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Green Kitchen Opens In Oceanside

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The City of Oceanside has spent $1.5 million on a state-of-the-art community kitchen to cut down on food waste, teach sustainable cooking practices and generate meals for hungry families.

Speaker 1: 00:00 A big new kitchen and food storage facility in Oceanside is ticking boxes in the fight to save food, feed the hungry and extend the life of landfills. Over the years, a number of food donation agencies have started reclamation programs in restaurants and other institutions to use food that would normally be thrown out and there are kitchens that focus on serving food from those reclamation programs. But the recently opened green Oceanside kitchen combines those activities in a onestop facility to reclaim foods store and serve it and also reach out to the community with food sustainability cooking classes. Joining me is Coleen foster and environmental officer for the city of Oceanside. She oversees the green Oceanside kitchen project and Colleen, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you for having me. Tell me about the things that make this kitchen unique.

Speaker 2: 00:56 Well, I believe it's the first example of a, a public investment in developing a state of the art facility for specifically food recovery and preservation of our food resource resources as well as the facility is designed to support a sustainable food system in the region. And then again to support the community through culinary training as well as job development training.

Speaker 1: 01:18 You know, as I said, there are several food reclamation and kitchens popping up in the county. Is that the range of services offered by green ocean side kitchen that makes it different? I believe it's

Speaker 2: 01:30 the range of services and specifically the investment by the city. So the city, instead of just developing infrastructure for recycling and or disposal, we're looking to develop infrastructure on the front end. So ensure the highest and best uses of our resources. So the facility taking the step forward to invest in food recovery and building a kitchen that can serve a, a larger community.

Speaker 1: 01:52 Yeah. Where does your food come from?

Speaker 2: 01:54 So the green ocean side kitchen will be sourcing, um, in partnership with Osa kitchen collaborative. There'll be specifically sourcing from agricultural surplus, um, cosmetically imperfect produce. Um, agricultural seconds as well as gleaning operation.

Speaker 1: 02:12 Can you tell us what that is?

Speaker 2: 02:14 Gleaning is recovering food from whether it's our local farms or whether it's from a farmer's market. So basically gleaning is the harvesting of excess produce from those entities. So from your residential fruit trees too, you know, the end of the farmer's market to leftover the has not been purchased. I'm from local farms that has excess surplus that has not been picked or um, it's not a value for harvesting. Gleaning organizations come to those types of entities and glean the produce we work closely with produce. Good.

Speaker 1: 02:47 No, there's actually state legislation that's pushing this kind of food reclamation effort, isn't there?

Speaker 2: 02:53 Yes, there is. Um, the state of California has passed landmark legislation that not only drives mandates the diversion of organics, material food for recycling, it also mandates that 20% of edible food, um, be rescued. So essentially it's looking to develop, encourage the development of infrastructure and programming to support food recovery.

Speaker 1: 03:16 How did Oceanside pay for this facility?

Speaker 2: 03:19 So we paid for it through our solid waste and recycling program, um, and fund. So businesses in our community who are going to be required to provide for food recovery services as part of their rate, they are supporting the infrastructure to support food recovery.

Speaker 1: 03:36 Are you hoping that the uh, green Oceanside kitchen pays for itself?

Speaker 2: 03:41 Uh, definitely. Um, the way we've set up the kitchen is we have put the investment in the infrastructure and we've partnered with a local nonprofit organization, the Oe side kitchen collaborative. Um, they already have a decent reputation for their catering services as well as their community give back programming. So the Osa kitchen collaborative aims to not only provide high end catering services that source from food recovery, but to also provide programming in community training.

Speaker 1: 04:07 You just talked about the gleaning operation that you had that brought in so much produce to a green ocean side kitchen. You've been able to get a number of partner organizations to join you in this effort. Tell us about that.

Speaker 2: 04:20 That's been key to this project. Um, the green notions, that kitchen is not only a kitchen to serve the community, it's a kitchen of the community. And over the past four years if we, as we've developed this program and this infrastructure, we really strive to bring everyone to the table so we can serve every need. So we work closely with our local feeding agencies, with catering arts programs as well as food recovery organizations and our chefs in the local community.

Speaker 1: 04:46 And the facility we had just had his grand opening, right?

Speaker 2: 04:49 Yes, yes. We had over 400 people at the grand opening and the people at the grand opening are in the feeding system, whether it be from a food recovery perspective and agricultural perspective, Agri tourism, um, high end restaurants. Um, so you name it. Anyone involved in the, in a sustainable food system, um, is a part of the green notions I kitchen initiative and projects.

Speaker 1: 05:12 And what are these organizations looking to this kitchen to find out

Speaker 2: 05:17 if you're a food recovery organization, you're going to be looking to partner with the greenery, the kitchen and the outside kitchen collaborative to be able to receive meal product. Um, if you are a farmer, you may partner with the Green Ocean side kitchen to provide produce agricultural surplus that you would otherwise had to pay to dispose of. Um, if you're a local chef, we might work with you to have you host a community cooking class. Um, and if you're somebody that's a veteran looking to redefine their career, um, you might be a part of the program by joining one of our job training program.

Speaker 1: 05:50 I've been speaking with Coleen Foster, she's environmental officer for the city of Oceanside, and we've been talking about the new green Oceanside kitchen project and Colleen, thank you so much. Thank you, Marie.

Speaker 3: 06:05 Hmm.

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KPBS Midday Edition Segments

Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon host KPBS Midday Edition, a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.