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Summit To Tackle Impact Of Food Waste In San Diego County

Evening Edition host Peggy Pico talks with Elly Brown from the San Diego Food System Alliance and Kelly Kratzer, a food rescue coordinator with Feeding America San Diego, about the impact of food waste in the county.

We're sorry. This audio clip is no longer available. A transcript has been made available.

One in seven San Diego County residents, or about 500,000 people annually, don't know where their next meal is coming from. Yet nearly 500,000 tons of food waste is dumped into landfills every year.

On Tuesday, community, government and business leaders will join together for the first-ever Food Waste Solution Summit to address hunger in San Diego County and the environmental impact of food waste.

The summit is being organized by the San Diego Food System Alliance.

Food waste isn't limited to San Diego County. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency announced last month a goal of reducing food waste by 50 percent by 2030.

"Food waste is a national problem but we believe it takes local solutions," Elly Brown, facilitator for the San Diego Food System Alliance, told KPBS Midday Edition on Monday. "It requires more coordinated solutions — more efficiency between farm to fork."

Brown said market challenges and "arbitrary" expiration dates contribute to the problem.

Food that isn't able to sell in stores is given to nonprofits like Feeding America San Diego, said food rescue coordinator Kelly Kratzer. In turn, the nonprofit focuses heavily on providing food to the region's children.

Kratzer said one in five children in San Diego County aren't getting enough food.

"Our children are our future," Kratzer said. "Without the proper nutrition, they aren't able to succeed in school."

Tuesday's Food Waste Solution Summit is sold-out but the public can join the conversation on Twitter by following #SDfoodsys.

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