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Workshop Archive

SWAP Meet #2: Food Waste Forum

Food waste is a moral, economic, and environmental problem.  In the United States, 40% of the food that we produce is wasted (NRDC). Modest reductions in wasted food could feed 25 million hungry people (NRDC), save a family of 4 approximately $2,000 per year, and conserve approximately ¼ of all freshwater used in the US each year.

At our 2nd SWAP-Meet of the year, we addressed the issue of food waste at home and at school.


Schools can immediately reduce wasted food by setting up “Share Tables” to make sure that un-opened, un-eaten school food does not go to waste. Nancy Deming from Oakland Unified School District shared the solid legal foundation and USDA guidance for setting up food share systems in schools as well as information about donating school food off campus.

Jordan Figueredo from Castro Valley shared his efforts to reduce pre-consumer food waste. Much of the food that is grown is discarded before it is distributed to stores, and much of the food that is distributed to stores is discarded before it is sold to consumers. Figueredo launched two efforts to address these problems. The #uglyfruitandveg campaign calls attention to the perfectly edible and slightly unusual looking produce that often gets discarded because it fails to meet appearance standards. Feeding the 5000 calls attention to food discarded from stores by salvaging it and preparing a meal to feed thousands of people.

Calls to action:

  • Set up a “Food Share” table at school
  • Examine your family’s food waste practices at home. Buy only what you need, prepare food carefully, plan to use leftovers, and minimize spoilage by implementing “Eat First” policies in your own refrigerator. Use your green bin to compost food scraps and food soiled paper.
  • Organize a screening of “Just Eat It
  • Join the #uglyfruitandveg campaign

Presenter's Materials:


At the start of SWAP Meet #2, the Food Waste Forum, we watched an excerpt of "Just Eat It," a documentary about food waste and food rescue. 

Just Eat It


StopWaste's Cassie Bartholomew presented an overview of the EPA Food Recovery Hierarchy highligting new programs from StopWaste to address the issue of food waste and food recovery.

pdfCassie's Presentation1.49 MB


Jordan Figueiredo shared a keynote presentation describing his efforts to stop food waste before it starts by calling attention to produce that never makes it to market food discarded by stores before it has a chance to sell. #uglyfruitandveg Feeding the 5000

pdfJordan's Presentation4.29 MB


Angelina Vergara and Annalisa Belliss shared StopWaste's 5th Grade "Food - Too Good To Waste" project. The project includes an activity where students investigate food waste at home by cleaning out the refrigerator while collecting food waste data.


Nancy Deming from Oakland Unified presented the district's comprehensive efforts to set up food share tables in cafeterias and implement food recovery donation programs with the community.

pdfNancy's Presentation3.12 MB


Nate Ivy shared best practices in school cafeteria waste reduction including recycling stations and food scrap composting.

pdfNate's Presentation2.27 MB


Additional Resources:


This USDA presentation highlights ways that schools can reduce food waste and provides guidance for school food recovery and donation programs.

pdfUSDA Food Waste Challenge Presentation8.71 MB


This USDA infographic highlights strategies schools can implement to reduce food waste including “setting up a table for kids to place items they are not going to consume,” “composting food scraps,” and “allowing students to keep a lunch or breakfast food item for consumption later in the school day.”

pdfUSDA Infographic780.82 KB


USDA flyer describing the US Food Waste Challenge, outlining ways schools can fight food waste including the introduction of share tables, extending lunch periods, and implementing "offer vs serve" lunch lines.

pdfUSDA School Food Waste Challenge Flyer370.99 KB


A detailed overview of OUSD Nutrition services Food Share Table program.This document provides guidance on system set-up and proceedures that could easily be implemented in other districts.

pdfOUSD Food Share Table Guidance489.6 KB


Oakland Unified School District Food Share poster/signage for setting up a food share table.

jpgFood Share Poster147.08 KB


Food Recovery Project poster highlighting USDA protections and allowances for the donation of surplus school food.

pdfFood Recovery Project Poster88.55 KB


USDA Memo to regional and state directors of child nutrition programs outlining guidance for food waste reduction including, "offering 'sharing tables,' transfering food to other sites and donat[ion] to a non-profit organization."

pdfUSDA Memo229.31 KB


OUSD Food Donation Program Food For Families MOU. This document registers volunteers to pick-up and distribute suplus school food from Oakland schools.

pdfOUSD Food Program: Food For Families MOU660.54 KB




FIXIT Clinics: March 2015 SLWRP Meeting

Teachers from Livermore and Castro Valley repair a toasterTeachers from Livermore and Castro Valley repair a toasterThe March 3, cialis 2015 SLWRP network meeting focused on the topic of repair and featured a workshop hosted by Fixit Clinic founder Peter Mui.

