LA Nonprofit Opens New Food Rescue Warehouse with Help of CalRecycle Grant
In June, Food Forward, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit specializing in rescuing fresh surplus produce and distributing it to local charities, officially opened a new 6,000-square-foot warehouse. The warehouse was funded with the help of a $500,000 grant from CalRecycle’s Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Program.
The new hub, called Produce Pit Stop, located on the Salvation Army Bell Shelter campus in the city of Bell, has a refrigerator that can store roughly 125,000 pounds of produce. A cold storage unit was a necessity to handle the surplus of fruit and vegetables Food Forward has been receiving from its Wholesale Produce Recovery program.
“Our produce recovery last year topped out at 21 million pounds,” said Rick Nahmias, Food Forward executive director. “We’re expecting this year to hit 25 to 26 (million pounds). That expansion is due to this grant alone.”
Food Forward launched the Wholesale Produce Recovery program in 2014 to begin collecting truckloads of produce that could not only help to feed individuals and families experiencing food insecurity, but also prevent greenhouse gas emissions caused by food waste.
With the help of the Produce Pit Stop, Food Forward expects to increase the amount of rescued produce by 50 percent to 33 million pounds a year by 2020. The depot’s larger space will also enable Food Forward to create mixed loads of various produce more easily and to donate those items to more than 1,600 agencies that span eight Southern California counties.