looking back to look ahead blogClimate

Looking Back to Look Ahead: An Overview of 2022

Overview

With 2023 well underway, it is important to take some time to reflect on last year in order to plan for this one. Taking a moment to reflect is key to setting up goals that align with your values, are efficient, effective, and achievable, and push you out of your comfort zone. 

In this article, I will:

  • discuss Food Finders’ impact in 2022,
  • reflect on the implementation of SB 1383, and 
  • provide three key ideas that Food Finders must keep in mind for the new year.

Food Finders: Statistics in 2022

In 2022, Food Finders continued its mission of reducing food waste by reallocating edible surplus to those who are food insecure throughout Southern California. The organization rescued 13,386,801 pounds of food and provided 11,155,668 meals. Through their rescues, Food Finders diverted 7,269,033 million pounds of C02 emissions and saved 6,104,381,256 gallons of water. Food Finders’ mission is to simultaneously reduce food waste and food insecurity through strategic surplus diversion and reallocation. These environmentally conscious goals mitigate the effects of climate change and provide much needed food. Finding methods that solve multiple problems at once is the kind of thinking that guides us closer to a sustainable future.

Greenhouse gas emissions such as methane is released from landfills in huge quantities that pose a threat to human health, NPR.

SB 1383: California’s Law to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

On September 19, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 1383 into law which established a statewide initiative to reduce emissions produced by short-lived climate pollutants (SLCP). The targets aim to reduce edible food and organic waste disposal by 75% by 2025, and to rescue at least 20% of disposed edible food to be allocated for human consumption by 2025. The law actually expands upon AB 341 (Mandatory Commercial Recycling) and AB 1826 (Mandatory Commercial Organics) which focused on commercial waste diversion and recycling. SB 1383, on the other hand, applies similar guidelines to residents and property managers and owners. Under the bill—which went into effect on January 1, 2022—jurisdictions are required to provide “organic waste collection services to all single-family and multifamily residences.”

The efforts to reduce food waste reflect the increasing threat greenhouse gases pose for Californians, especially to those with health conditions. In California, organic waste left in landfills release 20% of all methane, a gas that is a “climate super pollutant 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide.” According to the EPA, reducing the presence of food and organic waste in landfills in the United States helps reduce climate change since more than 15% of methane emissions caused by humans come from municipal solid waste landfills. In 2019, those landfills emitted almost 100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent of methane. California’s dumps in landfills are 50% food scraps, yard trimmings, and cardboard which reflects the need for more conscious efforts when throwing away trash. 

California has specific targets that need to be met in order to reach the goals set by SB 1383, Waste Dive.

SB 1383: Changes, Progress, and What’s Next

According to Waste Dive, California estimates that it will need to prevent 27 million tons of organic waste from ending up in landfills annually by 2025. Unfortunately, 18 million tons of the waste is not “eligible for edible food recovery.” One challenge that companies are facing with implementation lies in the composting infrastructure and equipment to meet the requirements. Some owners have resorted to either selling their businesses to larger competitors or finding new investors.

One major effect that has threatened the timeline is the COVID-19 pandemic. The start of the pandemic impacted the 2020 goals and now California is under pressure to “make up for lost time.” On September 8, 2022, the Hearing on Organic Waste Recycling was held during which Shereen D’Souza, CalEPA’s deputy secretary for climate policy and intergovernmental relations, stated that “it makes sense that the 2020 diversion rates required in 1383 were not met” since the regulations of SB 1383 only became enforceable in 2022. Despite these setbacks, D’Souza concluded that “local jurisdictions are making a lot of progress” since January of last year.

Although the law was passed in 2016, SB 1383 regulations were only enforced in 2022, CalCities.

The most notable changes have been the arrival of waste bins for residents to use. CalRecycle believes that most jurisdictions have adopted the “standard” model or the three-bin system which might be the case since the law’s regulations make “three carts the smoothest path to compliance.” Overall, it is still too early to determine the total effects of SB 1383’s implementation. The Little Hoover Commission, an independent state oversight agency, is currently conducting a study that will “assess how California’s organics recycling law is implemented, examine what impact it has on the state’s environmental goals, and provide recommendations to the Governor and Legislature for any changes.” 

Three Key Areas for Food Finders

As Food Finders’ Community Outreach and Advocacy Intern, I have been tasked with reaching out to different organizations in the industry to understand what their goals are and how they became involved in policy and advocacy work. Over the past few months, I have met with several local and out-of-state organizations who are focused on ending food insecurity, food waste, or like Food Finders, work at the intersection of both issues. Each organization has provided me with insight that exposes their core values which inform their goals and plans regarding policy advocacy. From these meetings, I have compiled three major takeaways that should guide Food Finders in its development of a policy and advocacy agenda that creates lasting systemic change.

Grounding the policy work in the community 

In every single meeting I have had so far, the importance of community has been at the forefront of the conversation. The idea that policy should address the needs of a community cannot be more obvious, and yet, it is often inexplicably neglected. The community should always be involved in decision-making that affects their lives because they carry knowledge that is crucial to their own betterment and longevity. When the policy doesn’t represent the people or align with the community values and concerns, even the kindest intentions are rendered useless without consent and accordance on multiple levels.

One way to create a space for this kind of dialogue is through the inception of a community-led policy council. Oregon Food Bank, an Oregon-based organization that aims to address the root causes of hunger in order to eradicate it, created its Policy Leadership Council in 2021. The Council is composed of community members who are BIPOC, LGBT, have experienced food insecurity and “some sort of oppression” in their lives. Simply put, the Council is made of community members and the community informs the direction of their advocacy. Without input from the Council, the Board would not know how best to address the issues that impact their community. 

