John Oliver on Food Waste


It always feels like a shared achievement when critical issues that seem overlooked in everyday culture make it to mainstream.
The popular show, Last Week Tonight hosted by John Oliver recently covered the issue of food waste. Where a narrator asks “what is more American than food waste?”

“What’s more American than a cheeseburger? This cheeseburger, loaded with a hotdog and potato chips in the hands of a model in a hot tub in a pick up truck on an aircraft carrier in front of the statue of liberty? I’ll tell you whats more American. If that cheeseburger is then thrown away along with 15 other cheeseburgers in front of a food insecure family of four you frankly cannot believe their f*cking eyes as they stand on top of 14 tons of perfectly edible if aesthetically unappealing fruits and vegetables which in turn sits on 80 tons of dairy products all one day passed their arbitrary “sell by” date all of which sits inside a tear rolling down Abraham Lincoln’s face on Mount Rushmore which is now nearly chin deep in millions of discarded cheeseburgers all gradually decomposing and emitting flammable methane in red, white and blue. THAT is f*cking American.”
Take the few minutes required to view the entire segment (click):

For the love of food and justice: Apply to be a council member!

OFPC is accepting applications for new members to join our 21-seat volunteer council. Current members include representatives from community and neighborhood organizations, business community, labor organizations, health and education, local government, rural and regional organizations, and youth. Oakland based individuals with a variety of backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

OFPC continuously examines the intersection of food and social justice in our communities including, race, poverty and the environment. With over five successful years of advocacy and organizing experience, we look forward to many exciting initiatives in the year ahead, and we welcome new energy to join us in this crucial work.

As a member, you’ll join community advocates like Chef Jenny Huston, who has served on OFPC since it was formed in 2009. jennyhuston.jpgHuston is driven to improve access to healthy local food against the odds and bring real food to Oakland.

“Our food system is a complete train wreck,” she declares, “What you see now in restaurants and grocery stores is completely different than when I started working as a chef in the 70s.”

She sees her work with the OFPC as a crucial way to impact change. When asked why she continues to serve as a council member she says, “I’m here because of the work. I’m most excited about the work we’re doing with Oakland Unified School District to bring fresh, real food to the students.”

The public is always welcome to join our monthly meetings each third Thursday of the month. Interested applicants are encouraged to come meet the council members, learn more about current campaigns, and share ideas.

For more info about applying for membership, view the application and contact Esperanza Pallana, Council Director with questions.

Oakland City Council Greenlights “Equity Checklist”

PCAWin6.17.15_1Press Release: June 22nd 2015

(Oakland, CA) – On Wednesday, June 17, the full Oakland City Council voted to approve recommendations for Priority Conservation Areas (PCAs) put together by city staff and a coalition of environmental advocates, at the request of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). Following the 6-0 vote, which came a day after the hometown Golden State Warriors claimed the NBA title, the advocates declared the outcome a “slam-dunk victory” for both the environment and Oakland’s most vulnerable communities.
The Council resolution formally adopted the “Equity Checklist,” the result of a collaborative process between a coalition which includes members of the Oakland Climate Action Coalition (OCAC), Urban Releaf, West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project (WOEIP), Oakland Food Policy Council (OFPC), Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC), and Bay Localize. Developed to align Oakland’s PCA selection process with the state’s methodology under landmark environmental justice law SB 535, the Equity Checklist contains guidelines for achieving economic equity, social inclusion, and good health for all – particularly in disadvantaged communities which have been identified by the state EPA’s CalEnviroScreen map as bearing a disproportionate pollution burden. By following these guidelines, these communities will become eligible for millions in funding from the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GHGRF).
In addition to the Equity Checklist, the Council adopted into its resolution a motion to create a Community Advisory Committee that will help ensure robust community participation in the planning and implementation of urban greening projects. The Community Advisory Committee will vet PCA projects according to both community benefits outlined in the Equity Checklist and the potential for the project to effectively meet the specific challenges identified by the PCA map. The Council also amended the resolution to include all eight creeks identified in the city’s Open Space, Conservation and Recreation (OSCAR) General Plan, making projects in these greenways eligible for funding from ABAG and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC).
“This is a huge win for environmentalists and an important step in truly making Oakland one of America’s greenest cities. By adopting the Equity Checklist, the city now has a framework for investment which can transform flatland neighborhoods from environmental hotspots to sustainable neighborhoods,” said Eric Arnold of Urban Releaf. Former Oakland city planner and current OFPC member, David Ralston, called the resolution a “cutting-edge green plan that was shaped by environmental justice advocates.” Yassi Eskandari of SELC noted that, “This is an opportunity to resource new and existing community-based resilience efforts that will increase public health through park access, healthy food, and other projects that mitigate the harmful health impacts of industry, transportation, and development.” Former Port Commissioner Ms. Margaret Gordon of WOEIP stated, “Some of our local infrastructure is over a hundred years old. Designating the PCAs could help the city get some money to fix our broken storm water systems, plant trees, and take care of our neighborhood parks. Flatland residents need healthier neighborhoods. We have been ignored for too long.”
RFPs for grant proposals from ABAG and MTC are expected later this year.
For media inquiries, contact:
Esperanza Pallana (Oakland Food Policy Council): (415) 412-0585 or
Yassi Eskandari (Sustainable Economies Law Center): (805) 637-2734 or
Eric Arnold (Urban Releaf): (510) 681-8213 or