Home Garden & Food Management
Home Gardening Resources
Did you know?
You can regrow certain veggies and produce scraps right from your home! Some varieties can even grow without having to plant them in the ground.
Spring is a great time to plant a garden or get ready to convert your lawn to drought tolerant landscaping. Edible gardens can help create community resilience.
Sustainable Management of Food
Many households are facing challenges in managing food at home and are looking for ways to reduce waste. Now more than ever, it is essential that we prevent food from being wasted and help get excess food distributed to those who need it.
Individual and Household Actions
Wasted food is a huge social, environmental, and economic problem in our communities. Billions of dollars and pounds of food are wasted every year in households and grocery stores across the nation. By managing food sustainably and reducing waste, we can help businesses and consumers save money, provide a bridge in our communities for those who do not have enough to eat, and conserve resources for future generations.
Benefits of Reducing Wasted Food
- Saves money from buying less food.
- Reduces methane emissions from landfills and lowers your carbon footprint.
- Conserves energy and resources, preventing pollution involved in the growing, manufacturing, transporting, and selling food (not to mention hauling the food waste and then landfilling it).
- Supports your community by providing donated untouched food that would have otherwise gone to waste to those who might not have a steady food supply.
How to Reduce Wasted Food
For tips on Planning Grocery Trips, Food Storage, Meal Prepping, and more, visit the EPA's website.
Be mindful of old ingredients and leftovers you need to use up. You’ll waste less and may even find a new favorite dish.
- Are you likely to have leftovers from any of your meals? Plan an “eat the leftovers” night each week.
- Learn the difference between “sell-by,” “use-by,” “best-by,” and expiration dates.
- Shop in your refrigerator first! Cook or eat what you already have at home before buying more.
- Have produce that’s past its prime? It may still be fine for cooking. Think soups, casseroles, stir fries, sauces, baked goods, pancakes or smoothies.
Tried these? You can still find ways for preventing your food from becoming waste!
- Nutritious, safe, and untouched food can be donated to food banks to help those in need.
- Compost food scraps rather than throwing them away. Visit RecyleSmart's website to find out how to make your own compost or to see what items should be in the compost bin.
- The Cleaner Contra Costa Challenge also has resources on how to compost.
Thank grocery store and restaurant staff; farmers; and grocery and food delivery workers—they are providing a vital service during this time!
What Businesses and Institutions Can Do
- Donate excess food to those in need through food banks or food rescue organizations such as Feeding America, Food Rescue US, Food Recovery Network and other organizations in your area. Understand benefits and protections available to donors.
- White Pony Express is a local organization that works to rescue food to end hunger and poverty in Contra Costa County.
- Use EPA’s Excess Food Opportunities Map to locate food banks.
- Visit RecycleSmart's website for composting facilities, and anaerobic digestion facilities near you to find alternatives to sending excess food to landfills.
- If you have excess food that cannot be donated to feed people, consider sending it to feed animals. See the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Fact Sheet on safely distributing unused human food for use as animal food (PDF) (3 pp, 143 K, About PDF).
- Consider forming new partnerships with businesses and organizations in order to transform excess food into prepared meals that can be donated to food insecure populations or front-line workers, or to find options to preserve excess food through canning, dehydration, and fermentation.