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Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View to adopt Food to Hog program

Mounds View High School will have sorting tables in the cafeteria next year. Any discarded food will go to a hog farm.
Ben+Refsell+and+Allison+Yu+%28front%29+with+the+Mounds+View+School+Board+%28back%29+after+advocating+for+a+Food+to+Hog+program+at+Mounds+View+High+School.
Allison Yu
Ben Refsell and Allison Yu (front) with the Mounds View School Board (back) after advocating for a Food to Hog program at Mounds View High School.

Many schools in Minnesota have adopted the Food to Hog program to combat the impact of their food waste. This program allows hog farms to obtain permits to use post-consumer food waste as feed for their hogs, providing an easy way for schools to recycle the food waste that students create. Starting the 2024-2025 school year, Mounds View and Irondale will implement the program in their cafeterias.

Next school year, Mounds View will have sorting tables in the cafeteria. After eating, students will sort their leftovers into bins. The food scraps will be sent to farms, where they will be processed and fed to hogs. The sorting tables will be supervised, either by custodians or by student organizations such as Student Council.

Currently, the Mounds View school district participates in this program with both its elementary and middle schools feeding their food waste to hogs. Mounds View and Irondale, however, only have this program in their kitchens. Mounds View seniors Allison Yu and Ben Refsell have advocated for the high schools to scale up their Food to Hog program by meeting with the school board as a part of their AP Government Civic Engagement Project to discuss instituting the program for student waste at Mounds View.

“We do technically have a Food to Hog program, but it is just the food that is leftover in the lunch line that has not been eaten by the students. It is not the food that has been thrown out by the students, which makes up a much much larger portion of our food waste,” said Refsell. 

According to Building Management Supervisor Todd Hansen, the Food to Hogs program started around eight years ago at Island Lake Elementary. From there, it spread to other schools, such as Snail Lake Kindergarten Center and Pike Lake Elementary. He said the plan has been to introduce the program to elementary schools to familiarize students with it and then to middle and high schools as they grow older. Adding the program to the high school kitchens was the next step before adding sorting tables for students’ waste next school year.

However, the program faced problems when it was phased into the middle schools at the beginning of the school year. “It was quite a struggle for Highview and Chippewa because a lot of those kids didn’t know anything about it,” said Hansen. This, along with staffing issues, are major concerns for implementing Food to Hog in the district’s high schools. 

Despite these issues, the district is moving forward with the Food to Hog program this September.

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Elijah Easton, Staff Reporter
Elijah is a junior staff reporter, and this year is his first year on The Viewer.
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