Food Runners

Monday, August 5, 2019


By Tim Campbell 
Food Runners Volunteer and Advocate
Tim Campbell picking up food donations at Mollie Stone's on California St.
Food Runners is dedicated to collecting surplus perishable and prepared food and distributing it to those who DO want and need it. We help people survive the daily struggle that life can often present. I have been volunteering with Food Runners for more than 3 years. I do several food runs each week and also help Food Runners by representing the agency at community forums. We can be proud that Food Runners is doing its part to help the planet. We are part of a growing global effort to reduce food waste. Every ounce of food we share is an ounce that is kept out of our landfills. Food Runners new director, Linda Murley, and I were privileged to participate in the Master Food Preserver event and panel discussion in Half Moon Bay recently. What we learned astounded us. Special credit must be given to the other panelists, Zia MacWilliams from the Second Harvest Food Bank and Laura Moreno a PHD candidate studying food waste, for their incredible contributions to the discussion.

-90% of the food wasted in the U.S. ends up in landfills-
Food Runners truck picking up large donation.

Landfills are not designed to take dumped food and break it down. The mountains of garbage you see in these dumps actually inhibits decomposition. Underneath the surface layer of these mounds there is virtually no oxygen for the survival of the bacteria that is needed for decomposition. In fact, the opposite is true. What is actually being generated is methane gas which is a greenhouse gas 20 to 25 times more harmful to the ozone layer than carbon dioxide in terms of trapping heat in the atmosphere. We learned that it can take as much as 25 years for a head of lettuce to decompose in landfill!

-800 million people are starving in the world, 40 million in the U.S. alone-
Ferry Building Farmer's market donations.
 Food that would otherwise go to waste. 
One of the truly alarming facts shared at the meeting had to do with the enormous amount of household food waste in America. Encouraged by marketing behemoths to buy, buy, buy the average person wastes 238 pounds of food per year (21 percent of the food they buy), costing them $1,800 per year. I know that going forward I’ll be even more vigilant in keeping food waste out of my black garbage bin. I hope you’ll join me in that effort.


Runners Hint: Keep a large garbage bag and/or a small box in your car for redistributing food from large or heavy donations.