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Reducing Food Waste

It's Stop Food Waste Day! Here are some wonderful tips for reducing food waste with your Food Technology and Hospitality classes!

Today is Stop Food Waste Day, raising awareness about the amount of food that goes to waste around the world and the impact it has on the environment. The statistics are shocking. Of all the food produced around the world each year, 33% is wasted, while food waste accounts for 8% of greenhouse gas emissions each year. Food Technology and Hospitality subjects can be a contributor to the food waste problem, however, there are measures we can put in place to reduce this impact. So, here are some tips for reducing food waste in the school kitchen.

Hold a food waste competition

Students love a competition in class so why not turn food waste into a competition? Ask your cherubs to place any food scraps from their practical into a dedicated bowl within their bay. Remind them at the beginning of the lesson the aim of the game is to have the least food waste. At the end of the cook, weigh each student or group’s bowl. The group with the lightest bowl, and the least food waste, wins the competition! You can offer your students a simple prize, such as leaving class first, as an incentive to participate and to take reducing food waste seriously.

Grow herbs and vegetables at school

Having a school garden gives you the opportunity to grow your own herbs and vegetables for use in the school kitchen. You can simply pick the veggies and snip off the herbs as you need them. This will reduce the amount of fresh produce you will need to buy at the greengrocer or the supermarket for each cook. It can also help to prevent leftover produce rotting in the bottom of the fridge. Nobody likes that!

Start a compost bin

If you do have a school garden or agriculture plot, it can benefit from a bit of free food waste fertiliser from a compost bin! Ask your students to place their food scraps in a dedicated bin at the end of each Food Technology or Hospitality lesson. You can ask them to keep their food waste separate from other waste by placing it in a bowl in their bays. At the end of each day, place the food scraps in the compost bin. Over time, the scraps will break down and turn into nutritious fertiliser for the school garden. This is a much better alternative than ending up in landfill!

Preserve fresh produce

Preserving foods can be a fantastic way to make them last longer and potentially prevent them from becoming another food waste statistic. Fresh produce such as fruits, vegetables and herbs are often great for preservation. You can dehydrate garnishes such as herbs or oranges, turn berries into jams, blanch and freeze veggies such as green beans or pickle your leftover cucumbers. If you have time in class, you can put your students to work. They will learn or be able to practise their preservation techniques, which will benefit them into the future.

Have a cleanout cook

A cleanout cook is a great activity for your students at the end of term. Sort through any food products you have on hand in your school kitchen, determining what is set to expire soon. Use these soon-to-be expired ingredients in an end of term cook. You can allow your students to come up with their own recipes or you can provide them with a recipe yourself. This will allow you to use up these ingredients and prevent them from entering landfill. The cleanout cook activity also allows students to develop new skills in using up expiring ingredients, which they can use to reduce food waste throughout their lives.

We hope these ideas have inspired you and your cherubs to be creative in reducing food waste in the school kitchen!


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