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When you visit IslandWood you participate in the Food Waste Station, Wade, by sorting and weighing food waste.

Wade is an excellent educational tool, teaching students about food waste, decomposition, compost, vermiculture, stewardship, and personal responsibility. Wade was created by artist Peter Reiquam.

Peter Reiquam is the artist who was commissioned by IslandWood to create a functional food waste station for the dining hall. He created the interactive scale, A Matter of Balance, which we at IslandWood refer to as Wade.

Why the name change from "A Matter of Balance" to Wade?


Peter originally named the structure A Matter of Balance because the structure not only represents the balance of a scale, but also the balance that humans must find between our need for food and the use of natural resources. The staff and students at IslandWood have nicknamed the structure Wade, giving a personal identity to the scale. Peter is aware of the name change and even likes that we have given his piece a name of our own.

What does Peter want students to think about when they use Wade? Peter wants students to think about their role in contributing to the health of the earth when they use Wade. Students should be aware of the purpose of Wade, to raise awareness about the food we are throwing away on a daily basis, and to think about ways we can reduce the amount of food we waste. The structure itself serves as a reminder of our responsibility for the environment, with the earth at the base and the human figure forming the scale.

How was Wade made? Peter started his design with a drawing before making a small model of the structure. The model allowed him to figure out the scale of the piece, make adjustments, and present his idea to IslandWood before beginning the finished piece.

The bucket labels and structural elements of the piece are made of stainless steel, cut using abrasive water technology. The buckets themselves are made of aluminum, spun from flat sheet material on a metal-spinning lathe. The globe is spun steel painted with sign painter's enamels. The three pound weights are steel while the one-pound, half-pound and quarter-pound weights are made of aluminum.

All of the metal surfaces were hand finished using a series of abrasive disks followed by hand burnishing with 3M Scotchbrite pads. To reduce fingerprinting, the stainless steel was then wiped with a light coating of mineral oil. The surfaces of the buckets were left uncoated as they are frequently cleaned.

WADE in Your Teaching Week

There is a great amount of learning  happening in the dining hall  you may often forget while teaching. WADE is a great indicator about how food waste is a current issue in which there is room for change. Students gather up their food waste as a whole community and it is weighed. The number of pounds of food waste is hard evidence in how much food waste happens without students realizing it. While eating in the dining hall, the choice is left up to them in how much food to take and leaves them with the sense of responsibility in eating or wasting the food. There is a huge power and teaching opportunity with the students through those kinds of moments. Food is crucial to our existence as humans. Food provides us with energy and it helps our body keep healthy. 

Food waste is an important issue especially when it comes to being a good steward. A conversation surrounding food waste is a great way to provide the space and time in Transfer of Learning. All humans eat food and all humans make choices in the amount of food they will supposedly eat. Remind the students about how the earth provides only enough food to keep the organisms alive. Nothing ever gets wasted. Instead it is recycled. We also call it compost! Tying it back to decomposers and the idea of ecosystem is a great way in wrapping it all up together. 

INVESTIGATIONS: As you are working with students on investigations, you can refer back to WADE and how we're collecting data at each meal.  This is a good example of "scaffolding" the investigation - referring back to a known experience to help provide structure.

Finally, here is a link to John Oliver (The British comedian) who gives some crazy statistics about how much food we ACTUALLY waste: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8xwLWb0lLY