Gloucester High School students take on the NSW EPA's Love Food Hate Waste program

Year eight students and teach Rob Seale learn the value of recycling food scraps.
Year eight students and teach Rob Seale learn the value of recycling food scraps.

Gloucester High School (GHS) students are learning how to reduce food waste at home.

Year seven and eight students are taking on a home project in partnership with MidWaste.

MidWaste has received grant funding from the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) under its Love Food Hate Waste (LFHW) to deliver the Food Smart program to households through schools in the MidCoast Council region.

Emily Walker places food scraps into the school's compost bin

Emily Walker places food scraps into the school's compost bin

So far, GHS is the only high school to take up the program under the leadership of teacher, Rob Seale.

Mr Seale has incorporated the program into the agricultural curriculum for his year seven and eight students as they learn what it takes to grow food and how food scraps can be used to return nutrients to their food garden.

Luke Williams feeds the worms in the school's worm farm.

Luke Williams feeds the worms in the school's worm farm.

This isn’t the first time GHS students have taken on a MidWaste program, with some students making their own worm farms at home, while others took a composting course.

Now the students will be taking home another project which will help them reduce food waste in their homes, teaching their families along the way.

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Once the students have registered for the program, they receive a kit which includes things like a magnetic menu planner and shopping list, food waste study bags, a food waste tips tea towel and keep it fresh storage items.

Students will measure their food waste over two days, then after putting in place methods to help reduce the amount of food wasted, they will measure again to see how their waste has changed.

Leading up to the home audit program the year seven and eight students have been working on a rotation system between the worm farms and the compost bins at the school. Taking food scraps from the school canteen to feed the worms, the compost bin and the schools chickens.

Students have learned which food scraps work better in each system and how their food waste can be transformed into fertiliser for the school garden. The students experience the food cycle first hand, as they pick the vegetables from the garden and collect the eggs from the chickens.

With the Food Smart program, students will be able to take that knowledge home and apply it to their everyday lives, continuing to support the reduction in food waste.

Alarni Longbottom and Anita Jackson pick the large green onions from the school garden.

Alarni Longbottom and Anita Jackson pick the large green onions from the school garden.

NSW households are one of the biggest contributors of food waste, throwing away more than $10 billion worth of edible food each year. For the average household in the MidCoast that is approximately $73 per week or $3,805 over a year.

This isn’t the first time MidWaste had run a food waste awareness program in the MidCoast Council region, last year 20 businesses signed for the Your Business is Food program, designed to help food businesses waste less, save money and help the environment. The results saw a 24 per cent reduction in preparation waste, 23 per cent reduction in plate waste, and a 13 per cent decrease in overall food spoilage.

Joining Gloucester High School in the program are: Old Bar Public School, Nabiac and District Pre School, Kindilan Early Childhood Centre, Tuncurry and Little Beaver Preschool, Forster.

For more information about Love Food Hate Waste, visit www.lovefoodhatewaste.nsw.gov.au.

MdWaste’s Food Smart and Your Business is Food projects have been supported with a $13,500 and a $16,000 grant from the NSW EPA's Waste Less Recycle More Love Food Hate Waste program, funded from the waste levy.