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The student news site of Amador Valley High School

AmadorValleyToday

The student news site of Amador Valley High School

AmadorValleyToday

The student news site of Amador Valley High School

AmadorValleyToday

Redefining sustainability: Alisha Joseph (’25) leads the charge with her food waste initiative

Alisha+Josephs+program+sorts+and+collects+food+that+would+have+gone+to+waste.
Leo He
Alisha Joseph’s program sorts and collects food that would have gone to waste.

According to Feeding America, Americans throw away 80 million tons of food every year. Alisha Joseph (’25) is tackling the food waste problem one step at a time — starting with what we throw away here on campus.

The school requires students who buy lunch at Amador to take a fruit or vegetable. But often, students throw away their fruit or vegetable instead of eating it for a balanced lunch. 

“I realized last year that a lot of students just throw away the best fruits and veggies,” said Joseph.

To address this food waste, Joseph partnered with Pleasanton Unified School District’s Child Nutrition Services. Instead of throwing away the wasted fruits and vegetables, the program collects it for charity instead.

“People in the cafe collect food in boxes to put into the office. Then, we have volunteers that pick it up and send it to Open Heart Kitchen,” said Joseph

In addition to starting the program, Joseph keeps track of which foods come from which areas. She oversees outreach, bringing the program to other schools in Pleasanton.

“We connected with another girl at Foothill and started it [there]. Now, we’re moving on to middle schools: Hart and Pleasanton Middle School,” said Joseph.

Initially, Joseph hoped to collect the fruits and vegetables that students took but did not end up eating. However, getting more than 2,500 high school students to do the right thing poses its own challenges.

“Our problem was, since it’s high schoolers, they’re probably going to mess up the box and put other stuff in there, like liquids. So I couldn’t really stick to that plan. Instead, we had to just take the extra food from school, the ones that are not being used for the day,” said Joseph.

As she looks towards the future, Joseph has plans to expand the program to other institutions in Pleasanton.

“I plan on making sure that it’s going on in all the middle schools and high schools in Pleasanton. I was also planning on expanding it to grocery stores and other food industries,” said Joseph.

As she reflects on the program, Alisha feels proud seeing how far it has come. 

“It’s nice to have an idea and actually work towards it. You put your mind to something that you strongly believe in,” said Joseph.

Joseph serves as an inspiration for others, to channel their ideas into actions that contribute to building a more sustainable and compassionate community. 

“I love food. So when I see food get thrown away, I’m like, ‘Why?’ We shouldn’t be wasting the fruits and veggies that we’re forcing the students to get,” said Joseph.

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