Who we are!
GFM Education is a local multi-academy trust with campuses spread across Gosport and Fareham in the south coast of Hampshire. With over 4,000 students, 650 staff and an active wider community, the trust focuses on delivering the best possible learning and development facilities for our students and the wider community.
One of our ambitions is to embrace sustainability across the Trust and our vision for sustainability focuses on three themes; energy efficiency and carbon reduction, waste reduction and recycling, and partnering with our supply chain and customers on best practices, innovation and new net zero initiatives.
We aim to across the estate wherever possible and this extends into our kitchens, food technology classrooms and out into our kitchen gardens and beyond.
Part of this journey is to reduce food waste, instead turning it into soil improver, compost and eventually bio-fuel. With tonnes of waste essentially going into landfill, the impact on the environment is extremely high and as it is controllable, we want to do something in collaboration with our students to help ensure that they have a safer and more sustainable future.
Food scraps and other organic materials decaying in landfills release methane and carbon dioxide contributing to climate change. Biodigesters are a closed system so give off no odour from food waste; this will also eliminate flies (and possible rodents!) from the area, increasing hygiene. Also, by eliminating food waste on-site, it saves money by reducing disposal costs and the money can be re-diverted back into the classroom.
What we need:
The biodigester will help convert the vast amount of organic food waste produced at break and lunchtimes into compost which can then be used to help plants and vegetables grow in the kitchen and community gardens across our schools.
It addition, it will also be swapped for veggies from the Gosport Allotment groups which will then be donated to the GFM’s Community Hub food bank to help struggling local families. We have already had support from Abri Housing through our involvement in the Gosport Community Change Partnership to create a Community Garden which will also benefit.
There is just one problem - biodigesters are very expensive, costing upwards of £25,000.
“It makes practical sense to have one in a school because not only will it be very environmentally friendly and financially beneficial but it will also be very educational for students.
“We can show them that when it leaves their plate as food waste it goes into the ground and then returns to the plate by helping to grow the vegetables. From plate to plate so to speak. With our students also involved in youth panels for local climate change strategies across the South of England, we are hoping that this scheme can be replicated in other areas.
“The challenge is that there is a big upfront financial outlay to buy the machine. We know £25,000 is a lot so we are asking the public and businesses to make small contributions to help.” GFM Executive Chef, Rickard Gustafsson
If you would like to help us on our journey we would be massively grateful. We are aiming to get as much as we can so that we can add to money we have generated ourselves through catering and other activities and reach our £25,000 goal.