SBIN Partners, together with the Santa Barbara County Food Action Plan and Community Environmental Council, began exploring a food waste recovery program in 2016. Food waste recovery programs have been established around the country to great success. Donating wholesome food for human consumption diverts food waste from landfills and puts food on the table for people at risk of hunger. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, food recovery is the second most preferred method of managing food waste.
With the support of SBIN, the Santa Barbara County Food Rescue initiative was established in 2017. We have hired a program coordinator to coordinate the program and to enlist new partners. One of the early food providers is the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez. The Chumash Casino donates over 500 pounds of recovered food a month to senior citizen facilities and others at risk of hunger in Lompoc. Lazy Acres market in Santa Barbara is a partner and they donate an average of 50 pounds of food a day. The recipients of Lazy Acres’ donations include Salvation Army Hospitality House, New House, Casa Serena, Noah’s Anchorage, and Domestic Violence Solutions.
Positive momentum with this initiative has attracted many interested parties including hotels, businesses, private schools, etc. In our current phase of the project, SBIN Partners are involved in recruiting potential partners and expanding the program county-wide.