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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

Community Marketplace October

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:

Food Hub Sponsors

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Community Marketplace September

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.

 

#image_title

   We would like to thank our sponsors:

Food Hub Sponsors

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Community Marketplace with JuicePlus+

 

Juice Plus+ Partners with Food Finders to Support Food Insecure Communities with Free Fruit and Vegetables at Community Marketplace

Live Cooking Demonstration by Top Chef Judge Gail Simmons Along with Activations, Entertainment & Produce/Product Giveaways

Download Flyers (ENGLISH< SAMOAN< SPANISH)Community Marketplace Flyer event v9

LOS ANGELES, CA (December 28, 2022) Goodness is our natural state. We all know that fruits and vegetables are key to a healthy family however it’s not always easy to get them in your daily diet. Leading global health and wellness company, Juice Plus+ believes in the value of community, and the importance of growing and sustaining a healthy family through whole food nutrition. In partnership with Food Finders, Juice Plus+ will provide nourishment to families with a free Community Marketplace Food Hub taking place on Saturday, January 28 from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. (PST) at Admiral Kidd Park located at 2125 Santa Fe Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90810.

The event will offer education, family-friendly entertainment and giveaways of fresh produce to local families in need. Culinary expert and Top Chef judge Gail Simmons will be on site for a live cooking demonstration, showcasing recipes that incorporate both fresh and canned produce, to show easy ways to eat healthily as a family. Parents and children can explore the Fruits and Veggie Tasting Stand to try a variety of dips that can be paired with popular fruits and vegetables, while the Let’s Get Scrappy station will show attendees how to use their fruit and vegetable scraps to regrow produce at home. Kids will enjoy face painting and a balloon artist as well as a coloring station, recipe matching activity and fruits & veggie painting.

The event is in celebration of the new ad campaign Juice Plus+ is launching in January throughout the

U.S. which is designed to tackle the overly complicated nature of the health and wellness category. Filmed on farms in California and Michigan, the ad showcases the abundance of fresh produce that are used for the Juice Plus+ product range, shown where they grow naturally. The intention is to show the goodness and nutrients that are found in nature, and how these form the basis of everything Juice Plus+ creates. The ad will begin airing on January 10, 2023 on the Discover Network (Cable and Streaming).

“Our latest campaign showcases ways to make healthy eating simple and stress free so that individuals and families can continue their healthy choices at home,” explains Dwana Scantlebury, Senior Director, Marketing Activation & Communication at Juice Plus+. “The CDC recently reported that California consumes a low percentage of fresh fruits and vegetables in the U.S. in comparison to other states, so at Juice Plus+, we wanted to find a way to inspire and promote whole food nutrition in communities that need it.”

In addition, the Juice Plus+ team will be passing out complimentary balanced smoothies made with Complete by Juice Plus+ while sharing the many benefits of the brand’s plant-based products that help bridge the gap between what you should eat, and what you do eat.

“Each day 1 in 5 CA residents will struggle with hunger yet, 30-40% of the food supply will end up in a landfill. This includes the resources and manpower that go into producing it. Food Finders not only mitigates food waste with our food rescue program we provide nearly a million meals a month to our agency partners,” explains Diana Lara, Executive Director of Food Finders Inc. “We are excited about our collaboration with Juice Plus+ and are grateful for their commitment to our mission of eliminating hunger and food waste while improving nutrition in the food insecure communities we serve.”

Every month, Food Finders hosts a “marketplace” to offer a pickup location for their weekly donation to their clientele in need. During this event, approximately 100+ local families will attend to pick up their fresh fruits, vegetables and more. For the entire month of January, Juice Plus+ will be the exclusive supporter feeding around 6,000 families in the area.

 

For more information about Juice Plus+, please visit www.juiceplus.com. For more information about the Community Marketplace Food Hub event, please visit www.foodfinders.org.

About Juice Plus+

The Juice Plus+ Company is a global health and wellness company with a mission

to inspire healthy living around the world. It operates in 26 markets globally and is supported by a mission-driven community of over 200,000 independent sales Partners and over one million customers.

What is Juice Plus+?

Juice Plus+ is committed to making healthy living easier with plant-based nutritional products that are as close to nature as possible and with a supportive, healthy lifestyle community. Juice Plus+ products include Juice Plus+ Fruit, Vegetable, and Berry Blend Capsules and Chewables, made from 30 different fruits, vegetables, and berries along with selected vitamins and other plant ingredients. For more information, visit JuicePlus.com.

 

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

   We would like to thank our sponsors:

Food Hub Sponsors

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Community

Girl Scout Troop 2863: Making A Difference

The Girl Scouts Bronze Award

According to the Girl Scouts: When a troop goes for the Bronze Award, they are representing what Girl Scouts can achieve in their communities. And it’s not just earning a patch and its done!

Earning the Girl Scout Bronze Award involves planning, commitment and the time to complete an Impact Journey in their community. They must build a team; explore their community; choose a project that will have a longer term impact; plan what to do; put that plan into motion; and then spread the word about what they are doing!

They will be out in the community talking about their program, progress and the impact of their volunteering long into the future.

Troop 2863 from Long Beach has chosen Food Finder’s Food 4 Kids Program as their Bronze Award project. Prior to COVID, the Food 4 Kids Program was delivering 385 bags of food every week to 15 Title 1 Long Beach Elementary Schools. In many cases, these bags of food provided families with their only weekend food option.

Starting the Food 4 Kids program back up is exciting for Food Finders because the program was halted during COVID. With the Girl Scouts here to help pack the bags of food, and then deliver them to the schools we are able to get the Food 4 Kids bags out of the warehouse and into the hands of families faster. Groups like the Girl Scouts can help us to fill the need for volunteers needed in the early afternoon hours. Many volunteers can only come early in the morning or late in the day but these bags of food need to be delivered just before school lets out on Friday–just in time for school kids heading home for the weekend.

What Is A Title 1 School?

According to the Department of Education a Title 1 School is: a school in which children from low-income families make up at least 40 percent of enrollment and are eligible to use Title I funds to operate schoolwide programs that serve all children in the school in order to raise the achievement of the lowest-achieving students. For the city of Long Beach, Title 1 students are about 85% of enrollment!

Providing meals for the weekend is critical to the learning of children when they return to class on Monday. One of the site directors at Lincoln Elementary told us: “We noticed that bringing this partnership to our site brought our families closer to the program. It created a better school climate where families felt cared for and considered outside their child’s academics. Families’ well-being and needs became attended to and the responses (to picking up the bags) showed great need.”

Hunger Impacts Learning

The consequences of going hungry on a child are long term. We already know that hunger curbs a child’s physical development but did you know that it also inhibits their ability to focus and perform in class? If children cannot learn how can they have any hope of lifting themselves out of poverty?

The Food 4 Kids Program is an opportunity for all of us to give a child a helping hand somewhere in the future. This is the key to the Bronze Award program Troop 2863 is working on right now. If they can pack and sort, and then deliver food to kids in their own community, then those kids have a better chance of learning more in school. If they learn more their opportunities in life are increased. Everyone benefits!

“Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.” (Sally Koch)

As Girl Scouts, these girls in Troop 2863 know that they will earn this Bronze award with courage,
confidence, and character because this work to help kids in food-insecure communities is a small act of kindness that will make a big difference in the world they are growing up into!

#GirlScouts #FoodFindersInc #Food4Kids

If you would like to volunteer at Food Finders please contact Kevin Burciaga kburciaga@foodfinders.org or learn more

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

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

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