More than a third of food produced in America becomes food waste, which means that approximately 50 million tons of food annually is going in the trash. What is more alarming is that around one in seven people is faced with food insecurity. Therefore, an Indiana school district has came up with a genius idea to fight these two problems. They are teaming up with a local food rescue program to make sure that the leftovers from the school cafeteria wouldn’t go to waste but instead to kids who might not have enough food to eat at their homes.
One Indiana school district is taking steps to combat food waste and feeding kids in need
Elkhart Community Schools in the state of Indiana is working together with the nonprofit organization Cultivate to repackage the leftover food from lunch periods to give them to students who might be hungry at home on evenings and on the weekends. The students are given breakfast and lunch at school, but the program is making sure that the kids still get nutritious food at their households.
20 elementary students are currently benefiting from the program
The food that has been unused during lunchtime is turned into portable frozen dinners for kids to take home. They bring home eight frozen meals every Friday and will continue doing so until the end of the school year. Jim Conklin of Cultivate says that “Over-preparing is just part of what happens. We take well-prepared food, combine it with other food and make individual frozen meals out if it.”
Cultivate comes to the school three times a week to salvage the food
Cultivate is an organization that operates in North Indiana and focuses on rescuing unused food to provide it to those in need. They usually take food that has been never served from catering companies and large food service businesses. “You don’t always think of a school,” Cultivate representative told the media. But this time they did – and they have high hopes that the program will spread to other schools, as well.
The organization hopes that the program will also help educate community members about food waste
U.S. Department of Agriculture have been highlighting the issue of food waste in school cafeterias for a while now. They have reported that in order to combat the issue, some schools are using different strategies, such as composting and donating excess food to charity organizations. Naturally, the new initiative introduced by Cultivate has been met with cheers not only by the cafeteria staff, but by the media all across the country, as well. We are hopeful that the idea will spread not only to schools in US, but all over the world, as well. What are your thoughts on the initiative?