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The Final Challenge 2012 Boston Latin School - Youth CAN Team Photo Founded in 2007, BLS Youth Climate Action Network (Youth CAN) is a student-led high school environmental club at Boston Latin School. It focuses on education, facilities improvement, and youth outreach. The Youth CAN network now has more than 20 different Youth CAN clubs in schools across eastern Massachusetts.
The Youth CAN Team The Final Challenge Team Air/Climate Challenge 2 Team Team Members Final Challenge Roles 1) Carol Bowe Media producer/videographer 2) Will Byrne Grant writer/team coordinator 3) Thienan Dang Fund raising coordinator 4) Laura Dowd Food waste trial manager 5) Emily Jacques Non-profit/partner outreach 6) Allie Kennelly Project background research 7) Evangeline Kilgannon Garden project manager 8) Sydney Kyne Student outreach coordinator 9) Adrianne Smith Project/public presenter 10)Jordan Freundlich Digester project manager
An EfS Demonstration Project Educating for SustainabilityA Demonstration Project: Garden Table Digester The Youth Climate Action Network is committed to promoting educational goals that will contribute to the transition to a sustainable society by equipping students with the necessary information, skill sets, and understandings, and habits of mind that will prepare them to live responsibly and within the means of nature. Our latest EfS initiatives focus on the related issues of food production and food waste management. • How can we learn to be more intentional about the food we eat? Is it healthy? Where does it come from? How far has it traveled to get to our table? How much and what kind of work was involved in producing it? • And after we’re finished eating…where do the scraps go? Could they be returned to the farm to help create a sustainable cycle? These questions formed the basis for Youth CAN’s latest plan to help Boston Latin School students and the larger community learn about the importance of sustainable food production and waste management. Our Lexus Final Challenge initiatives are the: Part 1: Go Green Grow Green Garden Project Part 2: The BLS Cafeteria Food Digester Pilot Project
School Garden: Case for Action Part 1: Go Green-Grow Green!Garden Project Background • It used to be common sense that you didn't eat something if you were unsure about where it came from or how it came to be on a plate in front of you. Not anymore though, with fast-food places on every corner, the advent of food to-go, and the rise of our gigantic food industry, it's much more common in thought and practice to eat a meal filled with additives and who knows what else, than it is to eat something grown locally, organically, or even more rare, something that you’ve actually grown yourself. • Gardens require us to become intentional about food. We must choose what gets planted, make decisions about tending it as it grows, and we must harvest it. As a result, we are much more likely to think about the food, and about how food is made in general. We’re more likely to feel a connection to the land and to the growing cycle, and even to our own bodies and what we’re putting into them. In other words, we’re more likely to be curious about the particular health benefits that come from eating foods that we’ve grown ourselves. • Experiencing food from plant to plate helps everyone appreciate what really goes into a meal. The benefits of instilling an appreciation for fresh fruits and vegetables also has the potential to help curb growing food-related health problems such as obesity and Type II-diabetes. In complex ways, growing and appreciating food can help substantially shape the decisions of future food buyers and literally help contribute to a more sustainable future.
Action Plan Part 1: Go Green-Grow Green!Garden Project Action Plan That’s why Youth CAN launched a Go Green Grow Green Student Garden at BLS. About 40 people joined us and helped us plant a garden right on The Avenue in front of the Boston Latin School! 1) Planning and Funding the Garden Project • Meet with City Sprouts, a local non-profit that helps schools with outdoor gardens grow food for the cafeteria • Tour a really cool garden at the Morse School in Cambridge to get some ideas for our own garden • Brainstorm and create a detailed plan for the garden including plans to run a summer program for city kids • Present our plans and get permission to use the school grounds for the garden project • Solicit pro bono materials to build and plant the garden 2) Outreach & Recruitment • Advertise a construction and planting event as part of the annual “Global Work Party” • Sponsor a poster contest with a cash prize for the best poster • Recruit students and parent-volunteers for the “Party” • Recruit participants for the summer garden program 3) Execution of the Program • Host a work party at BLS as part of 350.org’s 10-10-10 Day of Action to build and plant the gardens with assistance from non-profit Green City Growers • Tend and maintain the garden all spring and summer • Plan to run a summer garden program for Boston city kids • Create plans for a garden expansion for this spring!
Implementation Part 1: Go Green-Grow Green!Garden Project Implementing The Plan • With the help of Green City Growers staff, we constructed three raised beds of “SmartTimbers”, landscape timbers made of recycled resins. The beds were fitted with PVC hoops to accommodate greenhouse and overwintering film, extending the growing season through December and providing cold frames for starting plants in early spring. • A 44’ x 14’ plot was constructed and the gardens planted in the front yard at BLS, right along Avenue Louis Pasteur where it could be seen by students and the community every day. • A school-wide poster project was launched that show-cased the garden and promoted awareness about food production and healthy food choices. • This summer Youth CAN paid 3 teens a stipend to maintain the garden, working once a week all summer.
Project Evaluation Part 1: Go Green-Grow Green!Garden Project Student and Community Awareness Goals Met • Teachers and students, parents and even people passing by on the street – all stop by to see what’s going on in the garden. Our garden has helped students and teachers become more thoughtful about the food we are eating, has provided an opportunity to get involved in service learning as we try to make positive in roads into policies about school food, and in general has helped students begin to think about the many roles that food decisions play in choosing to live more sustainably. Educating for Sustainability (EfS) Goals Met • Several BLS teachers have made plans to use garden spaces as part of their teaching. For example, chemistry and environmental science students will study the soil in the raised beds and compare it to soil in the surrounding ground. Bio classes will have students focus on the seeds and plants, and health classes are going to help promote the nutritional benefits of the food we grow, and that's just the beginning. Youth Leadership Goals Met • Our school garden has been lots of fun. It has created ways to bring our community together for planting and harvest days and free salad events. We’re especially excited because upper level teachers (9th and 10th grade) are now starting to develop curriculum connected to the garden. Challenges Met • We faced some challenges in the beginning because we lacked technical know-how and had to convince school officials that using our school’s scarce land area for a garden was a worthy use. In the end, we were able to supplement our knowledge by partnering with local non-profits and we succeeded in presenting an effective plan to school management so we could implement the project.
Food Digester: Case for Action Part 2: Food Waste ManagementThe Digester Pilot Project Background • Food waste includes uneaten portions of meals and trimmings from food preparation. It is the second largest component of generated waste by weight and the largest component of discarded waste by weight. • Estimates of the amount of food waste vary widely. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states that each of us discards less than a pound a day or 209 pounds a year. But a study by the University of Arizona Garbage Project shows a per-person food scrap rate of 1.3 pounds per day or 474.5 pounds per year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture also shows more food waste than EPA. • Over 60 million homes and 500,000 businesses have in-sink food disposers that divert food waste from landfills. Although food waste composting has been held back by cost, siting and vector control concerns, large-scale projects in San Francisco, Seattle and Toronto are breaking new ground. • Food waste's share of the solid waste stream decreased by 9 percent from 1960 to 2007 because of increased consumption of packaged foods and the use of disposers. During the same time period, increased package and paper recycling caused food waste's share of the disposal stream to increase by 23 percent.
Action Plan Part 2: Food Waste ManagementThe Digester Pilot Project Action Plan Youth CAN has launched a campaign to have a food waste digester installed at Boston Latin School to handle cafeteria waste. We’re completing the cycle from the garden to the table to the digester! 1) Planning and Funding the Digester Project • Review the lessons from our successful Zero-Sort Recycling program and meet with Casella Waste Systems who helped pilot the Zero-Sort program to see if they would assist with the Digester Project. • Tour a working Digester installation with Casella reps to see how it works • Brainstorm and create a detailed plan for the Digester Project including researching and selecting the specific equipment we want to install, and devising a plan for measuring the effectiveness of the project (lbs of waste recycled – lbs of compost created for local growers). 2) Outreach and fund raising • Raise money to lease the Digester ($2,400 needed for a 5 month Pilot). • Identify users for the compost we will create. • Plan a Zero Food Waste Trial and Awareness Event • Present our plans to BLS school management, the BPS Food Services Department and BPS Facilities Departments to get permission to implement the project 3) Next Steps • Work to meet the Facilities Department requirements for an outdoor enclosure • Raise additional funds to construct the outdoor shelter for the Digester
Implementation Part 2: Food Waste ManagementThe Digester Pilot Project Implementing The Plan • Plan the project and select a Digester that will work for BLS – our digester will make compost for the BLS Garden and local agriculture groups including Green City Growers, The Food Project and nearby, Allendale Farm. • Meet with Casella (our Zero-Sort Recycling partner) to work out an agreement for their participation in the project – they agreed to provide free food waste pick up for our Zero Waste Food trial and for the duration of our Digester lease. • Conduct an Equal Exchange holiday fund raiser – we raised $2,400 – enough to lease the Digester equipment we selected for a 5 month Pilot project. • Conduct a Zero Food Waste Trial – a test of how food separation would actually work in our cafeteria and what the potential impact of the Digester might be. • Prepare and make a presentation to Boston Latin School Administration and the Boston Public Schools Food Services and Facilities Departments about the benefits of a Zero Food Waste project to BLS and the school system as a whole and how the program would work from their perspective. • Work out next steps for meeting Facilities Department requirements for the project – they will require that an exterior shed be constructed to house the Digester.
Project Evaluation Part 2: Food Waste ManagementThe Digester Pilot Project Educating for Sustainability (EfS) Goals Met • Conducted extensive research on the problem of food waste management to prepare a case for a Digester Pilot Project at BLS and conducted a successful Food Waste trial in the cafeteria – to promote the idea to students and cafeteria staff. Partnership Goals Met • Casella, our Zero-Sort Recycling program partner agreed to expand their participation into the Digester Pilot Project by offering us free pick up for the duration of our lease. We have also strengthened our relationships with local agriculture groups by offering them our compost. Fund Raising Goals Met • We knew that the School administration could not support the project unless we had identified the funding needed to implement the project – so we raised $2,400 – enough to lease and install the equipment for a 5 month pilot. Challenges Being Met • We underestimated the code issues and the food safety and hygienic concerns of the BPS Facilities Department. We are working now to address their specific concerns (raising $4,000 to build a shed adjacent to the cafeteria to house the equipment) and are confident that our digester will be in place and ready for a September, start of school launch in the Fall.
Seeding Future EfS Projects Using Our Winnings! • 1) Building the Digester Shelter • Our winnings would go first toward launching the Digester Pilot project. We need to raise money to build an outdoor enclosure for the equipment. We have identified a shed design – one similar to the digester shed being installed at Babson College, which is implementing a similar program on their campus - and based on this design have estimated that our digester shelter will cost approximately $4,000. 2) Expanding the Garden • Second, our winnings would go towards buying plant materials and garden tools to expand the BLS Garden this spring. 3) Other Youth CAN EfS Initiatives • Teacher training and curriculum development around sustainability education, specifically for the garden • Run a Garden-to-Market summer camp for city youth
BLS Garden Gallery Garden Project Gallery
BLS Digester Gallery Digester Pilot Gallery
Project Gallery – Web Links Project Videos and Web-links Youth CAN Website Links BLS Youth Can Website: http://www.blsyouthcan.org/BLS_Youth_C.A.N./Welcome.html BLS Youth CAN Garden Page: http://www.blsyouthcan.org/BLS_Youth_C.A.N./BLS_Garden.html BLS Youth CAN Digester Page: http://www.blsyouthcan.org/BLS_Youth_C.A.N./Digester.html Youth CAN Videos General Youth CAN Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlGZNel0rVk Real Food Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1L2s3HC2VI Food Fair Video: http://becrollins.com/2010/11/first-lady-invite/ Zero Food Waste Trial Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiWzZh1X8tE&list=UU5Et1D3QWW3dEj6rLmHeeLQ&index=2&feature=plcp