From Farm to Landfill

20170425_115729

We all know food starts at a farm, but do we know where it ends up? 40% of the food made in the US is thrown out in landfills, whereas only 60% is actually being eaten. How could this be? At Dominguez, we discussed many reasons why food gets wasted. Many students shared that they throw food out when it goes bad or reaches their expiration date. This began an interesting conversation around ‘best by’ dates and ‘sell by’ dates, which are pretty irrelevant to consumers. In fact, the expiration dates on food labels are almost always earlier than the date a food product goes bad. This is because food manufacturers/ processors want to be safe and not risk a consumer eating bad food. However, it has resulted in consumers and retailers to throw a lot of food out before it’s actually bad. All this food goes directly into polluting landfills, instead of ideally getting separated into composted food and recycled materials. Food that is wasted that goes bad at home is entirely the consumer’s fault for taking more food than they would be able to eat. AKA their eye’s are bigger than their stomach.

Wrapping up the class, we talked about a few different organizations & models that are working around the abundance of food waste in the US. Many of these organizations do a form of dumpster diving where they salvage perfectly good food and pass it on to someone who needs it. Though these organizations are making a big impact on food access and food waste, they are relying on thrown out, abundant food. We discussed that the most sustainable approach would be to change consumer’s minds about eating patterns and start eating more ugly fruit or not be so quick to throw food out.

On another note, many of the seedlings from before spring break have popped up such as corn, watermelon, and radishes! 20170425_115703

We all know food starts at a farm, but do we know where it ends up? 40% of the food made in the US is thrown out in landfills, whereas only 60% is actually being eaten. How could this be? At Dominguez, we discussed many reasons why food gets wasted. Many students shared that they throw food out when it goes bad or reaches their expiration date. This began an interesting conversation around ‘best by’ dates and ‘sell by’ dates, which are pretty irrelevant to consumers. In fact, the expiration dates on food labels are almost always earlier than the date a food product goes bad. This is because food manufacturers/ processors want to be safe and not risk a consumer eating bad food. However, it has resulted in consumers and retailers to throw a lot of food out before it’s actually bad. All this food goes directly into polluting landfills, instead of ideally getting separated into composted food and recycled materials. Food that is wasted that goes bad at home is entirely the consumer’s fault for taking more food than they would be able to eat. AKA their eye’s are bigger than their stomach.

Wrapping up the class, we talked about a few different organizations & models that are working around the abundance of food waste in the US. Many of these organizations do a form of dumpster diving where they salvage perfectly good food and pass it on to someone who needs it. Though these organizations are making a big impact on food access and food waste, they are relying on thrown out, abundant food. We discussed that the most sustainable approach would be to change consumer’s minds about eating patterns and start eating more ugly fruit or not be so quick to throw food out.

On another note, many of the seedlings from before spring break have popped up such as corn, watermelon, and radishes! 20170425_115703

Lindsay De May

My love for food and enriching food systems has brought me to LA after graduating in May from Syracuse University with a degree in Food Studies, concentrating on food politics and governance. I grew up gardening with my family in New Mexico, spent a summer working on an organic produce farm in New York, and spent three years as a teaching assistant for food science, locavorism and culinary arts classes. I look forward to incorporating my experiences in developing an exciting curriculum for my elementary and high school courses, with the hope that I'll inspire them to appreciate food the way I do!

Bruschetta at Kingsley

By Justine Tyler | April 1, 2018

Bruschetta is an antipasto (starter dish) from Italy consisting of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with olive oil and salt. The wonderful kids and I at Kingsley Elementary made this classic dish today. Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil Recipe Prep time: 15 minutesCook time: 20 minutesYield: Makes 24 small slices, serves 6-10 as an…

A plant is what?!

By Sarah Shutman | March 29, 2018

When teaching about gardening, it is impossible to engage students if they don’t know what part of a plant I am talking about! For this lesson, I covered the parts of a plant. I discussed the roots, stem, leaves, fruit and flowers. I brought in a dug up mallow plant (to show roots, stem, leaves),…

Beets are rad(ish)!

By Sarah Shutman | March 27, 2018

Beets are rad(ish)! This year, Valentine’s Day was full of nostalgic excitement, as I remembered my days of elementary school, full of sugary candy and a “holiday”. This was my first year teaching on Valentines Day, and I wanted to share something special with the students of 2nd  Street Elementary. I decided to do a…

That makes a plant?!

By Sarah Shutman | March 22, 2018

For this lesson, I planned to cover plant reproduction via parts of a flower. This was the first lesson that required thinking on my toes and adapting my plan (something that I am quickly learning). I drew out a picture and went over the descriptions. The pre-K and 2nd graders were  lost and distracted. They…

Love Nature

By PJ Johnson | April 12, 2018

Valentines Day at Gardener School Love Nature. We showed our love for nature at Gardener School. The students were allowed to pick the most interesting leaf in the garden from any place in the garden and they had  to write something to it like a poem or a love letter. Ms. Thaviphone class created leaf…

Gardener School – Composting

By PJ Johnson | April 11, 2018

2nd-grade class: We visited the three compost bins in the garden.  Finding Mr. Brown carbon examples and Mr. Green Nitrogen examples to put in the bins.  They gathered brown leaves from the ground and picked three things to identify which it was carbon or nitrogen.  We also looked at a compost thermometer, talking about the…

Pollination at Gardener Street Elementary School

By PJ Johnson | April 10, 2018

Talk to the class about pollination today.   The kids identified the stamen and pollen on the flowers in the garden.  They also took herbs from the garden lemon balm, mint, lavender, sage.  They also identified the pollen on some herb plants.

Van Ness Deep in the Dirt

By PJ Johnson | April 9, 2018

We cleaned up the beds and Ms. Chelsea and Udie pulled weeds together. The students in the VI part of Vaness got their hands deep in the dirt.  Pulling out weeds from the beds especially in areas where we have overgrown vegetation.  We have eaten a lot of Romain lettuce with Hummus because the kids…

Compost Learning at Van Ness School

By PJ Johnson | April 8, 2018

New group of kids learning about compost.  We took a poll as to what [a cup of worm castings] worm poop was just by looking, touching and smelling the worm castings.  The students really were interested in what they could put in the Darth Vader like compost bin

Van Ness School making seed bombs with the VI kids

By PJ Johnson | April 7, 2018

This was a great exercise for the kids especially Udie.  Chelsea the OT specialist at Vanes and I partner to play with our students at Vaness.  Udie also helped to crush roasted eggshells for the compost.