Zero Waste Sonoma (ZWS) has been awarded a Food Waste Prevention and Rescue grant from the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) through California Climate Investments. ZWS will partner with Conservation Corps North Bay (CCNB) and use the funding to significantly expand food recovery infrastructure and services in Sonoma County, resulting in an estimated 705,200 pounds of food rescued and 561 metric tons of CO2 reduced over a two-year grant period.
Through the grant project, CCNB corps members will receive on-the-job training with the Redwood Empire Food Bank to become an independently operated food recovery service, which will help decrease food insecurity in the community and increase landfill diversion of food. CCNB hopes to strengthen existing food recovery networks, which will be much-needed as the state law SB 1383 goes into effect in 2022, requiring large generators of food to donate any excess food to feed people. ZWS has identified nearly 500 such entities in Sonoma County, including commercial food distributors, grocery stores, schools, and wholesale food vendors. A large portion of the grant funds will subsidize CCNB’s food recovery services for the first year. The remaining grant funds will be used to purchase a refrigerated box truck, pallet jack, insulated food carriers, and other associated materials for food rescue. Any food not fit for human consumption will be sent to feed local farm animals whenever possible, or otherwise composted.
In expanding food recovery services and infrastructure, ZWS and CCNB hope to help Sonoma County and the state of California achieve their long-term goals to slow climate change.