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

How to Relieve Stress Naturally

Stress, especially chronic stress, can negatively impact our health and lead to heart disease, obesity, diabetes and even cancer.

Launch a New Career in Healing Massage

Massage is a wonderful tool for relaxation, but too often we think of it as a luxury. Pacific College of Oriental Medicine knows that massage can improve many health issues, from injury rehabilitation to oncology and cancer treatments, and be a powerful form of healing.

Start the New Year with 
Positivity and Self-Care

As we begin to make plans for the new year, lets make a positive outlook a priority.

Basic Concepts for Adoption Awareness Month

Our state and federal officials long ago declared November as Adoption Awareness Month, a time when families can learn about resources for older youth and about the many types of adoption available.

3 Preventive Herbs for Cold and Flu Season

The smell of fall is in the air, with leaves dropping, rain falling and temperatures cooling. The holidays are coming, people are shopping, feeling stressed and spending more time indoors—a perfect breeding ground for cold and flu viruses.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

See More »This Month

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.

A Natural Solution to Sleep Apnea

Many people believe sleep apnea is caused by a sagging soft pallet in the throat. According to Master Herbalist Steven Frank, it actually results from a diminishing signal from the brain to the diaphragm during the transition from semi-wakefulness into the next stage of lighter sleep.

Spicy Lentil Soup

Lentil soup has been around for more than 9,000 years.

Demystifying The Recycling Process

The choice to recycle is in the hands of all of us, and it does make a difference. The advent of curbside collection makes it easier than ever to participate in the effort to direct unwanted or unneeded product containers and materials away from landfills, but procedures and regulations are often confusing and can create frustration and skepticism about the entire system.

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.

Letter from Publisher

February is when we most long for spring; we’re so done with winter. Yet, as we transition through the month, new signs of spring arrive daily. Hardy spring bulbs like snow drops, glory-of-the-snow and early crocus send up their bright green shoots and may even start to flower before March.