By Ariana Mamnoon, Helen Lu, Desmond Lim, Jacob Gerigk, Kathleen Jackson, and Kelsey Hartfelder. Edited by Melissa Ikeda.

The 2018 Sustainability Action Research Food Team has a lot on their plate this year as they set out to reduce food waste in the UCLA dining halls. Check out what they’ve been up to in the first few weeks of their project!

Week 2: Getting Started

food team photo stream: winter 2018Team Leader Helen types up notes during our discussion of potential project ideas! Members are contributing through Google Docs. All smiles in Kerkhoff!


food team photo stream: winter 2018Team Members look over their literature review on food sustainability and what they will be contributing to it. We also discussed meeting with our Stakeholder and our in-class presentation idea for next week!

Week 3: Testing SAR’s Food Sustainability Knowledge

food team photo stream: winter 2018This week the Food Team led an in-class activity for all SAR teams: Food Sustainability Jeopardy!


food team photo stream: winter 2018The other SAR teams get a thumbs up from us for their food sustainability knowledge!

Week 4: Stakeholder Meetings

food team photo stream: winter 2018Members of the Food Team meet with their stakeholder Charles Wilcots, the Associate Director of Dining Services Administration. Charles is sharing his vision with the team, and helping them come up with the most effective way to reduce food waste on the Hill. 


food team photo stream: winter 2018Desmond, Helen, and Jake contemplate the discussions they just had with Charles, while Ari and Kelsey take a much deserved “brain break” from the active discussion and brainstorming session!

Week 5: Team Building and Project Contract

food team photo stream: winter 2018Communication and Creativity – Two skills we used to build the winning marshmallow tower in class. (Even other SAR members were impressed…)

food team photo stream: winter 2018Kathleen, Helen, and Ariana savoring some marshmallows, enjoying the outdoors, and working on the team contract.

Week 6: Funding Applications

food team photo stream: winter 2018SAR Team takes a break from working to show how much we love food and promoting food waste awareness! 


food team photo stream: winter 2018SAR Food Team member Kelsey enjoys ice cream as a fuel in order to work on completing the TGIF Funding App. 

Week 7: Food Waste Audits Begin

The food team just smoothly and successfully completed their first food waste audit and surveys at Bruin Plate. It was a piece of cake!

Week 8: Food Waste Audits Round 2

SAR’s food waste team successfully completed four food waste audits throughout the past two weeks! Soon to come are food waste education initiatives, not including shaming diners as pictured.


SAR’s food waste team successfully completed four food waste audits and was able to bond at the same time this week! They are constantly striving to collect more standardized data as well as think of better poses for photos.

Week 9: Avocado Festival! 

Supporting Bruin Plate’s Avocado Festival, which featured sustainably-sourced avocados! 


The Food Team doesn’t waste any opportunity to display our talents.

Week 10:  Survey results!

Team members Ariana Mamnoon and Desmond Lim input survey data from the first food waste wood to calculate the results of the survey. Survey results indicated that students thought food waste was an issue at UCLA dining halls. 


The Food Team presents their project and its progress to fellow SAR members and stakeholders to receive input and advice.

Read more about the Food Team’s mission on their Project Page. To check out other current and past SAR teams, visit the “Our Work” page, and don’t forget to give our Facebook page a “like” to keep up to date with what we’re up to!