Taking the pulse of the community

Taking the pulse of the community regarding food insecurity and food waste is crucial before taking the next step towards policy advocacy. Since Food Finders focuses on finding food (as well as distributing, reallocating, and reducing waste), understanding how the community views the issues of food insecurity, waste, and its impact on the environment is important. Simply asking the questions of What do they know? and What do they want to know? can open up a dialogue and clear the pathway toward aligning food waste and insecurity policies with the values of the community. 

Recognizing the social issues that impact food insecurity

My third and final takeaway encompasses not just food insecurity, but what causes food insecurity. A lack of food does not equal food insecurity which is why more food (read: food waste and overproduction) is not the solution to this persistent problem. Other social circumstances that affect food insecurity are poverty or low income, lack of affordable housing, lack of access to healthcare, and systemic racism and racial discrimination. Thus, addressing the root causes of food insecurity has to be a priority in order to do more than place a band-aid on an already infected wound. Addressing issues such as homelessness, low wages, and affordable housing is what can eliminate food insecurity once and for all.

Homelessness and food insecurity

In 2022, California contributed to 30% of the country’s homeless population even though the state makes up less than 12% of the country’s total population. According to CalMatters, California’s homeless population grew by 22,000 during the pandemic. Although the state’s investment in shelters is “bearing fruit,” there still isn’t enough “permanent, affordable housing to bring people indoors for good.” On February 24, 2022, the “Homeless Count” in Long Beach determined that 1,801 people were living on the streets or other locations, 485 people were found living in cars, vans, and RVs, and 1,009 people were living in emergency shelters and transitional housing programs. Since 2020, there has been a 123% increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness who are sheltered in Long Beach. As we know, newly-elected Mayor Rex Richardson (who recently visited my college campus), undoubtedly has made it clear that homelessness, an issue that affects everyone and spans across the state of California, is a major priority for his administration. During his State of the City on January 10, 2023, Mayor Richardson listed homelessness and stable housing as the first key area to address in his first 100 days. 

On February 24, 2022, 69% of the total homeless population were unsheltered in Long Beach, City of Long Beach.

Another area the pandemic affected was food insecurity. The pandemic exacerbated food insecurity across the nation with the USDA reporting that 13.5 million US households were food insecure in 2021. According to the California Association of Food Banks, 8 million California residents struggle with food insecurity and in Los Angeles County, 30% of low-income residents don’t know where their next meal will come from. Homelessness and hunger are very much linked to one another since individuals experiencing homelessness are often food insecure.

Edible Food Waste: The Solution to Feeding Long Beach’s Homeless Population?

Mayor Richardson’s decision to tackle homelessness in Long Beach is commendable and shows a dedication to all the residents of the city, even the ones who are often invisible. This hefty endeavor will require cooperation and collaboration between different levels of government, various sectors and industries, and the local community. According to Stanford’s Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), accelerated production of affordable housing, reforms to the criminal justice system, and vast improvements in mental health care are crucial to address California’s homeless problem. Although hunger wasn’t explicitly identified, caring for unhoused residents includes addressing their most basic needs. 

Food waste is an issue that often flies under the radar. Consumers rarely stop and wonder what happens to those packed shelves and towering fruit displays when the store closes. In reality, 30% of the food in American grocery stores is thrown away while a significant amount of food doesn’t even make it to shelves due to cosmetic “imperfections.” Food Finders already works hard to intercept food destined for the landfills so that perfectly edible food can be enjoyed by those who need it throughout Southern California. The bottom line is that there is enough food out there. SB 1383 requires that at least 20% of edible food is recovered for human consumption by 2025, which will result in a “boom” in rescued food. It might be worth noting for Mayor Richardson’s administration that when they are searching for a way to feed the city’s unhoused residents, the food might already be there.

What Can You Do To Help?

Food Finders works daily to change how edible food waste is distributed to eliminate hunger and food insecurity. If you would like more information, please visit our website, volunteer, or support our mission to eliminate hunger and food waste by making a donation today.

#sb1383 #foodwaste #climatechange #foodinsecurity #homelessness #longbeach

Nickee O’Bryant is the Community Outreach and Advocacy Intern at Food Finders. She is a senior at California State University, Long Beach and is studying International Studies and French and Francophone Studies. Through monthly blog posts, Nickee documents her journey as she learns more about food insecurity, food waste, and how they are interconnected.

READ MORE

Summer To End Hunger Food Drive 2023

Summer Brings Risk of Hunger for Children
* California kids need year-round access to healthy, affordable meals. In California: Children can get free or reduced-price meals during the school year, but over the summer months at school
and community sites.
* Nearly 1 in 4 kids may go to bed hungry.
* Over 2 million children live in households that struggle to put enough food on the table.

Host a Summer To End Hunger Food Food Drive!

Download our Food List: summer to end hunger food list

Sign up below via QR Code or Form to Host a Food Drive

Summer To End Hunger Food Drive
Help Food Finders Feed Kids Over the Summer Months in Southern California

READ MORE
october community marketplace

Community MarketPlace October 2023

The Food Finders Community Marketplace Food Hub at Admiral Kidd Park is a refrigerated container that will offer fresh produce in areas of Long Beach that experience high levels of food insecurity. The hub container can safely store produce, dairy, and other perishable food. Weekly food distribution and monthly programs will take place in close collaboration with Food Finders and our network of community nonprofits.

