ExtraFood Responds to the Crisis: Accelerating Environmental Justice
April 21, 2021
As Earth Day approaches, I’ve been reflecting on the disproportionate effects of the climate crisis on the most vulnerable people in our communities, and the connection of that sobering reality with our work at ExtraFood.
The most recent National Climate Assessment, a report delivered to Congress and the President every four years, notes that low-income communities and some communities of color are already overburdened with poor environmental conditions. And, it notes that those communities, along with children, older adults, and any person experiencing discrimination, are disproportionately affected by extreme weather and climate events. For example, older adults are vulnerable to climate-related power outages that can affect crucial in-home systems, and to climate-related wildfires that require mobility for quick evacuation.
The United Nations spotlights a deeper “vicious cycle.” It notes that inequalities cause:
- Increased exposure of disadvantaged groups to climate hazards
- Increased susceptibility to damage caused by climate hazards
- Decreased ability to cope with and respond to the damage
and that these, together, cause disproportionate loss of income and assets, which cause greater subsequent inequality.
ExtraFood was founded based on the recognition that abundance in our community – in the forms of high-quality excess food, generous funders, amazing volunteers, and collaborative partners – offers a unique opportunity to address crucial problems and inequities.
On Earth Day, we are reminded that food waste is one of the main causes of the climate crisis: if global food waste were a country, it would rank third in greenhouse gas emissions after the U.S. and China. Yet reducing food waste at work and at home is the easiest way to make the quickest impact on the climate crisis:
- With more than 275 businesses and schools having donated food to our county-wide food recovery program thus far, ExtraFood is working to transform Marin’s food system: from wasting food to donating it.
- At home, it’s easy for you to do your part: when you put your food waste in your green cart, our partners at Marin Sanitary Service, Recology, Mill Valley Refuse, and Bay Cities Refuse ensure that it is composted rather than landfilled.
In Marin, the problem of food waste is solvable; together, we can solve it.
And with your support, ExtraFood is addressing inequities in our county:
- Our work is driven first and foremost by Marin’s most vulnerable people, whose needs we are constantly surveying, and who we are finding new ways to involve directly in ExtraFood’s planning and programs;
- We are increasing equitable access to healthy, fresh food in Marin by redistributing some of the best food in the world, at a time when 1 in 5 people – and even more during the pandemic – worry about having enough food; and
- We have become a central part of the county’s disaster response network, delivering food to people in need during increasingly frequent – and increasingly climate-related – crises.
At ExtraFood, food justice is multi-faceted, integrating not only racial justice but also environmental justice. We are grateful for your support as we work together toward the day when all in our community have the food they need, and have equal access to a healthful environment in which to work, learn, play and thrive.
Founder and Executive Director