Once legal and administrative requirements have been fulfilled the EPA anticipates awarding the school $50,000 through an Environmental Education Grant.
The Grow Healthy school initiative project has two goals: to increase the awareness of food waste as an environmental issue and teach students, teachers, parents and cafeteria workers how to reduce food waste; and for teachers and student to plant and maintain school gardens, including compost bins.
According to Sara Elnakib, family and community health sciences educator at the Cooperative, a baseline study at Paterson Public Schools found that 84 pounds of food is wasted each day.
“The EPA’s funding will be instrumental … in raising awareness about the food-waste problem, encouraging healthy consumption and introducing food waste reduction strategies that can holistically be applied on the personal, institutional and community level and will benefit the environment,” she said in a release.
The grant will be jointly managed with The Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Passaic County, a subset of the university.