 

We will post more details on the week of the event.

Are you interested in Sponsoring the Food Hub Community Marketplace this month?

Contact: yuchu@foodfinders.org

READ MORE
September community marketplace

Community MarketPlace September 2023

The Food Finders Community Marketplace Food Hub at Admiral Kidd Park is a refrigerated container that will offer fresh produce in areas of Long Beach that experience high levels of food insecurity. The hub container can safely store produce, dairy, and other perishable food. Weekly food distribution and monthly programs will take place in close collaboration with Food Finders and our network of community nonprofits.

 

We will post more details on the week of the event.

Are you interested in Sponsoring the Food Hub Community Marketplace this month?

Contact: yuchu@foodfinders.org

READ MORE
August Community Marketplace

Community MarketPlace August 2023

The Food Finders Community Marketplace Food Hub at Admiral Kidd Park is a refrigerated container that will offer fresh produce in areas of Long Beach that experience high levels of food insecurity. The hub container can safely store produce, dairy, and other perishable food. Weekly food distribution and monthly programs will take place in close collaboration with Food Finders and our network of community nonprofits.

 

We will post more details on the week of the event.

Are you interested in Sponsoring the Food Hub Community Marketplace this month?

Contact: yuchu@foodfinders.org

READ MORE
August Community Marketplace

Community MarketPlace July 2023

The Food Finders Community Marketplace Food Hub at Admiral Kidd Park is a refrigerated container that will offer fresh produce in areas of Long Beach that experience high levels of food insecurity. The hub container can safely store produce, dairy, and other perishable food. Weekly food distribution and monthly programs will take place in close collaboration with Food Finders and our network of community nonprofits.

 

We will post more details on the week of the event.

Are you interested in Sponsoring the Food Hub Community Marketplace this month?

Contact: yuchu@foodfinders.org

READ MORE
June Community Marketplace

Community MarketPlace June 2023

The Food Finders Community Marketplace Food Hub at Admiral Kidd Park is a refrigerated container that will offer fresh produce in areas of Long Beach that experience high levels of food insecurity. The hub container can safely store produce, dairy, and other perishable food. Weekly food distribution and monthly programs will take place in close collaboration with Food Finders and our network of community nonprofits.

 

We will post more details on the week of the event.

Are you interested in Sponsoring the Food Hub Community Marketplace this month?

Contact: yuchu@foodfinders.org Beach, Admiral Kidd Park

 

READ MORE
May Community Marketplace

Community MarketPlace May 2023

The Food Finders Community Marketplace Food Hub at Admiral Kidd Park is a refrigerated container that will offer fresh produce in areas of Long Beach that experience high levels of food insecurity. The hub container can safely store produce, dairy, and other perishable food. Weekly food distribution and monthly programs will take place in close collaboration with Food Finders and our network of community nonprofits.

 

We will post more details on the week of the event.

Are you interested in Sponsoring the Food Hub Community Marketplace this month?

Contact: yuchu@foodfinders.org

READ MORE
April community Marketplace

Community MarketPlace April 2023

The Food Finders Community Marketplace Food Hub at Admiral Kidd Park is a refrigerated container that will offer fresh produce in areas of Long Beach that experience high levels of food insecurity. The hub container can safely store produce, dairy, and other perishable food. Weekly food distribution and monthly programs will take place in close collaboration with Food Finders and our network of community nonprofits.

 

We will post more details on the week of the event.

Are you interested in Sponsoring the Food Hub Community Marketplace this month?

Contact: yuchu@foodfinders.org

READ MORE
March Community Marketplace

Community MarketPlace March 2023

The Food Finders Community Marketplace Food Hub at Admiral Kidd Park is a refrigerated container that will offer fresh produce in areas of Long Beach that experience high levels of food insecurity. The hub container can safely store produce, dairy, and other perishable food. Weekly food distribution and monthly programs will take place in close collaboration with Food Finders and our network of community nonprofits.

 

We will post more details on the week of the event.

Are you interested in Sponsoring the Food Hub Community Marketplace this month?

Contact: yuchu@foodfinders.org

READ MORE

Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive – Volunteers Needed

JOIN FOOD FINDERS for the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive May 13th, 2023

WHO: This is a sign-up form for individuals, companies, and groups who would like to volunteer their time helping Food Finders to sort and pack food donation bags and boxes.
WHAT: Stamp Out Hunger is observed on the second Saturday of May and takes place on May 13. It is the largest food drive in the country and takes place in more than 10,000 cities and towns. Food Finders will be at three to four Local Post Office Locations.
WHEN: Saturday, May 13, 2023
WHERE: (TBD)  Local Area Post Offices (Seal Beach, Lakewood, Long Beach +)

Sign Up Form Below

Stamp Out Hunger Volunteering Sign Up Form
WHO: This is a sign up form for individuals, companies, and groups who would like to volunteer their time helping Food Finders to sort and pack food donation bags and boxes. WHAT: Stamp Out Hunger is observed on the second Saturday of May and takes place on May 13. It is the largest food drive in the country and takes place in more than 10,000 cities and towns. Food Finders will be at three to four Local Post Office Locations. WHEN: Saturday, May 13, 2023 WHERE:(TBD) Local Area Post Offices (Seal Beach, Lakewood, Long Beach +)
We will contact you with the specific times

READ MORE

Holiday Sort & Pack Food Drive – Volunteers Needed

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED to pack donated holiday food in boxes.

