Archive for : Education

Repair Inspiration: Libraries Launch Summer Meal Programs

Public schools have long provided free or reduced price lunch (and in some cases breakfast) programs for students in need. While not a perfect system, these meals make a big difference in making sure all students have access to enough food during the school day. That’s great for the 9 months a year when class is in – but what about the summer? Now, public libraries across the country have started to fill in the gap during the warmer months, providing well-rounded meals to kids that come from low-income families.

Recently, the Huffington Post published an inspiring story highlighting 5 of these lunch libraries. Check out the excerpt below, and read the whole story on the Huffington Post’s website.

Eat Up! 5 Public Libraries’ Successful Summer Lunch Programs
By: Jordan Lloyd Bookey

Last summer, Nina Lindsay was walking through the Oakland Public Library (OPL) where she works when she saw what she describes as “the best kind of trash.” On the floor was a peach pit sucked bone dry. It had been served for lunch earlier that day, and for Nina the image of that pit serves as a reminder of the importance of the library’s summer meals program.

This is not just happening in Oakland. Libraries around the country are starting similar initiatives. During the school year, 22 million kids receive a free or reduced price lunch at school according to Lucy Melcher, the Associate Director of Advocacy for Share Our Strength; but during the summer months, those numbers drop dramatically. Only 1 in 6 of those kids gets that meal when school is out. These programs are designed to change that.

“The biggest challenge we hear from organizations operating the summer meals program is that it doesn’t provide enough options to reach kids in hard to reach areas,” Lucy told me. Libraries can reach eligible children who are not getting their summer meals. “Libraries were a hidden gem. They are a natural place in the community where kids are already congregating during the summer. They have great spaces to provide meals in a fun environment for kids. Libraries are also trusted places in their communities and have the ability to do outreach through schools and other community organizations about the summer meals program.”

Hearing about these amazing programs got me excited and I wanted to hear more. So I spoke with five public libraries about their summer meal sites. It was inspiring to learn what they were doing, how these programs were growing–and especially to hear the feedback from children and families who have benefited. Here are a few of the things they told me:

Finish reading the story on the Huffington Post.

Repair Inspiration: NY Times Rocks Women’s History Month

You know that thing where you wish something existed, and then you find out that it does? That’s how I felt upon discovering the New York Times’ treasure trove of stories, stats, and resources about women for Women’s History Month.

The page links to videos (like this one about the inimitable Malala Yousafzai), and historical articles dating back to 1915 (yep, 100 years ago!) featuring NY Times coverage of stories like women getting the right to vote (1919), Amelia Earhart’s historic flight (1928) and the naming of Sandra Day O’Connor as the first female Supreme Court Justice (1981). It also links to current articles, crossword puzzles, and lesson plans for teachers who want to use the material in their classrooms.

So basically, they harnessed the entirety of the New York Times’ archival and educational power and used it to lift up women’s stories and influence. Yeah. That’s pretty much just as cool as it sounds.

We are halfway through Women’s History Month, which gives you plenty of time to use and share this incredible resource. Let us know what you discover by tweeting us at @repairtheworld #womenshistorymonth.

Repair Inspiration: Just Say No to Food Waste

When it comes to food in America, two things are clear: we love it and we love to waste it. Each year, American families waste an average of 25% of the food that they buy. That includes the carrot tops, bread ends, and other scraps not used while cooking, and the leftovers that go bad in the fridge before they get eaten. And this number does not even account for the tens of thousands of pounds of food thrown away each year by restaurants and other food service companies.

Now, two very different entities – a chef and a city government – are trying to change that. In Seattle, a new composting law slaps households that do not adequately compost their leftover food with a fine and red tag on their garbage cans. Meanwhile, in New York City, the innovative chef, Dan Barber, (of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns), is working on a high profile, temporary pop up restaurant where every dish will be made from leftovers – stems, peels, bones, and the like. The clever name for the pop up? WastED.

The New York Times reported about both of these compelling stories. Check out the excerpts below and read the whole articles at their website.

Starve a Landfill
By: Kim Severson

“SEATTLE — The nation’s first citywide composting program based largely on shame began here in January. City sanitation workers who find garbage cans filled with aging lettuce, leftover pizza or even the box it came in are slapping on bright red tags to inform the offending household (and, presumably, the whole neighborhood) that the city’s new composting law has been violated.

San Francisco may have been the first city to make its citizens compost food, but Seattle is the first to punish people with a fine if they don’t. In a country that loses about 31 percent of its food to waste, policies like Seattle’s are driven by environmental, social and economic pressure.

But mandated composting reflects a deeper shift in the mood of the nation’s cooks, one in which wasting food is unfashionable. Running an efficient kitchen — where bruised fruit is blended into smoothies, carrot tops are pulsed into pesto, and a juicy pork shoulder can move seamlessly from Sunday supper to Monday’s carnitas to a rich pot of broth for the freezer — is becoming as satisfying as the food itself.” Read more.

Chef Lineup Announced for Dan Barber’s Food Waste Pop-Up, Wasted
By: Florence Fabricant

“A high-profile experiment in wasting nothing will start on March 13 at Dan Barber’s Blue Hill restaurant in Greenwich Village. That’s when the restaurant will turn into a pop-up called wastED, to run through the end of the month, with a menu of dishes devised from leftovers like stems, peelings, rinds and bones, by a roster of guest chefs who will change each evening.” Read more.