We believe we can alleviate hunger by facilitating the recovery and redistribution of surplus food, and by offering it to those who need it.
Waste-Free VC works to eliminate food waste, while improving nutrition in food insecure communities.
Ventura County is in the top ten most productive agricultural regions in the nation, with a reported $2 billion-dollars in annual revenues. Yet, much of the food grown in this region enters the global supply chain, leaving less than 5% to feed county residents. One in six county residents face food insecurity threats, including equitable access to affordable, nutritious food, living in or adjacent to a so-called ‘food desert’ or are unaware of the importance of healthy eating habits. Moreover, almost half of the food produced globally ends up in the landfill, contributing to the production of methane gas – a contributor to climate change.
The Ventura County Public Health Department spearheaded efforts in 2018 to address the intersection of food insecurity and edible food recovery. Waste-Free Ventura County, initially funded by CalRecycle, seeks to build a coalition of partners to reduce food waste, eliminate hunger and recover edible food before it is sent to the landfill. The priority of this Coalition is to fill the gaps in our current food recovery system, starting with identifying potential new donors and connecting them to food pantries.
Since its inception, Waste-Free VC has been coordinated by Ventura County Public Health and many other local government and nonprofit stakeholders. A number of important goals have already been achieved. It is important to commemorate these achievements and capitalize on what has already been accomplished, including:
- Establishing a County-wide Coalition consisting of nonprofits, businesses and local government agencies
- Significant investment in nonprofit organizational capacity and infrastructure
- Recovery and distribution of 100,000+ pounds of edible food that otherwise would have ended up into the landfill.