Individuals and groups can come and help Food Finders pack over 1200 Holiday Food Boxes for those in need. Form Sign-Up Below

Where:  Mcbride High School, 7025 Parkcrest Street, Long Beach, CA 9080

Date: November 18 & 19, 2023

When: 8AM to 4PM 12 shifts

Groups of Six Volunteers for 10am -12pm

Groups of Six Volunteers for 12pm – 2pm

Groups of Six Volunteers for 2pm – 4pm

Contact Carly Bragg (562) 283-1400 x113

 

or email cbragg@foodfinders.org

Individual and Group Sign Up

VOLUNTEER for Holiday Pack and Sort
November 18th and 19th, 2022 Holiday Pack Sort For Groups and Individuals

Individual Volunteers

Company & Group Volunteers

READ MORE
Meatless Monday Recipe by Soul Fire FarmNutrition

“No Kitchen, No Money, No Time” Recipe

Meatless Monday is a very important day for the planet. It asks each of us to take one day to avoid meat products. Why? Eating less meat reduces demand, greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution, and our carbon footprint, all from changing one simple meal choice

Top 3 Reasons to Go Meatless Once a Week

For the Environment:
* Reduce your carbon footprint
* Minimize Water Usage
* Fight deforestation
* Reduce land degradation
* Protect wildlife and plant Biodiversity
* Reduce Greenhouse Gases

resources_403x403_grain

For Your Health:
* Reduce Heart Disease and Stroke
* Limit Cancer Risk
* Fight Diabetes
* Curb Obesity
* Improve The Nutritional Quality of Your Diet
* Live longer

For Your Wallet:
* Curb Healthcare Spending
* Cut Weekly Budget

Recipe from Soul Fire Farm

Soul Fire Farm is a nonprofit Afro-Indigenous-centered community farm committed to uprooting racism and seeding sovereignty in the food system. They raise and distribute life-giving food as a means to end food apartheid. They teach people to farm, educate all of us about food inequities, and empower people of color through and understanding of the food system.

During Black History Month, we want to share recipes from food justice advocates working to empower and change the food system. Let us know if you prepare this recipe. Share your images and comments. And if you know of a Food Justice Organization in the United States, let us know that too!

Source: Soul Fire Farm

Oatmeal and Fruit
Boil 2 cups of water or milk. Add ¾ cup of regular oats and ½ cup of fruit (such as chopped apple, banana, raisins, pear, or berries.) Add a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of honey or other sweeteners. Continue to cook on low until oats are soft and creamy, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. (serves 2)

Vegetable Soup 
Coat the bottom of a pot lightly with oil, then add one medium chopped onion and 2-3 cloves of chopped garlic. Similar to the onion and garlic in the oil. Add 4 cups of water or vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Add 2 cups of finely chopped vegetables (such as carrots, tomato, greens, celery, squash, and sweet potato.) Continue to cook on medium until the veggies are almost soft. Add 1 cup of cooked/canned beans (such as chickpeas, kidney beans, and black beans.) Add salt, pepper, and herbs to taste (such as oregano, thyme, and basil.) If you did not use broth, mash up a bit of the soup to give the liquid some texture. (serves 4)

Omelette with Toast
Coat the bottom of a skillet lightly with oil and heat it up until water sizzles when dropped on the surface. Crack two eggs into a bowl and beat well. Pour the eggs into the hot oil. Cover the top of the egg with ⅓ cup total of finely chopped onion, spinach (or other green), tomato, and pepper. Add grated cheese as well, if you choose. Use a spatula to fold the egg in half. Flip as needed to cook on both sides. Serve with toast. (serves 1)

Veggie and Fruit w/ Dip 
Mix ½ cup peanut butter and two tablespoons of honey in a bowl. Slice one apple, one carrot, and one celery stalk. Dip the fruits and veggies in the peanut butter mixture and enjoy. (serves 2)

Black History Month

It’s Black History Month, and we’re taking this opportunity to learn and share more about Black History in relation to food, farming, and food justice.

Black History Month originally started as a way to educate students and young people about Black and African-Americans’ contributions, triumphs, and struggles, and it has continued to be a time for commemorating and recognizing their integral role in our history and culture. Their stories are a critical part of our history here in Southern California. Food Finders is always looking for ways to educate and inform people on Food Waste, Food Justice, and the diverse culture that surrounds us–including the many people we serve 365 days a year!

Many significant Black figures have shaped our agriculture system and spearheaded the fight for food justice. We hope that you enjoy this recipe and you take the time to learn more about #MeatlessMonday, #BlackHistoryMonth, and #SoulFireFarm

READ MORE
Community

Black Leaders in Food Justice

#BlackHistoryMonth

In celebration of Black History Month we are highlighting three black individuals who have had significant contributions in the way that we approach hunger and food justice, both historically and currently. Although communities of color have always had a critical role in shaping our American foodscape, their contributions have historically gone unrecognized. These three advocates offer a peak into these contributions, to engage and learn from not only this month, but at all times.

George Washington Carver is perhaps one of the most honored figures in the black American landscape for his food contributions, specifically the peanut. What many people don’t know about him is that he had a master’s degree in Scientific Agriculture. Born into slavery, he often skirted chores as a child to study plants and eventually found his passion in food and cooking. He obtained a college education as the first black student at Iowa State University, and after joining the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama as the director of agriculture, he made significant strides in helping farmers to efficiently grow crops, best utilize their harvest, and even published bulletins and recipes to distribute to farmers. He was one of the earliest proponents of sustainable agriculture and “conscious eating”. His research made a huge impact on soil fertility and waste reduction in addition to general farming practices.

