Minneapolis Public Schools Release ‘True Food, No Waste’ Action Plan

Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) have recently released a plan to reduce costs and food waste in school cafeterias and kitchens.  As reported by JoAnne Berkenkamp and Jonathan Bloom on the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) blog,

The school district today released a new “True Food, No Waste” action plan for curtailing wasted food in school cafeterias and kitchens…Developed in concert with NRDC and consultant Jonathan Bloom, the district’s plan offers an innovative model for schools around the country to follow. It also highlights an important area of opportunity for city governments as they commit to tackling wasted food in their communities.’

The plan includes a focus on ‘fresh food prepared in on-site kitchens,” and follows the EPA Food Waste Reduction hierarchy, incorporating plans for food waste prevention, diverting surplus food for human consumption, and diverting food scraps from landfill through composting.

You can read the entire NRDC blog post at https://www.nrdc.org/experts/joanne-berkenkamp/k-12-and-food-waste-reduction-innovations-heartl.

The “True Food, No Waste” Plan is available at https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/minneapolis-k-12-food-waste-action-plan-201901.pdf.

Cover of MPS plan

Webinar Jan. 15 on Food Recovery and Composting in Hospitals

Register today for the Seven Generations Ahead webinar on hospital food recovery and composting, scheduled for Tuesday, January 15, 2019 from 10:00 to 11:30 AM CST.  Speakers will include:

  • Jen Nelson, Senior Program Manager, Seven Generations Ahead (MODERATOR)
  • Jennifer M Grenier DNP, RN-BC, Director of Nursing Medical/Surgical Unit and Acute In-Patient Rehab Hospital at Rush University Medical Center
  • Joe Iosbaker, Recycling Coordinator, Office of Sustainability, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Cynthia Vasquez, Director of Volunteer Services and PlanItGreen Core Team representative for Rush Oak Park Hospital

Register online at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeHa52z15YtSSggGsh-4Fb6fH7yyx500zzxj3nGYL_AS2d8Vw/viewform.

Image listing name of webinar, time and date

Webinar 9/20 on Zero Waste Lunchrooms for Schools

Want learn more about reducing waste in your school’s cafeteria? Mark your calendar for Thursday, September 20 at 1:00 PM CDT.

Susan Casey of Seven Generations Ahead will discuss how to plan and implement waste reduction strategies in your school lunchroom, including waste prevention, recycling, composting, and food recovery/donation. The webinar will focus on the operational changes as well as the education needed to make the strategies successful. Special focus will be given to food waste reduction options, including share tables and donation to food pantries. This webinar will be helpful to anyone interested in reducing waste in their school or district, and many schools that have implemented recycling and commercial composting programs have been able to divert 85% or more from landfills. Get your school on a path to zero waste– and engage students in the process.

Learn more and register for this free webinar at https://cornell.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_n0bl3rT3Q86Z_cxrPzb_Lw.

Seven Generations Ahead logo

‘We Compost’ Free Recognition Program Now Includes On-Site Composting

We Compost is a free recognition program administered by the Illinois Food Scrap Coalition that promotes businesses and institutions that participate in a commercial compost program. The purpose of the program is highlight entities that compost their food scraps and thus encourage consumers to patronize businesses that are responsibly managing food waste. It also serves as means to encourage institutions, like schools, universities, museums, hospitals, food pantries, churches, governmental organizations, municipalities, etc. to compost their food waste, and raise awareness of the importance of composting by publicly sharing the practice. Participating businesses and institutions receive a window decal to place on their front door or other prominent location to let stakeholders know they compost.

Until recently, only entities that worked with a commercial composting service could be recognized by the We Compost program. However, many areas of Illinois still don’t have access to a commercial compost service provider. Even so, in those areas, programs like schools, churches, community gardens, etc. may have started on-site compost piles. Additionally, in areas with access to commercial composting, there are sometimes reasons to pursue on-site composting instead. Perhaps an organization doesn’t generate enough food scraps or other organic waste to justify the cost of engaging a compost hauler, for example, or maybe involving stakeholders in the process of creating and tending compost piles or bins is desirable (e.g. at a school or community garden). In any of these situations, programs were sadly not able to receive recognition through We Compost for their efforts to keep organic materials out of landfill.

But now, the IFSC has announced the We Compost program will include a special “Green Partner” level to recognize organizations and businesses that compost food scraps on-site. This level is in addition to the “silver” level for entities employing commercial composting service to divert either pre-consumer (e.g. kitchen prep waste) or post-consumer (e.g. plate waste) scraps, and the “gold” level for entities composting both pre- and post-consumer scraps.

So if, for example, you’re a restaurant in a rural area where commercial composting isn’t available, but you still have a compost bin on your propertyor a school with a garden that has students creating compost from the garden and/or cafeteria, you can now be recognized by IFSC. Fill out this form to apply for Green Level recognition: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfCMhCYTt7okcqj10XQccOjThtgDvptyS7wzZ8W764DEDFQvA/viewform

For more information on the We Compost program, or learn how to apply for recognition for composting food scraps with a commercial service provider, see http://illinoiscomposts.org/we-compost.

If you want to search for a service provider in your area, see the Illinois Composter Facility Map at https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=1qOtNjnsUx0A_7bKrMOc5dsNjU2Y&ll=40.356936414535824%2C-86.22039979285444&z=7.

We Compost program logo and Illinois Food Scrap Coalition logos