Food waste, nutrition in prison focus of webinars Feb. 22, 29

Food waste, nutrition in prison focus of webinars Feb. 22, 29

Assorted foods -- vegetables, milk, breads, cheese, eggs, ham, salmon -- on a table.

Free webinars about food waste and nutrition in correctional systems will be presented by the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The UC ANR Sustainable Food Systems Emerging Issues Webinar Serieswill first cover food waste on Feb. 22.

“The Sustainable Food Systems strategic initiative panel aimed to highlight innovative solutions to emerging issues within the food system from field-to-fork,” said Danielle Lee, UC Nutrition Policy Institute director of communications and research engagement.

“Over one-third of all available food in the U.S. is uneaten through food loss or waste – totaling up to over $160 billion – which has negative impacts on food security and the climate,” she said. “Households could save over $370 per person each year by reducing or preventing food waste. Additionally, when uneaten food ends up in the landfill, it generates greenhouse gases, and landfills are now the third largest producers of methane in the U.S.”

“California's adoption of SB 1383 aims to solve these problems,” Lee said. “You'll meet experts who are implementing consumer education and organic waste recycling programs aligned with SB 1383.” 

The second 90-minute webinar, on Feb. 29, will focus on nutritious foods for residents of correctional facilities.

“We chose incarcerated people as our case study population for two reasons – the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is the single largest public purchaser of food in the state and studies have shown that 63% of incarcerated individuals rarely or never have fresh vegetables and 55% rarely or never have fresh fruit.”

California has two policies that can support institutional procurement of fresh produce – AB 822 and AB 778.

“The Harvest of the Month program is an innovative solution to implementing these policies while supporting improved nutrition security for incarcerated individuals,” Lee said. “Prison gardening programs can not only provide therapeutic benefits to residents, but also reduce recidivism rates and serve as workforce development opportunities to better prepare residents for returning to their communities post-incarceration.”

Part 1 - Harvesting Solutions: A Trio of Perspectives on Addressing Food Waste from Field to Fork

Thursday, Feb 22, at 10-11:30 a.m. PT 

To minimize food waste, three experts explore factors influencing food loss and waste, delve into innovative recycling techniques, and explore statewide initiatives targeting household food waste. Experts in postharvest handling, food waste recycling and community education will share research findings and strategies.


  • An overview of food waste in fruits and vegetables
    Deirdre Holcroft, Holcroft Postharvest Consulting
  • Exploring means to extract embodied energy and lower greenhouse gas emissions in food waste recycling
    Michael Cohen, UC Cooperative Extension organic materials management and agri-food systems advisor for Santa Clara County
  • The opportunities in statewide programs in reducing household food waste: Results from UC ANR household food practice needs assessment
    Yu Meng, UC Cooperative Extension youth, family and community advisor in Riverside, San Bernardino and Imperial counties

Part 2 - Farm to Corrections: Cultivating Justice through Nutrition and Gardening Initiatives

Thursday, Feb. 29, at 10-11:30 a.m. PT

Experts share insights on groundbreaking initiatives for justice-involved individuals' access to California-grown produce and nutrition and gardening education. Innovative initiatives such as a “Harvest of the Month” program by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in collaboration with the UC Nutrition Policy Institute and Impact Justice aim to increase access to fresh, locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables and trauma-informed nutrition workshops. They also highlight the impact of UC Master Gardener projects on rehabilitation and workforce development.


  • Produce during and after prison: Increasing justice-impacted individuals' access to California-grown produce and nutrition education
    Carolyn Chelius, UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute; Heile Gantan, Impact Justice; Lance Eshelman, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations
  • UC Master Gardeners Prison Gardens Projects
    Missy Gable, director of the UC Master Gardener Program

Learn more and register at


By Pamela S Kan-Rice
Author - Assistant Director, News and Information Outreach