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Sustainable Management of Food

Links and Resources About Food Recovery in the San Francisco Bay Area

Food Recovery Hierarchy, food waste, composting, waste management, recycle, source reductionLearn about some food recovery alternatives in the Bay Area. EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy prioritizes these food waste strategies from most to least preferable.

On this page:


Source Reduction

Source reduction is the strategy of preventing food from becoming waste in the first place. There are many resources available to tackle source reduction:

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Feed Hungry People (Donations)

The resources below include national, regional and local organizations which take food donations in the Bay Area. Most take non-perishables, and some accept surplus perishable foods. Be prepared to describe your donations in terms of packaging, preparation, frequency and type.

  • Food Runners (San Francisco): Picks up and delivers perishable/prepared food the same day to feed the hungry.
    • Website Exit
    • Call (415) 929-1866 or email the dispatcher at nancy@foodrunners.org with the type and amount of food and the name and address of the business along with a contact number.
  • ExtraFood.org (Marin County): Website Exit; (415) 997-9830; Picks up excess fresh food from organizations and delivers it immediately to nonprofits serving Marin’s most vulnerable people.
  • Peninsula Food Runners (San Mateo/Santa Clara Counties): Website Exit; (415) 826-6903; Picks up excess fresh food from organizations and provides matches to recipients via email with the mobile app Chowmatch Exit .
  • Sonoma Food Runners: Website Exit; (707) 596-8711; Collects quality, donated perishable and prepared foods by appointment which volunteers distribute throughout the community to those in need. Email sonomafoodrunners@sonic.net.
  • White Pony Express (Contra Costa County): Website Exit; (925) 322-0604
    • Picks up and delivers perishable/prepared food the same day to feed the hungry in Contra Costa County.
    • Call the Hotline and leave a message or email dispatcher@ whiteponyexpress.org with: kind of food (prepared, produce or other perishables, dry goods, etc.), physical size of donation (bag, box, palette, etc.), where it can be picked up and contact person.
    • Pickup from 9 am and 9 pm, within 2 hours.
  • Food Shift:
    • Website Exit
    • Works with businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area to reduce shrinkage, donate surplus food and educate their customers about food waste.
    • Recovers perishable and nonperishable food items from grocery stores and catered events and donates the surplus food to partner agencies that feed the hungry.
  • Chefs to End Hunger: Website Exit; Formed by LA and SF Specialty Bakeries that provides businesses with kits containing delivery boxes, pads and aluminum pans to fill with donation food. Once the kit is filled and packed, they can be given to a Specialty Bakery Driver where the boxes will be consolidated and donated to a food bank.
  • Urban Harvester:Website Exit; (661) 312-1133; Urban Harvester's Food Recovery Program annually connect over 25,000 meals from our participating food donors to our network of local non-profit community agencies throughout Los Angeles County and soon the SF Bay Area.

Apps and Web-Based Services

  • CropMobster: Website Exit; CropMobster is an online community exchange platform and social alert service for broadcasting food and agricultural needs and offers. Members can publish and respond to alerts and needs for deals, events, donations, wanted, gleaning, land, trade, crowd funding, free, impact and thanks.
  • Feeding Forward: Website Exit; Feeding Forward connects businesses with excess edible food to recipients using a smartphone app or social media, to request a food pick up for leftovers. On-demand drivers handle pickup and notify the donor when en route.
  • Waste No Food: Website Exit; Farms, restaurants, cafeterias, hotels and grocery stores post excess food on the Waste No Food website. Aid group organizations, who have been vetted, can see what is available locally and confirm with transactions online to secure food. The food access is based on location. The organizations are responsible for all transportation and food handling.

In Bay Area and Elsewhere:

  • Rock and Wrap It Up!:Exit
  • Connects 40+ million Americans with excess food in their home or community garden with local food pantries.
  • Find a Local Pantry: Self-reported – name, address, phone, hours, donation types.
  • California Food Banks Farms to Families program: Website Exit- Growers and packers can now receive a tax credit for donating produce to food banks, and in some cases CAFB can provide reimbursement for special picking and packing costs.
  • Sustainable AmericaWebsite Exit; Locate Food Rescue organizations. 
  • Food Pantries: Many local charitable organizations that accept food have varying or limited capabilities to store food donations and therefore limit the types or timing of donations. Further, the San Francisco Bay Area has a well developed food pickup network (e.g., Foodrunners, etc.) that efficiently collect and distribute excess food to food banks or directly to food pantries. Consequently, food preparers should first contact food pickup services or the food banks. It’s often best to contact several to determine which can use your donations.
  • Food Banks: Regional food banks work with local food pantries, homeless shelters and other charities for food donation. While many food banks are unable to accept perishable and prepared food, they often work with donors to find perishable food options nearby. Listed below, are the main food banks in the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • ReFed Innovator DatabaseWebsite Exit; The Database is a living compilation of commercial and nonprofit entities turning the food waste problem into an opportunity for economic, social, and environmental impacts. This growing database is broken down by food waste solution type, organizational status, and geographic reach. Categories include secondary marketplaces that connect surplus food (food that would otherwise be wasted) to buyers. Food product creation organizations convert edible food that is currently considered waste (e.g., surplus/cosmetically challenged produce, brewery waste, vegetable trimmings) into value-added consumer food products (e.g., juices, fruit snacks, energy bars). The Database also list variety of food recovery organizations that capture edible food that would otherwise go to waste on farms, within the supply chain, or in consumer-facing businesses, and redistributes it to food insecure populations.

