StopWaste at School


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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