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A proud Heifer Ranch participant shows off her happy plate.
She's hoping her group will be as successful as the group
from the day before, which had zero pounds of food waste.

I can't remember if I've mentioned it before, but I was once a full-time volunteer out at Heifer Ranch. In early 2004, I helped demo the Ranch's kitchen facility that's used to prepare meals for groups and visitors out at the Ranch. After the renovations were completed, the Ranch began weighing the food waste of its Global Explorer program participants, and later expanded it to all visitors and participants who eat in the kitchen. 

Bobbie Hawkins, food service coordinator at Heifer Ranch, said:

It just seemed like a great way to get attention to the food we don't eat and throw away. It's for awareness more than anything. It took a little while to find the perfect place for it. And you wouldn't believe that people take pictures of it. We have even had people say they would like to go back to their schools and try doing the same thing. Some groups make it a goal to try hard to keep it low, and every now and then someone gets personal about it.

I posted last week about working to reduce our food waste, and I think this is a great way to do it. If you have a kitchen scale, you're already set! If not, you could always measure by volume (like maybe a big measuring cup), rather than by weight. Put up a chart, and challenge your family members to take what they eat and eat what they take. Make it a contest to see who can waste the least amount of food every day. Set family goals, and reward yourself each day your family has a zero-waste day.

Give it a try, and let us know how it goes.


Brooke Edwards

Brooke Edwards is from Little Rock, Arkansas, and started working at Heifer International in 2009 as a writer. She and her husband raise two daughters in a house way too small for their four pets. They spend a lot of time sweeping.