What’s in your soil? – Food Waste Education

Food waste management is a huge operation with many moving parts, and the success of each part is heavily reliant on the others. In this research, we split these parts into levels; grassroots, intermediate, and city level operations. We found that each level supplies a different type of education process and different levels of engagement which fit together to form the larger conversation about food waste. We’re really focusing in on the education aspect of food waste management, and our current goal for this project is to understand the value in each level of education. We want to define what it means to be “compost literate”, and further to identify the key components of compost education. We also want to explore the educational role of being able to see the entire closed loop of food waste composting. That is, seeing the process from start to finish, from food to soil. The ultimate goal is to find the most successful and efficient methods of educating people about what is in their soil, and getting people to understand why they should care.

At this point in the research we know the challenges to achieving food waste composting, operationally speaking. Through interviews we found that community gardens, non-profit organizations, and waste carting businesses all experience temporal and spatial issues regarding their resources to compost and their capacity to process large amounts of food waste. Now that we have identified our interest in the education components of these organizations, it is time to go back and conduct more interviews with community gardens. We found that the weight of the education process seems to be leaning on the grassroots organizations (community gardens) as a foundation, so through more interviews we will be exploring in depth what that role means.