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The Tentative CRRA2021 Program is now available for viewing. Please note that more information will be added in the coming weeks.  All scheduling is subject to change.

Edible Food Recovery: Myths, Misconceptions & Emerging Opportunities

Tuesday, August 17, 2021 at 11:15 AM–12:45 PM Pacific Time (US & Canada) add to calendar


Session Description

The CRRA Edible Food Recovery Technical Council presents an authentic session about the myths, misconceptions and emerging opportunities in edible food recovery. Presenters will dive into the challenges and opportunities to develop effective programs that meet state mandates. The speakers in this session represent diverse stakeholders addressing topics and unique perspectives relative to every region of California as well as urban and rural areas of the state. Attendees will better identify innovative strategies, models, collaborations and funding streams in addition to the complexities associated with edible food recovery at this stage of SB1383 implementation.

Myths and Misconceptions: The audience will learn how to debunk myths that pounds of food recovered equates to pounds of food successfully diverted from landfills. This session will discuss the myth that achieving regulatory compliance will result in meeting the state’s targeted goals. Further, the audience will come to understand the cyclical association between edible food donation, source reduction and SB1383 compliance. Attendees will explore misconceptions surrounding the role of Environmental Health Departments in edible food recovery, the nexus between food safety and food waste reduction mandates as well as the statewide non-profit dynamic. 

Emerging Opportunities: Presenters will illuminate emerging opportunities for a holistic food recovery system such as regional approaches to working with edible food generators and the cyclical connection between source reduction and food recovery. The audience will also gain a clear understanding of how food recovery integrates into a circular food economy that includes production, aggregation, processing, distribution and recovery.  


Gregory Warren, Attallah College of Educational Studies, Chapman University

Assistant Professor

Speaker Biography

Gregory Warren served the City of Orange for nearly two decades with the Public Works and Community and Library Services Departments. His responsibilities included management of the department's budget, solid waste and recycling franchise, solid waste diversion programs, public education, and leadership development programs. After completing his dissertation on the topic of Democratic Leadership Development in City Government, Greg renewed his commitment to teach as a member of the Leadership Studies faculty at Chapman University. Specifically, Greg has discovered a connection between his academic research on human behavior and the efficacy of effectively implementing solid waste and recycling programs.

Abstract Title

Myths and Misconceptions Part 1

Speaker Abstract

Some common myths and misconceptions have emerged since we began discussing edible food recovery as a tool to reduce food waste in California.  As a former municipal Public Works Administrative Manager and current professor of Leadership studies, Dr. Gregory Warren will examine myths including the notion that pounds ‘recovered’ directly translate to pounds diverted from landfill.  Dr. Warren will all debunk that participation from Tier 1 and Tier 2 edible food generators alone will lead to target success for municipal programs. Finally, we will dive deeper into the impact and association between source reduction and edible food recovery.  At this stage of SB 1383 implementation, addressing these three topics will have a dramatic impact on the audience’s ability to meet SB 1383 edible food recovery targets.

Mike Haller, UL Everclean

Technical Manager, Food Safety & Sanitation

Speaker Biography

Mike currently serves as the Technical Food Safety Manager for UL-Everclean, a nationwide food safety auditing company. His team is responsible for providing technical food safety advice and support to UL’s food safety auditors nationwide. Mike also served in a regulatory role for 25 years as a Program Manager for Orange County Environmental Health’s Food & Pool Safety Program overseeing and developing innovative initiatives for the Foodborne Illness Prevention Section, Housing & Institutions and Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. Mike participated as a steering committee member Waste Not OC and Sub-committee Chair for the California Retail Food Safety Coalition.

Abstract Title

Myths and Misconceptions Part 2

Speaker Abstract

Unlike other areas associated with the reduction of organic materials that end up in landfill, Edible Food Recovery is heavily reliant on food safety and the use of non-profit organizations and their volunteers to ultimately meet targeted goals.  There are common misconceptions associated with the role Environmental Health Departments can or should play with regard to edible food recovery.  Additionally, there is confusion on the part of potential food donors with regard to the roles and capacity of the non-profit sector across a vast state. Mike Haller, (Technical Manager with UL Labs/Food Safety Auditing Program and food safety instructor at Cal State San Bernardino) works with both national food industry companies and non-profit feeding organizations developing and analyzing best practices needed to instill confidence in the process of edible food donation.  As a former Environmental Health Department Program Manager and early advocate of food recovery, Mike will share his insight as to the role Environmental Health Departments can play and the complexities associated with relying on a varying and fragmented non-profit sector. The audience will learn how to collaborate with their local Environmental Health Departments to implement edible food recovery programs in a cohesive manner.  

