Global Green’s Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Stakeholder Forum

Global Green works with the City of Santa Monica to design a Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Program for the City’s food businesses

On Monday, June 24th, Global Green hosted a Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Stakeholder Forum. The forum was created to facilitate discussion among key industry partners to analyze big issues confronting food waste globally, and in the City of Santa Monica. Attendees from all sectors brainstormed solutions to prevent food waste, recover edible food waste, and divert non-edible food waste from landfills.

The overarching goal for the Forum was to collaborate among local businesses, non-profits, and the City to develop a robust framework for a sustainable and successful Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Program in the City of Santa Monica. There were approximately 75 attendees at the event from sectors including businesses, grocers, restaurants, and non-profit organizations from the greater Santa Monica Area.

Rundown of Forum 

In the first part of the forum there were a series of presentations from relevant speakers. Presentations talked about the food waste prevention and rescue policy landscape in the State of California and the City of Santa Monica, the City’s goals with the Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Program, the values and benefits of diverting organics, and opportunities for food waste prevention and rescue. 

Julia Mande and Rosana Franco, the Co-chairs of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council Food Waste presented about the blueprint of policy priorities put together since the inception of their organization and different initiatives about food waste diversion. Bernadet Garcia-Silvia, the Project Manager for the Los Angeles Department of Public Health Food, presented about the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act of 2018. Environmental Scientist from CalRecycle, Nicole Macatrao, presented about food recycling and recovery requirements and talked about CalRecycle’s Edible Food Recovery Program. 

Natalie Lessa from R3 Consulting Solutions presented about how cities can plan for zero waste, and how the City of Santa Monica can craft a plan to drive the community to raise community awareness about organics recycling and increase diversion rate in the City of Santa Monica. Andre Villasenor from the EPA presented about why it is important to divert organics and the environmental effects of wasted food. Lastly, Andrea Spacht Collins, Sustainable Food Systems Specialist from the NRDC, presented via a webinar highlighting why food waste occurs and recommended on how we can improve the City’s food waste diversion. 

After the presentations, the forum broke out into different discussion forum groups divided by sector. Each group discussed key challenges / barriers within their sector, incentives, infrastructure, and types of resources and external support needed. 

The groups were:

  1. Restaurants and foodservice providers

  2. Food donation recipients

  3. Entrepreneurs, NGOs, and food tech companies 

  4. State and local government officials 

Each met separately, and then presented their findings to the room.

Take-Aways and Lessons Learned 

Take-aways from the forum:

  •  Many individuals, from a variety of sectors, are eager to implement food waste diversion and recycling programs within the City. We all know we need to waste less food and recover more, and it is time to come together to figure out the best way to do so. 

  • There continue to be barriers against food donation programs, such as a lack of willingness for businesses to partake in donation programs, and a lack of space to implement “green bin” organics recycling, and donors lack of understanding of the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act in regards to liability. 

  • With collaborative efforts, as well as the growth of food waste reduction and rescue programs, infrastructure, technology implemented for food donation, and participating businesses, Santa Monica looks towards a robust food donation system in the near future. 

 After the forum, Global Green sent out a Post-Survey to all the attendees to collect take-aways. Bryan Pauquette, Founder of elePlate, said it was “fantastic to see how much momentum there was [at the forum] and how many people are motivated to collaborate on this problem. [There were] a lot of great minds and ideas involved!” 

“I really appreciated the presentations. I think they delivered a wealth of knowledge and demonstrated the urgency of the issue. It was also great to meet in focus groups,” said City of Santa Monica government official Amanda Grossman.  

Thanks to all of the participating attendees to our Food Waste Prevention and Stakeholder Forum, Global Green can work to get closer to our goal of diverting wasted food from landfills and getting edible food to those who need it in order to raise community awareness about organics recycling and increase diversion rate in the City of Santa Monica. 

Now through the end of 2020, Global Green will work with the City of Santa Monica and Tetra Tech, and a stakeholder advisory committee to:

  • Develop a Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Program Framework which will include

    • Food waste prevention and diversion guidelines for restaurants, businesses, and grocery stores throughout the City of Santa Monica

    • Protocol for waste characterizations benchmarking and quarterly audits; and

    • Standard methodology for reporting food waste diverted and associated greenhouse gas emissions avoided

  • Implement the Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Program

    • Enroll approximately 50 businesses to participate in the program

    • Train these employees at these business on organics prevention, rescue, and diversion strategies 

    • To track data we will perform quarterly waste audits for all participating businesses and full waste characterizations for 8-10 participating businesses

If you would like to be apart of our advisory committee, or if you are a food businesses in the city of Santa Monica and you would like to enroll in this free program, please email Andrea Ostenso at [email protected]. This program is made possible through a CalRecycle Grant. 

Andi Ostenso