NewsLocal NewsIn Your Neighborhood Taft / Maricopa


Local orginization adresses food scarcity and environmental concerns

A groundbreaking law that's aimed at transforming the way we handle food waste from grocery stores.
Posted at 3:37 PM, Nov 03, 2023
  • Non-profit goes beyond supplying food, they also play a role in reducing co2 emissions in landfills, by removing edible foods that would typically end up there.
  • Laborers of the Harvest efforts showcase how local community actions can address crucial needs.


This local nonprofit organization collaborates with grocery stores and farms to rescue excess, perfectly edible food that would otherwise contribute to harmful landfill emissions. Laborers of the Harvest's main goal is to consistently serve Taft and Kern counties communities by providing food.

“Reducing that food, recovering it, redistributing it, that’s the name of our game and we are very good at it,” says Shari Rightmer, executive director of Laborers of the Harvest.

Laborers of the Harvest have a long history of actively addressing community needs, serving hundreds of families every month by distributing thousands of pounds of food.

The open harvest program, operates every Tuesday and Thursday in Taft, offering a diverse amount of fresh produce, along with canned and shelf-stable foods. They also have established additional distribution centers in Arvin and Frazier Park.

Rightmer says the organization has implemented policies and procedures to guarantee the proper handling of food resources.

“food is very important, it can kill you if it’s not handled properly, the days of nonprofits picking up foods in the back of their cars in 110-degree heat, it’s just not going to work, not with this program and the law that’s coming up” continues Rightmer.

In January 2021, California enforced Senate Bill 13 83, a law aimed at restricting the disposal of organic waste in landfills. They hope to lower the emission of methane gas resulting from the breakdown of organic waste in these landfills. Under SB1383, various establishments selling or distributing food, such as grocery stores, convenience stores, and cafeterias, will be mandated to ensure that organizations capable of accounting for collected edible food and responsibly distributing it to the community are handling it.

Enforcement will begin in 2024, with fines and penalties for those who fail to comply. Laborers of the Harvest differ from other nonprofit organizations that exclusively provide free food. They operate a unique 30-dollar monthly program aimed at offsetting the costs associated with collecting, transporting, and storing fresh food products.

“we don’t care if you're a millionaire we don’t care if you're living in a tent, it doesn’t matter we don’t care if you are purple, zebra, it just doesn’t matter we just want you to come and enjoy and live up the food that’s it, take it to your table, share it with your family,” says Rightmer.

Laborers of the Harvest address both food scarcity and environmental concerns, making a meaningful difference in the community.

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