By: Jake Clemens, Food Waste Committee

Steve Kaffka discusses landfilled waste in CA.

Steve Kaffka discusses landfilled waste in CA.

The best things often come from collaborations. The Food Waste Panel, produced by the Yolo Ag & Food Alliance Food Waste Committee in partnership with the Yolo Climate Change Compact, was an outstanding example of such a success!

Working with John Mott-Smith of the Yolo Climate Change Compact, Don Saylor arranged an outstanding opportunity for the Yolo Ag & Food Alliance Food Waste Committee to design and coordinate the presentation of a Food Waste Panel at the Climate Compact’s quarterly meeting at the UC Davis Conference Center on June 12th. Committee members wasted no time identifying potential panelists from the range of individuals tackling the multiplicity of elements related to food waste in our region. An impressive array of experts jumped at the invitation to present as panelists.

At the event, the bounty of information shared addressed everything from concurrent harvesting in the fields to recovery in the food services sector, composting, biodigestion, solid and liquid fertilizer production, carbon sequestration and energy production. Each presentation was enthusuastically received by the diverse audience of regional leaders that compose the Yolo Climate Change Compact, an organization which includes representatives from Yolo County cities, school and other districts, UC Davis, and Yoche Dehe Wintun Nation and others. If the fervent buzz after the meeting was any indication, the Food Waste Panel was a hit.

The mission of the Food Waste Committee centers on building the community and regional will and leadership capacity around addressing the multiplicity of issues and challenges surrounding food waste in Yolo County. The excited cross-pollination that occurred at this convening was inspiring.

The Food Waste Committee is deeply grateful to each of the following panel participants for their generous gifts of time, expertise and experience:

  • Don Saylor, Yolo County Supervisor District 2 and Yolo AFA Food Waste Committee member, facilitated the panel and opening remarks on behalf of Craig McNamara,President of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture.
  • Michelle Wong, Clean World CEO, commercial biodigestion
  • Stephen Kaffka, Director of the California Biomass Collaborative
  • Dan Morash, Founder California Safe Soils, recycling supermarket food waste
  • Marissa Juhler, Yolo County Waste Reduction and Sustainability Manager
  • Ramin Yazdani, Yolo County Landfill Sr. Civil Engineer,Innovation in anaerobic digestion and composting
  • Samantha Lubow, Sustainability & Education Coordinator for UC Davis Dining Services, recovery and education
  • Richard Tsai, City of Davis Senior Utility Resource Specialist, Davis food scrap collection, organics program (green waste) and contract haulers, with Shar Katz, co-owner of Café Italia in Davis
  • Jim Durst, farmer Durst Organic Growers, Inc. – Esparto, agricultural waste in the field in order to “bring this valuable source of nutrition into the food sphere”
  • Kevin Sanchez, Yolo Food Bank Executive Director, gathering unmarketable produce in Yolo County for food distribution programs, collaborating with farmers on a concurrent harvesting model.

We also thank Roots of Change Policy Director, Justin Rausa, who worked with the Yolo AFA Food Waste Committee, to compile the summary of recent and pending food waste-related legislation that was distributed to panel presenters and attendees.