The following links exit the site Exit

Donation Center Location Type of Food Accepted

San Francisco and Marin Food Banks

900 Pennsylvania Ave San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 282-1900

Non-perishables; perishable fruits and veggies

Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano

P.O. Box 6324 Concord CA 94524
(855) 309-FOOD (3663)

Non-perishables; perishable fruits and veggies

Alameda County Community Food Bank

7900 Edgewater Drive, Oakland, CA 94621
(510) 635-FOOD (3663)

Non-perishables; perishable fruits and veggies

Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara & San Mateo Counties

750 Curtner Avenue, San Jose CA 95125
(408) 266-8866

Non-perishables; perishable fruits and veggies

Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County

800 Ohlone Parkway Watsonville, CA 95076
(831) 722-7110

Non-perishables, contact for perishables and prepared foods

Redwood Empire Food Bank

3990 Brickway Blvd. Santa Rosa, CA 95403
(707) 523-7900

Non-perishables, contact for perishables and prepared foods

Napa Valley Food Bank

1766 Industrial Way Napa, CA 94558
(707) 253-6128

Non-perishables, contact for perishables and prepared foods

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Feed Animals

Pig/Hog Farms: Large pig farms may accept food scraps. The Federal Swine Health Protection Act requires that food containing, or that comes in contact with meat or animal materials must be boiled before being fed to pigs. Consequently, many local pig farmers are primarily interested in single-stream fruits and vegetables or grain waste. Arrangements are often informal, and can be intermittent. Below is a list of pig farms, their location, contact information for them and other notes that may be useful:

Pig Farm

Location

Contact

Notes

Devil’s Gulch Ranch

Nicasio, CA

Mark Pasternak
(707) 953-0923
mark@devilsgulchranch.com 

Currently receive grains and dairy; interested in produce; no ability to cook mixed food waste

Leland St Farms

Bodega Bay, CA

Nancy Prebilich
(707) 477-0879
nancypreb@gmail.com

Previously used food scraps, and excess from beer and tortilla factories

Winkler Farms  Exit

Windsor, CA

Tim Winkler
(707) 291-5001

No food scrap system currently; interested in fruits and vegetables only

Marin Sun Farms

Point Reyes Station, CA

David
(415) 663-8997 david@marinsunfarms.com

Contact for info

Clark Summit Farm

Tomales, CA

Liz or Dan
(707) 876-3516
liz@clarksummitfarm.com

Contact for info

Silva Star Farm

Sonoma, CA

Sarah Silva (707) 968-7827 sarah@silvastarfarm.com

Contact for info

Three Graces Farm

6403 Windsor Rd, Windsor, CA

(707) 775-9135

Contact for info

Long Meadow Ranch Winery

Saint Helena, CA

Chris Hall
(707) 732-6394
chris@longmeadowranch.com

Contact for info

Suisun Valley Farm

Suisun City, CA

Shane
(707) 815-0039 shane@suisunvalleyfarm.com

Contact for info

Grabish Farm

Dixon, CA

Amy Grabish
(707) 689-2960 grabishfarm@yahoo.com

Contact for info

Walnut Keep Exit

Suisun Valley, California

(707) 290-5168
info@walnutkeep.com

Contact for info

Jubilee Project/Farm

Elk Grove, CA

Perrin Clark
(916) 304-3276 pclark@jubileefarmca.com

Contact for info

Llano Seco Rancho Exit

8369 Hugh Baber Lane
Chico, CA

(530) 342-2100

Contact for info

Fork to Feed: Website Exit; Organization in Santa Clara that can accept all post-consumer or other food scraps to produce animal feed, reclaimed water and a FOG product. Contact info@forktofeed.com or (775) 682-4325.

Spent Brewery Grain: Spent brewery grain can be used as animal feed, primarily for cattle, but also for pigs, goats, fish and almost any livestock. Most breweries give the grain away to local farms. Manufacturers with single food waste streams can find local farms and ranches to donate their excess/by-product.

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Industrial Uses

Fats, oils and grease, also known as FOG, can be converted to fuels and has various industrial uses. FOG and food scraps can also be anaerobically digested to create energy and the digestate can be composted to create a soil amendment. Bay Area options and resources include:

The following links exit the site Exit

Name

Biogas Type

Links

East Bay Municipal Utility District

Accepts food waste collected by garbage haulers from the Cities of San Francisco and Oakland.