Dr. Rashida Crutchfield is an associate professor at CSULB, where she initiated a study of student homelessness and hunger. What started as a local concern became a national study, and her passion to lend a voice to those who were displaced and food insecure helped initiate the Office of the Chancellor’s 3-phase study on basic needs, setting a precedent for making student food insecurity and homelessness among students a health priority. She’s since become a respected authority and advocate in this arena, and her findings and strategies to address these issues were published in 2019 as a book.

Ron Finley is a community contributor in downtown L.A., often referred to as the Guerrilla Gardener. Since 2010 he has been actively growing fresh produce for his local neighborhood using abandoned strips of land or parkways. These areas of South Central, often labeled as food deserts, have limited or nonexistent access to fresh fruits and vegetables. The “food prisons” as Finley calls them, impact the health of residents, each of whom deserves equal access to nutritious foods. To tackle this issue, he not only shares his harvest but teaches gardening and the importance of good food and provides a place for residents to gather and form tighter community bonds.


If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger, help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#BlackHistoryMonth #foodfindersinc  #foodrescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #volunteer #charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #helpendhunger #endhunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #donate #makeanimpact

READ MORE
Food Waste

Crumb-y Green Lasagna

#WhyWasteWednesday

#WhyWasteFood Wednesday is a call to action to take those almost-in-the-trash food items and turn them into delicious meals!

At least 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted every year around the world—in fields, during transport, in storage, at restaurants, and in our homes! If each individual made a call to action to stop their own food waste–the planet benefits, we have less hunger, and your own grocery bills will go down through the savings.

UN Food & Agriculture

Scraps: Soured Milk, Overripe Tomatoes,  Stale Bread, Wilted Greens

Crumb-y Green Lasagna

Fall bounty can get away from you and this recipe is a perfect chance to play catch-up. Preserve your fall garlic crop by confiting it and storing it in the fridge. Tired, blemished tomatoes can be trimmed to make a hearty sauce. Accumulate soft tomatoes in the freezer until you have enough to make a sauce. Wilted and neglected greens from spinach, chard, or kale can be sautéed into new life as a filling for this classic-style lasagna.

Ricotta

Ingredients

  • 12½ cups (3 L) soured milk, 3.25%
  • 1½ cups (350 ml) cream, 35%
  • 2 lemons, juice and zest
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp (12 g) sea salt

Directions

  1. Heat the soured milk and cream in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, stirring often so it does not scorch on the bottom.
  2. Bring to 195°F (90°C) and stir in the lemon juice and zest.
  3. Remove from heat and stir for 2 minutes until curds form.
  4. Line a large strainer with a clean towel or a piece of cheesecloth that is 4 layers thick.
  5. Pour the mixture into the strainer and let sit for whey to drain for 1 hour.
  6. Reserve whey for future use.
  7. When the ricotta has drained, transfer to a small bowl and cover.
  8. Refrigerate for 2 hours. When cool, mix the ricotta with the eggs and sea salt. Ricotta can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Green Confit

Ingredients

  • 12 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1¼ cup (300 ml) grapeseed oil

Directions

  1. Submerge the garlic cloves in a small pot filled with grapeseed oil
  2. Bring to a low simmer and reduce heat to lowest possible level. Simmer until garlic is soft when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour.
  3. Remove from heat and cool. Store the garlic in the oil and refrigerate immediately until ready to use. Use within a few days of preparing.

Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (125 ml) olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 lbs (900 g) tomatoes (can be spotty
  • and soft), bad spots removed, chopped
  • 1 tbsp (2½ g) fresh thyme leaves,
  • removed from stems
  • 1 tbsp (1½ g) rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tsp (12 g) sea salt
  • 1 tbsp (7 g) smoked paprika

Directions

  1. Heat the olive oil on medium low in a medium-sized saucepan, and add the onion and garlic.
  2. Cook for 5 minutes until translucent.
  3. Add the tomatoes, herbs, sea salt, and paprika.
  4. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, about 30 minutes.
  5. Adjust seasoning to taste and set aside.

Olive Oil Crumb

Ingredients

  • 2 slices stale bread
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
  • 1 pinch sea salt

Directions

  1. Remove crusts from the bread if they are very hard.
  2. Blitz bread in a food processor until crumbly.
  3. Pour into a bowl and dress with the olive oil and sea salt.
  4. Spread on a small sheet pan and toast in a 300°F (150°C) degree oven until dry.
  5. Stir every 2 to 3 minutes to ensure even cooking.
  6. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Lasagna Assembly

Ingredients

  • 8 cups (240 g) wilted greens such as kale,
  • chard, spinach, washed and dried
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
  • 4 cups (1 L) tomato sauce (on previous page)
  • 12 pieces cooked lasagna noodles
  • 2¾ cups (687 ml) ricotta (recipe above)
  • 12 cloves garlic from garlic confit
  • (on previous page)
  • 1 cup (225 g) mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1½ cups (300 g) pecorino cheese, grated
  • Olive oil crumb (recipe above)

Directions

  1. Sauté the greens in the olive oil.
  2. In a 9×9-inch (22 cm x 22 cm) non-reactive pan, layer ⅓ of the tomato sauce on the base of the pan.
  3. Top with ⅓ of the lasagna noodles, covering with an even layer.
  4. Top with ½ of the ricotta mixture and 12 cloves of garlic, removed from the garlic confit.
  5. Layer another ⅓ of the lasagna noodles on top.
  6. Add another ⅓ of the tomato sauce and top with the final ⅓ of lasagna noodles.
  7. Top with the remaining ricotta and then sautéed greens.
  8. Finish with the remaining tomato sauce and sprinkle both cheeses and olive oil crumbs on top.
  9. Bake in a 375°F (190°C) oven for 45 minutes until hot throughout.
  10. Divide into 6 portions and serve with crusty bread or a green salad.

