Hacking food waste with 4-H youth

TitleHacking food waste with 4-H youth
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsSteele C, Benton A, Cain S, Jacobs N, Madrid E, Mitchell C, Sonntag B, Skelton P, Bittner L, Martínez AAguirre, Cezarotto M, Muise ASmith, Chamberlin B
Conference NameAmerican Geophysical Union
Date Published8/4/2021
ARIS Log Number389138
Keywords4-H Cooperative Extension, 4-H youth, academics, agents, collaborating, educational, food, Hackathon, media, New Mexico State University, novel, produce, professionals, waste

A team of 4-H Cooperative Extension agents, educational media professionals, and academics at New Mexico State University are collaborating to produce a novel food waste Hackathon for 4-H youth. 4-H (Head, Heart, Hands and Health) is a positive youth development organization with the primary purpose of empowering youth to reach their full potential; a guiding principle of 4-H is learning by doing. The goal of the food waste hackathon is to help youth learn about climate change, and to discover how they can make a difference by designing strategies to motivate sustainable behaviors in their communities. Our team selected food waste as the focus for the hackathon for three main reasons. Firstly, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), food waste contributes 8 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions. Included in this total is the wasted energy for growing, harvesting, packaging, and transporting food as well as the methane produced by food entering and rotting in landfills. Secondly, the issue of food waste is closely tied to food security. The FAO estimate that globally, food production must increase by 60 percent by 2050, yet more than 30 percent of food is currently lost or wasted. Thirdly, hacking food waste remains true to the 4-H mission “[to provide] kids with community, mentors, and learning opportunities to develop the skills they need to create positive change in their lives and communities.” For this presentation we share our package of Hackathon materials and animations, and we reflect on successes, challenges and opportunities arising from the first event.