Last month we visited Henleaze Junior School to deliver a workshop on food waste and what we do at the Skipchen.
Trying to figure out how to engage pretty smart 9-10 years olds is always a challenge, especially about an issue that can be as depressing and immobilizing as global food waste.
However, we realised that the kids at Henleaze are an example of how education and translating belief’s into action can and does create positive social change.
Unknown to us, Class B had studied food systems and read an article about our project.
They wrote letters to their local supermarkets and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) asking them why they were wasting food and informed them about the work we do at Skipchen.
As a result, we were approached by Waitrose Westbury, who having received these letters asked to form a partnership with us where at the end of every day we would take their edible ‘waste.’
Bizarrely, Waitrose had failed to inform Henleaze of this incredible breakthrough.
The youth voice is important
So when thinking about this we realised that what Class B had done was start a campaign and won!
Through their actions they created positive social change. They are campaigners!
So when we told them this, they were pretty surprised and astonished.
Like most young people feel, they told us they didn’t think anyone would listen to them because no one listens to young people.
We explained that whilst we may seem old to them, we know how they feel because actually Skipchen Co-directors all being under 25 are also young people. We were told too that people wouldn’t listen to us.
A chain of positive impacts
Since October we have intercepted 15.4 tonnes of food waste, a proportion of which is thanks to the actions of Class B.
As one kid pointed out, the average T- Rex is about 7 tonnes so we have saved 2 T-Rex’s worth of food from going to landfill!
We explained to them that what they had achieved represented so much more than just saving food from going to waste.
Each item of food wasted also represents a waste in energy, water, time, skills, land, and greenhouse gas emissions.
So whilst they may have thought they had created just one positive impact, they had actually created several positive impacts.
And we thought that was pretty amazing.
The children at Henleaze taught us at Skipchen to always be inspired by the younger generation, to never underestimate them and of course the importance of giving them a voice AND listening.
They are an example of how engaging one classroom in one city can create a behavioural change in a business that has multiple positive impacts not only in the local community but on a global level.
Like the kids at Henleaze pointed out, think what we could achieve if we did this everywhere!