What does an anaerobic digestion system in San Luis Obispo have to do with providing food for our hungry neighbors in the San Fernando Valley? An email from the Grant Farm to Director Will Hernandez at the Valley Food Bank on February 1, 2017 would start us asking that question—and begin to provide the answer as well. Hitachi Zosen Inova U.S.A. LLC / Kompogas-SLO Inc. was developing an application to California Climate Investments/CalRecycle for funding under the Organics Grant Program to develop a high-solids anaerobic digestions system designed to meet the organics diversion goals of San Luis Obispo County. The digestion system in SLO will be able to process 100 tons of organic waste each day.
As part of the application process, HZIU/Kombogas-SLO was looking to include a Food Waste Prevention Program that diverts edible food destined for a landfill and redistributes it to hungry people. And, Valley Food Bank met that need.
They also found the Valley Food Bank lies in the service territory of a Waste Connections landfill—Chiquita Canyon in this case. And, since the project in SLO will divert organics from the Waste Connections landfill in SLO County, there was another connection.
HZIU was interested in providing funding toward a new refrigerated truck for the food bank. And after 15 months of hard work, Valley Food Bank was presented with a check for $118,559.29. On Sept. 26, this beautiful new truck was driven onto the Valley Food Bank property where William Skinner, Director O&M Management AD for Hitachi, handed the keys to Mr. Hernandez and Humberto Barba, Warehouse Manager. “This allows us to have greater capacity,” Mr. Hernandez said. “We can do 10 pallets at a time as opposed to eight.
“This is just an extension of what we do to reduce food waste, whether we do it through our process of recycling or we do it through the process of helping (Valley Food Bank) collect more food and keep it out of the landfill,” Mr. Skinner added.
We are grateful to the staff at the Grant Farm for facilitating this partnership and to everyone at Hitachi Zosen Inova U.S.A. LLC, Kompogas-SLO, and Waste Connections for this very generous gift.