Reducing Food Waste
Since January 2014, Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB) has operated the TAFB Learning Garden on a lot owned by Ridglea Christian Church in the Ridglea North neighborhood of Fort Worth. The garden demonstrates several growing methods, different materials that can be used and various watering techniques. From this garden, volunteers and staff work hard to grow fresh fruits and vegetables to donate to local food pantries.
National Nutrition Month is in full bloom. A key message of this campaign is reducing food waste by considering the foods you have on hand before buying more at the store. In addition, there is another way to curb food waste. We practice it by maintaining a robust composting program that provides enough organic material to nurture the entire garden year-round.
Composting is a very useful process that can be implemented in any garden. It involves taking garden waste, kitchen scraps, yard clippings, leaves and other discarded organic materials, and combining them with water and air to encourage the process of decomposition. After a couple of months, the finished product is beautiful organic material that will provide nutrients to garden crops. It also helps improve the condition of the soil.
Finding New Paths Forward
TAFB’s Learning Garden has been able to produce enough compost to supply all of its needs for the last two years, resulting in thousands of dollars in savings. While the composting program has been successful using contributions from the community and the garden, not having a consistent source of high-nitrogen “green” materials was the only thing keeping it from producing at capacity.
Tarrant Area Food Bank is committed to exploring additional ways to keep food out of landfills as part of our strategic direction, and researching the best methods to do that. The Culinary School of Fort Worth (CSFTW) has been working with our team, carrying out an effective program that benefits both organizations’ goals. As of Feb. 25, 2019, TAFB’s Learning Garden has incorporated approximately 1,730 gallons of food waste donated by CSFTW!
How You Can Get Involved
By Becca Knutson
Community Garden Coordinator, Tarrant Area Food Bank