On March 28, 2017 at 11am a public hearing has been scheduled to discuss the Save Good Food Amendment Act of 2017. The proposed Act includes new and innovative strategies for decreasing wasted food in the District including tax credits for donating food to charities, expanded liability protections for donors, streamlined date labels for safety, and a new food donation guide. Please volunteer to send a letter or email or testify in-person at the public hearing. Details on how to get involved are included in our community action guide below.
Community Action Guide – Prepared by the DC Food Policy Council’s Working Group on Sustainable Food Procurement
What does this bill do? The Save Good Food Amendment Act proposed four common sense actions that will help curb food waste in Washington, DC:
- It creates a local tax credit up to $5,000 for DC food businesses that donate healthy food to charitable organizations. This is meant to especially help small businesses make the choice to donate excess food to groups serving people in need, rather than throwing it away.
- It expands liability protections for food donors who give food directly to an individual or family in need, because current protections are focused on covering those who give food to nonprofits serving as a ‘middle man’ of food distribution.
- It expands liability protection to nonprofits that re-distribute donated food but charge a nominal fee to cover processing or handling costs. Previously, there was concern that liability only protected giving food away for free, but this will help nonprofits offset some of the costs of turning donated food into appealing, useful food products for people in need.
- It takes on the confusion caused by different date labels (“use by”, “sell by”, “best by”, and so on), and instead requires the District of Columbia government to educate city health inspectors about how these dates actually pertain to food safety so that food retailers do not throw food away unnecessarily.
How can you help make this bill a real law?
You can tell the Council of the District of Columbia that you want this bill to pass!
On Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 11:00AM in Room 500 of the John A. Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC), the Committee on Health & the Committee on Finance & Revenue will hold a Public Hearing on the Save Good Food Amendment Act of 2017. In-person testimonies make a big difference to our Councilmembers, so making the time to join this hearing will have a big impact on the bill’s success!
What do I have to do if I want to participate in this hearing?
Those who wish to testify should contact Sarina Loy, Committee Assistant at (202) 724-8058 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and provide your name, organizational affiliation (if any), and title with the organization by 11 :00 a.m. on Monday, March 27, 2017. You must bring 15 copies of your written testimony to the hearing.
As an individual, you will have 3 minutes to speak, and if you represent an organization or business, you may have up to 5 minutes. Written testimony can be as long as you’d like, but what you say to the Council needs to fit in those timeframes. Remember that one page of double-spaced text (about 250 words) takes about 2 minutes to read aloud, so we recommend planning your remarks accordingly. After you testify, the Council may ask follow-up questions about what you’ve said and why you care about this issue. If you’ve never testified before the DC Council before, we recommend reviewing this brief, helpful guide.
In terms of structuring your testimony, we recommend:
- Thanking the Councilmembers for convening this hearing and considering this bill;
- Briefly introducing yourself and/or your organization/business;
- Explaining why you care about the issue of food waste;
- Explaining how one or more of the four pieces of this bill will make a difference to you, your organization, or your community;
- Expressing any concerns you might have about elements of this bill that might be incomplete or in need of additional clarification;
- Close by thanking the Councilmembers for listening and re-stating clearly whether you think the Council should support this legislation and make it a law of DC;
Lastly, be sure to practice reading your testimony aloud before the big day, and timing how long it takes you. Practicing will help you stay on time and make your points clearly and succinctly.
What can I do if I can’t testify that day?
You can still submit written testimony to Sarina Loy, Committee Assistant at email@example.com or notify the Councilmembers on the Health Committee about your support of the bill through the contact information listed here: http://dccouncil.us/committees/committee-on-health.
Any other questions?
Thank you for being part of the movement to fight food waste in our community! Please direct any questions or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org.