The Eco-Club to End Food Waste Project was a student initiative that examined the causes, effects, and solutions to food waste. Students compiled a 25 page case study and enacted several solutions to reduce food waste. Some of these solutions included: creating an Eco-Club and compost bin for the school's community garden, gleaning from local orchards, creating a "sharing table" for the school cafeteria, and setting up a YouTube channel and website to promote food waste solutions.
"We learned that even though we might fall down, we can always get back up and try again. Success isn't in the final outcome, but in the journey."
- Student Reflection
Debating to Narrow Their Focus
Students began the FEEL stage with an analysis of the UN Sustainable Development Goals through inquiry activities, empathy-based simulations and listening sessions. They then conducted an “argument madness” activity in which they debated issues about which they felt most passionate. They winner of these rounds of debate highlighted the statistics around food waste globally. To focus their work locally, students broke into groups and researched the very concrete and specific underlying factors and impact of food waste in their own community – resulting in a 25-page case study.
Workshopping and Defending Ideas
To brainstorm solutions, students participated a series of activities including "make the issue worse" and "the worst possible solution” and “been there, done that”. These activities allowed students to consider the issue more holistically and dig into others’ solutions to the same issue. Students narrowed their ideas to 12, wrote proposals for each and then they shared, workshopped and defended the ideas in a mini “Shark Tank” exercise. Five ideas were ultimately selected by the class.
Starting a School Club to Manage Their Ideas
After narrowing their ideas to 5, students decided they wanted to organize a group that would specifically work towards these solutions. They went through the steps to enact the Eco-Club for their school. Ultimately, students created a website and a YouTube channel to educate and increase awareness around the issue, developed a composting program for their school, began re-purposing food with local organizations, and set up a sharing table at their school in which students can share food with their peers rather than throwing the food away.
Sharing and Making Note of Lessons Learned
Students shared their work with their school, their community and with others around the world by promoting and distributing their website and YouTube channel and highlighting both in the local news. Students identify a number of skills they strengthened through this process including independent goal-setting and management, problem-solving through obstacles, group cooperation and teamwork, etc.