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Santa Clara County adopts food recovery program

Flickr / Creative Commons
Innov8Social volunteers at Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara in October 2011.

The new ordinance makes it easier for supermarkets, restaurants, and other businesses to donate unused, edible food to non-profits groups, who distribute it to those in need. It will also provide a uniform program for food recovery organizations to meet state regulations on reporting the collection and distribution of donated food.

In 2016, then-Governor Jerry Brown signed Bill 1383 into law in an attempt to reduce methane emissions from organic materials that go into landfills. The Food Recovery Program goes a step further by increasing food availability in order to address food scarcity caused by rising food costs.

The ordinance will only impact unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County. A board supervisor hopes it will act as a model for other local jurisdictions.

The non-profit Joint Venture Silicon Valley will manage the food recovery program through 2024. Cities within the county are required to adopt the ordinance by New Year’s Day.