Pilot 3: School Food Waste Education

Food Rescue MAINE has collaborated with teachers across Maine both to create and compile educational material for young students. We currently have material available for preschool and ages k-5. We will soon add the high school food system curriculum to our website as well.


  1. To create a fun and engaging elementary curriculum vetted by Maine teachers.
  2. To engage Maine’s youth in food system education, hopefully impacting their lives and the lives of their families and communities.


  1. In order to bring this curriculum to k-5 programs in Maine, we first had to learn from school teachers about what they needed.
  2. We worked with EcoMaine to develop lesson plans, worksheets, and take-home materials for the classroom.
  3. These material were tested in the classroom and eventually added to a curriculum plan.
  4. The materials were eventually compiled by a student intern, along with other expert materials outside of our organization, such as a slideshow created by World Wildlife Foundations and several other examples.
  5. We reviewed and revised this material with many educators and students across the state.
  6. Throughout this process, we worked with amazing teachers like Anna Franceschetti, a garden teacher from the Geral E. Talbot Community School in Portland. Anna has been working with a combination of her own vetted food system lessons, along with the special program curriculum that we created based on her ideas.
  7. This process of improving our curriculum for Maine students is ongoing, and we look forward to working with more schools in the future.


Anna Franceschetti and her garden classroom students collected 1,452 pounds of food waste in their first year of food waste collection.

With the help of Franceschetti and her students, we were able to finalize the first edition of three different elementary curriculums:

  1. Traditional In-Class Curriculum
  2. Special Program Currciulum
  3. Cafeteria Guide

“We sat together in a circle and listened to the fifth-grade students’ amazing understanding of food waste- They could fully explain the steps of the food recovery hierarchy, and even how the decomposition process in composting works. The students have even created their own ‘garbage to garden-esque’ composting operation where they pick up food scraps from classrooms around the school and measure how much food they rescue from the trash each week. The day that I was there, they actually reached their 1,000 lb. benchmark” – Hannah Mathieu, Student Intern

picture of a fifth grade student from the Gerald E. Talbot Community School in Portland, Maine. Student is weighing a bucket of food waste.

A fifth-grade student weighing food waste collected from classrooms.