Design Collaboration: Less Waste, More Food

*Make sure to scroll to the bottom to see the Art in Action!

At the beginning of March, I kicked off the Less Waste, More Food Art in Action Project with 4 design workshops, involving 100 students, at Salish Middle School and North Thurston High School. In these workshops, I presented about the problems of wasting food. In the US we waste 40% of the food we grow! This wasted food has huge social and environmental impacts, including:

  • Wasting food is a huge contributor to hunger in our communities: 1 in 6 Americans does not get enough to eat.
  • Wasted food = wasted resources: 1 gallon of wasted milk wastes 1,000 gallons of water.
  • Wasting food results in huge amounts of methane entering the atmosphere: If food waste were a country, it would be the 3rd largest emitter of greenhouse gasses after China and the US.

Food waste is a big issue, and these students amazed me in their ability to grasp such a huge problem, feel what they had to feel about it, then jump right into the solutions.

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From this solution-based place, students created designs for the art installation. Our primary goal was to:

Show the relationship between wasting less food, reducing hunger in our communities, and lessening environmental impacts of wasted food.

At the same time, students were asked to explore permanent exterior materials, and ways to involve 1,000 project participants. in making art

All in all, this was no small task!

Yet they rose to the challenge, offering designs that were thoughtful, multi-layered, and creative. Multiple themes emerged and were built upon in each successive workshop. This is where the real magic happened. The excitement as we discussed and built upon certain ideas was palpable. With these themes, and this energy, I met with a small group of students to narrow in on a final design.

The concept we are working on incorporates ideas from multiple students, building upon ideas presented in the very first workshop. Once the design is confirmed, I will present Less Waste, More Food workshops to students and adults, primarily in the Lacey area, teaching about food waste and how we can all take action to create change. Each of the 1,000 participants will make art in response to what they learn. These art pieces will relate to the permanent art installation at the Lacey Food Bank, contributing to something MORE than any one of us could have done alone.

Thus begins the story. The shape it will take as yet unknown. The process itself Art in Action.

Below are some of the many amazing participant-created designs that came out of the workshops.

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