Food Waste Prevention & Rescue Grant Program to be Released

CalRecycle will likely release their Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Grant Program in September 2020 with funding levels ranging from $150,000 to $300,000 per application with $4 million available for the program. It is anticipated that applications will be due in October 2020 with awards announced in January 2021.

What is the purpose of CalRecycle’s Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Grant Program?

The purpose of this competitive grant program is to lower overall greenhouse gas emissions by establishing new or expanding existing food waste prevention projects (source reduction or food rescue for people) in California to reduce the amount of food being disposed in landfills. One of the reasons this program is such an advantageous grant opportunity is that it will fund equipment like refrigeration systems, transportation/storage, and food preparation items, which is rare for grant programs.

Who is eligible to apply?

Eligible applicants for this program include: local governments; nonprofit organizations (except for private schools); B Corporations and Benefit Corporations; private, for-profit entities; state or federal agencies (including offices, departments, bureaus, and boards); University of California campuses, California State University campuses, or the California Community College campuses; solid waste facilities; public school districts; and qualifying Indian tribes.

Up to two applications per qualifying entity will be accepted and eligible applicants may submit individual or joint applications.

What projects are eligible?

Eligible projects for this program include:

  • Food waste prevention projects that prevent food waste from being generated and becoming waste that is normally destined for landfills.
  • Food rescue projects that result in rescued food being distributed to people, that would otherwise be destined for landfills.
    • Any food waste residuals from the food rescue project must be composted or sent to a digester within the project service area (if available).

While eligible expenses and activities will be further described when the program is released, eligible expenses will include, but are not limited to: refrigeration systems, refrigerated vehicles, personnel, food waste prevention tracking equipment/software, and food preparation items.

What are other project requirements?

Projects must be located in California and result in permanent, annual, and measurable:

  1. Reductions in GHG emissions attributed to the production, processing, packaging, distribution, and landfilling of California-generated food waste; and
  2. Increases in quantity (tons) of California-generated food waste, newly diverted from landfills, and prevented or rescued from disposal.

“Newly diverted” means the tons of materials that are currently being landfilled that will instead be diverted as a result of this project.

Projects resulting in a net increase of GHG emissions are ineligible and will not be recommended for funding. Projects would need to be completed by April 1, 2023.

What are the likely changes to the program for this funding cycle?

CalRecycle is proposing the following changes from past grant cycles:

  • Creation of applicant eligibility for past and current grantees – past and current grantees would be evaluated for eligibility using diverted tonnage achieved and grant funds expended within their past or current grant term.
  • Adjust scoring criteria categories and point allocation to provide more clarity to applicants and to add increased emphasis on project viability, concept, and methodologies that support GHG reductions.
  • Increase of Admin/Indirect cap costs from 5 percent to 10 percent.
  • Remove of personnel costs cap.
  • Change the award range to $150,000 – $300,000.
  • Make food upcycling projects ineligible.

What are the funding levels for this program?

The proposed maximum award for an individual project is $300,000. The proposed minimum award amount is $150,000. Historically, there has not been a cost sharing requirement for this program.

When are applications due?

While the program’s Application Guidelines and Instructions has yet to be published, CalRecycle anticipates an October 2020 application due date.

The Request for Approval which briefly outlines the program as well as anticipated changes is available here. Additionally, the proposed Applicant Eligibility Criteria for prior awardees can be found here and the proposed Scoring Criteria for this new round can be found here.

For more information on this grant or how to apply with Morrison’s assistance, please contact the Morrison Grants Team by email at or call us at 530-893-4764.


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