Food waste and hunger are ubiquitous in the United States. While we throw out between 30-40% of food produced for human consumption, nearly 1 in 4 households have experienced food insecurity this year. It seems strange – that we would throw away so much food while so many people go hungry. Big problems like this demand big solutions and large-scale cooperation, but they can and should also be tackled from the ground up. That can mean starting small. In this vein, Keep Truckee Green is excited to announce a new partnership with Truckee Sourdough Company and Sierra Community House that aims to reduce food waste and feed our community: we bring you Feed Truckee, a volunteer food recovery project.  

Truckee Sourdough Company has been serving Truckee since 1995, when owner Keith Nikkel initially operated out of his family’s Deli. Today, Truckee Sourdough bakes bread products daily as a supplier for retail stores, restaurant wholesalers and grocery chains. Local stores including Raley’s, SaveMart and Safeway sell Truckee Sourdough’s products, but often they are unable to sell all of the bread by the end of the day. This means that there are leftover edible bread products with nowhere to go but the trash or compost.

At the same time, food insecurity has only grown during COVID, and Sierra Community House has experienced heightened demand for their hunger relief services. While before COVID they were serving 180 families per week, they now serve over 550.

It is through collaboration with these two partners that Keep Truckee Green has established Feed Truckee. Twice a week, volunteers pick up surplus loaves from Truckee Sourdough and deliver them to Sierra Community House, who then distributes them out of Truckee and Incline Village on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In the three weeks since the program’s launch, Feed Truckee has rescued and redistributed 1165 pounds of bread. Volunteers at Sierra Community House commented that the distributions have been going very well; all of bread is being successfully distributed to grateful recipients who are “loving the bread.” They added, “This is fantastic for our community!”

The food waste problem is complicated, but in large part it stems from misaligned distribution, which food rescue efforts seek to address. From a policy standpoint food rescue is receiving more attention, especially in California. Beginning in 2022, Senate Bill 1383 will mandate that Tier 1 producers like large grocery stores and wholesalers arrange to donate the maximum amount of their edible food that would otherwise go to landfills. Importantly, the Good Samaritan Law protects food donors and relieves them of liability as long as food is donated in good faith. Feed Truckee aims to continue supporting generators and collaborating with hunger relief partners throughout the region as policies like these take hold and as food rescue efforts continue to grow.

If you are interested in joining us and volunteering for Feed Truckee as a Food Rescue Driver, please visit the event page here to learn more and sign up. It is a very minimal time commitment with a big impact. Thank you again to our incredible partners at Truckee Sourdough Company and Sierra Community House for making this possible. Now let’s get this bread! 

By: Sara Sherburne, CivicSpark Fellow