A preliminary assessment of food policy obstacles in California’s produce recovery networks

California is a landmark setting for studying produce recovery efforts and policy implications because of its global relevance in agricultural production, its complex network of food recovery organizations, and its environmental and public health regulations. Through a series of focus groups with organizations involved in produce recovery (gleaning organizations) and emergency food operations (food banks, food pantries), this study aimed to deepen our understanding of the current produce recovery system and determine the major challenges and opportunities related to the produce recovery system. Operational and systematic barriers to produce recovery were highlighted by both gleaning and emergency food operations. Operational barriers, such as the lack of appropriate infrastructure and limited logistical support were found to be a challenge across groups and were directly tied to inadequate funding for these organizations. Systematic barriers, such as regulations related to food safety or reducing food loss and waste, were also found to impact both gleaning and emergency food organizations, but differences were observed in how each type of regulation impacted each stakeholder group. To support the expansion of food recovery efforts, participants expressed need for better coordination within and across food recovery networks and more positive and transparent engagement from regulators to increase understanding of the specifics of their unique operational constraints. The focus group participants also provided critiques on how emergency food assistance and food recovery are inscribed within the current food system and for longer term goals of reducing food insecurity and food loss and waste a systematic change will be required.
© The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Version of Scholarly Record of this Article is published in Agriculture and Human Values, 2023, available online at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10460-022-10407-1 . Keywords: food insecurity; food waste; food recovery; gleaning; regulation.
Chiarella, C., Lamoureaux, Y., Pires, A.A.F. et al. A preliminary assessment of food policy obstacles in California’s produce recovery networks. Agric Hum Values (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10460-022-10407-1