In early 2015 Food Shift was hired by the Santa Clara County Recycling and Waste Reduction Commission’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to research where and why food is being wasted in the region, to identify community insights and solutions, and to make tangible recommendations to the county to make food recovery more efficient, effective, and equitable. Food Shift’s research process consisted of interviewing and surveying numerous food businesses (restaurants, grocery stores, schools, etc.), food assistance groups (soup kitchens, food banks, senior centers, etc.), and food recovery groups (gleaning organizations, food recovery apps, etc.).
Through this research we sought to understand the gaps and challenges in the sector and to better understand where there are opportunities for innovation. Despite hard work and the best intentions, we learned that the food assistance sector is vastly under resourced and limited in its capacity to effectively meet demand for food recovery and distribution. These challenges are complex and these groups need investment, strategic support, and infrastructure as well cross-sector collaboration and government prioritization to establish a more effective system for food rescue.
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