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Okay, so I can't really take credit for this as my husband has been advocating this for almost a year. I just didn't really see the importance of it until reading all about food security here. And then M. Carolina Orgnero asked the question so plainly here, and all of a sudden I got it. M. Carolina says: "It breaks my heart to see that local restaurants and dining halls at universities dispose of so much food. Food is not given to charities or sub-kitchens because of laws that protect possible contaminations."

But it can be fed to livestock. We've been doing it at my house for over a year. All of our kitchen scraps, table scraps, stale food etc. goes right to our pigs and chickens. And our chickens supply us meat and eggs and our pigs supply us meat.

And it can be composted in larger quantities for use in farms and communal gardens.

It just needs to be collected.

My husband has been dreaming for a year about how one might do this on a larger scale. How one might collect food scraps from houses, restaurants and stores and supply it to farmers for livestock and composting. He did arrange to collect huge barrels of spent/cooked grain mash from a local distiller and use it for our pigs -- and another farmer used some for their cows.

Due to the price hike of imported grains for feed, the production of Ecofeed, feed produced from recycled food waste, has increased in recent years, Food dregs from the food and beverage processing industry and out-of-date food from supermarrkets and convenience stores are the most often used as raw materials for Ecofeed.... guidelines prescribing measures to be taken when collecting, transporting, and storing ... and use of Ecofeed have been developed to ensure the safety of Ecofeed.

Also here.

Now, as I am routinely disgusted when I read the labels of "food" products when I shop at the grocery store for my family, I do have some serious reservations about doing this. I mean, if you feed garbage "food" products [loaded with chemicals, preservatives, artificial colorings] to the animals that will then become our food -- well, there are obvious problems with that. However, as a strategy for making sustainable and practical use of food waste on a more local level. Well, I think there is merit here to be investigated.

Here is a brochure produced by the state of Wisconsin that outlines the benefits of reusing food waste.

Finally here is a link to an organization that advises food service establishments how to reduce and then reuse food waste. They offer articles about food donation, animal feed, composting and vermicomposting.

I have finally caught my husband's enthusiasm for this idea. I plan on brainstorming with him how we might engage more people in our community around the possibilities.

Edited to Add:
I just found this excellent article in the Financial Times on this topic.

Edited once more to add this addendum by my husband, John:
Here's a picture of our pigs chowing on the mash from the distillery. The mash is made up of organic rye, purified water and yeast and is chock full of nutritional value for the animals - more natural than just about anything in the supermarket . Rye is a common feed for livestock and the yeast adds a lot of extra protein and nutrient. Rye is also used to make a specialty beer called Roggin, so I refer to the pigs here as "Roggin Out".

Views: 19

Comment by Keith Adam Britt on March 14, 2010 at 1:40am
Brilliant blog. Thanks for writing it.
Comment by Hayden Darrell Linder on March 23, 2010 at 8:22pm
Did I ever tell you that in the army my call sign was "Pig?"

You got any of that Roggin?


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