If you have a recipe you would like to share with us for #whywastewednesday, please email christian.bearden100@gmail.com.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#whywastewednesday  #foodfindersinc  #foodrescue #stopfoodwaste #reducehunger #improvenutrition #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #climatechange #foodupcycling #HelpEndHunger #Volunteer #Charity #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

The scrapsbook. IKEA. (n.d.). Retrieved October 18, 2022.

READ MORE
Nutrition

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Why Meatless Monday?

  • Meatless Monday is of utmost importance, especially in the United States, as we consume much more animal products than the rest of the world.
  • The meat industry uses vast amounts of our finite fossil fuels and water and lots of grain to feed livestock, which is extremely inefficient. Why not use those resources to feed people more directly?
  • About 1,850 gallons of water is needed to produce a singular pound of beef, comparable to only 39 gallons of water per pound of vegetables. A vegetarian diet alone could dramatically reduce water consumption by 58% per person!
  • Meat production also is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, which has proven to correlate to the climate change crisis. 
  • Some benefits of eating plant-based once a week include:
    • Save 133 gallons of water with each meatless meal!
    • Reduce your carbon footprint by 8 pounds each Meatless Monday you participate in
    • If you commit to participating in Meatless Monday every Monday, that is equivalent to skipping one serving of beef for a year, would save the same amount of emissions as driving 348 miles in a car.

“This salad has all of our favorite elements–crunchy bites, creamy goat cheese, fresh greens, and the rich sweetness of roasted sweet potato, all with a tangy citrus dressing.”

Serves: 6

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces Baby Spinach, about 3 cups
  • 5 ounces Baby Arugula, about 3 cups
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 apple, preferably sweet, cut into matchsticks
  • 3 cups Roasted Sweet Potatoes
  • 1½ cups Candied Pecans
  • ¾ cup Orange Vinaigrette

Cooking Instructions

  1. In a large serving bowl, toss the spinach, arugula, ¾ of the goat cheese, ¾ of the apple, 2 cups roasted sweet potato, and 1 cup candied pecans with ¾ of the orange vinaigrette until everything is coated.
  2. Top the salad with the remaining goat cheese, apples, sweet potatoes, and pecans. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and serve immediately.

Nutrition

  • Calories 386
  • Protein 6g
  • Carbohydrates 33g
  • Total Fat 27g
  • Dietary Fiber 5g
  • Cholesterol 0mg
  • Sodium 251mg
  • Total Sugars 17g

Roasted sweet potato salad with Orange Vinaigrette. The Modern Proper. (n.d.). Retrieved November 10, 2022.

If you have a recipe you would like to share with us for #meatlessmondays, please email christian.bearden100@gmail.com.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#meatlessmonday #foodfindersinc #hunger #hunger #FoodRescue #reducehunger #improvenutrition #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #Volunteer #Charity #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

READ MORE

Community Marketplace February 2023

The Food Finders Community Marketplace Food Hub at Admiral Kidd Park is a refrigerated container that will offer fresh produce in areas of Long Beach that experience high levels of food insecurity. The hub container can safely store produce, dairy and other persihable food. Weekly food distribution and monthly programs will take place in close collaboration with Food Finders and our network of community nonprofits.

 

We will post more details on the week of the event.

   We would like to thank our sponsors:

READ MORE
Food Waste

Honey-Roasted Whole Carrot

#WhyWasteWednesday

#WhyWasteFood Wednesday is a call to action to take those almost-in-the-trash food items and turn them into delicious meals!

At least 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted every year around the world—in fields, during transport, in storage, at restaurants, and in our homes! If each individual made a call to action to stop their own food waste–the planet benefits, we have less hunger, and your own grocery bills will go down through the savings.

UN Food & Agricultural

Scraps: Whole Carrots with greens, Cilantro with white roots

This recipe uses the entire carrot, including the tops, and also an uncommon part of the cilantro, the white roots. They’re pungent and slightly peppery, which is a perfect complement to the carrot top chimichurri.

Chimichurri

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches carrots, with green tops
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) red wine vinegar
  • ½ bunch cilantro, white roots attached
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

Cooking Instructions

  1. Rinse the carrots well, then remove the tops and set the carrots aside.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the garlic, shallot, red wine vinegar, cilantro, carrot tops, and olive oil until finely chopped (see notes).
  3. Allow the chimichurri to sit refrigerated for at least 2 hours so the greens soften and flavor the olive oil.

Roasted Whole Carrots

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (118 g) chopped walnuts
  • 2 carrots, tops and greens removed
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) grapeseed oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup (250 ml) yogurt
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) sriracha
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) honey

Cooking Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C).
  2. Toast the walnuts in the oven for 4 to 6 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, coat the carrots with the grapeseed oil, salt, and black pepper.
  4. Season the yogurt with salt if it’s too thin. Strain it with a fine-mesh strainer, reserving the whey. Add the whey to the chimichurri for mild acidity.
  5. Combine the sriracha and honey, and pour half the mixture over the carrots, coating them evenly. Arrange the carrots in an ovenproof pan. Bake uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes (depending on thickness), until tender and browned.
  6. Remove the carrots from the oven and drizzle with the remaining sriracha and honey.
  7. To finish, spread the yogurt on a plate and arrange the carrots on top. Spoon the chimichurri over the carrots and sprinkle with the toasted walnuts.

