Rising Star Elementary is recognized by The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a recipient of the 2019 Food Recovery Challenge Regional Award. As part of EPA's Food Recovery Challenge, organizations pledge to improve their sustainable food management practices and report their results.
From January to December 2018, Rising Star diverted 27,125 pounds of food from the landfill. This was an increase of 13,250 pounds over the previous year’s total. Missouri Organic, the Shawnee Mission School District’s (SMSD) composting partner, converts this into compost which returns to our schools to grow more food.
Rising Star principal, Kristie Darby, attributes their success to a school-wide culture of sustainability. “This is a great honor,” Darby noted. “Our custodial staff, kitchen staff, cafeteria supervisors, staff, and students all work together to encourage sustainability during breakfast and lunch. I am so proud to see how all parties work together, educating each other and providing feedback on the importance of our efforts. This makes our dedication meaningful to students and our community!” In 2018 compost from the school cafeteria was added to the school’s newly established gardens to grow more food, bringing their food waste full circle as seen in this video presented by Encounter Shawnee Mission.
“We are proud of all Shawnee Mission schools and the efforts on the part of students, faculty, and staff to carefully consider what each of us can do to reduce waste,” Joan Leavens, SMSD sustainability and community engagement Coordinator shared, “Shawnee Mission turns its waste into a useful product that helps our community grow more food rather than take up space in our local landfill. This year, we appreciate Rising Star for leading the way, not just in Shawnee Mission but in the entire EPA Midwest Region 7.”
Additional recipients in the Kansas City are Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) Solid Waste District, and the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE). “Thanks to their combined efforts, these Kansas City organizations are helping the community reduce hunger, save money, and protect the environment by diverting food waste from landfills,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford.
The EPA Midwest Region 7 hopes to celebrate with an award ceremony later this year.