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DIRIGO STORIES: School kitchen teaches students about sustainability

Laura Summa runs the food service program at the school, and tries to use, save, or compost as much food as possible. (WGME)

CHEBEAGUE ISLAND (WGME) – There are a lot of unique things about living on an island.

On Chebeague Island, residents rely on each other, looking out for the community, and the environment.

In the winter Chebeague Island has a population of about 350.

Twenty-seven of them are students at the elementary school, where the combined third through fifth grade class is learning about pollution, and using technology to teach others about it.

The students are learning how their actions impact the environment, and not just in class.

Laura Summa runs the food service program at the school, and tries to use, save, or compost as much food as possible.

“We compost. we save scraps for pigs and scraps for chickens,” Summa said. “Sometimes I save a scrap for my husband. He gets half a PB&J if nobody eats it.”

Summa says to make it work, it takes cooperation from the school, students, and staff, who happily oblige, especially on Fridays.

Handmade-to-order pizzas on Fridays don't usually have many leftovers.

“It's like cooking dinner, but times four or five, so you're multiplying recipes by four or five,” Summa said.

Summa says she uses local ingredients, gets donated vegetables from people on the island, and the only things they throw away, paper towels and plastic bags.

“We produce one black bag of trash a week,” Summa said.

One bag of trash, three big recycling bags, and food to compost or feed to the pigs and chickens each week.

But at the end of the school day, one of the best parts of this lunch lady's job isn't about the food, it's the students she feeds.

“It was a part of the job I never really imagined would appeal to me, but in actuality it is the best part of my job,” Summa said.

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