Food scraps recycling web page and Information on their Trucked Waste Program

Central Marin Food To Energy

Accepts food waste collected by garbage haulers from San Rafael, San Anselmo, Fairfax, Ross, Kentfield, Greenbrae and Larkspur

About the Central Marin Commercial Food-to-Energy Program and Central Marin Sanitation Agency Food Waste Information

Zero Waste Energy Development (ZWEDC)

Accepts food waste collected by garbage haulers from City of San Jose Commercial Wet Organic Waste

Website

  • CalRecycle List of Anaerobic Digestion Projects in CaliforniaCalRecycle’s list includes the following co-digestion facilities in the Bay Area.
  • Encore Biorenewables: Website Exit; Working to develop and promote the use of sustainable and recyclable bio-based products.Oil Drum picture
  • Bay Biodiesel:
    • Website Exit
    • Martinez, California 94553; (925) 228-2222
    • Expanding product line to offer fuel-derived from both virgin and recycled oil.
  • East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD): Website Exit; Uses grease waste at EBMUD’s Main Wastewater Treatment Plant in West Oakland to power agency vehicles and demonstrate engine performance with waste grease-derived biodiesel.
  • SFGreasecycle: SFGreasecycle turns FOG into biofuel to run San Francisco fleets.
    • Search for Greasecycle Exit
    • 525 Golden Gate Avenue (at Polk Street), San Francisco, CA 94102; (415) 725-1607
    • Restaurants can sign up for free for collection services.
  • California Bio-Fuels: Website Exit Grease Collection and Grease Trap Services throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. The collected waste oil suitable for alternative fuels is used for that purpose.
    • (855) 492-8707
  • Darling International:
    • Website Exit
    • 429 Amador Street, San Francisco, CA 94124; (415) 647-4890
    • Cooking oil trap removal & processing
  • North State Rendering:
    • Website Exit
    • PO Box 1478, Chico, CA 95927; (800) 351-4446 or (530) 343-6076
    • FOG, fallen livestock removal and meat scrap/food waste removal
  • Contra Costa County: Recycling options for FOG; locations and phone numbers Exit

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Food Scraps Composting

Composting turns food scraps into a nutrient-rich soil amendments and can be done on site in smaller amounts or on a larger scale at a municipal or commercial level.

  • Find a Composter: Searchable database of local composting facilities Exit that may accept food waste; results from January 2015 search are included in the table below.
  • Recology: transporter of much of the compostable/food scrap in San Francisco Bay Area:
    • Recology Golden Gate: 900 Seventh Street, San Francisco, CA 94107; (415) 626-4000
    • Recology Sunset Scavenger: 250 Executive Park Blvd. Suite 2100, San Francisco, CA 94134; (415) 330-1300; Website Exit
    • Recology East Bay: PO Box 24422, Oakland, CA 94623; (510) 267-0852; Website Exit
    • Recology San Francisco: 501 Tunnel Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94134; (415) 330-1400; Website Exit
    • Jepson Prairie Organics: Website Exit Transports food scraps to Jepson Prairie Organics, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Recology; 6426 Hay Road, Vacaville, CA 95687; (800) 208-2370
  • Redwood Landfill: Website Exit; Takes food waste hauled by Novato Disposal to the Redwood Landfill and Recycling Center run by Waste Management; 8950 Redwood Highway, PO Box 793, Novato, CA 94945; (415) 892-1694
  • Sonoma Compost Co: Website Exit; Food Scrap Composting. Informational video on starting a composting program in a restaurant; 550 Mecham Road, Petaluma, CA 94952; (707) 664-9113
  • Grab n Grow Soil: Website Exit; Compost from green waste, agricultural products, including grape pomace from wineries, apple pomace from canneries, cow manure from dairies and horse manures from ranches; Drop off: Stony Point Rock Quarry located at 7171 Stony Point Rd, Cotati, CA 94931; (707) 795-1775
  • San Francisco Business Recycling and Composting: Website Exit
  • Contra Costa County Recycling Options, Food Scraps: Website Exit

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San Francisco Bay Area Food Recovery Successes:

EBMUD Food Scraps Recycling: Since 2008, EBMUD has been converting from 20 to 40 tons of restaurant food scraps daily to renewable electrical power used to power the treatment plant. Trash haulers collect food scraps from local restaurants and deliver it to EBMUD’s wastewater plant for processing and co-digestion in anaerobic digesters to create biogas used in cogeneration units to produce electricity. Find out more on their website. Exit

San Francisco and IT waste hauler Recology, pickup food waste from restaurants and other food preparers across the city for off-site composting under a mandatory recycling and composting regulation. The program contributes significantly to San Francisco’s diversion rate of more than 80% and its goal of zero waste by 2020. San Francisco also passed an ordinance in 2006 requiring vendors and restaurants to use compostable or recyclable to-go containers. Learn more. Exit

Several Bay Area breweries, Anchor Brewing, Faction Brewing, Speakeasy, and Lagunitas Brewing donate spent grain to local customers for feed for horses, cows, and poultry.

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