Rescue Mission

Food Rescue: High School Edition

Berlynn Bai, Ayush Chakravarty, Lily Xie


The data say that within two miles of one Boston High School in the Fenway area, over 9,000 pounds of food is wasted a day from grocery stores alone. We want to tell this story because more people, especially high school students about to venture out into the real world, deserve to understand food reuse and rescue initiatives better.

Our audience is high school students at Boston High Schools, and our goals are to (1) convey the pressing issue of food waste, and (2) demonstrate the ease of participating in food rescue, particularly for students who may have a community service requirement before graduating from high school.

To build this interactive google maps experience, we used two data sources. The first is the list Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville list of public high schools, and the second is a dataset of Massachusetts Food Waste. Using a batch geocoder, we converted the addresses of the high schools to latitude/longitude coordinates so that they could be mapped over the Massachusetts Food Waste data. The key variables of concern were the establishment name, location, and the pounds of food wasted per year.


The idea behind using Google Maps to tell this particular story was to use a medium that students were familiar with — after all, this is an app that integrates into our everyday lives. First, we hope to make it easier to link their own location to the hyperlocal nature of food waste. Seeing red dots next to one’s own blue dot might make it easier to realize that students walk past these places every day. Second, it makes the ask easier to explore: what does the student need to do to get involved? If they have 30 minutes a week, where could they go to pick up food?

The final activity for students would look as follows:

  1. Students open the food rescue map, where darker colors indicate higher amounts of food waste.
  2. They search for their home address and add a marker
  3. Based on their commutes, they find out how to add one stop to their commute to school
  4. Calculate how much food they rescued and this is how much they could feed their school!