live / 2020

elePlate Certification Program

elePlate Certification Program

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by elePlate

Our core service is the elePlate certification, which we provide to companies that work with us to successfully turn their kitchens into zero food waste operations. We start by assessing their current kitchen practices for waste and then create a customized sustainability plan that takes our partners through source reduction, food recycling and food donation. Proceeds from our certification program are used to fund the logistics required to scale our food recovery efforts and feed more people in need.

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Pilot project or new program

What is the need you’re responding to?

LA has one of the largest populations of any county in the US. One-fifth of our population - nearly two million people - is food insecure, yet we throw away 30-40% of fresh food. We could feed everyone with that surplus.

These statistics are from before COVID-19 began sweeping through our county and nation. This pandemic has further revealed the devastating chasms that exist between those who have access to food and resources, and those who do not. COVID-19 has not only disproportionately affected those who already lack access to basic resources, but also, in many cases, the restaurants and staff who choose to donate their food to those individuals each day.

The stakes to drastically scale food recovery logistics have never been higher.

While the current trend is to charge the donor to accomplish this goal, we created the elePlate model to provide a financially sustainable path towards funding free food recovery for any business that wants to donate.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?

This project will become elePlate’s primary program and is the backbone of our organization. It provides the foundation we need to grow our impact and solve food insecurity once and for all in Los Angeles.

Bryan previously served as the CEO of a food recovery organization and is a member of the LAFPC Food Waste and Prevention Working Group. He’s become intimately aware of the logistical roadblocks to scaling food recovery while learning from people working to solve all sides of this challenge: restaurant owners, managers, and employees; drivers; recipient organizations; and program participants that rely on the food.

Kate has spent her time in LA committed to bettering her community through mentorship, animal rescue, food recovery, and a full-time job making higher education more accessible.

In 2019, Bryan and Kate combined their business experience and passion for their community to cofound elePlate, with the mission of creating a solution that accounts for everyone involved.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

Direct impact
Indirect impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

Future of City: Access to healthy food is a human right. Our city has failed to provide this to its citizens. To change that, we need to rescue and divert food to every community in LA.

Right now, we have local nonprofits doing their best while relying solely on grants and donations, and larger organizations charging donors. These solutions are not scalable or sustainable.

Our system will end commercial food waste at the source, save thousands, and boost sales. This value allows us to generate revenue and unlock financially sustainable food recovery growth across LA.

We can reach every neighborhood, ensuring no one goes hungry. In turn, they can tackle other challenge areas: homelessness, unemployment, and physical and mental health.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

Success is scaling county-wide in two years, and (1) having a profound impact on the food insecure community, (2) saving restaurants money, and (3) alerting consumers to this widespread issue.

As with any organization, success hinges on the strength of our relationships. We are fortunate that despite elePlate still being in its early stages of development, before COVID-19 became widespread we had already begun to build partnerships and collaborations with well-established restaurants and companies. Of course, the landscape now is ever-evolving; businesses that we have aimed to work with since starting elePlate may shift their business models entirely as we emerge from this pandemic.

Before COVID-19, only a small portion of businesses were willing to pay to perform a charitable act; today with their own businesses hurting immensely that number will be even lower. But here is what we guarantee remains the same: Businesses looking ahead will have no choice but streamline their operations more than ever before. Beyond the challenges presented with COVID-19, California law SB1383, which requires food recovery programs for all restaurants, goes into effect in 2022.

elePlate offers the opportunity to accomplish both goals—save money and comply with the law—in advance of that deadline. How? The answer is simple: by improving food businesses’ bottom lines. We ensure every business we work with becomes more profitable by becoming more sustainable.

Which of the live metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Access to healthy food
  • Food insecurity
  • Water-use efficiency

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?

  • Access to the LA2050 community
  • Host public events or gatherings
  • Communications support
  • Strategy assistance and implementation