Four schools in the Kempsey area are taking part in a new pilot program that aims to cut food waste in schools, help families save money, and have a positive impact on the environment, as part of Kempsey Shire Council’s involvement in the Love Food Communities program.
Every student wastes 3kg of food each year on average. In Australia each year, students throw away 3.5 million uneaten sandwiches, 3 million pieces of whole fruit and 1.3 million items of packaged foods.
The six-week Lunchbox Leftovers Pilot program is being rolled out in 10 schools across the Mid North Coast and will trial three innovative program implementations – Make Your Own Lunch, Take Leftovers Home and Play Before Eating.
The schools are working with MidWaste, BehaviourWorks Australia and the NSW Government to explore effective food waste reduction measures in NSW schools.
Aldavilla Primary School and Kempsey Adventist School will be empowering students to make their own lunches while educating and engaging students and families with recipe ideas, tips for fussy eaters and how to create a balanced lunchbox.
Students at Smithtown Public School will be swapping the lunch break timetable around so that students play first and eat second, with the aim of increasing the amount of food eaten and reducing waste.
Kinchela Public School are trialling a new school policy that will see leftover food go home. By sending leftovers home, so children will be more aware of the amount of food they waste, families will learn what is being left uneaten, and the volume of food waste in school bins will be reduced.
Aldavilla Primary School Principal Kathryn McNee welcomed the opportunity to join the Make Your Own Lunch initiative that builds on the success of the school’s kitchen garden program earlier in the year.
“As part of this project, more than 300 students from Kindy to Year 6 have rolled up their sleeves and learnt how to prepare recipes for the Nude Food Lunch Box, as well as making their very own beeswax wrap,” Ms McNee said.
“The school actively promotes the Love Food Hate Waste concept to minimise packaging and to encourage all our students to bring fresh homemade food to school minus the plastic.
“Aldavilla Primary School is continuing to find innovative ways to improve our recycling and waste reduction to have a positive impact on the environment and we are committed to teaching local children to be part of the solution, not the pollution!”
Each school has selected a workshop to enrich their food waste education. Students will learn how to make their own bees wax wraps to keep food fresh, discover how to turn scraps to soil through composting, or get busy in the kitchen making their own lunch wraps from scratch.
MidWaste Project Officer Wendy Grant said all families could learn how to reduce food waste at home by signing up for the free online Food Smart program at www.midwaste.com.au/food-smart
“Food Smart includes easy, step-by-step guides to help you reduce your food waste and keep more money in your pocket,” Ms Grant said.
Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey said, “It’s great to see our wonderful local schools providing children with life skills by educating them about nutrition and food waste.
“In today’s society, there can be an illusion that food is disposable – we have lost our connection with food, where it comes from, and its true value.”
This project is supported by the NSW Government as part of its Love Food Hate Waste Program. MidWaste is one of four Love Food Communities, supported with a grant of $250,000 to reduce food waste across the whole community over two years.