Wasting Our Lunches

Wasting Our Lunches

Photograph: Nick Ansell/PA

Students are well acquainted with the image of whole fruits and vegetables such as apples, pears, oranges, carrots, and celery scattered around campus, whether it be on the floor or in the trash can. So, why are students wasting perfectly good fruits and vegetables?

food thrown away“I observe the same phenomenon every day at the elementary school my daughter attends here in the District of Columbia…What I see routinely are kids rejecting “healthier” foods, especially vegetables and whole grains,” Stated Ed Bruske blogger of the Slow Cook.

Perhaps the most evident reason to why students are throwing away perfectly good food is due to the fact that they are forced to take it. Since the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act championed by the First Lady and signed by President Obama was passed changes have been made to student lunches nationwide. Schools must offer five items that represent the various food groups and students are required to take three of the five options in order for the school to qualify for reimbursement. This results in students being forced to take food they do not and will not eat, leading to  more wasting of food. According to the to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food items most frequently thrown away uneaten are salad, vegetables and fruit. Another study made by the USDA, the value of wasted food is probably around $1 billion annually.wasted food

“…uneaten fruit, unopened packaged quesadillas, and unopened milk cartons can be placed into the food share bin. If kids are still hungry, they can grab something from the food share bin,” stated Deming of Oakland Unified School District.

A solution for the unwanted food would be to donate it to needy families. Students could place uneaten food: fruits, vegetables, milk in a designated area where they could be donated at the end of the week. In 5 weeks Oakland Unified School District collected 3,000 pounds of food and was able to donate it to 49 needy families. Perhaps Baldwin Park High School can follow suit and stop throwing away perfectly good food andfind better use for it.




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