Mayor Breed Announces New Grant Funding to Expand San Francisco's Food Recovery Program

A $2.1 million grant from the State of California will strengthen the City’s ability to confront food waste and insecurity.
April 17, 2024

San Francisco, CA – Mayor London N. Breed and the San Francisco Environment Department today announced $2.1 million in new grant funding from CalRecycle to support the City’s food recovery and security efforts. Specifically, the grant will support the City’s robust edible food recovery efforts and help the growing network of food businesses recover high quality food and distribute it to nonprofit and food pantry organizations. These organizations provide meals and groceries to San Franciscans in need. Since the program’s inception in 2019, nearly 9 million pounds of food has been recovered, resulting in 8 million meals served.   

“By fighting hunger and reducing waste, we are supporting community while still advancing our efforts as a climate leader,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed. “The program is comprised of hundreds of food recovery organizations, food transport services, and food generators all working together toward the shared goal of feeding those in need. This successful cooperative model has helped to define our city as a leader in implementing innovative programs to ensure we take care of the City’s most vulnerable.” 

The grant will enable the Environment Department to expand recovery capacity at the San Francisco Unified School District and augment existing food organizations’ initiatives with new equipment, transport, training, and education. The innovative work is reshaping San Francisco’s urban food ecosystem and fighting against food waste and food insecurity. 

Launched with support from CalRecycle, San Francisco’s initial Kitchen Zero SF program helped the City develop partnerships with food-generating businesses and over 50 nonprofits and food pantries to recover high quality edible food that would otherwise have gone to compost or landfill, but instead, went to feed San Franciscans in need. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, recovered food from the program provided a critical resource to residents who were food insecure.  

“San Francisco is pioneering a new era of edible food recovery with our resolve to nurture a city that thrives on sustainability and compassion,” said Tyrone Jue, Director of the San Francisco Environment Department. “With this grant, we’ll be enhancing our city’s food recovery infrastructure to address logistical hurdles and pipelines that hinder food distribution. We want every ounce of edible food to reach those in need.”  

With approximately five million lbs of high-quality edible food recovered in 2022, the City’s food recovery programs are adding environmental benefits in addition to addressing food security. Directing that amount of edible food in 2022 to hungry San Franciscans, instead of the landfill, avoided the release of approximately 195 metric tons of methane (or 5,460 metric tons of CO2 equivalent). Methane, a super harmful greenhouse gas, is eighty times more potent than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. Reducing emissions is essential to meeting our City’s climate targets while sending less material to landfill also helps the City move closer to its Zero Waste goals of reducing waste generation by 15% and reducing what is sent to landfill by 50%. 

In a separate, but complimentary program, this month the Environment Department is also looking to educate residents and businesses on curbing their food waste by launching an innovative food waste prevention campaign which aims to help residents reduce food waste in their homes. The campaign, starting in the Bayview and Excelsior neighborhoods, will revolve around a series of ads in Spanish, Chinese, and English, that offer information on how to curb food waste and save money by keeping your produce fresh. Tips like keeping herbs in a jar with water or leaving the pit in the cut half of an avocado, help to keep food fresher longer. The Department will also provide resources to smaller grocery stores to be ambassadors for the campaign. Participating businesses will receive shelf talkers - small signs placed among the produce with tips on how to preserve fruits and veggies - as well as compostable produce bags printed with campaign messaging.    

San Francisco’s multifaceted efforts to stop food waste, including composting and food recovery programs, not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions, but helps transform the City’s efforts to end food insecurity, currently faced by 1 in 4 residents. 

For more information on how to participate in ending food waste, please visit for tips and ideas.