#2 Food Waste and The Digital Divide

I talked to both my mom and dad about the topics I want  to explore. I am interested  in focusing on the food waste issue because for the past three summers I have worked up at Bread Loaf and have noticed that food waste is an issue that should be talked about:  What happens to the food if it’s not all eaten? Could there be organizations that could benefit from this and lessen the shortage of food for the local community? I understand that there may be certain laws that may prohibit giving food away, which I will have to research later.

My dad asked: “Why do you care about food waste?” We discussed more thought provoking ideas that allowed us to get into a deeper conversation. I care about this issue because it’s important that every family is able to put food on the table. Everyone needs help in their lives, and I believe it would be a great cause for members of the community to come together and help those who need it. My mom mentioned that the meals on wheels program or the local food pantry would be great start for questions. It could be possible to collaborate with the meals on wheels program, and make it more accessible to all people and not just the elderly? Or start a smaller organization that is capable of helping families out.

Food waste is also a concern for Vermonters because beginning in 2020 with Act 148 there will be no food scraps allowed in regular garbage. I am not sure that most Vermonters that don’t compost are aware of this: What will schools do? How strict will this law be, and what will the consequences be? I know that the college does compost and would be a great resource for knowledge of individual households.

Another potential topic that we discussed is the closing of the digital divide. The digital divide is the separation between people with access to technology and those with none. There has been a trend in the state that young adults are leaving the state, and a possible reason might be because Vermont doesn’t provide access to the internet everywhere or if they do, it isn’t that fast. Moving from Massachusetts, I hadn’t realized how slow the internet really was here in Vermont.  Living in Ripton we can only get DSL and access to the latest Fios technology is nonexistent here. We could look in to cultivating the youth development and what it would take for young adults to stay in the state to succeed. Burlington offered free wifi for local residents but how does this help rural Vermonters? If the state wants to compete for businesses and have young families stay, the necessary infrastructure needs to be developed.  Some Vermonters live here because they want the ‘simple’ way of living– no tv, no internet, no cellphones. If the youth could obtain the access to online information with the latest technology that other states have, would more of them stay? People like Vermont because of the rural surrounding, but can’t we have the best of both worlds?

I look forward to researching more on each topic to see where I could make the most impact.



3 Responses to “#2 Food Waste and The Digital Divide

  • Hi James,

    I loved reading your first two blog posts! I think that your ability to reasonably consider the issues you chose, along with your experience with the issues is really impressive, especially in just the first few weeks of WtS. These topics that you chose to research are really interesting and seem to impact people’s lives from across the country, even if many of us aren’t aware of it. I’m excited to see what else you learn, and am looking forwards to reading more!


  • Ella Nagy-Benson
    5 years ago

    Hi James,

    I will be reading your blog for the next couple of months! First of all, I admire your critical thinking — a necessity for WtS! I really like how you chose issues that are specific, relevant and interesting to you. My one piece of advice as you navigate this process is to stick with a topic that is really interesting to you. You do not want to look back in six months and say, “Wow, I wish I had picked something different.”

    I look forward to seeing your progress unfold!


  • Hi James,
    My name is Fallon, and I’ll be one of your blog readers for the next few months. I’m excited to hear that you’re interested in exploring the topic of food waste. I worked on waitstaff at Bread Loaf this past summer, and I, too, was struck by how much leftover food ends up in the compost. I’m sure this is a problem at many schools and larger institutions. Your investigations into this problem would likely speak to a wide range of environments where this is happening. I imagine a next step might be to look into the health code rules that seem to propel institutions to throw food out. It might also be helpful to see if you can learn about other food service organizations (restaurants, schools, etc.) that have worked out the sort of community collaboration you’d mentioned. What challenges have others faced in trying to implement these kinds of partnerships? Your points about Act 148 and how it will be implemented highlight how finding more sustainable food waste systems will become even more important in the coming years.

    I’d never before considered how the inaccessibility of fast internet might be a factor in the exodus of young people from Vermont. An interesting perspective! Your last question: “Can’t we have the best of both worlds?” seems to hold a lot of potential for further investigation. What would be the environmental, financial, and social costs of closing the digital divide?

    It’s great that you’re already digging into questions like: “Why do I care about this issue?” and “Where can I make the most impact?” Understanding one’s personal connection to a social justice issue is invaluable in sustaining the energy and insight to make real change. I look forward to seeing where your continued research leads you!

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