The San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) was awarded the 2017 EMIE's UnWasted Food Award by the San Diego Food System Alliance for its “Love Food Not Waste” program on Thursday.
SDUSD’s food pilot program was officially launched in April, in partnership with Feeding San Diego, to provide leftover food from the school to local organizations instead of landfills, according to the district.
"With just one program, San Diego Unified is saving food from waste, helping feed those that are hungry and protecting the environment," said Gary Petill, SDUSD’s Director of Food and Nutrition, in a statement.
The EMIE Awards honor the legacy of Congressman Bill Emerson, who sponsored the 1996 Federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, said Barbara Hamilton, a representative from the San Diego Food System Alliance.
"San Diego Unified School District is honored as a 2017 EMIE Award winner for their quantifiable achievement and innovation in food waste reduction and recovery," said Hamilton.
SDUSD schools sent 59 tons of edible food to 19 kitchens for distribution across San Diego and reduced 66 percent of its salad bar waste, a savings of over $200,000, according to Hamilton.
Nearly 113,000 pounds of food from breakfasts and lunches were saved between September 2016 and June 2017, according to SDUSD. The food was repurposed into over 94,000 meals for the needy.
SDUSD’s food program was also continued throughout summer 2017 by summer and year-round school programs.
The "Love Food Not Waste" program was recently expanded during the 2017-2018 school year to include after-school meal programs as well, according to SDUSD.