Speaking at the Summer Institute at Shelburne Farms

Hello readers,

I was recently invited to speak at the Farm Institute this coming August. The entire conference runs Monday, August 10th until Friday, August 14th 2015. It is held at Shelburne Farms, in Shelburne, Vermont. The old, working farm is a perfect location for discussions on sustainability. Geared towards food service and food-related institution members, the conference is really open for anyone interested in the workshops offered.

Generally, topics focus on food service, food production, records, and themes of that nature, but my presentation will focus on wasting less in the cafeteria/kitchen. While the organizers would perhaps have me focus on composting, this is the tip of the proverbial compost pile. Speaking in front of this particular group is a wonderful chance to discuss the role of the cafeteria in the micro-community of school. We must:

-Increase our recyclable, compostable, and reusable inputs

-Decrease our landfill-bound outputs

-Assess our serving methods

-Assess the atmosphere of the lunchroom

-Increase competence in reduction and reuse

-Understand the benefits of recycling and composting

-Understand how easy it is to perform these changes

What makes something recyclable, compostable, reusable, and most importantly, why are we sending anything to the landfill? And then what happens once it’s there? Any employee in a school is a teacher, regardless of their job title. In fact, there are innumerable ways for food service, maintenance, and administration to teach children tools and skills they aren’t learning in the classroom- everything from learning how to hold a knife to how to fix a faucet.

My hope is that my presentation ignites interest in sustainability, and also relieves tension, to reduce ignorance in the broad sense of unfamiliarity with the do’s and don’t’s of buying certain products.

Through research and observation, as well as implementation, I’ve developed infrastructural re-approaches that help reduce food waste and waste overall- but it does take a little leap of faith that these changes in the end can save time, money, and also increase positive connections between youth and food service.

The morning presentation will focus on Act 148, Vermont’s Universal Recycling bill that will introduce large-scale, widespread composting and recycling statewide by the end of 2020. The afternoon presentation will focus on methods of reducing waste. The first, one could say, is “waste management” and the second is “waste reduction”, my favorite part of what I do.

I hope you’ll consider joining. More information can be found here:


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