There is so much wasted food in this world with some experts saying it's upwards of 40%! For better or worse, California is relying heavily on underfunded non-profits such as food banks, churches and women's shelters to bear the burden of its aggressive food recovery goals. 
Fresh produce diverted from an elementary school trash bin.

Who are they

Food recovery organizations are a key component of California’s effort to recover edible food from landfills and compost piles. Under California Senate Bill 1383, food generators must recover 20% of edible food from disposal and compost by 2025, getting it into the months of hungry people ahead of animals, digestion, composting or disposal. Impacted businesses and organizations include restaurants, grocers, food distributors, hospitals, schools, universities and prisons, among others. 

Under this law generators who fail to meet the food recovery requirements will face financial penalties levied by the jurisdiction where they are located. One major flaw of this bill: it places the burden on cash- and resource-strapped non-profit food recovery organizations to take on these additional donations without providing any sort of funding mechanism.

Powered by Volunteers

Relying primarily on volunteers and perpetually lacking funds, these nonprofits have struggled to keep up with surging demand over the past few years. Fearing that if they are picky they will get passed over in the future, these organizations often take more than they need of a certain item, or they get stuck with spoiled foods that are palletized with the good stuff. In a way, these organizations find themselves being the landfill for the generators who donate to them. 

How to Support

Here are two ways you can support support non-profit food recovery organizations right now:

Volunteer your time

Most of these organizations are powered by volunteers. If you can spare even a few hours per month, there is an organization that will be happy to have you. Since Covid, there has been a shortage of volunteers and a fear of accepting donated food. Just “expired” items that previously would have been gladly accepted are now being rejected. 

Donate money

Nonprofits are always in need of cash. If you don’t have time to volunteer but have available funds please remember that every dollar counts. 

Available Tech

Orgs in Your Area

Here is a list of food recovery organizations in the US and beyond. This list is by no means exhaustive. If you know of an organization you’d like to add to the list, add it in the comments section or send me an email. 


Food FindersLong Beach, CA
Food ForwardBell, CA
Heart of CompassionMontebello, CA
LA Regional Food BankLos Angeles, CA
Midnight MissionLos Angeles, CA
NourishLALos Angeles, CA
Rescuing Leftover CuisineNew York City, NY
World HarvestLos Angeles, CA


Oz HarvestAustralia
Fruta ImperfeitaBrasil
Food SharingGermany
Al RescateMexico
Bancos de Alimentos de MéxicoMexico

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