center will use the nearly half-million dollar Food Waste Prevention and Rescue grant to increase its ability to collect, transport, store, and distribute more food in and around Butte County.

    “What I love about this project is it allows us to do a ton of social good and environmental good at the same time,” Cootsona says. “This is going to change our community in a lot of serious ways.”

    CalRecycle’s Food Waste Prevention and Rescue grant program is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities.

    “The physical body gets so broken down when you’re confronting the daily realities of poverty,” Cootsona says, noting food insecurity impacts roughly 1 in every 5 Butte County residents. Statewide, about 1 in 8 Californians are considered food-insecure. She adds, “Hunger should not be this prevalent in a state and in a region that produces so much of our nation’s food.”

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    The fruits and vegetables grown at the Jesus Center farm are used in meals at the Center’s kitchen in Chico. The farm also provides vocational opportunities related to food waste prevention and rescue work.

    In 2017, the Jesus Center prepared and plated more than 101,000 meals through its kitchen, shelter, and six transitional houses in and around Chico. Cootsona expects that number to keep rising as grant funding enables the Center to hire new staff, purchase new equipment—including a refrigerated truck and a new commercial kitchen—and upgrade its logistics software to better track food inventory and coordinate donations and deliveries.

    “With this new software, farmers, grocery stores, restaurants, schools, and other community partners can go online and notify us about new donations,” Cootsona says. “Depending on the food type, we’ll be able to immediately determine whether it should come to our kitchen in Chico or whether it can be better utilized by one of our 50 partner agencies within the North State Food Bank or in the Wildcat Food Pantry at Chico State.”

    Food that can’t be diverted to meals or distributed through the food banks will be composted at the Jesus Center farm or other partnering locations to make sure the organic material doesn’t wind up emitting greenhouse gases at area landfills.

    “Let’s get food that is designed to be consumed, eaten. Not into landfills.” Cootsona continues, “Composting is a great alternative to landfills, but we want the food in bellies first.”

    The center’s new project also includes money dedicated to vocational training in food waste prevention and recovery, further increasing the long-term benefits that will remain long after the grant funds run out.

    “We’re integrating this new technology and these new systems into our regular operations so these benefits will remain sustainable long-term,” Cootsona says, ensuring the Center can build on its decades-long history of preventing food waste, protecting the planet, and saving lives for decades to come.

    Posted on In the Loop by Lance Klug on May 21, 2018

  • California Fights Climate Change by Feeding the Hungry

    $9.4 Million Awarded to 31 Projects that Feed Californians, Reduce Food Waste 

    Media Contact: Lance Klug
    (916) 341-6293
    lance.klug@calrecycle.ca.gov

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery has announced the first award recipients for its newFood Waste Prevention and Rescue Grant Program. As part of California’s comprehensive strategy to combat climate change, CalRecycle awarded $9.4 million to 31 projects throughout the state that:

    • Decrease the estimated 6 million tons of food waste landfilled in California each year, and
    • Increase the state’s capacity to collect, transport, store, and distribute more food for the roughly 1 in 8 Californians who are food insecure.

    When sent to landfills, food and other organic waste decomposes and generates methane, a potent greenhouse gas with a heat-trapping effect at least 86 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 20-year span. 

    “Bolstering California’s food recovery infrastructure will help feed communities in need, create new jobs, and result in significant greenhouse gas reductions,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said. “Our hope is that these programs will inspire similar efforts throughout California.”

    CalRecycle’s Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Grant Program is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities.

    To be eligible for grant funding, projects must be located in California; result in permanent, annual, and measurable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions; and increase the quantity of California-generated food materials prevented, reduced, or rescued from disposal. Note: Many of the following grant recipients serve multiple counties.

    Here is a list of the grant funding recipients:

    • Alameda County Waste Management Authority, Alameda County: $500,00
    • Associated Students, Inc., Los Angeles County: $65,340
    • City of Riverside, Riverside County: $209,736
    • City of Santa Monica, Los Angeles County, $100,000
    • Cityteam-Oakland, Alameda County: $96,429
    • Food Bank Coalition of SLO County, San Luis Obispo County: $100,000
    • Food Bank for Monterey County, Monterey County: $475,072
    • Food Finders, Inc., Los Angeles County: $100,000
    • Food Forward, Los Angeles County: $500,000
    • Jesus Provides Our Daily Bread dba Jesus Center, Butte County: $499,789
    • Joint Venture Silicon Valley Network, Santa Clara County: $313,000
    • Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, Los Angeles County: $386,960
    • ProduceGood, San Diego County: $100,000
    • Re-plate, Inc., Alameda County: $299,100
    • San Diego Food System Alliance, a Fiscal Project of Leah’s Pantry, San Diego County: $500,000
    • St. Francis Center, Los Angeles County: $100,000
    • The Midnight Mission, Los Angeles County: $100,000
    • University of California, Merced, Merced County: $100,000
    • *Waste Not OC Coalition, a Fiscal Project of OneOC,Merced County: $339,574
    • White Pony Express, Contra Costa County: $115,000

    Total (FY 2016-2017 Funds): $5,000,000

    • City of Culver City, Los Angeles County: $497,144
    • City of Richmond, Contra Costa County: $327,500
    • Desert Manna, San Bernardino County: $470,450
    • El Dorado County: $277,140
    • Fresno Metropolitan Ministry, Fresno County: $500,000
    • Imperial Valley Food Bank, Imperial County: $500,000
    • Kern County: $191,963
    • Los Angeles Conservation Corps, Los Angeles County: $375,206
    • Peninsula Food Runners, San Francisco County: $200,000
    • Strong Food/L.A. Kitchen, Inc., Los Angeles County: $389,387
    • Ventura County: $499,293
    • *Waste Not OC Coalition, a Fiscal Project of OneOC,Orange County: $160,426

    Total (FY 2017-2018 Funds): $4,388,509

    *Project funded with combination of FY 2016-17 and FY 2017-18 allocations

     

    Eligible applicants for CalRecycle’s Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Grant Program include cities, counties, and other local agencies; businesses; California universities and colleges; nonprofit organizations; and qualifying Indian Tribes. Applicants may submit cooperative or regional applications with no more than four participants to achieve food recovery projections. 

    Find out more about CalRecycle’s California Climate Investments grants and loans and read stories from other grant recipients about how they’re putting Cap-and-Trade dollars to work for California’s economy, environment, and the health of our communities.

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    Posted on In the Loop by Lance Klug on Feb 1, 2018