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Evolving a farm from society's waste

Parker Maynard


Joined: Jan 08, 2012
Posts: 17
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Hey Toby and all Permies worldwide,

I work at a restaurant and I'm starting to see all the waste around me much differently. It's like I work in the belly of this inefficient ruminator and there's loads of viable energy, nutrients, and carbon flowing out the rear end. I found permaculture by way of being a wanna be farmer also poor, cheap, and otherwise financially strapped. I like that most permaculturists start with what they have laying around and transform their system from there. We live in the the most wasteful society in the world, what "we have" is waste, all around us.

So I started by gathering cardboard, I'd break it down between waiting tables and fill the car by the end of my shift. I hate running a weed whacker (some call it a whipper, I don't) and cardboard is great for keeping weeds down where you don't want them, amongst many many other things. I've heard nasty things about the chemicals now used in gluing the layers of paper to make cardboard so I stick to the least processed looking boxes. I'm now into collecting veggie oil (about 600gallons so far) and food scraps. Ooooh the food scraps! its been a pretty hilarious ongoing project that started with the zen-like request, "no meat, no cheese." The rules were too much, often i was diving in after bowls of lettuce being scraped into the garbage right in front of me. So now its everything, bits of filet mignon, lotsa pasta, pretty much everything from that Silverstien poem about the girl who wouldn't take the garbage out. I take it out, and I dont just compost it anymore I feed it all to the chickens. The 10 ladies and 2 fellas have a an electronet defined pasture (about 1700 sq. ft.) with really deep and free! old hay bedding over the whole thing. I dump about 10 5gal. buckets on the area each week, more when the college students are in town. The chooks (first time using that term, makes me feel like a farmer) leave the coop every morning and tear it up and that is where I'll extend my annuals to next year or work on building hugels and berries, not sure yet. Point is, the fertility is there where I want it and it was fun to watch happen.

I was wondering what kind of commercial/industrial/municipal waste sources you ("yinz guys" if you're this close to Pittsburgh) have exploited to build fertility or infastructure on your homesteads? I've got an old diesel truck now and I'd appreciate any wisdom regarding the art of pickin the world's waste to build the farm of the future.

Thanks again Toby and ALL Yinz Permies,
Parker
Toby Hemenway
author


Joined: May 06, 2008
Posts: 86
    
  16
Parker, you're doing great work in identifying and gathering all that waste. I don't expect that waste stream to be so rich for much longer, so the time to benefit from it is now. Major items for converting into soil or farm resources would be all the paper and cardboard, wood chips from tree trimmings, construction debris, yard waste (most could be recycled on site; it's bizarre to send it to composting sites); and all the food waste, on farm and at processing plants as well as at the kitchen and table. The food industry wastes about 1/3 of its inputs, so that's a rich spot to focus. Nice work!


I'm offering weekend permaculture courses in the SF Bay area. Info (and more) at http://patternliteracy.com
Ken Peavey
steward

Joined: Dec 21, 2009
Posts: 2092
Location: FL
    
  49
I've worked in restaurants for years. The last one I worked at was 3 years ago. Food scraps came home with me every night. It could be composted, but the birds were kept in a 50x50 area and needed to be fed. I tossed everything in-pasta, garnish, vegetables, meat, even the baked potatoes with the aluminum still on them. It made the eggs really shiny! Lots of stuff can be had for free. The dumpster was a but small and served the entire building. Anything that could be diverted could be had for free. Less food in the dumpster reduces flies and rodents-it is in the interest of the restaurant to get this stuff off site.

