Nairobi, 16 December 2014 – Three student groups from France, Mexico and the United Kingdom bagged top prizes for their creative and committed efforts to reduce food waste in their schools and communities in the recently concluded Think.Eat.Save. Student Challenge.
Food waste is a massive global problem that has negative humanitarian, environmental and financial implications and schools are a huge part of this story. In England, for example, schools throw out some 123,000 tonnes of food a year at a cost of £250 million a year. On average, an American student is responsible for 67 pounds of discarded lunch waste every school year.
Think.Eat.Save, a campaign led by the United Nations Environment Programme with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the Save Food Initiative, and the UN Secretary-General’s Zero Hunger Challenge, called on all students to join the fight to reduce the one third of all food that is lost or wasted globally each year, and around 470 schools and student groups from close to 80 countries took up the call.
“The level of participation was very encouraging which shows how the issue resonates with people from all walks of life. The submissions by the students – from elementary to university level - offer a wealth of ideas and potential solutions that should be mined, promoted, replicated and scaled up in various schools and other organizations. We hope the Challenge is just a start and that the schools will continue on with their quest to reduce, if not eliminate, food waste and create a more conscious mindset towards food consumption, “ states Lucita Jasmin, head of the campaign at UNEP.
Groups led by Julie Tasse (France), Ana Borges (Mexico) and Catherine Brogan (UK) were judged to have organized the most effective, creative and widely promoted campaigns. They created apps, tracked the food being wasted in their schools to encourage others to change their eating patterns, and used their extensive social media networks to spread the message.
1st Prize ($5,000) - Julia Tasse, leader of What The Food
What The Food developed a prototype application that will link students with restaurants around campus, allowing the students to plan their meals better and the food providers to better plan the quantities of food they should prepare, reducing waste. The group also interviewed restaurateurs to better understand the causes of waste, implemented outreach activities, and convinced the school’s management to adopt waste-prevention measures. Click here for the group’s Facebook page.
Tristram Stuart has a message for students from What the Food app
Manifesto de la team Whatthefood
Sense Academy Zéro Gâchis
What The Food - app pour réduire le gaspillage alimentaire dans les restaurants universitaires
2nd Prize ($3,000) - Ana Borges, leader of Sullivan Grow and Appreciated
The group measured food waste and worked with pupils who often left food on their plate to change behaviour by giving these students seeds for growing vegetables in the school garden so they could understand the work and resources needed to produce food, and eventually have a greater appreciation and connection to the full food ‘life’ cycle.
Click here for the group’s Facebook page.
3rd Prize ($2,000) - Catherine Brogan, leader of Eat My Words
The group used creative performances, such as slam poetry, spoken word and music, to more effectively disseminate their message, employed social media extensively, and gathered produce that would have otherwise gone to waste to organize feeding events outside the school to encourage better awareness of how perfectly edible food normally gets wasted.
Click here for more.
Maicom B. (Brazil)
The group came up with an educational program to promote a zero-waste culture in Dining Hall at University of Sao Paulo, Sao Carlos campus
Sadik Gulma (Kenya)
The group project was about awareness raising and call for action against Food Waste at the Pan African University, Institute for Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation.
Kateryna Vorona (Ukraine) – School 6:
The elementary school group created an awareness raising activity project.
Aida Miller (Brazil)
The group created a Zero waste project with the aim to raise awareness on the impacts of food waste on the environment and economy.
Michael Iyanro (Nigeria) – Winners Group
The project developed a manual for schools on best practises on food preservation and food distribution.
Hurricane Keenor/ Anui Normal University (China)
The group developed a slogan: "Low Carbon, Less Waste, and Light Lifestyle. Let's do it!” The project focused on Food Waste research as well as awareness raising .
Haifeng Zhou (China)
The group carried out various awareness raising activities as well as a Food Waste Challenge “Empty-plate”.
The Think.Eat.Save campaign of the Save Food Initiative, is a partnership between UNEP, FAO and Messe Düsseldorf, and in support of the UN Secretary-General’s Zero Hunger Challenge, which seeks to add its authority and voice to these efforts in order to galvanize widespread global, regional and national actions, catalyze more sectors of society to be aware and to act,including through exchange of inspiring ideas and projects between those players already involved and new ones that are likely to come on board.
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