Phyllis Theermann

The EPA New England awarded a 2018 Environmental Merit Award to Wellesley’s 3R Working Group and Food for Free for their efforts in food rescue: wholesome, edible surplus food generated at schools, colleges and universities was donated to people in need. This award was given as the effort feeds many, and keeps food waste out of landfills.

In September, 2017, schools and colleges in the Metro-west area committed to this Food Rescue Initiative. Together they donated about 20,000 meals annually to the Food for Free Family Meals Program.  Wellesley Public Schools, Babson College, Bentley University, Olin College of Engineering and Wellesley College, as well as their food service providers were part of this initiative.

Now that the program has reached a critical mass and is cost effective, other local institutions with leftover food are being recruited.

MassBay Community College is one of the recipients of this program, enabling students to have more reliable access to nutritious food. Food insecurity in New England ranges from 9 to 13.8 percent of the population, so this is a valuable program to replicate. The EPA New England is now working in Rhode Island on a similar collaboration.

This is an excellent example of collaboration and we congratulate the Wellesley Sustainable Energy Committee, Public Works Department, Natural Resources Commission, Public Schools, Facilities Management Department, Health Department, Wellesley Green Schools and of course local colleges and universities and their food service vendors who collect leftover food and donate it to the Cambridge nonprofit Food for Free to be repackaged into single-serve meals to distribute through its Family Meals program.

Phyllis Theermann

The plan to launch the food recovery trial at the Middle School came from the Wellesley Reduce, Reuse, Recycle working group and the Wellesley Green Schools committee during a meeting on Feb 26th.  At that meeting, Matt Delaney, the Food Services Director of the Wellesley Schools for Whitson’s Culinary Group, recounted a food recovery program that was in place at Disney World when he was employed there.

Matt Delaney Food Services Manager, Wellesley Public School. Champion of Food Recover Program

Matt Delaney Food Services Manager, Wellesley Public School. Champion of Food Recover Program

Wellesley Middle School has implemented a system that allows them to collect unused food and bring it to a local food pantry. The program involves bagging and freezing excess food and redistributing it.

Matt Delaney is very interested in reducing or eliminating food waste wherever possible and therefore was willing to commit the time needed to gather leftovers from the service line at the end of each lunch service, put them in ziplock bags, and transfer them to their freezer for a Friday pickup.

A member of the Wellesley Green Schools Committee, Wendy Beck von Peccoz, volunteered to pick up the food at the end of each week and deliver it to the Wellesley Food Pantry. It is received by Cynthia Scott, the Director of the Food Pantry. The items delivered to the pantry typically include vegetables, entree meats, and prepared items such as calzones and pizza.

Any fresh items that cannot be frozen or kept until the Food Pantry opens on the following Tuesday, are offered to town departments such as, The Fire Department, the Trash and Recycling Dept. and the Parks and Highway department where the sandwiches, salads, and yogurt parfaits have been most welcome at the end of the day.

Wellesley High School plans to implement a similar system in the coming months in order to further reduce the town’s food waste while helping great causes.

Phyllis Theermann

Wellesley High School Seniors wrapped up the academic portion of their final year last week at the Senior Project Presentation Evening.

Once again Wellesley High School students showcased a variety of projects that focused on different aspects of sustainaiblity including:

  • WHS senior project green schools 16Emily Fowler and Sierra Goodhue Green Certified some of the newest members of the school community — kindergarteners — and created and shared a helpful green locker clean out guide to all the schools.

  • keenans snr projectKeenan Ashrook researched and is creating a campaign to make it easier for WHS students to use public transportation. Feel free to fill out the survey here, and be on the look out for some exciting incentives soon.

  • Bates food waste Senior project Megan Harrington and Kathleen Garvey worked with a team on the initial analysis for  the EPAFood Recovery Challenge at Bates elementary school. Stay tuned for more information about this too!

  • Matthew senoir project Matthew Hornung showcased his valuable work on Wellesley Conservation Council.