Restaurant Waste

Food Waste
some is edible, some is not. I worked in a place that did not use its bread if it dried out. The staff took it home, made bread pudding, bread crumbs, stuffing, croquettes, french toast, croutons.
NOTE: Due to the diverse demographic of the clientele, pasteurizing waste foods would be prudent before adding to a compost heap or feed bin. Try a solar cooker for this.
Uses: personal or livestock consumption, compost, vermicompost

-Waste Vegetable Oil
each fryer will need to be changed at least once per week. The used oil amounts to 3-4 gallons each time it is changed.
Uses: primary ingredient for biodiesel, can be burned to provide space heating, soapmaking ingredient but not the best

-Boxes
Dry goods and produce, beer and wine, everything comes in a box
Uses: storage, compost, weed suppression, fuel, can be soaked then shredded to use for making fuel briquettes, insulation, corrugated can be used to make furniture

-Containers
besides the boxes, there will be an array of glass and plastic containers suitable for reuse. 5 gallon buckets with handles are often available
Uses: pickle jars work great for sun tea, use for storage, plant pots, water containers, seed storage, if it has a good lid-food and leftovers, buckets are like gold

-Coffee Grounds and Tea Bags
compost enrichment, worm food

-Bottles
Wine, beer, liquor, lots of goods are packed in jars
Uses: corked wine bottles for dry beans/grains/rice, imported beer can be recapped for homebrew, liquor bottles have a variety of shapes and colors, get enough-build glass walls

-Disposable Cups
a common item when big events are held
Uses: plant pots

-Broomsticks
a 4 foot long dowel
Uses: chicken perch, stakes at the corners of beds so the hose is not dragged across the plants, tool handles

-Milk Jigs
lots of places have it delivered in gallon jugs. Just plain handy.
Uses: poke the bottom a few times with a pin, end up with a poorman's drip irrigation system.

-Soda Bottles
How about a vertical wall garden

-Fat
The meat cutter will often have large amounts of fat available
Uses: render for cooking lard, lard candles, soap making, meat scraps go into the soup pot.

-Wine Cork
I knew a guy who made a dart board with these

-Serviceware
This is like hitting the jackpot. I worked in a restaurant in college that went from coffee cups to mugs. My fraternity got all the old cups and saucers.

Anyone who is willing to put in the work and investment can adopt a restaurant, perhaps several. If you can offer clean rubbish barrels with tight lids every day, and pick them every day up at closing time, there are restaurants who will be more than happy to segregate the food scraps for you. There are pig farmers who do this all the time. You absolutely must be there every day for the project to be worth their time. You can expect some litter to be included-stir sticks, straws, wrappings from crackers, napkins, maybe a piece of aluminum foil here and there. If you can't pick it up at night, you can arrange to pick it up the next day-this is where those tight lids come in. This procedure requires extra fresh barrels and a place outside where the full barrels can be stored overnight. Once you get your foot in the door, you can after other waste items. A steel barrel with a lid is suitable for collecting the fryer oil. 18 gallon totes are handy for collecting jugs, bottles, and containers.




Seed the Mind, Harvest Ideas.
http://farmwhisperer.com
Parker Maynard


Joined: Jan 08, 2012
Posts: 17
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Thanks Ken! I had sorta given up on the cardboard because of its toxicity to the garden soil but now I'm liking the idea of using it as insulation. We're just getting our homestead started on our 7 acres so aside from building a house, we've got a barn and outbuildings to build and insulate. Just doing a few minutes of research I found a list of materials ranked for their insulative value with cardboard ranking 3rd , right behind fiderglass insulation. Apparently Mother Earth News published an article about using cardboard as insulation after coating it in a borax solution (insect and fire protection is what I saw mentioned). Another suggestion I saw while going down this road was to salvage styrofoam packing materials from big box electronics store like Bestbuy and Radioshack to sandwich between cardboard layers. So you get the wind blocking value of cardboard (waxed is even an option) with the isulation value of styrofoam. It'd take some time to gather but I think with some planning and enough storage space to hold the materials til I install it, the whole thing would be really gratifying. I'd rather save my money for things you dont find discarded like pigs and ducks, and baby goats...Thanks again for your post!

Ivan Weiss


Joined: Dec 19, 2009
Posts: 156
Location: Vashon WA, near Seattle and Tacoma
I'm thinking this might be a whole separate forum topic. I have an arrangement with my local independent supermarket in which I get all the cull produce that they otherwise would take to the dump, and have to pay the dump per pound for disposal. They let me in the back room to sift through it and remove paper, plastic, and wire. I do this just about every day.

