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CEC is committed to creating a more resilient and just region in the face of climate change. Through our work with the Central Coast Climate Justice Network and elsewhere, our vision includes an end to racial injustices and their resulting environmental inequities.

CEC is proud to announce that we are one of 36 grant recipients chosen by the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) to work toward projects that prevent waste, reduce pollution, and combat climate change by getting good food to Californians who need it.

What the grant will do

Our grant funding will go toward CEC’s Santa Barbara County Food Rescue program, which works to build relationships between donors with excess high-quality food and charitable organizations throughout the County to help address food insecurity and keep good food out of the landfill.

The purpose of SBC Food Rescue aligns closely with the goals of CalRecycle’s Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Grant Program, which aims to reduce methane emissions by keeping edible food out of California landfills through food waste prevention, donation, and redistribution to the 1 in 8 Californians (including 1 in 5 children) who lack the resources to guarantee their next meal.

An estimated 93 million pounds of food will be diverted from landfills by these 36 projects, equating to about 78 million meals, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Edible food disposal is a humanitarian tragedy and a tremendous waste of California’s resources,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said. “These local food waste prevention and rescue projects make our communities healthier and help California combat climate change by getting us closer to the revolutionary methane reduction targets required under California’s new Organics Recycling and Food Waste Prevention law.”

Locally, grant funds will go to purchase equipment to expand the existing Santa Barbara Food Rescue program. This will enable the safe receipt and storage of prepared food at two local colleges, Alan Hancock and Santa Barbara City College. The food will be  redistributed to food-insecure students, an often overlooked segment of our population where a high percentage face hunger on a daily basis.

Why food waste matters to CEC

Food waste makes up nearly 20 percent of California’s disposal stream.

When sent to landfills, food and other organic waste decomposes and generates methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

Besides the opportunity to feed Californians in need, what’s also lost with food waste is money spent along the food production chain, including the cost of energy, water, fertilizer, harvesting, production, storage, and transportation.

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