Nevertheless, small changes should never be doubted. Thus began the story of my fight against
food waste. In June of 2017, I took the exciting first step, leading a group of my friends who all
shared the same yearning for a solution. Under the name of “Project Leftovers,” we armed
ourselves with a summer break’s work of research and ran to the battlefield.
The 2017-18 school year was a busy one for Project Leftovers. With approval, we conducted
monthly waste audits in the cafeteria. We contacted local food businesses, the school nutrition
department, and cafeteria staff to suggest prevention methods. In order to pique student interest
in the issue, we held a food-waste-themed art contest to promote student involvement.
Now starts chapter two of our journey: food recovery. Thanks to a kickstart provided by the K12
Food Rescue program and its Executive Director John Williamson, Project Leftovers was able to
obtain the crucial resources in planning a recovery program. After thorough research through the
website’s documents, litigation, and procedures, we were able to hold a meeting with our
school’s principal and nutritionist to suggest the idea.
The takeaway from that meeting? Small, but strong steps will be taken towards that direction.
Currently, we plan to pilot an internal food recycling program for this school year. Pre-packaged
items and whole fruits will be collected and will be available for students in our school who
cannot afford a lunch. School hasn’t even started yet but the future for Project Leftovers seems bright already.
To all of the future food waste fighters out there, feel free to contact Project Leftovers for more information about our journey as well as how to start yours!