The scrapsbook. IKEA. (n.d.). Retrieved October 18, 2022.

If you have a recipe you would like to share with us for #whywastewednesday, please email christian.bearden100@gmail.com.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#whywastewednesday  #foodfindersinc  #foodrescue #stopfoodwaste #reducehunger #improvenutrition #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #Volunteer #Charity #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

READ MORE
Climate

Why Meatless Mondays?

Join Food Finders in our weekly #MeatlessMonday posts and recipes. Taking one day a week to eat “meatless” is of the utmost importance, especially in the United States, as we consume much more animal products than the rest of the world. Below are some of the reasons that we spotlight these recipes:

  • Meatless Monday is of utmost importance, especially in the United States, as we consume much more animal products than the rest of the world.
  • The meat industry uses vast amounts of our finite fossil fuels and water and lots of grain to feed livestock, which is extremely inefficient. Why not use those resources to feed people more directly?
  • About 1,850 gallons of water is needed to produce a singular pound of beef, comparable to only 39 gallons of water per pound of vegetables. A vegetarian diet alone could dramatically reduce water consumption by 58% per person!
  • Meat production also is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, which has proven to correlate to the climate change crisis. 
  • Some benefits of eating plant-based once a week include:
    • Save 133 gallons of water with each meatless meal!
    • Reduce your carbon footprint by 8 pounds each Meatless Monday you participate in
    • If you commit to participating in Meatless Monday every Monday, that is equivalent to skipping one serving of beef for a year, would save the same amount of emissions as driving 348 miles in a car.

Why Meatless Monday? Some avoid meat products for environmental reasons, or for their love of animals, and ethically oppose consuming animal products. Others go meatless to live longer, healthier lives. A lot of scientific research points to significant health benefits of eating vegetarian, and even the federal government recommends consuming most of our calories from grain products, vegetables, and fruit. An estimated 70 percent of all diseases are related to diet, and that’s just one benefit of a meatless diet. 

Ward Off Disease

Vegetarian diets are shown to have more health benefits than the average American’s diet. Eating meatless can help treat and prevent heart disease and reduce the risk of certain cancers. A low-fat vegetarian diet is a major way to prevent the progression of coronary artery disease, and can help prevent it entirely. Cardiovascular disease kills 1 million Americans annually and is the leading cause of death in the United States.

To Help Reduce Pollution

The meat industry has huge, devastating effects on our environment. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), chemical waste and animal waste runoff from factory farms is responsible for 173,000 miles of polluted rivers and streams. This runoff flowing into farmland is one of the greatest threats to water quality today. Agricultural activities that cause pollution include confined animal facilities, plowing, pesticide spraying, irrigation, fertilizing and harvesting.

Create a Plate Full of Color

Disease-fighting phytochemicals give fruits and vegetables their rich, varied hues. They come in two main classes: carotenoids and anthocyanins. Carotenoids include rich yellow and orange fruits: carrots, oranges, sweet potatoes, mangoes, pumpkins, corn. Leafy greens are also full of carotenoids, owing their color to chlorophyll. Anthocyanins cover all red, blue, and purple fruits and vegetables: plums, cherries, red bell peppers. Planning meals and rotation by color will help boost your immunity and prevent a range of diseases. 

Help End World Hunger

On Average, 40% of grain worldwide is fed to animals, in wealthier countries grain used for feed is around 70%. If these crops were used to feed people rather than animals, roughly 70% more food would be added to the world’s supply. This would be enough to feed 4 billion additional people, and the sudden surplus of this food alone would feed over half the Earth’s population; let alone the 795 million who face hunger every day.

Finding good-for-you and great-tasting vegetarian foods is almost effortless nowadays. Walking down the aisles at a supermarket or down the street during lunch, vegetarian options are abundant. The internet, or a local bookstore are also a great resource for delicious at-home recipes. Even eating out, including fast-food, it’s not difficult to find vegetarian options. Their menus usually will now include healthful salad, sandwiches, and entrees on their menus. So instead of asking ‘Why Meatless Mondays?’, instead ask why not.


Asaph. (2022, May 18). Why Be a Vegetarian? Consider Your Health. Vegetarian Times. Retrieved January 9, 2023.

READ MORE
Food Waste

Food Inflation vs. Food Insecurity: How Inflation Has Impacted Food Insecurity Since the Start of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Overview

In the midst of the holiday season, one thing is on everyone’s mind: food. But whether food is easily accessible and affordable is another story and gives way to the different, less joyful word on everyone’s minds: inflation.

To understand the impact of inflation on current food prices in the United States, I will explore the following areas:

  • current causes of food inflation in the US,
  • the rise of food prices and impact on low-income households, and 
  • food insecurity during the holidays.
Food inflation has been on the rise especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Current Causes of Food Inflation in the US

It is important to put the current rates of inflation into context. In the United States, the price of food began to increase in mid-2021 and coincided with higher distribution costs, labor shortages, and commodity price increases in the sector. Many farmers and manufacturers saw disruptions in the supply chain which led them to shut down temporarily or permanently. Labor shortages and higher wages were reflected in the raised menu prices for customers. At the same time, global food prices were also increasing but the start of the war in Ukraine in early 2022 exacerbated these trends. Evidently, the war has put significant pressure on global food inflation which began to increase first in developing countries and then in developed ones.

