Special to the Vanguard
Woodland, CA – In October of 2022, Yolo County and its partnering cities signed agreements with the Yolo Food Bank (YFB) to provide funding to assist in expanding capacity to address the new requirements of Senate Bill (SB) 1383.
“This funding helped increase the amount of edible food recovered, offered additional food to insecure families, and diverted waste from the landfill,” Yolo County said in a release. “In five short months, YFB has not only signed 35 of 40 contracts needed to secure this food but has also diverted 630,000 lbs. of food that otherwise could have been landfilled.”
“We are incredibly grateful to the County and local jurisdictions for the successful implementation of SB1383 as it has generated an increase of food so urgently needed to nourish the more than 21,000 Yolo County households relying on Yolo Food Bank each month,” said Yolo Food Bank Executive Director, Karen Baker.
Baker added, “With our new Tier 1 food generator partners, we’re now projected to bring in an additional 80,000 pounds of food annually. Due to a 15% increase in demand at our distributions, which we anticipate will grow exponentially in the coming months, this additional support is crucial for our most vulnerable residents throughout the county.”
Under SB 1383 regulations, major grocers must now segregate organics from their waste stream and divert edible food to local food pantries. Many grocers over-order food or do not sell as quickly as anticipated – this has historically led to surpluses of unexpired, edible food being landfilled.
“Not only can this food be provided to people who are food insecure, but organic waste (food) that is placed in a landfill also takes up extra space and creates greenhouse gases as it begins to break down,” Yolo County said.
“Yolo County is proud to be leading the state in SB 1383 Edible Food Recovery efforts. With the additional funding provided, YFB has added more food pickup and distribution routes and updated and increased staffing, sorting, and storing capacity, all while assisting us in complying with the organic waste diversion goals,” said the Yolo County Board of Supervisor Chair, Oscar Villegas.
Villegas added, “This win-win partnership between the County and YFB is just the beginning. We are confident that we are on the path to setting additional milestones in food recovery and landfill diversion.”