SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The SF Market, San Francisco’s original wholesale produce market, home to 26 independent merchant businesses, has reached a historic milestone in recovering and donating seven million pounds of nutritious, quality surplus produce since the program began in 2016.
The SF Market’s Food Recovery Program works with Market merchants each weekday to recover surplus produce that merchants can’t sell for cosmetic or other reasons. The program recovers an average of 4,000 pounds of fruit, vegetables, and other food every day, ensuring this food stays out of the landfill and is distributed to food-insecure Bay Area residents via a network of community partners.
“We are deeply grateful to our community partners, merchants, and funders who support our work. None of what we do would be possible without them,” said Carolyn Lasar, Food Recovery Project Manager at The SF Market. Lasar has been instrumental in the success of the Food Recovery Program, helping to launch the program in 2016 and continuing to spearhead the Market’s food recovery efforts since then.
The SF Market’s Food Recovery Program is part of a larger, robust regional and national effort aimed at ensuring a reduction of food waste. With the implementation of California’s SB 1383 last year – which mandates that food businesses donate surplus edible food rather than send it to compost or landfills – the Food Recovery Program was exceptionally well-positioned to implement the policy at The SF Market and serve as a model for others statewide.
“We have been proud to support The SF Market’s food recovery program,” said Alexa Kielty, Residential Zero Waste Senior Coordinator at the San Francisco Environment Department. “We are especially pleased to continue our partnership as we implement SB 1383 across the city. The Market’s food recovery program is a wonderful example and critical component of reaching San Francisco’s zero waste goals. The SF Market’s food recovery program has prevented an estimated equivalent of nearly 9,000 tons of CO2 emissions since its launch in 2016. By keeping food from being disposed of in landfills, we can eliminate additional methane emissions.”
In addition to achieving significant impact at the local level, The SF Market has been nationally recognized for their efforts by being named a U.S. Food Loss & Waste 2030 Champion by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. They are the first wholesale market to be involved in this arena.
Core to the program’s success is the partnerships with a diverse network of community organizations that receive donations and distribute them to food-insecure clients across the Bay Area. “We have partnered with The SF Market’s Food Recovery Program since its early days. We trust the Market to give us high-quality, nutritious, and often unique produce that our clients don’t typically have access to. To date, we’ve recovered more than 90,000 pounds, and look forward to continuing this critical collaboration for our community.” said Cathy Davis, of Bayview Senior Services.
The SF Market’s Food Recovery Program has a bright future ahead with plans to build a permanent home for the program as part of the Market’s broader Reinvestment Plan. The program is also piloting an initiative to recover non-produce items such as grains, beans, and other shelf-stable products from nearby businesses, and include these as part of their donations.
ABOUT THE SF MARKET
The SF Market makes things grow–for farmers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, restaurants, and communities. Home to 26 merchants in a single vibrant San Francisco marketplace, our diverse range of produce businesses supplies the widest, best-tasting selection of fresh produce available in Northern California. The SF Market is a platform for critical access and scale–providing the food infrastructure, programs, and relationships that help hundreds of farmers, Bay Area food businesses, and their communities thrive. The SF Market is San Francisco’s original–and only–wholesale produce market. As a pillar of the Bay Area’s food economy and a non-profit social enterprise, we create jobs for over 500 people and foster efficiency, diversity, and innovation. The market moves millions of pounds annually of fresh produce through the Bay Area, occupies 485,000 sq. ft. of food-focused warehouse and logistics space in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood, and has reinvestment plans to upgrade our facility designed to support new food businesses and an engaged community. The SF Market’s focus on growth extends to the entire food system–with programs directed toward healthy food access, food waste reduction, and much more. Learn more at www.thesfmarket.org.