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Newly Formed Silicon Valley Food Recovery Council Joins Forces to Prevent Food Waste, Feed the Hungry

COVID-19 text over world mapAs the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have dramatically worsened, Joint Venture has implemented a multi-faceted response to support the community.

March 16, 2020 - With supporting funds from Wells Fargo, Joint Venture Silicon Valley has convened a council of prepared food recovery programs to improve the food recovery system in Silicon Valley. The Silicon Valley Food Recovery Council’s goals are two-fold: to reduce the amount of food that is wasted on a daily basis, and to help the almost one-in-four people in the community who face food insecurity. These programs currently collect surplus prepared food from restaurants, tech campuses, and universities and then redistribute it to communities in need. Silicon Valley Food Recovery, an initiative of Joint Venture Silicon Valley, along with Loaves & Fishes Family Kitchen and their A La Carte program, Hunger at Home, Martha’s Kitchen, Chefs to End Hunger, OLIO, Peninsula Food Runners, Replate, and Copia, have united to increase capacity and raise awareness about their programs. They aspire to make food donations and access to food more seamless for the community at large.

With the support of Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, the hub for grocery rescue in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, this new council plans to find strength in numbers. It is comprised of the eight leading organizations in prepared food recovery in the region who will now come together to reduce hunger and waste. This is the first such council of its kind in the country ⎯ a demonstration of collaboration instead of competition. It will lead to a more efficient use of resources, more food recovered, and result in more people being fed.

“With the high cost of housing and many families having to choose between paying rent or buying groceries, food recovery programs provide a great resource to the community plus the added benefit of reducing pollution generated from food waste,” said Bill Lee, Executive Director of Martha’s Kitchen. “I’m excited for this opportunity to work collaboratively with my food recovery colleagues to improve our current system and to help the community meet its food rescue targets under SB 1383.”

In 2016, California passed SB 1383, which set a target that 20% of all edible food will be recovered and redistributed to communities in need by 2025. CalRecycle is the lead agency for developing regulations to achieve this 20% target and will go into effect on January 1, 2022. Given these new requirements, expansion of existing efforts will be critical. The council’s strategy for meeting the SB 1383 requirements is to increase outreach and education efforts to food generators, increase community awareness and access to recovered food, and increase the capacity of all programs.

About Joint Venture Silicon Valley

Established in 1993, Joint Venture Silicon Valley provides analysis and action on issues affecting our region's economy and quality of life. Their Food Recovery initiative founded the A La Carte program (now housed at Loaves & Fishes Family Kitchen), is working with stakeholders to increase capacity as enactment of 1383 approaches, convening this newly formed council, and working with funders on strategic programs to greatly impact hunger and food waste in Silicon Valley. For more information, visit www.jointventure.org.

About Loaves & Fishes Family Kitchen

Founded in1980, Loaves & Fishes Family Kitchen is a nonprofit organization created to respond to the growing issue of hunger, homelessness and food insecurity throughout Silicon Valley. Our mission is simple, yet profound – to provide nutritious prepared meals that are delivered and served to disadvantaged individuals with a special concern for families, children, seniors, veterans, seniors, students, the disabled and the homeless. We run the A La Carte program, a fleet of trucks, staffed by trained personnel who gather prepared and packaged food from corporate and university campuses for delivery directly into neighborhoods with high-density populations of people in need.

About Hunger at Home

Hunger at Home serves as a conduit between the business and nonprofit communities to channel excess food and surplus goods to homeless and hungry individuals and families. Hunger at Home partners with convention centers, hotels, resorts, stadiums and entertainment venues to donate food and surplus to soup kitchens and other charities to feed those in need. We have donated over 2 million meals in the past 20 months. We also host events for our charity partners, donate gently-used amenities, china, glassware, bed sheets, and much more. Hunger at Home also proudly assists our charity and nonprofit partners with job placement and equipment needs.

About Martha’s Kitchen

Martha's Kitchen prepares 600,000 hot meals annually that are served both on site and at more than 60 partner locations throughout the region. These are healthy, complete, and nutritious meals to serve the hungry, including the homeless, working poor, disabled veterans, victims of domestic violence, impoverished youth, and many more at risk groups. Recovered food is one of the most critical elements to allowing us to do this, and if we had access to more recovered food, we would be able to serve more meals to the needy throughout this region.

About Chefs to End Hunger

In partnership with our founder and primary logistical partner, Vesta Foodservice, Chefs to End Hunger (501c3) supplies packaging, transportation and logistics to recover prepared food from food service operators, as well as whole product from our regional warehouses and vendor partners. Our program currently operates within the business network of Vesta Foodservice, which covers all of CA, Las Vegas and the Phoenix area, with plans to scale to other service areas. In 2018 we recovered over 3.2 million pounds of prepared food and whole product and hit our 2019 target of 4 million lbs of food recovered!

About OLIO

OLIO is an app that works with both businesses and in homes to reduce food waste by building communities through sharing surplus and it's all free for anyone to use and request. We have 1.7 mil users worldwide and shared over 3mil portions of food.

About Peninsula Food Runners

Peninsula Food Runners (PFR) dual mission is to recover nutritious surplus food to feed the needy and to reduce food waste in the San Mateo and Santa Clara County. Over 5 million pounds of food have been recovered since 2013 with the help of community grass root volunteers and a software called ChowMatch that is widely used in over 600 cities across US. PFR offers this FREE service in hopes, donors will share their surplus to feed the less fortunate. Soup kitchens, emergency shelters, senior and family affordable housing, churches, the homeless, those health and mental issues are all beneficiaries of this program. PFR volunteers are required to pass food safety test and donors are encouraged to adhere to food safety guidelines in order to donate. Word used to describe PFR's success: Dependable, Consistent, Reachable, Variety, Honest and have Wonderful Volunteers!

About Replate

Replate is the new nonprofit - we leverage technology and activate community to reliably redistribute surplus food to those experiencing food insecurity. We track donation data and provide insights for our donor clients, while working with our recipient clients to ensure they receive the appropriate food for their programming.

About Copia

Copia has developed the world’s first end-to-end solution to reduce waste for businesses, while solving for hunger and scarcity in communities across the nation. Restaurant chains, commercial kitchens, and food retailers use Copia’s mobile app and analytics to track and reduce surplus, while automatically connecting kitchens with on-demand drivers and nonprofits recipients to maximize financial, social and environmental impact from commercial waste reduction programs across the US and Canada.

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