Pete Pearson, World Wildlife Fund

Senior Director of Food Loss and Waste

Speaker Biography

Pete Pearson is the Senior Director of Food Loss and Waste at World Wildlife Fund (WWF), helping businesses and communities understand agriculture’s impact on wildlife and habitat conservation. Pete has 10 years of technology and grocery retail experience with companies including Hewlett-Packard, Accenture and Albertsons; has worked with public schools and hospitals as a sustainability and zero waste consultant, co-founded a sustainable agriculture non-profit in Idaho, and co-produced a documentary film on local and regenerative agriculture ( Pete currently lives in Washington DC and enjoys fly fishing, sailing, skiing, and exploring the outdoors with his family.

Abstract Title

Emerging Opportunities Part 2

Speaker Abstract

The Pacific Coast Collaborative (PCC) is a US-based public-private partnership – one of the largest in the world – whose goal is to address wasted food. Together with ReFED, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and WRAP, the PCC is committed to supporting businesses that are implementing measures to reduce and prevent wasted food in the region by 50% by the year 2030 as part of the West Coast Voluntary Agreement to Reduce Wasted Food  – a regional public-private partnership in line with U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions and Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 from the United Nations.

The PCC presents an opportunity to learn how to follow the “Target – Measure – Act” principles in order to set realistic, measurable objectives.  Attendees will also learn how the PCC works with private businesses and local jurisdictions in Washington, Oregon, and California to prevent and reduce food waste.  The session will explain how, by following the adage “you can only manage what you can measure,” business signatories work pre-competitively to track food waste, identify industry challenges, and collaborate within working groups to develop scalable solutions to be shared with all PCC members. 

The audience will be enlightened about the environmental benefits of reducing food waste such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, conserving water and land resources, and supporting those facing food insecurity. Information will also be provided about the potential business benefits, including how a similar program in the UK, saw business participants receive a 14:1 return on their investment.

Hilary Bass, Alameda County Sheriffs’ Office

Crime Prevention Sr. Program Specialist

Speaker Biography

Hilary Bass works for Alameda County Sheriff’s Office overseeing the Deputy Sheriffs’ Activities League coordinating health and employment opportunities. She coordinates innovative methods for catalyzing positive options for the Unincorporated Eden Area community. Throughout her career, she provided youth on probation with tools to make healthy decisions. She created programs for Girl Scouts of the San Francisco Bay Area to serve the “underserved” populations in San Francisco. She coordinated services for youth and families at an affordable housing development in Unincorporated Ashland. She also launched a Youth Leadership Council to prevent teen violence and build the REACH Ashland Youth Center.

Abstract Title

Emerging Opportunities Part 1

Speaker Abstract

The Alameda County Circular Food Economy (known as ALL IN Eats) will present emerging opportunities to help implement food recovery programs with an innovative holistic and collaborative approach. The mission of ALL IN Eats is to engage people, organizations, and County agencies in a virtuous cycle that feeds wellness, sustainability, food security, community resilience, and economic empowerment. Attendees will learn successful program approaches to addressing the root causes of poverty, not just the symptom of food insecurity, how to engage community leadership, prioritizing equity and building an understanding of the bigger picture of a circular food economy.

Community Leadership: Communities know what they need to thrive, and their voices, experiences, and leadership should be elevated as the starting place for change. ALL IN Eats will share the steps taken to institute a collaborative steering committee that includes residents, government agencies, nonprofit, and business organizations.

Prioritizing Equity: Structural barriers to opportunity that arise from racism and economic and social policies that drive inequality are a root cause of poverty in our society. ALL IN Eats will share lessons learned from the process of building public systems that enable movement out of poverty and the design of policies and programs that promote equity.

Circular Food Economy: ALL IN Eats will teach the audience how food recovery fits into the bigger picture of a circular food economy that includes production, aggregation, processing, distribution and recovery. The audience will use this understanding to expand the impact of food recovery programs in their community.


Mauricio Cordova, Loaves and Fishes Family Kitchen

Chief Operations Officer

Moderator Biography

Mauricio Cordova has over 20 years of experience in operational leadership in the private sector prior to joining Loaves and Fishes in 2017.  He is responsible for Loaves & Fishes meal programs, which includes the A La Carte Food recovery program that recovers and distributes over 600K pounds of food to insecure populations in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.  He has a BS in Business Administration from CSU East Bay and a Certificate in Non-Profit Organizational Management from UOP.  In 2020, he received his Certification from the SWANA/CRRA as a Certified Practitioner in Zero Waste Principles and Practices.