Monterey County Food Bank and Salinas Valley Recycles

FARMS Leadership | Monterey & Santa Cruz | April 12, 2018

Locations of Field Day:
Food Bank – 815 W Market St. #5, Salinas CA 93901
Sun St. Transfer Station – 139 Sun Street Salinas, CA 93901

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Monterey County Food Bank – Sandra Nunez
Salinas Valley Solid Waste Authority – Estela Gutierrez

Food Waste and Food Systems

Summary of the Day
Students started the day by learning about the Food Bank and what they do with the food they receive and how and where it’s distributed. Students asked engaging questions about who is receiving the free food and how they are ending hunger in the county. Students participated in a team building exercise by splitting up into groups and packing bags with non perishable items that are distributed to the individuals. Students had to work together to complete one bag and they did 300 bags all together. We ended our time at the Food Bank with a tour of the facility and saw how they process the perishable foods they receive from various agriculture companies like Taylor Farms and Tanimura and Antel. We left to have lunch at the Sun Street Transfer Station. We finished lunch and had a presentation on composting and food waste. Then Estela talked about the SVSWA Company and the history of waste in our county. We received a tour of the facility and witnessed how much trash comes into the transfer station to be taken to the landfill to live forever.

” I learned that the Japanese use a certain way of compost that doesn’t involve worms [Bokashi].” – Noel Diaz, North Salinas High School

The last stop was in the garden made out of recycled and reclaimed materials where we learned about food waste and the effects and challenges of disposal. Estela Gutierrez demonstrated the different ways we can use composting to dispose of the food waste. She shared new technologies and how restaurants and farmers are choosing to compost food scraps instead of throwing them away. Students dug in bins of worms to find other bugs that help eat the food scrapes. Estela gave students a home food scrap collection bin, a reusable grocery bag for cold foods and a reusable water bottle.

With swag in hand and smiles on their faces students left with a new appreciation for what happens to food when farmers can’t use it and what happens to the food when it’s no longer edible.

Team A packaging bags as a team building activity
After learning about the Food Bank and what they do students worked together to package non-perishable food bags (Team A).
Students working together to package non perishable bags for the food bank
Even teachers participated in this activity.
Compost BINGO
Students investigating what organisms are responsible for breaking down food into compost.
FARMS Leadership Students at the Sun Street Transfer Station
FARMS Leadership Students at the Sun Street Transfer Station.

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