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Potential Funding for Food Banks from CalRecycle

Californians are no strangers to recycling. In fact, Berkeley started one of the first city collection programs in 1973 by picking up newspapers curbside once a month. Now, it’s common practice to sort paper, plastic, aluminum, and glass into the recycling bin. But with organic waste filling up landfills and creating methane gasses, the spotlight is shifting. California has already begun to phase in laws requiring businesses, including non-profits like food banks, to recycle organic waste in AB 1826 (Chesbro).

In order to promote food rescue and feeding those in need, CalRecycle is offering two grant programs that each provide funding opportunities for food banks. The Organics program requires food banks to partner with compost or anaerobic digestion facilities, which breaks down food waste into renewable energy and reduces landfill gasses. The Food Waste Rescue & Prevention grants can support food banks as stand-alone applicants. Fresno Metro Ministry was awarded one such Organics grant and has seen marked success through joint efforts with Colony Energy Partners.

Executive Director Keith Bergthold shared that Fresno Metro didn’t use the CalRecycle grant money for two years, but rather situated the award as leverage to raise money from other resources in order to build up the organization. He referred to the increase as their “fishes and loaves.” Once the infrastructure—refrigerators, freezers, ranges—was in place, the organization used the grant money to purchase a truck, with the bulk of the funds covering salaries. And now that Food to Share is in full swing, the goal of 65 additional tons of edible food per year has been nearly doubled. Currently, 115 tons have come from 50 donors, passed along to 80 recipients.

For other organizations looking towards applying for CalRecyle grants, Bergthold advised giving a strong focus on precision and metrics. He also suggested that agencies provide a view of the system and how they plan to change it. 

(Image courtesy of Fresno Metro Ministry)

Keep reading to see if your organization might be able to utilize the following opportunities. Below information taken from CalRecycle website:

Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund Loan Program. Food banks may also be a part of an organics composting/anaerobic digestion project, and the organics infrastructure project may qualify for CalRecycle’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund loan program, which can provide funding for equipment, real estate, and leasehold improvements.

Organics Grant application released in January, due in March.

Food Waste Prevention & Rescue Grant application to be released in April, due in June.

There are additional funding programs that food banks may be able to utilize: