Food waste

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Food wastage

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Food-related carbon emissions

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Food-related carbon emissions

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Eco-friendly school case studies


Many Queensland schools are developing innovative ways to be environmentally friendly in relation to food. Read below to see how three school tuckshops are leading the way.


Ithaca Creek State Primary School

Ithaca Creek State School is a medium sized primary school in the north of Brisbane, with around 400 students. Their canteen has previously won the Healthy Menu of the Year and Queensland Association of School Tuckshop's Tuckshop of the Year Awards in 2008. For the last two years they have also been striving to be as environmentally friendly as they can.

The tuckshop staff and volunteers at Ithaca Creek are very careful not to waste food, by only making meals and sandwiches when they are ordered.

Any leftover food and fruit and vegetable peelings are collected throughout the day and put in the school’s worm farm. Worm farms are a great way to dispose of waste and at the same time provide a learning opportunity for the students at the school. Ithaca Creek uses the nutrient rich worm juice from the worm bin as fertiliser on the schools grounds and vegetable garden. The tuckshop uses the herbs and some produce from the school garden in some of their meals, and the cycle begins again.

The convenor at Ithaca Creek, Tracy Andrews, has worked well with the teachers and the school to make sure the worm bin is taken care of and that the worms have enough food.

It has been really easy and really rewarding to know that we are doing our bit for the environment,” Tracy said about the worm farm.

The tuckshop provides a menu that is dominated by green foods, such as freshly made salads and sandwiches. Tracey has eliminated red foods entirely; using fresh ingredients is another way that Ithaca Creek are reducing their carbon footprint.

“Our prize winning tuckshop aims to offer healthy, high quality food choices that the children will enjoy and be kept active and alert throughout the day,” Tracy said.



Pittsworth State High School

Pittsworth State High School is in the town of Pittsworth on the Darling Downs, west of Toowoomba and caters for around 450 students from years 8-12. Both the school and the tuckshop recognise how important it is to reduce their impact on the environment and are taking some great steps in order to achieve this.

The tuckshop at Pittsworth High School is using minimal packaging when preparing and serving foods. The convenor, Kaye Ott, recognises that use of plastic should be reduced, so all food is wrapped in paper where possible. Paper and cardboard boxes from the packaging of food items are recycled.

All tuckshop staff are encouraged to turn off unnecessary power sources when not in use. Cross ventilation is used to keep the tuckshop cool, so that there is no need for air conditioning. The school is currently installing large windows in the tuckshop to assist with cooling the workspace.

A worm farm was introduced into the school last year to recycle food scraps. The school has found that it is a great learning activity for the students. The worm castings or ‘worm poo’ is then used to fertilise the vegetable garden tended by the agricultural science students. Kaye Ott and the tuckshop staff work with teachers to ensure the worms are fed and taken care of. 


Chevallum State School Tuckshop

Chavallum State School was the winner of the Environmentally Friendliest Tuckshop Award for the Queensland Association of School Tuckshops’ 2010 Tuckshop of the Year Awards.

This primary school uses biodegradable corn starch derived plastic packaging for salads, paper packaging for other foods and environmentally friendly cutlery. It also recycles all packaging, while the scraps go to animals or garden compost. Sarah, the school's tuckshop convenor, also takes care to support local suppliers thus minimising the food miles their food has travelled.

The school is part of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program - one of only 19 in the State. The philosophy of the program is that:
“by setting good examples and engaging children’s innate curiosity, as well as their energy and their taste buds, we can provide positive and memorable food experiences that will form the basis of positive lifelong eating habits.”

The program is a great way to get children to learn how to grow, harvest, prepare and share fresh, seasonal food. As well as supplying the program’s kitchen, the school garden provides freshly grown produce to the tuckshop.

QAST’s president Lorie Robinson and its patron the Honourable Rachel Nolan MP congratulate Chevallum’s State School’s tuckshop staff on winning the Environmentally Friendliest Tuckshop Award for 2010

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