Steindorf STEAM School is a K-through-8 elementary located in San Jose, California. Steindorf is known for the exceptional quality of the education provided, and for their focus on sciences, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM).
Project-based learning integrates the core curriculum, while encouraging skills in cooperation, communication, collaboration and critical thinking.
In 2017's third trimester, Steindorf's project of choice looked at the impacts of food waste on the environment as part of the Environmental Advocacy Project (SEAP). To support learning in this area, Juli Nash, educator at Steindorf STEAM School reached out to FoodCycler in an effort to limit their food waste and educate their students on the importance of waste diversion.
Did You Know?
The average student will waste an average of 882 lbs of food waste throughout their entire school career (elementary to high school).
The unit was set up in a classroom and was immediately put to good use.
Following their lunch break, students would add their food scraps (banana peals, sandwich crusts, etc) into their class FoodCycler and track the cycling process throughout the five-hour cycle. At the end, the kids were amazed to find their scraps transformed into a dry, powdery and odourless fertilizer.
FoodCycler offered a myriad of options for experimenting:
"One experiment was seeing how your cycled food helped plants grow and how different foods affected the way in which the plants grow!"
To gather market research on the status of food waste in the modern food industry, students enthusiastically scheduled interviews with the representatives of those few fast food establishments which agreed to speak with them.
During one of these interviews, a member of the administration was pleasantly surprised to overhear a student interview team spontaneously launch into a description and - veritable sales pitch - of the FoodCycler as a waste diversion alternative when the interviewee seemed to flounder in describing their restaurants' efforts to fight food waste.
"When they realized this person didn't have a lot of information for them to use, one of the seventh grade girls just spontaneously started a pitch for the FoodCycler! How hilarious! I had no idea this particular group even knew much about what our other team who is working with the Food Cycler was doing!"
At the close of that spring's SEAP program, a fair was held for students, parents and teachers, where the discussion focused on methods and technologies to limit food waste day-to-day.
In pride of place, the school's FoodCycler ran a cycle throughout the fair to demonstrate the benefits of modern waste diversion technology, and the science behind the magic.
Steindorf teachers were excited to see the effect the use of the FoodCycler had had on their students' learning experience, and the way that FoodCycler brought a community of learners together to fight food waste:
"Our students are really having a great time working with the Food Cycler. Learning a lot, too!"
A Note on TerminologyThe FoodCycler™ is a countertop electric food waste recycler that breaks down food scraps through a mechanical process into a dry, lightweight by-product that can be used in gardening applications as a fertilizer. The FoodCycler™ and other electric food waste recyclers are not composters, nor do they produce compost or soil as they do not require additional microbes to break down food waste with bacteria. However, the term "electric composter" has been used to describe the FoodCycler™.