CSUN Sustainability 2020

CSUN’s Food Recovery Forum closes with a pledge to recover more edible food from campus

April 10, 2024


On Wednesday, April 10, 2024 CSUN Sustainability hosted its first ever Food Recovery Forum - an event that brought together 9 speakers from 8 organizations working hard to keep food out of landfills (Athens Services, Chartwells, LA Compost, FoodCycle LA, Food Recovery Network, California Climate Action Corps, Recycle2Riches and Hollywood Food Coalition) and over 150 attendees which were mainly students, CSUN staff/faculty members and California Climate Action Corps service members. 

The theme of the forum focused on collaboration and learning how to learn from others in the food recovery space and grow the collective impact together. Everyone has been in this situation before. You have a big plate of food in front of you and you just don’t need all of it. Normalization of food waste in our society makes it more likely to happen again and again and again up to the point where we throw away 40% percent of edible food – which is the case today. Meanwhile 1 in 3 families in LA County is food insecure. Wasting food isn’t just a humanitarian or social issue - it’s also an environmental one. When food ends up in landfills, it generates methane, an even more potent greenhouse gas, which accounts for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. In comparison the aviation sector accounts for only 3%.

In 2022 California’s State Bill 1383 bill came into force, requiring large entities including us - Cal State Northridge to not only sort organic waste but to also recover edible food for human consumption. For the past 14 years, through a partnership with Food Forward, CSUN has donated oranges from the grove to those who are food insecure in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Last year alone we donated 11.000 pounds of oranges. More recently, in a partnership between CSUN's dining services provider, Chartwells, and the nonprofit organization Food Cycle LA, we started recovering surplus food from various campus dining locations. The rescued food is then carefully packaged and transported to local community organizations. Since launching the partnership in January, over 700 lbs. of food has been recovered. CSUN Sustainability team hopes that the event will help our community to self-reflect, appreciate the abundance of food and get involved with food recovery efforts. The entire forum's recording is available here. Photos: Shant Voskanian - used with permission.