Fixit Clinics are community events designed to support community members in the "Guided Disassembly of Your Broken Stuff."  Mui hopes to empower people to learn more about how their stuff works and hopefully fix it.

SLWRP teachers were encouraged to bring a broken item to the meeting to experience the Fixit Clinic ethos first-hand. Participants brought a range of broken items including a radio, a dvd player, a calculator and a backpack with a broken zipper. Mui also brought small appliances like toasters, irons and microwaves for the group to examine.

According to the 2008 Waste Characterization study, Alameda County sent over 45,000 tons of textiles and more than 7,000 tons of electronics and small appliances to the landfill. Mui hopes to help people give extended life to their broken things and change ideas about disposability.

Fixit clinics are community events that freqently take place at libraries and community centers, but Mui is hoping to see more of them at schools. Fixit Clinics present a fantastic opportunity for students to explore science and engineering practices, learn tool skills, and reduce waste.

If you are interested in hosting a Fixit Clinic at your school, contact Peter Mui at petermui (at) gmail(dot)com


Check out the video below to get an idea of what happens at a Fixit Clinic:


Interested in hosting at Fixit Clinic? Here are some tips and examples:



Announcements & Reminders:


2014-2015 SLWRP Kick-Off

Looking Back & Looking Ahead

On Thursday, October 2 the SLWRP network met at the Davis St. Transfer Station in San Leandro to kick off the 2014-2015 program year. The agenda featured time for networking, a tour of the transfer station, an overview of the history of waste management, information about the Ready Set Recycle schools challenge and context for thinking about how ideas spread within a population.

At this point in the school year, schools should be finalizing their SLWRP teams, working the bugs out of existing recycling and waste reduction systems, and setting new goals for diversion efforts.

Key Links:


EarthTeam, Strategic Energy Initiatives, and the Alameda Green Schools Challenge met with teachers and shared information about programming this year.

Transfer Station Tour

StopWaste’s Roberta Miller provided a tour of the transfer station highlighting many of its new facilities designed to help Alameda County meet its waste reduction goals.

Videos highlighting aspects of the transfer station’s operation are available on the SLWRP website. They are only a couple of years old and provide a good overview of the facility, but there are a number of recent facilities upgrades that are not featured in the videos:

To sign up for a FREE transfer station field trip for a classroom sized group of students, click here:


StopWaste’s Mark Spencer provided an overview of R0- known as “the reproductive number” – a tool in math for measuring the spread of disease. In addition to helping us understand how Ebola compares to other historical epidemics, R0 also provides a metaphor for understanding how ideas and behavior can spread. Teachers can have an amazing impact by transmitting sustainability knowledge and practice to students. The bigger impact occurs when students themselves are empowered as carriers of sustainability ideas that the can spread among their peers and community, creating an exponential impact. Mark also created an excel spreadsheet to help teachers visualize the exponential impact of their environmental education efforts. Mark will be happy to help any of you and your students develop a more accurate estimate for the SLWRPZero Effect at your school.  Just shoot him an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

History of Waste Management

Tom Padia, StopWaste’s Source Reduction and Recycling Director, provided historical context to help understand today’s waste reduction efforts and challenges. Padia traced the origins of waste collection as a public health concern in cities to the recent developments of environmental regulations on landfills and increased emphasis on diversion efforts. Padia highlighted studies conducted in Alameda County that showed an interesting challenge: although we have one of the nation’s most robust recycling and food scrap diversion programs, as recently as 2008, we see that 60% of the material in the trash could have easily been recycled or composted using existing systems. The countywide goal is to reduce the amount of “good stuff” in the trash to “under 10% by 2020.”

Ready Set Recycle

Angelina Vergara presented an overview of StopWaste’s Ready Set Recycle Challenge and introduced SLWRP to a number of new tools including an online sorting game and recycling sign maker. Schools in SLWRP are encouraged to set measurable goals to reduce waste in clearly defined areas of campus. Again, the goal is to get to “Under 10% by 2020.” Schools that are interested in focusing on cafeteria food scrap diversion efforts to meet this challenge can receive extra support and technical assistance from StopWaste this year.

