Every year, 60 percent of all fresh produce in the United States arrives through the port of entry in Nogales, Arizona. Over 6,000 tons of that produce, much of it still fresh, ends up in the Rio Rico landfill. That surplus could be turned into value-added food products or fertile compost for use in household or commercial ventures.
Waste Not: Borderlands Innovations in Food Waste Management engages young people in exploring the issues surrounding that surplus through ethnographic research, hands-on workshops, and entrepreneurial education. Youth participants researched both household and industrial waste practices, trained in backyard sustainability efforts such as composting and gardening, and developed entrepreneurial skills to creatively target and solve waste problems in the region.
The project creates opportunities for youth to see themselves as problem solvers in their own community. Throughout, they learn the importance of building partnerships, ethical practices of community engagement, and traditional knowledge to inform solutions to community needs. It has three components:
1) Gathering of Stories – The opportunity to change the narrative
Training young people in ethnography skills to document food waste management practices that come from food traditions at home or in the industry and to hear the problems that community members are facing in regards to waste management.
2) Startup – Develop ideas into real-life business opportunities
Assisting them in the creation of business innovation applications that address the problems heard in the gathering of stories in regards to waste management;
3) Educational Pop-ups – Knowledge sharing
Building greater community awareness and engagement with different organizations, businesses, and people in the sustainability realm in the borderlands through field trips and workshops.
This booklet represents a slice of the project, in which youth participants were trained in basic ethnographic skills and then interviewed borderlands residents about cultural traditions around food waste and household sustainability practices. Download a PDF of WASTE NOT here.
Cada año, un 60 por ciento de todos los productos agrícolas en los Estados Unidos llegan por el puerto de entrada de Nogales, Arizona. Más de 6.000 toneladas de aquéllos productos, todavía frescos, terminan en el vertedero de basura Rio Rico. Ese exceso podría convertirse en productos con valor añadido o como abono fértil para hogares y empresas. Waste Not: Innovaciones en el Manejo de Desperdicios Alimenticios en la Zona Fronteriza cuenta con la participación de gente jóven a través de la investigación etnográfica, los talleres prácticos, y la educación emprendedora. Los jóvenes investigaron las prácticas de gestion de residuos tanto en hogares como en el sector de la industria; también entrenaron a otros en temas de sostenibilidad, como en el uso de abono y la jardinería, y desarrollaron técnicas emprendedoras para identificar y solucionar problemas generados por la basura en la región. Este folleto representa una parte del proyecto, en la cual los jóvenes participantes fueron capacitados en la investigación etnográfica básica y luego entrevistaron a residentes de la zona fronteriza sobre sus tradiciones culturales con respecto a los desperdicios alimenticios y las prácticas sostenibles caseras.
With funding from: Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice, ArtPlace America, and the UA Confluence Center’s “Fronteridades” program.
Project Manager: Nelda Ruiz
Project Folklorists: Nelda Ruiz & Kimi Eisele
Project Entrepreneurial Leader: Stephanie Bermudez, firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephanie is a gifted community builder whose innovative ideas create cross-border communities and environments. She helped develop Connect Coworking in Tucson, AZ and served as a board member and youth mentor at COSHARE: The National Shared Workspace Association. In April 2018, she was recognized and certified by Harvard University, University of Sonora and sonora:lab for her business project, Startup Unidos and for her contributions in Strengthening The Innovation Ecosystem In The State Of Sonora. Stephanie is actively working with startups across the Arizona-Sonora by implementing Startup Unidos ; most recently Startup Unidos Youth VozFrontera in Nogales, AZ, LatinX In Tech in Tucson, AZ and Emprende Amigo in Phoenix area. In March 2019 she was recognized Minority Business Owner of the Year at Inside Tucson Business Women of Impact. In October 2018 she was recognized at Idea Funding for initial and future efforts to build the entrepreneurial community in Tucson and received the Larry Hecker and Sherry Hoskinson Bright Futures Award. In December 2016 she was recognized by Arizona Daily Star and Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as 40 under 40 Woman of the Year.