Food Waste Tour – San Francisco

An Eye Opening Experience in San Francisco

According to Paul Hawken’s comprehensive new book Drawdown: “Uneaten food squanders a whole host of resources—seeds, water, energy, land, fertilizer, hours of labor, financial capital—and generates greenhouse gases at every stage—including methane when organic matter lands in the global rubbish bin.” Therefore food waste is responsible for roughly 8 percent of all global emissions! In this tour, we’ll follow the food waste trail to learn how ingenious social entrepreneurs are sourcing unwanted fruits and vegetables. We’ll learn how some are creating food products and meals that would otherwise rot on farms or spoil during storage or distribution.

Some Suggested Stops

SF Wholesale Produce Market

Every morning, growers, farmers, brokers, and buyers gather here to exchange the most delicious produce in California. Our 30 on-market businesses span direct-to-market growers, family-owned produce houses, and tech-enabled food delivery systems.

Ugly Juice

Ugly Juice makes use of ‘imperfect’ or oddly shaped produce to create tasty cold-pressed beverages which are then hand-delivered by bicycle. Two out of five out of all fruit and vegetables produced are considered “too ugly” to be sold in grocery stores and are routinely discarded by farmers – Ugly Juice shows that looks aren’t everything by creating delicious and nutritious juice out of these unattractive  produce, at a significantly lower cost, no less. Ugly Juice operates out of Bayview/Hunter’s Point area of SF and feature a unique bicycle delivery service.

Bi-Rite Market

A pioneer in the new farm-to-grocery store movement, Bi-Rite is setting the standard for grocery stores championing locally sourced products grown by small producers. BiRite’s mission is to provide an outlet for delicious responsibly produced foods while keeping their customer based informed of the true cost of sustainability. On our tour they show us ways to buy food keeping in mind how to store food to help prevent food waste. They also runs 18 Reasons, a non-profit community food education project that offers classes and community events to provide culinary resources and education in low-income areas.

Veritable Vegetable

This female owned produce distributor purchases, supplies, and transports the highest quality organic fruits and vegetables on the market. Veritable Vegetable are a certified B Corporation, utilizing the power of business to solve social and environmental challenges. They focus on high integrity relationships, quality produce, environmental sustainability, and active community involvement. Find out the best ways to store produce on this inspiring stop that has been in business since 1974.


Recology is a resource recovery company in SF that collects and processes municipal solid wastes and salvages any useful materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill. Recology is responsible for achieving the highest landfill diversion rate in the country through collaboration with the City of San Francisco, which created a Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance. Recology also has a team called Recology Organics that returns nutrients to the soil using organic materials from your food scraps and yard trimmings, providing farmers a sustainable way to grow food.

ThirstyBear Brewing Company

We’ll have our lunch or cap our experience at Thirsty Bear Organic Brewery, the first and only brewery in San Francisco to brew certified organic beer. They are a certified Green Business with a longstanding commitment to support sustainable agriculture.They have partnered with Magnolia Brewery to source from local family farms to grow no-till or organic barley for their malt which they gently turn on a germination floor by hand in nearby Alameda. Their critically acclaimed Spanish tapas restaurant serves some of the city’s top paella, tapas, charcuterie/cheese and beer pairings, cooked not only with beer, but with beer’s raw ingredients (hops, malts, yeast). Will end the meal and tour with a Regrained energy bar of upcycled “spent” grain wrapped in sustainable packaging both that would normally wind up in the landfill!

Imperfect Produce

Imperfect Produce was founded in 2015, with the vision of finding a home for the 6 billion pounds of ugly produce that goes to waste each year in California alone. They source the “imperfect” produce directly from farms and deliver it to customers’ doors for 30-50% less than grocery store prices. Through their efforts they’ve saved over 4.4 million pounds of food, 220 million gallons of water, $2 million dollars on groceries, and over 15 million pounds of C02!

Good Eggs

Good Eggs is an online market that delivers good groceries to customers’ homes throughout the Bay Area, seven days a week. They also create meal kits so that consumers can make fresh and healthy dinners at home. They work directly with local farmers and foodmakers, which allows them to get their food in half the time of a traditional grocery store – that means better, more delicious food for you. They will also be making us a delicious lunch using their fresh groceries. 

Lunch May Be Sourced From:

Food Shift

At Food Shift, they know that food isn’t waste— it’s valuable
nutrition that uses precious environmental resources and should be used to feed people in our communities. Through their events, online resources, and collaborative programs they provide guidance and promote opportunities for individuals, organizations, and businesses to use food waste reduction as a strategy that saves money, benefits the community, and alleviates strain on the environment. By trimming waste and diverting food loss we can alleviate hunger, create jobs, combat climate change, conserve natural resources, and cultivate more sustainable communities

Town Kitchen 

Town Kitchen provides Bay Area foster and re-entry youth with fair-wage employment, on-the-job training and pathways to upward economic mobility. Led by Google’s former Executive Sous Chef, their culinary team showcases locally-sourced ingredients and diverse flavor profiles, with additional options for vegan, vegetarians & gluten-free eaters.

4505 Burgers & BBQ 

4505 Burgers & BBQ partners with farmers and ranchers to produce the highest quality BBQ from animals raised humanely and with care. Equipped with one of the area’s last remaining historic wood-fired barbecue pits, they BBQ using traditional methods. 4505 creatively uses every part of an animal without wasting a single scrap. (There will also be an option to choose a box lunch from Bi-Rite, listed above, instead).

Farming Hope at Manny’s 

Manny’s is a people powered and community focused meeting and learning place in the heart of San Francisco that combines a restaurant, political bookshop, and civic events space. The goal of Manny’s is to create a central and affordable place to become a better informed and more involved citizen. They offer their events space to nonprofits, activists, and civic organizations to do their work as well as host their own civic and arts related programming. Their kitchen is run by the non-profit, Farming Hope, which hires formerly homeless and formerly incarcerated individuals and trains them in the food skills needed to work in the restaurant industry.

Inquire About This Experience Here