Fun Times, Freebies, and Food Waste

On Work-Free-Wednesday we went to Nashville for yet another Freebie Fun Date. This one began with free bagels from Panera. I’m not sure how I lucked into an entire month of free bagels, but nevertheless, we cashed in on our good fortune.


Shortly after breakfast, we made our way downtown to the Nashville Public Library for Thinking Out of the (Lunch) Box, a series of free “lunch and learn” discussions hosted by Vanderbilt University. This one happened to be on a topic near to our heart – food waste – and particularly what the Nashville community is doing to curb it.

We met a lot of interesting folks doing a lot of great work, including Tallu Quinn of the Nashville Food Project and Matthew Beadlecomb from Compost Nashville. Compost Nashville is a great program for people who want to compost but lack the space to do it. For $35/month, they will pick up your compostable waste once a week and in return they will bring you compost soil twice a year (about 75 pounds of soil per visit). If you can’t use the soil, they will donate it to a community garden project.

Right now, only 24% of waste is recycled or composted in Nashville but initiatives are underway in city government and with various nonprofits, like Resource Capture, to increase that number. ReCap will be breaking ground on an anaerobic digester this year that will create both energy and soil amendments from food scraps. The Nashville Food Waste Initiative is helping restaurants reduce their waste by providing software tools that track waste and its associated costs. And for home composters like us, Nashville Public Works sells kitchen bins and backyard composters at a discount price.

Along with the great information, we got a free box lunch, which included half of a turkey or veggie sandwich, chips, a cookie, and a bottle of water. Ever the observers of human behavior, Angie and I watched the room while we ate to see just how many people would toss out some portion of their lunch at a food waste discussion. There were some, including the couple in front of us, but thankfully, not many (since Angie was ready to dig through the trash for any discarded oatmeal raisin cookies).

fristcenterAfter lunch, we walked to the Frist Center for the Visual Arts on Broadway. They are offering free admission until February 9th since they are transitioning their exhibits. We were able to see the 2016 Young Tennessee Artists exhibit and Ragnar Kjartansson: The Visitors, a multi-screen video installation of musicians performing together from various rooms in a large mansion – including the bathtub. It was…interesting (???). I’m not very good at interpreting artistic expression but I am always open to expanding my horizons…especially when it’s free.

Our Freebie Fun Date cost $19. We gave a $10 donation to the library for the “lunch and learn” and paid $9 in parking. On the way home though, we stopped by Sam’s Club to pick up some creamer for my mom and once again lucked into a paid pop-up survey from Surveys On the Go and an Easy Shift, for which we earned a total of $8.25 – making our cost for the day only $10.75.

On a similar but different note, I wanted to give a shout-out to our friends at Decluttering the Stuff who are hosting a Super Lean Spending Month Challenge. There’s still time to get in on the game. We’re in. Are you?