Never before in San Diego County has the need for food assistance been greater than it is today. Families, kids, seniors, and members of the military and their families could all use extra resources as the ripple effects of the pandemic continue. Hundreds of thousands of people face hunger in San Diego County, and yet 35% of all food produced is wasted.
This is where Feeding San Diego comes in. The non-profit organization takes food that would otherwise end up in a landfill and redistributes it to people in need. Most of this food is surplus, or has slight cosmetic imperfections, and is absolutely safe to eat, not to mention delicious and nutritious. Of the 32 million meals the organization has already distributed during the pandemic, 70% was rescued food. Food rescue is the organization’s primary means of sourcing food, which is then distributed at hundreds of distributions across the county monthly. Through its mission, Feeding San Diego is protecting people and the planet.
In honor of the 51st anniversary of Earth Month, Feeding San Diego has launched a campaign called Feed People, Not Landfills dedicated to educating the local community about food waste. Those feeling inspired to learn more about food waste and how to be a part of the solution can tune into a virtual film screening of “Wasted! The Story of Food Waste” on Thursday, April 22. For those who want to give funds, The David C. Copley Foundation has generously announced a match during the campaign: every donation made to Feeding San Diego between April 16 and April 22 will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $25,000.
According to ReFED, 54 million tons of food in the U.S. goes to waste each year. That’s $408 billion worth of food we’re letting go unsold or uneaten, roughly 2% of U.S. GDP. Feeding San Diego addresses this inefficiency by rescuing high-quality food before it goes to waste from over 600 locations in San Diego County, including grocery stores and retail locations, and from over 225 farms and packing sheds throughout California. Through this effort the organization is helping to cut down on global greenhouse gas emissions, of which 8% are attributed to food waste.
“Despite the catastrophic events of the past year and our continued focus on emergency response, we remain committed to food rescue. Food rescue fulfills a crucial part of our primary mission in feeding people and is key to achieving sustainability in the years to come,” said Bob Kamensky, Chief Strategy Officer of Feeding San Diego. “What people often may not realize is there is plenty of food out there so that no one has to go hungry, but much of it ends up in a landfill.”
According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Food Recovery Hierarchy, feeding hungry people is the second most preferred option after source reduction when it comes to keeping food out of landfills. The organization’s commitment to this mission has earned it recognition from the United Nations Association of San Diego, which has designated it a Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Champion, and created a seal to recognize this honor for meeting four of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals: zero hunger (SDG2), responsible consumption and production (SDG12) climate action (SDG13), and partnerships (SDG17). The seal also establishes Feeding San Diego as a local partner of UNA San Diego in its commitment to do its part in implementing the SDGs by 2030.
The solution to ending hunger and reducing food waste will take all of us. To learn more go to feedingsandiego.org.