In June 2016, the U.S. Department sent out a memo to regional and state directors of school nutrition programs across the country, urging them to take part in the use of “share tables,” writing:
Using “share tables” is an innovative strategy to encourage the consumption of nutritious
foods and reduce food waste in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School
Breakfast Program (SBP), Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), and Summer
Food Service Program (SFSP).
#SchoolFoodWaste The logistical considerations of serving school lunch every day and requirements of the National School Lunch Program, both real and perceived, result in high levels of food waste in schools. Making changes in schools can help schools reduce their waste, better manage tight school meal budgets, and teach children about the need to treat food as a valuable resource. #foodwaste
What is a “share table,” you ask?
It’s a pretty simple concept which costs nothing, but the rewards are felt by many.
Kids can drop off any unopened, unwanted food or drink item at the “share table,” and other students who need it can take from it.
Yesterday our Santee Health Academy students piloted their first Sharetable during lunch. The sharetable is meant to help eliminate food waste and student hunger by encouraging students to drop off the prepackaged food they don't want and picking up extra food if they are hungry. We are excited for the official launch next school year! #Healthacademy #youthengagement #SouthLA #endfoodwaste #endhunger #sharetable
Any food not taken from the table often goes to nearby food bank or charity.
Sometimes, if a school can’t find an organization to partner with, kids who need it are free to take it home.
Tune in to Twitter tomorrow at 1pm ET for a LIVE school lunch food waste audit (and 6th-grade silliness). Follow @melissaAterry or @foodfuelfuture on Twitter to find it. Meanwhile, there’s a link in our profile to our new blog post about school food waste audits. * * #foodwaste #schoolfoodwaste #foodwasteaudit #education #STEM #sharetables #nofoodwasted #nokidhungry #savethefood #foodconservation #schoollunch #sustainability #sustainableschools #ivaluefood
Due to the strict guidelines set forth by the federal lunch program, students are required to take a certain amount of food each day.
Most of the time, the kids have leftovers either due to not being interested in everything that’s served that day or just feeling full before their tray is empty.