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Incorporating Tray Waste Evaluation into Your Smarter Lunchroom

Join Adam Brumberg, Deputy Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, and Erin Sharp, MS, MAT, Curriculum Designer for the Smarter Lunchrooms National Office, as they explain how to incorporate tray waste evaluation as a quantitative tool for measuring consumption of target foods and proving impact in the lunchroom. The Cornell BEN Center pioneered the quarter-waste system, which is an easy, clean, quick, and accurate method for measuring tray waste; this method, as well as photography and other secondary measures, will be profiled. Participants will get to practice using the quarter-waste method with case study photographs. Lastly, the instructors will suggest ways to incorporate other school stakeholders in helping measure, analyze, and share the results of a tray waste study, including partnering with teachers and students for real-time action research. This webinar will be of most interest to those in the academic field or who need quantitative proof of impact for reporting purposes.

Learning Objectives:      
  • Participants will be able to use the quarter-waste method and Smarter Lunchrooms tools to accurately measure tray waste and determine consumption of target foods in the lunchroom.
  • Participants will be able to partner with other school-based stakeholders to conduct tray waste evaluation and research in the lunchroom, if desired.

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About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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