U.S. EPA Honors San Diego-area Non-Profit ProduceGood for Leading Food Recovery Efforts Nationwide
SAN DIEGO – Today, ProduceGood of Encinitas, Calif., was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its outstanding efforts in combatting food waste. The non-profit received a national Food Recovery Challenge award for reducing food waste and, in the process, conserving natural resources.
“Food Recovery Challenge participants are leaders in showing how preventing food waste and diverting excess wholesome food to people is an environmental win and a cost-saving business decision,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Their accomplishments serve as excellent examples to other companies, governments, organizations and communities.”
“ProduceGood’s zero waste leadership has rescued fresh produce and redirected it to vulnerable individuals and families throughout San Diego County,” said John Busterud, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “This effort helps reduce waste and costs while feeding people and protecting the environment.”
In 2018, ProduceGood led a sustainable fresh produce recovery practice throughout San Diego County. With 153,967 pounds of excess produce rescued in 2018 from 90 growers, ProduceGood diverted 76.98 tons of edible fruits and vegetables from landfill. Through the efforts of 600 volunteers participating in 260 food recovery events from over 90 growers, ProduceGood upcycled 461,901 servings of nutritious produce to benefit the food insecure of San Diego or for zero waste processing.
The nonprofit food recovery organization increased its sustainable revenue by 10 percent over 2017. It added a custom app to streamline food recovery operations at weekly farmers markets, providing an average of 1,500 pounds of surplus produce to 22 local feeding agencies. Working on a decentralized, community-driven model, ProduceGood secured a contract with the City of Oceanside, California to help achieve the city’s zero waste goal and meet State requirements to reduce organic waste and the greenhouse gases caused by methane emissions from food waste in landfills.
Food is a valuable resource. Efforts to reduce food waste and ensure excess food doesn’t go to waste are needed now more than ever. The innovation organizations like ProduceGood are showcasing can serve as examples as the nation works together to address the COVID-19 public health emergency. Over 1,000 businesses, governments and organizations participated in EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge in 2019. Participants prevented or diverted over 815,000 tons of food from entering landfills or incinerators, saving participants up to $42.3 million in avoided landfill tipping fees.
For more information on the Food Recovery Challenge, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/foodrecoverychallenge/