Sherbrooke students tackle wasteful habits
Sherbrooke’s Community economic development corporation, the CDEC de Sherbrooke, unveiled the fifth of its “Frigo Free Go” anti-waste refrigerators on Thursday afternoon at the Ecole Internationale du Phare. Although this is the third of the refrigerators to be set up in an educational institution, Karole Forand, Executive Director of the CDEC, pointed out that it is the first to be established based on an educational project focused on changing the habits of students with regard to food waste.
The newest “Freego” owes its existence to a project run in the school cafeteria at Du Phare at the start of the month of February called the “Pèsegâchis” or waste scale. Over a period of one week student leftovers were kept, sorted, and weighed after every lunch hour to determine what types of food were going to the greatest waste. By going through this process, the student committee overseeing the project was able to determine the finer details of what was working and what wasn’t in the school cafeteria.
The results, revealed on as a part of the launch of the new fridge, revealed that the 500 students using the school cafeteria were throwing away the equivalent of 70 tomatoes, 14 bowls of rice, 14 granola bars, four servings of meat and a baguette on a daily basis.
Based on these results, a committee was formed within the school to find solutions to the waste issue and two solutions were proposed. The first was the installation of a leftovers refrigerator and the second, a recommendation of Secondary One student Fanny Faousiatou Jennifer Sawadogo, was to have the cafeteria offer students two different sizes of meal every day so as to accommodate different appetites.
“I wanted a project made for students, by students,” explained the school’s Principal, Patrick Levasseur. Levasseur was the one who first made contact with the Karole Forand, Executive Director of the CDEC de Sherbrooke, presenting a certificate of recognition to Secondary One student Fanny Faousiatou Jennifer Sawadogo for her winning idea to have the cafeteria offer students two different sizes of meal to help fight food waste. CDEC to connect with the “Frigo Free Go” project in a search for an experience-based learning project, although he pointed out that the actions taken from that point on were all student-driven.
Sondès Allal, socioeconomic revitalization agent with the CDEC de Sherbrooke, praised the initiative taken by the school, pointing out that in one of Sherbrooke’s highest-population and most disadvantaged neighbourhood, the project takes steps to foster learning in a way that stands to make a lifelong, positive impact.
The Ecole Internationale du Phare is a part of the Commission Scolaire de Sherbrooke, the city’s french school board. It has a population of 850 drawn from four different neighbourhoods in the city’s Ascot district. According to Allal, 15 per cent of the school’s population is made up of people who have immigrated to Canada.
Project partners and students of the school standing with the new anti-waste refrigerator in the school cafeteria.
The Ecole du Phare Band played the crowd through the halls of the school to lead the way to the new "Frigo Free go Phare"