Closed Food Loop Cycle

"Despite all our pretensions, sophistication, and great accomplishments, we owe our existence to a 12” layer of top soil and the fact that it rains”  ~Anonymous

Our two goals in implementing this environment were to demonstrate to children the full cycle of food and to eliminate as much waste as possible from leaving our building. Children in the 21st century have little experience with where their food comes from, how it is grown, distributed, prepared, and finally disposed of. They need this understanding to appreciate the systems that sustain life on our planet.

Students are made familiar with food products that come to Philip’s. They know where the products were grown, under what conditions, and how they were harvested.  All food deliveries meet the requirements of the EcoSPACES program.  All the raw materials that go into the specific meal preparation are displayed each day in our “market basket” so that students can see all of the raw ingredients that make up their meal. 

It is with the use of our rooftop community gardens however, where students are able to experience the full cycle. Students plant seeds, water, and nurture a variety of plants for consumption in our meal service. They are then able to harvest and clean the foods for use in our cooperative lunch program or in our teaching kitchen. Kitchen scraps are composted and this compost is used as fertilizer for the next planting season.

Our lunch program and outdoor learning center create a dynamic model of the closed food loop cycle.  The cycle begins in the rooftop garden where vegetables and fruits are planted and nurtured.  Once these fruits, vegetable and herbs are harvested they journey to the kitchen. 

The waste from lunch is recycled back up to the rooftop garden is then added to the compost bins.  It eventually becomes fresh new soil, which helps nourish future season’s crops.

Philip's Academy Charter School

342 Central Avenue
Newark, NJ 07103
973-624-0644 (tel) | 973-624-0102 (fax)

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