Farmington Municipal Student Nutrition Team Honored for Sustainability

Elior North America, the parent organization of K-12 by Elior, presented the “2023 Doing Good Award” to the K-12 by Elior Student Nutrition Team at Farmington Municipal Schools (FMS) for its commitment to creating a better and more sustainable place.

Since 2019, the K-12 by Elior Student Nutrition Team together with FMS, diverted over 50 tons of the schools’ food waste from landfills through Elior’s Zero Waste program.  A partnership with AMF, a state-registered composter in New Mexico, facilitated the removal of 400-plus yards of composted food from all school sites, which was put back into the community to grow and enhance green spaces!

According to Marie E. Johnson, SNS, Student Nutrition Program Coordinator, the composting program originated with FMS, and was supported by FoodCorps service members in 2023.  “Elior’s Zero Waste enhanced our efforts and through their Waste Nothing™ umbrella program, K-12 by Elior supports our kitchens to become aware of the food waste they produce and then work to reduce, rescue, and redirect from landfills.”

Waste Nothing™ tools are also offered to our teams to help them get started – including action plans, and ways to optimize the success rate of each location’s waste tracking as well as facilitating the purchase of waste bins.

The K-12 by Elior Student Nutrition Team also procures and incorporates as much of New Mexico-grown products, including produce and meats, into the schools’ menus.  “Local sourcing not only cuts down on the carbon footprint associated with the food system but also helps to sustain the local economy by keeping money spent by community members in the local community,” says K-12 by Elior Resident District Manager Paula Szczepank, MPA.

FMS also supports students who are interested in learning opportunities outside of the classroom around agriculture.   “We use chili peppers that are farmed and harvested by a high school senior – creating a true farm-to-table culinary experience,” adds Ms. Szczepank.

In addition, the K-12 by Elior Student Nutrition Team implemented:

  • Donations of leftover food that can be safely donated to local organizations fighting food insecurity
  • Regular Energy Efficient Service Days utilizing less energy and resources
  • Reusable trays at all possible locations to reduce the use of disposable materials

“As an organization that is all about food, we are focused on partnering with local food producers and creating opportunities to reduce food waste.  We believe it is our responsibility to work towards positive sustainability change and to support all schools where dining is managed by K-12 by Elior,” Miss Szczepank says.

ABOUT K-12 by Elior

Providing great meals to students and being a trusted member of our partner communities will always be our commitment, and the K-12 by Elior team is evolving every day so we can do that even BETTER.

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Contact:  Grace Hoyer, Public Relations