Photo: During #freethefood Friday at ECMS-Gardena, students harvested vegetables to prepare the garden beds for spring planting.
Environmental Charter Middle School – Gardena (ECMS-G) was excited and honored to receive the City of Los Angeles’ first ever #FreeTheFood Food Waste Grant. The funding support helped ECMS-G Green Ambassadors dive into addressing food waste on campus and become campus compost champions! ECMS-G was one of ten grantees that received funding to “free the food” from local landfills. Read more about the impact of all ten grant projects.
With the help of The Bay Foundation, ECMS-G students installed a large 3-bin composter. By turning organic waste into compost, we will have compost to use on campus and to give to the community.
Additionally, each classroom, the staff lounge, and the after-school program areas were provided compost collection bins. Students designed, built, and painted signs to teach students how to properly sort our their trash and food waste.
To further students’ knowledge on composting, they participated in a compost class that taught us all about composting. With their knowledge, students were able to teach community members how to compost and even provided families with composting bins to use in their own kitchens!
Green Ambassadors students were campus leaders and helped their peers develop a food waste consciousness. For example, students took the role of being peer mentors to help fellow students properly sort their food waste through the “trash bouncer” program during lunch.
Students also visited Millard Canyon where they hiked and observed composting on the forest floor. This experience allowed them to make connections between what they learned about composting at school and the composting they saw happening in nature.
In the end, the project also helped to create a space on campus for cultivating vegetables, herbs, fruits, and native plants. Together, 240 students and faculty engaged in the program, saved 200 pounds of food scraps from going to the landfill, and prevented .09 tons of greenhouse gas emissions from going into the atmosphere.
Thank you to the City of Los Angeles for the grant and The Bay Foundation for the support in making our new compost bin!
Story By Sara Reyes