IFSC is grateful to Seven Generations Ahead (SGA) for being a Platinum level Sustaining Partner. Contributions from Sustaining Partners help further the impact of IFSC's efforts to support and grow composting infrastructure in Illinois. Take a moment to learn more about SGA:
Seven Generations Ahead (SGA) is a non profit based in Illinois that is committed to building healthy and sustainable communities by driving environmental solutions through planning, implementation, education, network development, and consulting. One issue SGA is dedicated to is managing resources sustainably, including diverting organics from landfills to mitigate harmful greenhouse gases, protect water quality and nourish our soil. SGA encourages partnership and collaboration by creating networks to problem solve and share best practices.
The Illinois Food Scrap Coalition is an example of how collaboration brings people to the table to drive food scrap composting infrastructure and policy in Illinois. SGA has been at the table since IFSC started and works to find funding for projects to support the mission and goals of the coalition.
- SGA obtained grant funding through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity that led SGA and the IFSC to conduct statewide stakeholder forums and national research that was incorporated into the 2015 Food Scrap Challenges and Solutions in Illinois Report.
- SGA obtained grant funding through Food:Land:Opportunity, a collaboration between Kinship Foundation and The Chicago Community Trust and funded through the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust to develop the 2016 Economic Impact and Market Study Report: Elements of the Case for Advancing Food Scrap Composting Industry and the Link to Building Illinois' Local Food Economy; plan and conduct the 2017 Illinois Soil, Food, Water, and Composting Summit, and write the 2018 white paper: Analysis of the Barriers and Opportunities for the Use of Compost in Agriculture.
- Continued funding from Food:Land:Opportunity supports SGA partnering with IFSC members to conduct a series of webinars, training and presentations on food scrap composting for different sectors in Illinois.
Additional collaboration can be found around the table of the Illinois Wasted Food Solutions Task Force. SGA and many other IFSC members were a part of starting this task force to support collaboration around food recovery programs that capture uneaten food for those in need and those doing food scrap composting to produce nutrient-rich soil. Aligning values in sustainability and reducing food waste make lasting, mutually beneficial partnerships that drive impactful programs and solutions.
Zero Waste Schools- Our Zero Waste Schools Program works with school staff and students to shift operations and minds towards generating zero waste through source reduction, recycling, composting, and food recovery. SGA helps schools plan effective waste reduction strategies, provides on-the-ground support for operational changes, educates students and staff about the How and Why of going zero waste, connects schools with local partners and opportunities, and drives policy changes and infrastructure development that promote zero waste. Currently, there are more than 23,000 students in 32 different schools across northern Illinois participating in SGA’s Zero Waste Schools recycling and composting program, which results in more than 2000 lbs of food scraps being composted per day. SGA created a free, electronic Zero Waste Schools Toolkit full of educational activities to educate students on the importance of waste diversion. Getting children involved and interested in waste diversion is key to a successful program that normalizes zero waste and encourages future environmental leaders. SGA also publishes a monthly Zero Waste Schools e-newsletter. Check out the November 2018 Zero Waste Schools Newsletter now.
K-12 School Food Waste Reduction Toolkit Development - SGA is leading the work of a committee of the Illinois Wasted Food Solutions Task Force to develop a statewide toolkit addressing food waste in K-12 schools. This toolkit will provide information on preventing food waste, recovering and donating food, and food scrap composting. Join our working group, share case studies of success, or stay tuned for this toolkit which is projected to be published in August 2019.
CORRECTIONS COMPOSTING SPOTLIGHT - At Lake County Adult Corrections in Waukegan, SGA partnered with IFSC member Solid Waste Agency of Lake County (SWALCO) to implement a program for recycling and composting in the jail. The project reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills, incorporates inmate waste sorting, and educates decision-makers on the benefits of composting and waste reduction. Lake County Adult Correctional Facility averages 600+ inmates being fed three meals a day, producing a waste stream of 55% compostable materials and 15% recyclable. The program launched successfully in September 2018.
SAVE THE DATE for our Illinois Institutions Food Waste Reduction and Composting webinar on December 10 @ 10am. Learn from the following institutions: Illinois Update - Reducing Wasted Food and Composting-Seven Generations Ahead, Illinois Food Scrap Coalition and Illinois Wasted Food Solutions; Campus & Medical Center - Aligning Timing, Infrastructure and Costs; University of Illinois at Chicago; Corrections Composting - Key Partners to Plan and Implement a Composting Program, Lake County Adult Corrections; Sustaining and Growing a Composting Program Through Education-Field Museum of Natural History.
HOW CAN YOU CONNECT? SGA is currently working on a number of projects that drive food waste reduction and composting in Illinois, including supporting counties, municipalities, institutions and schools. Highlights of our work with schools and institutions are included below. Check out our website for a variety of webinars, presentations and toolkits for different audiences: www.sevengenerationsahead.org.