Clark County Green News

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Food Waste Prevention Week Heroes: Answering the call to action!  


Food Waste Prevention Week is an international sustainability campaign that's picking up steam! Organizations across 48 states and 11 countries are joining in this week-long event to inspire their communities to stop food waste in the first place. Clark County has proclaimed April 1-7 as Food Waste Prevention Week. Green Schools is excited to be one of 600 organizations working together to stop food waste from ending up in landfills.

Food waste that ends up in a landfill generates methane, which has 28 times the global warming potential as carbon dioxide. In contrast emissions are drastically cut down when food is composted. If we did not waste food, we would prevent 58% of landfill methane from escaping into our atmosphere. Additionally, vital nutrients are preserved to create a rich soil—contributing to a more sustainable, robust food system in our community.

This year, Clark County's Solid Waste Education and Outreach AmeriCorps team is hosting a five-episode podcast series in partnership with Washington State University Vancouver's student run radio station, KOUG Radio. These thoughtfully curated episodes bring you expert-led discussions on hot topics around food waste to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Episode Three: Food Waste Prevention and Children with Sami Springs LeCain and Tina Kendall

In the journey towards a sustainable future, children play a pivotal role as leaders of global change. Households with children, on average, produce more food waste than those without. This episode, pulled from the five-episode series on the Clark County Green Neighbors' webpage, explores common food waste prevention obstacles school staff and parents run into and the ways they've found success. Our own Environmental Outreach Specialist, Senior for the Clark County Green Schools program, Sami Springs LeCain, talks about food waste prevention in schools, while Tina Kendall, Clark County Solid Waste Operations Specialist, Senior, shares how she tackles food waste within her eco-conscious home as a parent of two young children.

Green Schools Highlights

Clark County Green Schools food waste prevention initiatives don't end there! To highlight a few more things our schools are doing every day to combat food waste, take a look at how share tables are used in school cafeterias. Share tables are areas where students can put unopened, pre-packaged foods or whole fruits from their school-provided lunches into a bin for sharing with other students who may like those items or are still hungry. Vancouver Public Schools uses share tables at 31 of 34 schools!

To highlight a few schools we have been working directly with recently, Lincoln Elementary School gives leftover food from the share table to their Family and Community Resource Center. Hockinson Heights Elementary School sorts partially eaten apples and pears into buckets to feed a staff member's farm animals. Overall, implementing share tables can greatly reduce and divert food waste.

Another food prevention method is switching to "offer over serve"forhot lunch dispersal. Schools can choose to offer all fiveof the main food groups but students only need to take threeof the items to meet the requirements. This can reduce food waste because students don't have to take food they don't want to eat.

If you want to check out the full podcast series on food waste prevention, you can tune in on the Green Neighbors' webpage. We encourage you to try to adopt one change this week. If we can all work together and remain committed to reducing food waste, we can build a more equitable and resilient food system where every meal is appreciated. Thank you for tuning in and being a food waste prevention hero!

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