Food Waste Prevention

The Governor released a letter on March 5th, 2018 in support of “Food Waste Prevention Week” and OPR, in collaboration with the California Department of Food and Agriculture, CalRecycle, the Strategic Growth Council, the California Department of Public Health, the University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, The Southern California Public Health Alliance, and many other state, local, and private sector partners, is pleased to announce March 5th through 9th, 2018, as “Food Waste Prevention Week” in the State of California.

OPR’s Work and the Broader Food System, Including Food Waste Work

Food Access

In 2016, the Legislature passed and Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 1000 (Leyva, Chapter 587), requiring cities and counties that have disadvantaged communities to incorporate environmental justice (EJ) policies into their General Plans, either in a separate EJ element or by integrating related goals, policies, and objectives throughout the other elements. This update, or revision if the local government already has EJ goals, policies, and objectives, must happen “upon the adoption or next revision of two or more elements concurrently on or after January 1, 2018.”

One of the policy areas local jurisdictions with disadvantaged communities will have to address includes food access. The updated General Plan Guidelines   have a discussion and explain how land use planning policies can be incorporated at the local level to support food access including:

  • Zoning to streamline projects
  • Protect agricultural land
  • Supporting urban farms
  • Increasing access to fresh, healthy foods and innovative partnerships to support food system work such as creating food policy councils

Additionally, some jurisdictions have taken a more holistic approach to the food system integrating programs to incorporate food waste recovery and move towards zero waste policies.  Jurisdictions including Fresno, Orange County  , Los Angeles  , and San Diego   have included food recovery programs to reduce waste and ensure food is recovered for those most in need. This work strongly aligns with SB 1383   that requires a goal of 20% food recovery for human consumption by 2025.

Outreach is still ongoing to provide more implementation guidance for SB1000, but integrated approaches such as food recovery and food waste prevention are promising solutions with multiple benefits to be able to integrate into general plan policies. OPR will be publishing more information on this area soon.

Systems Innovation

OPR has also worked with the private sector, foundations, sustainability planners and other partners to look at systems approaches to promote health, environmental sustainability and creative ways to support a food system that leverages cross-sector solutions that have systems-wide benefits. OPR was a co-host for initial brainstorming that resulted in the formation of Food System 6   , an innovative non-profit based in California supporting entrepreneurs transforming the food system. Innovations range across the supply chain within the food system   and some of the innovations are working on food waste in novel ways including: