Creative Upcycling: Turning food waste into Art and Home Décor

Food waste is a global issue that demands our attention – a third of the food produced for human consumption is reportedly wasted annually, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. This waste not only throws away priceless resources, but also worsens the environment. Despite this obstacle, a new movement called creative upcycling is widely used to turn food waste into creations that are practical and beneficial around the house.

Creative upcycling entails using waste resources, in this example food waste, in new ways to make art and home furnishings. It is a sustainable strategy that gives new life to materials that otherwise would have been discarded. It allows us to improve the environment and human health by using our imagination to rethink the possibilities of food waste.

Fruit and vegetable peels are among the most versatile food waste materials for upcycling. These vibrant and multicolored peels are often dried, stored, and used to make one-of-a-kind artworks rather than being thrown away. For example, dried orange peels turn into aromatic potpourri to give your home a clean, fresh fragrance. Potato peels can also be dried and made into earthy, rustic wall décor or even used as stencils to paint designs on cloth.

Coffee grounds, that are frequently thrown away, can be mixed with non-toxic glue, dried and shaped into sculptures for decoration, or used as a natural fabric dye. Additionally, they may be used with beeswax to create fragrant, environmentally friendly candles. This not only cuts down on waste but also gives your living environment a little bit of personality.

Unused wine corks, which are frequently left at the back of kitchen drawers, can be crafted into striking works of art. It creates a chic and useful bulletin board or wall decoration by arranging them in different designs and pinning them on a board. When visitors come to your house, this not only cuts down on waste but also makes for a good discussion starter!

Additionally, to individual food products, food packaging can be creatively reused. Mason jars can be turned into visually beautiful kitchen items by giving them unique labels or painting them in vivid colors. Tin cans can also be used to create pots for an indoor herb garden, bringing a touch of greenery indoors while reducing waste.

Upcycling in a creative way is not just restricted to the visual arts. Culinary innovation can also be stimulated by food waste. Fruit and vegetable leftovers are often reused to create nourishing soups or smoothies. Making croutons or breadcrumbs from stale bread cuts down on waste while enhancing the flavor and texture of your food. We can decrease food waste in our kitchens and produce delicious meals by adopting the idea of “nose-to-tail” cooking, in which every component of the product is used.

Creative upcycling also allows us to find an answer to the problem of food waste and its management worldwide. We can cut down on waste, advance sustainability, and infuse our living spaces with a little bit of creativity by turning leftover food ingredients into art and home décor. One upcycled invention at a time, let’s embrace our creativity, rethink the possibilities of food waste, and improve the environment.

By Gaura Jha
Student Volunteer @ O2I

Volunteering experience amidst COVID-19 by UC Berkeley students!

Foods, Equity, Entrepreneurship, & Development (FEED) Consulting is a food justice consulting student organization at UC Berkeley. We analyze and make recommendations to business-oriented questions for organizations that are working to improve and make a difference in the food system. This semester, we continued our partnership with Outside2Inside and focused on conducting research and continuing outreach to local businesses in two projects: Corporate Consciousness and Sustainable Urban Village Program.

Last semester, we worked with Outside2Inside on the Corporate Consciousness Program where we worked on conducting research with local businesses regarding their food waste methods and awareness on the topic. We developed a Corporate Consciousness Program which will allow any interested business to institute a food awareness program within their business through awareness and mindfulness practices, which will align the business’s goals with their brand. Specifically this semester, we worked on using outreach methods researched last semester to reach out to numerous small and large businesses and nonprofit organizations in the Bay Area. Our goal was to gather and collect interest in our cause and build a lasting connection with any companies that aligned with our goal and overall message. We developed three particular lasting contacts and communicated on our common goals and interest in food waste awareness. However, due to the COVID-19 situation, we were unable to meet with these companies in-person. Therefore, we have provided the contact information to Outside2Inside to continue this outreach process in future semesters when the COVID-19 outbreak dies down.

On top of our work on the Corporate Consciousness project this semester, we began the Sustainable Urban Village Project, or SUV for short. A SUV consists of a produce farm, animal farm and compost center all in one central location such as schools, apartments, corporations,etc. Each SUV is self-sustainable with a low setup cost and minimum required maintenance. SUVs also act as an awareness center, sustainable farm, farmers market, compost center and an animal farm all in one convenient place.

To bring this vision to reality, our FEED team identified the most compatible types of both produce and animals. After identifying types of potential animals and produce, we researched the more logistical aspects of the SUVs such as the land/space and legal requirements. Another portion of the SUV project revolved around compost, so our team assessed the pros and cons of each type of composting, providing Outside2Inside with a recommendation based on our findings. Finally, we created a 1 year, 2 year, and 5 year plan of implementation, a plan that will hopefully be implemented in the years to come, whether that be during or after the COVID pandemic.

Working as a team through a pandemic has been a challenge but the FEED team has grown and adapted to change. As the pandemic unfolded, our team was forced to work remotely but continued despite the abrupt change. As project managers, we (Annie and Collin) were
continually amazed by the adaptability and hard work of our consultants throughout the semester. FEED couldn’t have been more happy to work with Outside2Inside to make a difference in the Bay Area community and can’t wait to work together again in the coming years!

– Annie Li & Collin Miller

Project Managers for O2I – FEED Research Project

Improving Corporate Awareness of Food Waste – A UC Berkeley Students Experience!

Food, Equity, Entrepreneurship, & Development (FEED) is a food justice consulting student organization at UC Berkeley. In Fall 2019, we worked with Outside2Inside to generate innovative solutions to food waste on the UC Berkeley campus through a food waste education program. Our food waste education program was created to increase awareness of food waste among UC Berkeley students. We are planning to expand this into a program called Corporate Consciousness, which will provide food waste reduction strategies to corporations in the Bay Area.

At the beginning of the semester, we conducted outreach in the Bay Area, contacting over 25 companies that create food waste. After seeking partnerships, we conducted a thorough research analysis of the primary sources of food waste in corporations and innovative solutions these companies can take to address their food waste. This research informed the content of both our UC Berkeley education programs and our Corporate Consciousness program. In our research, we focused on the financial costs of food waste because we felt that corporates would be most invested in a program that could provide monetary benefits to their business. We found that, on average, a company can generate a financial return of $14 for every $1 spent on food waste reduction strategies in place of land-filling waste. We incorporated powerful information like this into our Corporate Consciousness program in order to show the extent to which food waste reduction strategies can benefit corporations.

While we continued to develop the Corporate Consciousness program, we implemented our food waste education pilot program in a UC Berkeley agricultural ecology class of around 40 students. We collected feedback from the students in order to understand what aspects of the program were more engaging and applicable. We then incorporated this feedback into our programs as we continued to design our future Corporate Consciousness program and UC Berkeley food waste awareness initiatives.

The Corporate Consciousness program aims to educate companies on the food waste that occurs at every stage of the supply chain in their business model and specific strategies that would reduce waste at each of these stages. For example, a corporate whose food waste primarily occurs at the preparation stage can add daily specials to surplus menu items to sell more of the food that would normally go to waste or take steps to incorporate a “nose-to-tail” approach — incorporating typically discarded but still edible parts of the produce such as the peel or stem. We included compelling data on the financial benefits of reducing food waste in a corporate and how pursuing more sustainable food practices in the business can boost corporate responsibility and public visibility within the community.

After we developed the Corporate Consciousness program, we developed a Volunteer Training curriculum that will allow us to bring Corporate Consciousness to scale by recruiting volunteers to effectively carry out the program as we develop partnerships with various corporations. The FEED team especially enjoyed using their creativity to design an effective program that will make a significant impact on the way companies approach food waste. We cultivated skills that we will carry with them into their careers, such as professional networking during the outreach period, effective communication and public speaking during our food waste awareness presentation, and program development at every stage of the project. We loved working with the amazing Outside2Inside team and collaborating with individuals who are as passionate as we are about changing the food system and making a positive impact on the lives of those within our community and beyond.

Food Waste in the Corporate sector – A perspective from UC Berkeley Students!

Food, Equity, Entrepreneurship, & Development (FEED) is a food justice consulting student organization in UC Berkeley. In spring 2019, we continued our partnership with Outside2Inside to determine how we can best expand the impact and outreach of current and new programs to corporations in a variety of different industries in the Bay Area. When we first began our project, we examined food waste trends in the bay area. Through our research we found that one of the primary sources of food waste stems from widespread expectations of perfection among retailers and consumers that prompts corporations to reject produce that may be misshapen. From there, we applied these findings to inform further research on the industries in which these trends are most prevalent within. Our results included information on the aerospace, entertainment, catering, hospitality, agriculture, grocery, manufacturing, education, and large companies. Based on the average amount of food wasted in pounds and cost of food waste, we determined that the hospitality, catering, and grocery industries had the most potential for food waste management improvements.

Champions 12.3, a coalition of business and government leaders interested in reducing food waste, compiled a report that examined financial cost and benefit data for 86 sites in six countries where waste-reduction practices had been employed. They found that for every $1 that a catering company isn’t spending on food waste reduction, $6 of food will be wasted. This indicates just how much waste occurs within the catering industry, signaling to us an opportunity to make changes that could help reduce their impact. When we were coming up with programs we could potentially implement, we used this as a core goal to inform that ripe or misshapen produce, is still nutritional and just as delicious. When we came up with Farm2Work, it stemmed from the existing Farm2School program in O2I that brought produce to school children in hopes of educating them that wonky produce was just as good. Farm2Work aims to bring wonky produce to the workforce for the convenience of the corporate employees and to help farmers sell off any leftover produce they might not otherwise have been able to sell. In general, poor collaboration among all players in the field where farmers may be harvesting earlier or more than usual leading to a supply in stores that cannot sell as much. Through this experience and learning about food waste, we have learned a lot about how consumer’s standards shape how much food waste occurs. Throughout the bay area, we found food waste in grocery chains that were local and even places we shop at.

This made us feel like we should make a more conscious effort to buy wonky produce because we know that it is just as good for us and the environment. In addition to informing consumers about the viability and nutrition of misshapen produce, another aspect of food waste prevention we took on was raising awareness of methods for disposing food scraps. In particular, we dealt with spreading composting as a means to discard food scraps rather than landfilling. With the great program that Outside2Inside currently has in educating individuals on the process of compost, we looked to expand this into the corporate world. Similar to Farm2Work, another program was created with the goal of bringing composting to corporates in the Bay Area. Named Compost4You, this program seeks to increase company awareness and engagement in food waste reduction by implementing composting programs for companies that need them. This program was created out of alignment with the previous core values discussed, aiming to fundamentally reduce food waste and decrease the harmful effects of landfilling.

A wonderful journey with the Farm2School event!

The Farm2School is one of the premier programs of Outside2Inside in reducing food waste. In this program, a low cost Wonky Produce Farmer’s Market is setup at local low income schools by recovering the “cosmetically-challenged” fruit & veggies—food that is perfectly good, but not aesthetically suitable for retail. The school students are involved & equipped with knowledge about food waste, thereby enabling them to be advocates of food waste reduction and to run the farmer’s market. The goal of this program is to recover wonky produce and to create awareness about food waste among the local community.

On July 2018, the Farm2School program won the grant award from Intel Corporation for conducting one such event by the end of 2018. That was a significant achievement in itself but we cannot just stop there. We had to do an amazing event to justify the award. We didn’t even had the school available at the time of award. But at the time of writing this post, we have successfully completed the 2nd Farm2school event and it was a great success.

How did we do it?

After we got the funding from Intel Corporation, the first task was to reach out to local schools in Santa Clara County. We went about the task by visiting the schools in bay area and pitching about the program to them. The Ponderosa Elementary School in Sunnyvale bought into the idea and agreed to participate in the program. The Ponderosa Elementary School is a public school and is part of the Santa Clara Unified School District. The school has ~570 students with ~30% of the students & families in a low income environment.

We finalized to do the Farm2School event on Dec 19, 2018 between 1.15pm – 3.15pm. But to pull this off successfully, there were 2 months of preparation work and 4 other major sessions we had to do before the event. Once date was finalized, we advertised the event through flyers, social media posts, and email notification within the school community, family and friends. Then we started with the 4 major sessions.

Farm2School Information Session

A few weeks before the event on Nov 30, 2018, we went to the Ponderosa Elementary school and did an Information Session for the students. This session was to introduce the concept of Food Waste, Wonky Produce and to encourage the students to volunteer for the Farm2School – Wonky Produce Farmer’s Market event. This is the program’s first step in enabling the students to be advocates of food waste awareness. So we need to make the best impression on the kids. We made it very kids friendly with some games, trivia questions about food waste and some sample wonky produce for each of the kids to take home. The Students were very excited to know about wonky produce and many of them signed up to volunteer for the event.

Outside2Inside – Farm2School Information Session with the Ponderosa School Students

Farm2School Student Volunteer Training Session

We worked with the school to get the final list of student volunteers and arranged for a training session with them.  There were totally 15 students who signed up as volunteers. We had roles & responsibilities defined for the student volunteers to run the farmer’s market. There were roles like Greeter, Food Waste Stats Guide, Stamper, Finger Counter, Survey Guide etc. But the Stamper and Finger Counter were the favorite among the kids.  We explained the roles and identified the students for each role. All the student volunteers were also given an Outside2Inside T-shirt.

Farm2School Adult Volunteer Identification & Orientation

Any parent would agree that managing 15 inquisitive kids is itself a difficult task. And running an event with the kids is impossible without adult supervision and guidance. This is where the volunteers from Intel helped us make it smooth and seamless. There was great interest among the Intel folks about this volunteer event and we got 13 volunteers signing up for this event. We had a volunteer orientation session with Intel volunteers and explained the roles & responsibilities required for the event.  The roles were classified into 3 categories Pre Event Setup, Farmer’s market event, Post event cleanup. The main responsibility for most of them was to manage and guide the kids 🙂

Farm2School – Wonky Produce Sorting & Recovery Event

The Wonky produce are fruits and veggies that are odd shaped, irregular sized, having minor scars or discolored due to heat but perfectly good & nutritious as any other produce we buy in the market. Just because they are wonky, there is no demand and farms end up trashing them. Outside2Inside has partnered with many local farms and produce warehouses to recover such wonky produce from them. In this event, we went to a produce warehouse in San Francisco and recovered ~300lbs of produce on Dec 17, 2018.

Wonky Persimmon – If not for us, this would have been in trash just because it is odd shaped!

Outside2Inside & Intel Volunteers recovering Wonky Produce.

Farm2School – Wonky Produce Farmer’s Market Event

With the help of Schools, farms and volunteers we were prepared for the event on Dec 19. 2018. But there was some anxiety before the event. The volunteers came by 12noon to the Outside2Inside office and after a short briefing we all got into the action. We started packing the wonky produce and other things like canopy, produce baskets, banners etc into the car and reached the school by 12.30pm. The volunteers were super enthusiastic and had the Wonky Produce Farmer’s market being setup within 30mins by 1pm.  The adult volunteers took responsibility of the kids they manage and formed a great partnership. At 1.15pm, we opened the Wonky Produce Farmer’s market to the people and the crowd kept pouring in making the event a great success.

Through this Farm2School – Wonky Produce Farmers Market, we achieved the following:

  • Recovered ~600lbs of wonky produce from getting wasted.
  • Indirectly, this helped prevent ~225lbs of Green House Gas emissions and saved ~47K gallons of water from being wasted.
  • Donated the produce to ~150 students and their families.
  • Raised awareness about reducing food waste to ~600 people.
  • Engaged 15 students as volunteers in bringing awareness about food waste. The student volunteers learnt food waste reduction advocacy, leadership skills, artful communication & public presentation skills and community engagement.
  • From our feedback survey, 100% of the participants liked the fruits and veggies provided in the Farm2School program and would like to visit such future events from Outside2Inside.

Farm2School – Wonky Produce Farmer’s Market with volunteers from Outside2Inside, Intel and Ponderosa School

These amazing achievements wouldn’t have been possible without the contributions of our partners, donors and importantly the volunteers. We thank Ponderosa School for participating in the event, Intel Corporation for funding this event and the volunteers who gave their valuable time in making this event a big success. We wish to have more such partnerships with Intel and Ponderosa School in future.

– Sriram Natarajan, Director of Food Recovery, O2I.





Food waste to Animal Feed – A Berkeley Student Research

With staggering amounts of food waste in America entering landfills, new methods for recycling this food waste are continually arising and developing. The process of recycling food waste into use for animal feed is one with little research or real world implementations, but has promising potential as a main diversion source of food waste. While there is much more to be discovered and explored in this process of conversion, some success stories do stand as an example on how to effectively transform the food scraps from grocery stores, restaurants, and households to the nutritious animal feed on farms. As members of FEED, a food equity consulting club at Berkeley, we took a look a these programs in the Bay Area and around the country to examine what tactics should be used as a model for similar future programs.

Local efforts to convert this food waste to animal feed consist of mostly small, informal, and intermittent transitions. We were able to contact small bay area animal farms such as Leland St. Farms, to examine how they are accepting recycled scraps. This small scale-pig farm sources 90% of their pig feed from a local produce market called Andy’s, collected in a large bin and transported to the farm via tractor. Due to the low effort required to collecting this otherwise wasted food, the farmers reported that their pigs are extremely healthy and it also reduced their grain purchases. Devil’s Gulch Ranch, a similarly small pig farm in Marin, receives unused food from Marin Food Bank, grain from Almanac Brewery and Magnolia Brewery, and cheese from Marin Cheese Farm. All donations are left in large bins at these locations and workers drive trucks to pick them up about every other week. The farmers taking advantage of freely available recyclable food waste boast its benefits of lower costs and even better animal health. However, due to a lack of existing organization, they have only been able to achieve this through self-initiative and funding for sourcing and retrieving this food.

In looking for more established and formal food waste recycling methods, we found FoodShift. This Alameda sourced organization began a program to pick up food waste from a partnered grocery store Andronico’s and delivers to St Vincent de Paul’s to feed the hungry. Food Shift reported that “In the first three months of the program, over 44,000 lbs of food was collected, including melons, apples, oranges, lettuce, granola bars and more. Andronico’s determined that the quantity of waste in their dumpsters had declined so dramatically that the store could reduce their number of garbage and compost pick ups to three days per week, which can save them almost $27,000 each year”. While this food was not take to farms, the success of Food Shift is a strong representation of the sustainability and cost efficiency of programs that divert food waste from grocery stores.

We then looked at another food waste success, Rutgers University, to see how the school converts its own cafeteria’s food waste into animal feed. Located in New Jersey, Rutgers University has partnered its dining halls with a local farm called Pinter Farms. After each meal, Rutgers staff takes the scraps from the food into a trough in the kitchen. This trough moves both this food and also used napkins into a pulper which grinds all of the waste together and removes the excess water from the mix. This process reduces the volume of the waste, which is then taken to barrels to be taken to Pinter. Pinter Farms is closeby, less than 15 miles away from the university, and this process of recycling the university’s food waste and using it as animal feed at Rutgers has been going on for over 50 years. Every day, representatives from this farm come to Rutgers’ campus and collect around one ton of food scraps from the university’s four dining halls, feeding it to the farm’s hogs and cattle. This cuts the price of sending these food scraps to the landfill by more than one half, so not only does less food get wasted, but the university also saves a significant amount of money through this partnership.

We found all of this research to be quite useful in helping Outside2Inside form a solid plan for the conversion of food waste to animal feed. The bottom line is that there are indeed ways that we can recycle the food that we eat rather than letting it waste away, and established organizations are already implementing programs to do so. It is up to us to spread this information and start up more and more of these programs to continue to reduce food waste in an effective and efficient way by feeding it to farm animals.

– Ava and Maddie

UC Berkeley – FEED Consultants

Food Waste Conversion to Animal Feed – A Berkeley students persepctive

As a freshman studying business and music, I wasn’t sure exactly sure what to expect when I began my four years at Berkeley. Everything changed when I joined several different communities on campus: the jazz band, CAL Dragon Boat, and FEED. FEED, an undergraduate consulting club that promotes food justice and sustainability, assigned me to a project team that would be working with Outside2Inside. Our goal was to research and implement the conversion of food waste into animal feed. The first few months our work was almost entirely composed of research. Specifically, we looked into the most common farm animals and their diets, researched the legalities behind food waste, and explored the various processes that can be used to convert food waste into animal feed. While the latter topic was by far the most complex, it was also one of the most interesting subjects to research.

During our research, we discovered that treatment methods for converting food waste into animal feed can be grouped into three main categories: wet-based, dry-based, and ensiliing/fermentation. After exploring each of these categories, we came to the conclusion that dehydration and ensiling processes are the best methods for converting produce waste into animal feed because they can be used on a wide range of produce, do not lead to significant nutrient loss, preserve perishable product for long-term storage, and are low-cost options that can be performed on a smaller scale. We also found that these options are especially suitable for apples, bananas, grapes, tomatoes, and brewers grain.

However, the conversion of animal feed into food waste was especially fascinating to me because there was no clear-but best method. Each process has its pros and cons, some creating waste of their own such as plastic or wooden bales and other releasing toxic gases. For example dehydration was an effective and resourceful conversion method but it lacked the ability to convert large amounts of food waste and only accepted certain types of waste (i.e. no bones of avocado pits). On the other hand, ensiling could convert large amounts of grass crops but produced toxic gasses. Unlike dehydration whiantach could be performed overnight, ensiling has the potential to take weeks to become edible. This trade-off was fascinating in the sense that it forces each company to consider their own output of waste and potential to purchase conversion equipment.

While gaining a comprehensive understanding of these converters required time and thorough research, we had the opportunity to take on the role of consultants as we considered the advantages and disadvantages of each method and worked towards formulating suggestions grounded in accurate information.

– Collin and Haley

UC Berkeley – FEED Consultants

Why Farm2School program is important in the food recovery?

Mоѕt food recovery рrоgrаmѕ whоѕе mission іѕ tо redistribute excess рrоduсе tо thоѕе whо need іt report rесоvеrіng lеѕѕ than hаlf of thе excess produce іn thеіr аrеаѕ. Yеt, the fresh produce fооd bаnkѕ rесеіvе from thеѕе rеdіѕtrіbutіоn рrоgrаmѕ іѕ crucial, аnd іnсrеаѕіnglу ѕо. Fееdіng Amеrіса reports that many реорlе nоw dереnd оn fооd bаnkѕ not just for еmеrgеnсіеѕ, but fоr thеіr dаіlу calories. In оrdеr fоr fаrm-tо-fооdbаnk рrоgrаmѕ tо ѕuссееd оn a wider ѕсаlе, mоrе infrastructure аnd fundіng іѕ needed fоr shipping tоtеѕ, trucks, соld storage, etc. Mеаnwhіlе, perfectly gооd рrоduсе is left tо rоt.

Anоthеr wау food іѕ wаѕtеd is thrоugh сullіng, оr thе rеmоvаl оf рrоduсе bаѕеd on соѕmеtіс blеmіѕhеѕ. Thіѕ means thаt produce thаt is too ѕmаll, оddlу ѕhареd, оff соlоr, or hаѕ tоо mаnу blеmіѕhеѕ is thrоwn оut. Culling often hарреnѕ on еіthеr thе fаrm or аt grосеrу stores; аnd whіlе both take ѕtерѕ tо rеduсе wаѕtе, a lоt of fооd іѕ still wаѕtеd.

Onе ѕоlutіоn tо reducing food wаѕtе comes frоm rеtаіlеrѕ lіkе Whоlе Foods bеіng willing tо trу ѕеllіng lеѕѕ-thаn-реrfесt рrоduсе. Whоlе Fооdѕ recently аgrееd to wоrk wіth Imреrfесt Produce оn a pilot рrоgrаm tо test ѕаlеѕ оf wonky рrоduсе in its Nоrthеrn California ѕtоrеѕ. Alrеаdу, Whole Fооdѕ рurсhаѕеѕ wonky рrоduсе for uѕе іn its рrераrеd fооdѕ, ѕmооthіеѕ, and juісеѕ. Thе ѕuссеѕѕ of putting wonky produce оn the ѕhеlvеѕ rеmаіnѕ tо bе seen, but a Whоlе Fооdѕ spokesperson has ѕаіd that thе ѕtоrе іѕ соmmіttеd tо moving tоwаrd zеrо wаѕtе аnd ѕееѕ thіѕ раrtnеrѕhір wіth Imреrfесt аѕ a mеаnѕ tо dо thаt.

Kids and раrеntѕ аlѕо have tо bе еduсаtеd thаt food wаѕtе recovery іѕ a соmmunіtу rеѕроnѕіbіlіtу. Thіѕ іѕ аlѕо something thаt is еnсоurаgеd by thе farm2school рrоgrаm, to hеlр раrеntѕ and kіdѕ know how food waste is a рrоblеm thаt affects thе community thеу live іn. Thе program іѕ аlѕо аn орроrtunіtу to buіld соmmunіtу engagement that will benefits раrеntѕ, kіdѕ, ѕсhооl аdmіnіѕtrаtоrѕ, tеасhеrѕ, аnd fаrmеrѕ. Fооd wаѕtе hаrmѕ thе соmmunіtу аnd еvеrуоnе іn it. It is thе responsibility оf school аdmіnіѕtrаtоrѕ, раrеntѕ, аnd оthеr соmmunіtу lеаdеrѕ to find ways to hеlр еduсаtе еvеrуоnе on why they should nоt wаѕtе food. Thе fаrm2ѕсhооl рrоgrаmѕ саn hеlр brіng thе соmmunіtу tоgеthеr аnd асhіеvе grеаt things.

Fаrm2Sсhооl helps connect lосаl fаrmеrѕ with area ѕсhооlѕ so that fresh, lосаllу grоwn fооdѕ саn be served аt ѕсhооl mеаlѕ. In addition, Fаrm2Sсhооl еnсоurаgеѕ сhіldrеn tо trу new fооdѕ & рrоvіdеѕ opportunities for hаndѕ-оn nutrіtіоn еduсаtіоn bоth in thе cafeteria аnd іn ѕсhооl gаrdеnѕ.

Farm2School helps children undеrѕtаnd whеrе their fооd comes frоm аnd how thеіr fооd сhоісеѕ іmрасt thеіr bodies, thе еnvіrоnmеnt аnd thеіr community. When kіdѕ lеаrn first-hand that fruіtѕ аnd vеgеtаblеѕ can be delicious in аddіtіоn tо being gооd fоr thеm, thаt knowledge wіll mаkе іt mоrе likely thаt they mаkе ѕmаrt fооd choices their whole lіvеѕ.

In fасt, ѕоmе ѕіmрlе but ѕmаrt strategies tо Reduce, Recover, аnd Recycle foods can make a bіg difference tо address wаѕtе іn ѕсhооlѕ. Chаngіng рrасtісеѕ іn ѕсhооlѕ has thе dоublе bеnеfіt оf reducing thе аmоunt of wasted fооd whіlе also educating ѕtudеntѕ аbоut thе need to rеduсе fооd wаѕtе and thе wауѕ thіѕ саn bе dоnе. Catching ѕtudеntѕ while they are уоung саn hеlр lead to the tуре оf ѕосіеtаl сhаngе needed tо сut back оn fооd wаѕtе.

The соnѕеԛuеnсеѕ оf fооd wаѕtе and thе ways іn which food wаѕtе саn be аvоіdеd аrе ѕlоwlу bесоmіng better understood аnd mоrе widely discussed. Lеt’ѕ kеер food waste on оur ѕtаtе’ѕ аgеndа, and we’ll find mоrе ways tо waste lеѕѕ gооd fооd and help thе Earth tоо.

Food Waste – World’s dumbest yet one of the biggest problems

Amеrісаnѕ wаѕtе an unfаthоmаblе amount оf fооd. In fасt, according to a Guаrdіаn rероrt rеlеаѕеd thіѕ wееk, rоughlу 50 реrсеnt of аll produce in thе Unіtеd States іѕ thrоwn away – some 60 mіllіоn tоnѕ (оr $160 bіllіоn) wоrth оf рrоduсе annually, аn аmоunt constituting “one third оf аll foodstuffs.” Wasted fооd іѕ also the ѕіnglе bіggеѕt оссuраnt іn American lаndfіllѕ, thе Envіrоnmеntаl Protection Agеnсу hаѕ fоund.

Food waste is аn expensive drain оn the economy аnd еxtrеmеlу harmful to thе еnvіrоnmеnt, and іt іѕ оnе of thе largest wаѕtе-rеlаtеd сhаllеngеѕ fасіng us іn thе 21ѕt Cеnturу. Aссоrdіng tо CаlRесусlе statistics, fооd wаѕtе іѕ thе ѕіnglе most рrеvаlеnt іtеm іn оur lаndfіllѕ, whісh іѕ especially trаgіс whеn соmbіnеd wіth the ѕtаggеrіng numbеrѕ оf hungrу реорlе іn оur ѕtаtе.

A 2016 ѕtudу by the Natural Rеѕоurсеѕ Defense Council found thаt thе Unіtеd States wаѕtеѕ 40 реrсеnt of thе fооd іt рrоduсеѕ – mоrе than 20 pounds оf fооd per реrѕоn еvеrу month. Thе ѕtudу аlѕо fоund thаt:

  • 80 реrсеnt of thе frеѕhwаtеr Americans use іѕ fоr fооd рrоduсtіоn
  • 10 percent оf еnеrgу Americans uѕе іѕ fоr fооd production and distribution
  • 15 реrсеnt оf fооd wasted іn thе U.S. could fееd 25 million Amеrісаnѕ a year
  • 16 реrсеnt оf U.S. mеthаnе еmіѕѕіоnѕ іѕ caused by оrgаnіс mаttеr dumped іn landfills

The U.S. Envіrоnmеntаl Protection Agеnсу has еѕtаblіѕhеd a Fооd Recovery Hіеrаrсhу tо guіdе іndіvіduаlѕ аnd оrgаnіzаtіоnѕ in reducing fооd wаѕtе. Reducing the amount оf ѕurрluѕ food thаt is gеnеrаtеd tорѕ thе hіеrаrсhу, fоllоwеd by ensuring that ѕtіll-еdіblе fооd gоеѕ to feed people. Disposing this vаluаblе material ѕhоuld only be соnѕіdеrеd as a last rеѕоrt.

Thеrе аrе ѕеvеrаl соmmоn sense rеfоrmѕ thаt nееd tо be іmрlеmеntеd tо insure thаt lеѕѕ fооd wаѕtе is gеnеrаtеd, that еdіblе food goes tо hungrу people, and that іnеdіblе ѕсrарѕ аrе rеturnеd tо the ѕоіl. Amоng thеѕе rеfоrmѕ, thе ѕtаtе’ѕ tаx соdе should сrеаtе аn incentive ѕtruсturе thаt rеѕultѕ іn the recovery оf mоrе of these material, and оut-dаtеd fооd lаbеlѕ needs to bе uрdаtеd to еnѕurе thаt соnѕumеrѕ hаvе accurate іnfоrmаtіоn аbоut hоw lоng food іѕ ѕаfе tо соnѕumе.

Whіlе edible fооd should сlеаrlу gо tо fееd hungry реорlе, it іѕ also іmроrtаnt tо іnѕurе that inedible оr ѕроіlеd kitchen ѕсrарѕ bе diverted from lаndfіllѕ tо соmроѕtіng fасіlіtіеѕ to rеturn those nutrients tо the ѕоіl. Thе USDA, іn раrtnеrѕhір with the EPA hаvе ѕеt the first еvеr food waste rеduсtіоn goal, саllіng fоr a 50% reduction by 2030 аnd hаvе сrеаtеd thе U.S. Food Wаѕtе Chаllеngе. Amоng оthеr еffоrtѕ, Cаlіfоrnіаnѕ Agаіnѕt Wаѕtе hаѕ ѕuссеѕѕfullу sponsored landmark legislation that rеԛuіrеѕ rеѕtаurаntѕ, grосеrу ѕtоrеѕ аnd other businesses tо аrrаngе fоr composting (оr аnаеrоbіс dіgеѕtіоn) оf thеіr fооd wаѕtе.

It ѕhоuld shock аll оf us thаt hеrе іn thе Unіtеd States, fооd waste hаѕ reached crisis рrороrtіоnѕ. Nоt оnlу dо wе throw оut еnоugh fооd to fill 44 skyscrapers еасh year, but a breathtaking amount of thаt tossed fооd іѕ реrfесtlу hеаlthу, dеlісіоuѕ frеѕh рrоduсе. Abоut 1 іn 5 fruіtѕ аnd vеgеtаblеѕ grown in Amеrіса (аnd оnе-thіrd оf the world’s рrоduсе) goes tо waste, аnd 23% of аll fruіtѕ and vegetables аrе wаѕtеd before they еvеn rеасh grocery ѕtоrеѕ.

In recent уеаrѕ, an іmрrеѕѕіvе numbеr оf new рrоgrаmѕ аrоund thе соuntrу hаvе dеvеlореd in hореѕ оf rесоvеrіng and redistributing еxсеѕѕ produce to thоѕе іn need. Sоmе реорlе rеfеr tо these kinds of еffоrtѕ аѕ “farm-to-food-bank.” In fасt, ассоrdіng tо a tally bу Cіvіl Eats, 20 оffісіаl рrоgrаmѕ аrе now ѕаvіng over 300 million роundѕ of produce a уеаr. Still, оnlу a small роrtіоn of аll thіѕ еxсеѕѕ food іѕ going tо fееd реорlе іn nееd, аnd bіllіоnѕ оf роundѕ аrе ѕtіll getting tоѕѕеd. There is more to be done in the area of reducing food waste and more people has to join in the fight against food waste. Support organizations, initiatives, campaigns that is working towards food waste in whatever way you can.

Food Waste Recycling through Composting and Animal Feed

Food waste is a serious problem that deserves serious attention. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Americans waste between 30 – 40 percent of all the food produced, at the retailer and consumer level. This is a serious issue since the food value is an estimated $161 billion. The country leads the world in the amount of food waste, and the reason is self-explanatory. Food is cheap in America, and there seems to be an inadequate desire to educate the people on the importance of food waste management. The food can be saved through composting and animal feed.

Food Recycling Through Composting

Composting is the process of decomposing organic material, where soil organisms recycle nitrogen, potash, phosphorus and other soil nutrients, and turning them into humus. Composting is a cheap and effortless method of getting rid of food waste and making it useful for other purposes.

Benefits of Composting Food Waste

  • Reduces waste
  • Reduces pressure on landfills
  • Makes compost available for the next farming seasons
  • Saves money on purchasing soil
  • Adds nutrients to the soil
  • Promotes better health for the community

How to Compost Food Waste?

Composting food waste is easy and takes very little time, depending on the system you use. There are many methods used for composting, but the worm compost and compost bin is the most common. For the worm compost just have the compost outside your home and dump the waste in it. The worms will go through it, eat it, and then leave you with rich, dark compost at the lower tray.

Pit composting is for people who are establishing new garden beds. Just place your organic kitchen waste in trenches or shallow holes and cover it with soil. The Anaerobic organisms in the soil will break down the materials within a period of about four to ten months.

The piling method of composting is one of the easiest and rewarding. They don’t need any construction. Just pile up compostable materials together and leave them in the air where they continue to decompose. You will need a pitchfork for turning. If you need quick composting, you can invest in a turning bin. The addition of a crank and pivot means they can be turned to quicken the decomposition process so that you can get useful compost within two months.

Food Recycling Through Animal Feed

For centuries, animals have been fed leftover food. Even when we were kids, we used to put our unfinished meal under the table, hoping that the dog or cat will eat it. Food recycling through animal feed offers one of the best ways to deal with the scourge of food wastage around the world.

Benefits of Food Recycling Through Animal Feed

  • Reduced pressure on landfills
  • Cattle farmers save money from buying animal feed
  • Reduce methane emissions from fruits & vegetables to lower carbon footprints
  • Good for the economy

How to recycle food waste into animal feed?

Feeding the animals directly is a simple and easy method. People can donate their kitchen and plate leftover to farmers, who will, in turn, use it to feed the animals. Those who keep animals can use part of the food to feed them. Swine do well in this, as they are omnivorous animals who would eat anything.

However, many experts are of the opinion that feeding animals directly may lead to health issues. This can easily be handled by ensuring the process of getting the food to the animals is controlled. The United States Environmental Protection Agency encourages anyone who wants to take part in recycling food waste for animal feed to contact their local solid waste, public health agency, or county agricultural extension agency for information. You’ll also have to determine what types of food you want to provide and how often you’re going to provide it.

Food waste might be a serious problem for the modern world, but with determination, we can overcome it. What is needed is proper education and commitment by every member of the community to be responsible and take action.