Students at Dicken Elementary holding Green School banner

K-12 Students Work Together to Stop Food Waste

Published on May 30, 2024

The students at Dicken Elementary have been working hard to eliminate food waste in their cafeteria. Led by Abby Rosenbaum — a parent volunteer — along with third-grade teacher Caitlin Concannon, these kids are volunteering their free time to help their classmates sort compostable food and recyclables into bins, making sure that the items are ready for pickup by the compost and recycling collectors and keeping those items out of the landfill.

These students, who are part of Dicken Elementary's Green Team, inspire us. Together, they are creating a more sustainable school and a healthier planet. The Green Team students (under the supervision of teachers and parents) work to educate their school community about composting and recycling by designing and posting informational signs throughout the building. Throughout Ann Arbor schools, there are similarly inspiring projects and other Green Teams that also fight food waste and support sustainability within our community. For example, earlier this year, the Green Team at Pioneer High School held a food waste challenge at their school — the next community-wide Food Waste Challenge Week starts on June 9th. 

These young folks remind us that protecting the planet is a collective responsibility. We all, young and old, must work together to create a healthier world. Their valiant efforts demonstrate that empowered communities can tackle challenging problems — like school cafeteria waste — and make a difference. 

 My Mom saw how much food was going into the landfill and thought it was wrong. And that she could do something about it. And, she could. - Mabel, 4th Grade, Dicken Elementary 

Watch their story: 

More Life Less Stuff - Dicken Elementary from Marcus Thomas on Vimeo.

We want to thank the parents, students, principal, and teachers at Dicken Elementary for helping us share their story. We hope it brightens your day. 

This video is part of a story series for the More Life, Less Stuff Campaign, which aims to inspire the community to use less stuff and connect with the world around them. Stories that show us how our world can be better and infuse us with hope connect us. Use this form to let us know if you have an idea for a story. 

Join the A2ZERO Food Waste Challenge starting June 9th

Food Wasted equals 66 million tons, the equivalent of 100 billion dollars and 40% of all the food produced!

Join the A2ZERO Food Waste Challenge from June 9th - June 15th and learn how simple changes to how you shop, prepare, consume, and dispose of food can help you significantly reduce your carbon footprint and save you money on your groceries. During the challenge, you'll get daily emails with tips and local resources on reducing your food waste. Plus, just by signing up, you're eligible to win prizes from local businesses like a $100 gift card to Zingerman's, a $25 gift card to Argus Farms, a Roos Roast reusable Fellow mug, and more!