Upcoming events and opportunities:

Environmental Education, NGSS & CCSS

On Tuesday, November 11th, the SLWRP network met to explore the implications for Environmental Education in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Alameda County Office of Education Science Coordinator, Sara Dozier, provided an introduction to the structure and organization of NGSS with a focus on framework Core Idea ESS3: Earth and Human Activity. In particular, ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems asks students to investigate and understand, "How do humans change the planet?"

The new science standards put an increased emphasis on Science and Engineering Practices while working to reinforce Cross-Cutting Concepts grades K-12. The shifts in the standards are good news for teachers interested in engaging their students in projects and service-learning to design solutions to real-life challenges using the tools of science and engineering (including data collection, analysis, building and testing models, and engineering solutions.)


pdf Download a copy of this presentation 1.51 Mb

Teachers in all content areas are being asked to support the implementation of the new Common Core State Standards for English-Language Arts and Math. The new CCSS includes reading standards for "Science and Technical Subjects," reflecting an overall shift to an increased emphasis on technical and expository text.

To investigate the new CCSS reading standards, participants brought an environmental text they might consider reading with students this year. Using the new standards as a guide, participants tried to do the tasks that students will be asked to do when reading, such as: determining central ideas or conclusions of a text; determining the meaning of symbols, key terms and other domain-specific words and phrases; and analyzing the structure an author uses to organize a text.

This year, the SLWRP network will collaborate to build an "Environmental Reader" of teacher selected texts that help promote environmental literacy while addressing the new CCSS and NGSS standards. Because CCSS takes a broad view of "texts" to include multiple forms of media and communication forms to share ideas, the "Environmental Reader" may include traditional texts like magazine or news articles, excerpts from books or journals, etc., but also items like videos, photos, blog posts, radio programs and other multi-media items. To contribute a text to the Environmental Reader, click here.

Materials from the November 12, 2013 SLWRP Network Meeting

Packet #1

Packet #2

Packet #3

Packet #4

Other materials:

Link to Environmental Reader text submission form

2013-14 SLWRP Kick-Off Meeting

On Wednesday, October 2, 2013, teachers, students and environmental organizations from across Alameda County met at Berkeley High School to kick off the 2013-2014 Service-Learning Waste Reduction Project. The meeting featured a conversation about the challenges of maintaining and relaunching waste reduction efforts at the start of each new school year.


Berkeley Unified School District & the Green Schools Initiative

Deborah Moore, founder and executive director of the Berkeley-based non-profit Green Schools Initiative provided an overview of the history of waste reduction in Berkeley Unified School District and current efforts to re-launch the program.

Recently, the Green Schools Initiative won an Altamont Education Advisory Board grant to support district-wide systems as well as site-specific efforts. The Green Schools Initiative and StopWaste.Org worked with the Berkeley Unified School District Board to develop and adopt waste reduction goals including source separation of recyclable and organic materials aiming for 90% diversion by 2020.

Berkeley High School

Berkeley High's Sarah Mosley describes student efforts to reduce waste on campusBerkeley High's Sarah Mosley describes student efforts to reduce waste on campusBerkeley High Science Teacher and SLWRP team coordinator Kate Trimlett provided an overview of the school's efforts to maintain and improve waste reduction and environmental efforts. She was joined by students Michael Grey and Sarah Mosley who described the results of waste audits which motivated them to establish an outdoor waste reduction and recycling program. "Many students buy food from stores in the neighborhood, then eat in the courtyard, so we have a lot of food scraps and food packaging outside," they noted. Working with Deborah Moore and the Green Schools Initiative, the student leaders have piloted waste stations in the courtyard and are working on an instructional video for their peers.

Hanging GardensHanging GardensGarden Coordinator Adam Edell provided a campus tour and described a vision for an edible urban forest throughout the campus's paved courtyards and walkways. Over the past three years, substantial progress toward this vision has already sprouted near the school's science buildings. Using repurposed shipping crates, students working with Edell have created planter boxes to grow a range of edible crops from strawberries to corn. Edell has also installed a small greenhouse for seed starts, compost piles to return plant trimmings to the soil, and an outdoor kitchen with cob oven where students can learn to cook the food they grow.

After the tour, Kate Trimlett shared a variety of resources and introduced community partners that have supported environmental strands in her teaching.

