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Joint Venture stewards Santa Clara County Food Recovery Program; helps grocery stores fight climate change, stop hunger

bood in aluminum tinsSB 1383 takes effect to improve environment and hunger

April 21, 2022 — Joint Venture Silicon Valley’s food recovery initiative is leading the way forward for the local food recovery portions of SB 1383, a sweeping climate change law that took effect January 1 and mandates a statewide 20% diversion of surplus edible food toward human consumption.

Food recovery, the practice of diverting edible food to those who that need it, was once voluntary. Thanks to SB 1383, regulated food facilities are legally required to divert the maximum amount of food possible for human consumption, including the option of donating their surplus food to people who don’t have enough.

This endeavor mitigates the impacts of greenhouse gasses and prevents edible food from ending up in landfills.

Under the bill, supermarkets with revenue over $2 million, grocery stores with facilities greater than 10,000 square feet, food service providers, distributors, and wholesale food vendors must comply with the new regulations. Restaurants, schools, health facilities, large venues/events, and hotels are required to comply starting in 2024.

Under the direction of Robin Franz Martin, executive director of the food recovery initiative, the program has established systems for online reporting, launched an educational website, implemented education and outreach efforts, supported the passage of local ordinances that mirror the state measure, and developed a process for monitoring and enforcement.

Santa Clara County is unique in their commitment to a county-wide program. Martin convened regional leaders and organizations to facilitate the drafting of ordinances that guide the county and regional jurisdiction’s program. “The passage of the coordinated ordinances across jurisdictions in Santa Clara County shows just how committed our local governments are to the success of this crucial Program; it’s a huge step forward for both the environment and our neighbors in need,” said Franz Martin.

The Implementation Committee of the Recycling and Waste Reduction Commission of Santa Clara County awarded $340,000 of County wide funds to Joint Venture’s food recovery initiative to oversee the launch of this new program. Started in July 2021, Franz Martin guides the newly-formed Santa Clara County Food Recovery Program toward implementation of the food recovery requirements outlined in SB 1383, the first law in the nation mandating certain businesses to divert the maximum possible amounts of their surplus food.

An additional $50,000 was awarded to Joint Venture to provide a capacity assessment of the County’s existing food recovery process that must be provided to the State. Surveys of food businesses and food recovery organizations were completed. This assessment is nearing completion, and will enable leaders to make informed decisions about how best to increase the distribution and accessibility of recovered food. Data will be available in June, and will help to inform local policy and funding decisions.

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Note: Senate Bill 1383 took effect in January 2022 with sweeping legislation designed to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants by reducing organics waste disposal. It requires the collection of edible food that would otherwise go to waste and for its redistribution to feed people, often going to those most in need. It is the first law in the nation to mandate that certain businesses contract to donate the maximum amount possible of their surplus food. Local businesses may learn more about the program at www.sccfoodrecovery.org.

About Joint Venture Silicon Valley

Established in 1993, Joint Venture provides analysis and action on issues affecting the Silicon Valley economy and quality of life. The organization brings together established and emerging leaders—from business, government, academia, labor and the broader community—to spotlight issues, launch projects and work toward innovative solutions. For more information, visit www.jointventure.org.

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