Random Acts of Sustainability



Photo Courtesy of SCARCE

February 17 is National Random Acts of Kindness Day. One way to participate is by supporting a school share table, which allows students to place unwanted, unopened food at a designated location in the lunchroom. The school can then distribute the leftover food to students, families, or local food pantries or organizations.

                The amount of food that goes uneaten in school cafeterias is significant. School and Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education (SCARCE) conducts lunchtime waste audits with students at Chicagoland schools and often finds whole apples and unopened granola bars, entrees, yogurt cups and containers of fruit in the garbage. Biting into an apple is not easy for kindergarteners or first-graders with a dangling tooth.

                Until recently, unwanted, unopened perfectly good food served in the cafeteria could not be taken home or given away, as contracts with food providers prohibited schools from distributing the items. To address the problem, SCARCE and the Illinois Environmental Council worked together in 2016 to write a law (HB 5530) permitting schools to donate leftover food served in their cafeterias. Now the food can go to hungry people instead of landfills.

                The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have set a national goal to reduce food waste in America by 50 percent by 2030. To that end, the USDA is promoting food-sharing programs, noting that they are an “innovative strategy” to encourage kids to eat healthy foods and reduce waste in the food programs they fund. With state and federal barriers removed, schools absolutely can implement share table programs.

                This month, we can all get involved by asking a local school to start a share table or by volunteering to monitor an existing share table, distributing food to kids in the free and reduced lunch program or taking leftover food to a local pantry or shelter. Let’s feed kids, not the landfill.

Kay McKeen is the executive director and Rose Naseef is an environmental educator at SCARCE, located at 799 Roosevelt Rd., Bldg. 2, Ste. 108, in Glen Ellyn, IL. For more information, call 630-545-9710 or visit Scarce.org.

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

A Naturopathic Doctor’s Approach to Detoxification

Detoxification is a popular way for people to take an active role in their health. There are many great diets, supplements, treatments and programs that have been developed to guide us through what is a complicated and often misunderstood process.

Assessing Cancer Risk with Genetic Testing

A cancer diagnosis can be a frightful and devastating experience. According to the National Cancer Institute, 1,685,210 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in the U.S. in 2016, with the five most common being breast, lung, prostate, colon and rectum, and bladder.

Combating Stinging Insect Allergies

It is important to know that anyone can develop a severe insect allergy and even non-allergic individuals can experience a lethal reaction from multiple stings.

Meditation Can Transform Lives

Louis A. Ritz, Ph.D., serves on the faculty of the department of neuroscience of the University of Florida College of Medicine, where his focus is on education of medical and graduate students.

Avoid Binge Drinking During Summer Holidays

The bookends of summer are Memorial Day and Labor Day, when summer vacations, graduation parties, weddings, festivals and picnics bring alcohol-laden events that can lead to unintentional binge drinking.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

See More »This Month

Inspiring Women’s Herbal Conference in Wisconsin

The sixth annual Midwest Women’s Herbal Conference, titled Honoring the Wise Women of the Past, Present and Future, will bring together international herbalists and authors for a gathering of the feminine June 9 through 11 at Camp Helen Brachman, in Almond, Wisconsin.

Eclipses Have Special Significance

Christine Arens, PTMAFA, one of the foremost astrology teachers in the world, will conduct a seminar titled 2017 Eclipses and How They Are Used, from 2 to 4 p.m., February 4, at the Edgar Cayce Holistic Center and Bookstore.

Structural Integration

Diane Roth, founder of Roth Structural Integration, in Highland Park, has been practicing Structural Integration for more than 25 years. Through the use of hands-on manipulation of the tissue and surrounding fascia, she helps clients find relief from chronic pain and other symptoms of misalignment in the body.

Bumble Bee Added to the Endangered Species List

On January 11, the Rusty Patch Bumble Bee (Bombus affinis), with an estimated aggregate value as a pollinator at $3 billion, became the first of its kind to be listed on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service endangered species list. It is native to Illinois and other states, but has experienced a 90 percent decrease in population over the last 20 years.

New Book on Child Rearing from the Hinmans

Local authors and family health experts Mike and Amanda Hinman, of the Hinman Holistic Health Institute, recently released a new book, Vibrant Child: 7 Steps To Increase Your Child’s Health & Happiness.

Free Detox Evaluation for the Home

Kathy Rosner and her team are offering a complimentary home detox evaluation with a Clean & Safe home advisor by phone or in person, including free product samples.