Resources supporting environmental education at Berkeley High

Teacher at Sea. This past summer Trimlett had the opportunity to participate in NOAA's Teacher at Sea program aboard the research vessel Fulmar to study local marine sanctuaries. Read about Trimlett's experiences and stay tuned for application details for next summer's program.

Green 360. To help students learn about green career options, Trimlett works with Bay Area based Green360. Joann Martens, co-founder of Green360 provided an overview of the extensive free resources available to help students explore and understand green career pathways.

Bay Area Green Tours. To bring classroom learning about environmental topics to life, Trimlett has used grant funds to work with Bay Area Green Tours to custom design green-themed field trips exploring different sectors of the green economy. Bay Area Green Tours founder Marissa LaMagna provided an overview of the organizations services.

Waste Reduction Goal Setting and Networking

Each SLWRP coordinator was asked to identify three successes and three challenges from the prior year. Successes, framed by the sentence starter, "I can share..." provided an initial networking opportunity for participants to learn more about the expertise among their peers. Challenges, framed by the sentence starter, "I need..." or "I want to create..."provided an opportunity  for participants to create working groups to tackle challenges together this year.

SLWRP Program Resources

Transfer Station Field Trips. Schools in the SLWRP program are eligible to participate in StopWaste's free field trip program to a local transfer station to learn how waste is processed. StopWaste's Roberta Miller provided an overview of the tours, which feature free bus transportation, and start in November.

EarthTeam Resources.  In 2013-2014, SLWRP schools are eligible to receive a range of services from EarthTeam. With a grant from StopWaste.Org, these services are provided for free to SLWRP member schools. Raeann Johnson and Doug Streblow provided an overview of the Waste Action Project and Transportation Action Project which sends EarthTeam educators into your classroom to help support an environmental inquiry and service-learning action project 

EarthTeam's Leadership and Environmental Action Forum (LEAF) is an opportunity for students emerging as environmental leaders to participate in a youth-designed conference each spring. SLWRP schools are able to send teams of 6 students to the free overnight conference to learn leadership skills, learn from innovative environmental organizations, and teach each other about emerging best practices at their own schools. LEAF is designed and organized by EarthTeam's Youth Advisory Board featuring student representatives from seven SLWRP schools. Stay tuned for details about LEAF 2014 scheduled for the end of May.

SLWRP Program Announcements:

November SLWRP Meeting
Date: Wednesday, November 12, 5-8 PM
Location: StopWaste.Org 1537 Webster, Oakland, CA

Agenda: At the November SLWRP meeting, we will explore how Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards intersect with high quality, action oriented environmental education. Together, we will begin the work of developing an "Environmental Action Reader" with suggested materials compiled by SLWRP schools.

Please bring an environmentally-themed, information and idea rich "text" that you might share with students this year. Your "text" might include news or magazine articles, blog posts, excerpts from books, short videos, "how-to" guides, or other sources of information that environmentally literate people should explore. Consider finding materials that explore environmental science, justice, philosophy, history, policy, or economics.

Coordinators should also bring completed SLWRP stipend agreements for each school's team. Stipend forms and SLWRP team formation information available here.

The Story of Stuff needs your help!

Since launching The Story of Stuff film in 2007, and the book in 2010, Annie Leonard has received thousands of requests from educators for material for a younger audience.

Annie did collaborate with Facing the Future on a high school curriculum covering the issues in The Story of Stuff which you may download for free here. She is now starting work on a non-fiction book on these issues for a young adult audience (grades 3 - 8).

Annie invites educators experienced with that age group to provide input so the book will meet their needs and those of their educators. She will be grateful if you might contribute 10 minutes of your time to complete this survey about the book. It includes a sign up to be kept informed on this project as it develops.

Youth for the Environment and Sustainability (YES) Conference

This November, join students from around the San Francisco Bay Area to discuss transportation issues in your communities. Share stories from events you've hosted at your school. Discuss what changes have to be made to encourage transportation alternatives at your school. Learn how to fix a flat tire on your bicycle.

Whether you come to learn about innovative projects school groups have worked on, advocate your elected officials to promote sustainable modes of transportation, or to win raffle prizes; join us! Register for FREE

Date: Saturday, November 2nd, 2013
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Location: Joseph P. Bort MetroCenter, 101 Eighth Street, Oakland (near Lake Merritt BART Station)

YES ConferenceYES Conference

Additional Photos from EarthTeam