Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Donating Surplus Food – the new Recycling in City of L.A.

Today, we took an important step in changing the way all of us in the City of Los Angeles view surplus food – food that is otherwise consumable but often thrown out. The City Council voted unanimously today to support legislation that I crafted with the help of Hunger Action Los Angeles to have our City departments develop policy to donate surplus food to needy food banks and pantries.

I want Angelenos to view surplus food the same way they view recycling.

With nearly 1 million Los Angeles County residents needing emergency food services amid increasing demand due to a tough economy, the time is now for the City of Los Angeles to ensure that we are doing all we can to make sure good, consumable food ends up on plates and not in dumpsters.

Part of my legislation also called for our Information Technology Agency to implement a database of food banks and pantries, which is now available through the City’s 311 service. The City’s CRA is working with Hunger Action L.A. on literature to give to restaurants and businesses telling them about how they can donate their surplus food. I’d like to see a campaign developed where we create signs that businesses can put in their windows saying they are proud participants of this worthy program.

Special thanks to all those who showed their support for this action, including Councilmember Paul Koretz, who seconded my motion; Hunger Action Los Angeles; the City's Information Technology Agency; Union Rescue Mission; The Los Angeles Regional Foodbank; Jewish Family Services SOVA Community Food & Resource Program; Mazon; The Jewish Federation, Food Finders and others.