Foray Into Food Waste

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School:  McKim Elementary

Waste is a major theme of Beyond Recycling, and this year the McKim students are using it as a primary theme for their action projects and investigations as well. After learning that “real food” is nutritious, natural, near, naked, and now, the students connected the dots of how tricky it can be to have enough of the good stuff on a regular basis, and what some of the sustainability challenges are with our food system.

We chose to focus our food field trip on food waste, visiting a new, barely 1-year old grocery store followed by the local Food Recovery Depot. The new grocery store was proud to give us a tour and tell us about their efforts and new infrastructure installed to reduce waste. We went behind the scenes to see the new cake freezers, the -40 degree Celsius cold storage, the dairy freezer, and the loading bay with it’s own “Wall-E” machine to compact cardboard for recycling. We even got to see a semi-truck unloading, which prompted a discussion about food miles and transportation hubs.

This grocery store is part of Kimberley’s food recovery program and donates all of the unsellable but still edible foods to the Healthy Kimberley Food Recovery Depot. So, after touring the store, we headed up to the Depot. There, we saw how food is sorted for the Food Bank, compost, farm animals, and human re-distribution – all of which is diverted from ending up in the landfill. We got to help sort and make bins for Food Bank families. The biggest learning here was the difference between best before and expiry dates.

The students were very engaged, thanks in part to free snacks along the way, “I like this field trip. This is actually really cool!” Thor shared.