Food Waste is a topic gaining momentum in the media as well as with individuals and organizations throughout the world. You do not have to go far to find stories and programs around Ugly Fruit, Gleaning, Food Insecurity, Waste Free Dining, etc. Here in San Diego there is a new program designed to help combat food waste called Waste Not SD. San Diego’s Specialty Produce recently started Waste Not SD to help recover food from local restaurants before it goes to waste and get it to local food insecure populations. We spoke recently with Specialty Produce’s Allie Tarantino, who worked to bring the program to life. Allie told me that she’s been working in food service for over a decade and that a ton of food goes to waste. One single restaurant can have between 25,000 and 100,000 pounds of food waste a year. Allie was inspired by other programs that exist, like LA Specialty’s Chef’s to End Hunger to create something in the San Diego area that can help reduce the amount of food that our restaurants throw away.
The program is genius in its simplicity. Specialty Produce works with over 800 restaurants in San Diego County. Those restaurants can order food safe containers along with their produce order, fill them up at the end of the day with food that would otherwise go to waste, and the Specialty Produce delivery team will pick it up and deliver it to a local organization that distributes the food to people in need. Because the program builds on relationships and delivery routes that already exist, it requires minimal additional effort for any of the parties involved.
The program here is new, but Waste Not SD has three active accounts and is already actively working with both Tom Ham’s Lighthouse and Bali Hai Restaurant to collect food and distribute it to non-profit partners that they’ve identified through the San Diego Food Bank.
If you are interested in learning more about the Waste Not SD program please contact Kelly@SpecialtyProduce.com