In compliance with California State Senate Bill 1383, Conservation Corps North Bay and longtime partner Zero Waste Sonoma formed a program to recover and redistribute food that was otherwise destined for landfill. SB 1383, California’s Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction law, establishes methane reduction targets for California. This bill sets goals to reduce disposal of organic waste in landfills, including edible food. Organic waste in landfill not only takes up precious space, but it can release high amounts of methane, contributing to climate change. To make this work a reality, CCNB and Zero Waste Sonoma received a CalRecycle grant to collect edible food for free from Tier 1 generators (supermarkets, grocery stores, food service providers, food distributors, and wholesale food vendors) in Sonoma County to divert that food to folks who need it and to help companies meet the new regulations. This creates opportunities for our corpsmembers to earn new certifications including food handling and exposes them to different organizations in the community to make them even more appealing candidates for their future careers. We just got a refrigerated truck to make this work possible, keep a look out for it on Sonoma County roads!
In addition to helping local companies divert edible food to organizations that can use it to feed our community, the Zero Waste team is partnering with local farms to glean excess produce. Gleaning entails going to farms and orchards that have either already been harvested or are not economically profitable for farmers to harvest and harvesting produce to redistribute. Our corpsmembers have been able to glean at a few local farms, gathering over 2,200 pounds of produce in January alone. Most recently, we partnered with Farm to Pantry (another local nonprofit) to divert scores of locally grown apples from the landfill to the assembly line—converting them into nearly 12,500 jars of delicious applesauce for Redwood Empire Food Bank to distribute to our community.