COVID-19 Pandemic 

Unfortunately (but not surprisingly), the COVID-19 pandemic continues to mark our lives in numerous ways which includes inflation. Although, a global pandemic like this one is rare, this means that there is less information for policymakers to rely on regarding decision-making protocol during periods of emergency. According to a White House statement on prices during the pandemic, three temporary factors have contributed primarily to the increase in inflation: 

  1. base effects,
  2. supply chain disruptions and misalignments, and
  3. pent-up demand. 

Base effects occur when “the base, or initial month, of a growth rate is unusually low or high.” Supply chain disruptions arise when the cost of production increases and businesses decide to pass on higher prices to consumers. Finally, pent-up demand during the pandemic has led to a surge in consumers eating out at restaurants. But as Americans find less food options available compared to pre-pandemic levels, restaurant prices may increase as a result. Optimistically, the authors believe that these factors will be “transitory,” fade over time, and mimic America’s behavior following past wars and pandemics. But they do warn that history is “not a perfect guide” either.

Several sectors have experienced product shortages during the pandemic, Econofact.

Future Outlook on Food Inflation

While history may not be able to predict our future exactly, we have tools today to get a picture of what is likely to come. According to the USDA, food prices, food-at-home prices, and food-away-from-home prices are expected to “grow more slowly in 2023 than in 2022” but will remain above “historical average rates.” According to President Joe Biden’s recent statement on Personal Consumption Expenditures in October, inflation moderated and the nation is on their way to “more steady, stable economic growth” and food inflation has also slowed.

“How people believe prices are going to behave in the future plays an important role because inflation expectations can sometimes become self-fulfilling.”

– Alberto Cavallo, Associate Professor Harvard Business School

The Impact of Rising Food Prices on Consumers and Low-income Households

The rise in food prices is reflected in the changing consumer habits. According to CNN, more consumers are searching for deals, switching to off-brand choices, and eating at less pricey restaurants like IHOP and Applebee’s. Others have started shopping at cheaper grocers and buying store-bought items instead of making them at home. Most worryingly, one respondent stated that once she can afford it, she will “go back to buying more fruits and veggies.” In Los Angeles County, 12.1% of adults reported consuming five or more servings of fruits and vegetables the previous day and the rate rose with education and income. It is not difficult to understand how income can affect buying habits. Increasing food prices do not affect everyone equally. According to Rory Smead, an associate professor at Northeastern, those in the “middle class and reasonably comfortable” will not feel the impacts as much as those “working in the margins.” So with the rise in food inflation and daily fruit and vegetable consumption rates already fairly low at least in Los Angeles, a county with a high rate of food insecurity, we should be very concerned about how rising prices are affecting the long term health of low-income households.

Rates of different age groups in fruit and vegetable consumption in Los Angeles, Dignity Health St. Mary Medical Center, p. 94

COVID-19 Pandemic and Food Insecurity

According to the White House National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, the COVID-19 pandemic “exacerbated food insecurity, diet-related diseases, and health disparities” and disrupted a decade-long downward trend in food insecure households with children (p. 6). In 2021, the USDA reported that 13.5 million (10.2%) US households were food insecure at some point during the year while 8.4 million (6.4%) US households reported low food security. In California, 8 million residents struggle with food insecurity and in Los Angeles County, 30% of low-income residents don’t know where their next meal will come from. NYU also found that the pandemic increased food insecurity especially among families with children and that school closures made it more difficult for children to access meals through the National School Lunch program.

National School Lunch Program lunches served 1971-2021, USDA

Food Insecurity During the Holidays

The holiday season can be the busiest times of year for food banks and with the impact of the pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine on inflation and food prices, food-insecure households and individuals are even more vulnerable during this time of year. Additionally, as schools close for the winter break, students who benefit from the National School Lunch Program temporarily lose access to a source of food. 

As we continue to ease the pandemic restrictions on everyday life, economic instability and uncertainty remain. That is why the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health is so important. In its first pillar, The National Strategy recognizes the need for economic security and providing Americans and their families with more income through expanding the Child Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the minimum wage.

In the meantime, families need to eat now which is what many organizations and groups are focused on throughout the country year-round.

Food Finders

Food Finders, anticipating the increased need during the holidays, holds an annual Holiday Food Drive to collect food for their non-profit partners. It begins October 1st through December 31st. Throughout November, Food Finders held a Turkey Drive and during their Holiday Pack and Sort event on November 19th and 20th, the organization distributed 2,322 food boxes for agencies to provide for families and assembled a total of 4,231 boxes. They also distributed 2,600 turkeys during the event and provided an additional 200 turkeys and 100 hams during the month of December.

What Can You Do To Help?

Food Finders works daily to change how food waste is distributed to eliminate hunger and food insecurity. If you would like more information, please visit our website, volunteer, or support our mission to eliminate hunger and food waste by making a donation today.

#inflation #hunger #foodprices #pandemic #covid19 #foodinsecurity

Nickee O’Bryant is the Community Outreach and Advocacy Intern at Food Finders. She is a senior at California State University, Long Beach and is studying International Studies and French and Francophone Studies. Through monthly blog posts, Nickee documents her journey as she learns more about food insecurity, food waste, and how they are interconnected.

READ MORE