I don't take anything that is moldy, rotten, or rancid. But very little of what I see fits those categories. Most of it is the outer leaves of lettuce, cabbage and other leafy greens, or outer stalks of celery, that are trimmed before the produce gets put on the shelves, or fresh fruits and vegetables that they won't sell because of some cosmetic blemish. Much of it is stuff they toss because it's right at the "pull date." Therefore it's still fit for human consumption if eaten that day.

I get all the bread that hasn't been sold on the "day-old" rack. There's not much of it but sometimes there is. And every little bit counts.

I fill eight Rubbermaid 18-gallon totes every day, sometimes less than that. If we estimate conservatively that each tote averages about 50 pounds, and if I pick up 300 days of the year, that comes to about 60 tons a year removed from the waste stream and turned into a resource.

I feed it to cattle to supplement what they graze on. Cattle appreciate getting any fruit, raw potatoes and sweet potatoes, and of course, anything green. It saves me from having to buy hay in the winter. Cattle devour all root vegetables.

I feed it to my 17 hogs. If you ever want to see 200 pounds of bananas disappear in a hurry, throw it over the hot wire to a pack of hogs. I look forward to eating banana- , avocado- , and apple-fattened pork.

I feed it to my laying hens. The cattle won't eat bell peppers. The hogs will, but not immediately. The chickens eat bell peppers like ice cream, and since I started feeding them, I notice that the yolks of their eggs have turned a deep neon orange. My customers love that. I don't know if that's correlation or causation, but I continue to feed peppers to the hens, and the hens continue to eat them before they will eat anything else. The hogs and the chickens eat all the bread I can give them.

I pick up a bucket of coffee grounds and used filters from the market's espresso bar every day. The high-nitrogen grounds get mixed with biochar and go into raised beds and potting soil mix. The filter papers go into the compost. They make great worm bedding. Sepp Holzer mentions this in his book, but I have been doing this for years.

I get all the cardboard boxes I need, and have been lining the bottoms of my nascent hugelkultur beds with it. I get the waxed cardboard, that produce comes in, to start fires with, in the wood stove and for staring biochar burns. If I had a rocket mass heater, this would be ideal for it. This almost eliminates the need for kindling, so any small stuff I was going to use for kindling becomes biochar and gets sequestered.

Nearby there is a tofu factory. They advertise that all their soybeans are certified organic. When they cook and press the soybeans, to extract the "soy milk" that they make into tofu, the solids that remain, called okara, are lifted by auger outside the building and into a dump truck. Farmers are allowed to shovel the okara from the dump truck before it takes its load to the dump. I get two 55-gallon drums full a week and feed it to the hogs, mixed with some soybean meal to replace the lysine that the tofu process removes. That is about 6-8 tons for the five months or so that the hogs are with us.

Wet okara is estimated to be anywhere from 12 to 24 percent protein, and it's free hog feed. I always feed a baseline of commercial hog grower, and the okara is a supplement. The trick is to cut the hogs off of okara altogether six weeks before slaughtering, so as to avoid soft or flabby pork. I confirmed this in a telephone conversation with the head swine nutrition guy at Iowa State University, who had written a paper on feeding okara to butcher hogs.

My neighbor has started a "nanobrewery," all licensed and legal. I run him up to the railhead 3-4 times a year to get a pallet load of barley, all certified organic. In return for that, when he has brewed his beer, I get the barley, and so do the chickens, the cattle, and the hogs. He's a permie, so he's all for it. This might be the year I try to raise broilers, with only the chick starter purchased.

A nearby landscaper has piles of rotten wood, taken from various jobs, outside his place, free for pickup. That's my hugelkultur starter. At times the wood is not rotten, and I grab it for firewood or biochar. I know where all the free pallets are. I built a fence for the hogs out of them after seeing Paul's video about Karen Biondo's pallet fence. Karen is my neighbor so I popped right over and checked it out.

So that's what I do with some of the free stuff that's out there, within a 5-mile radius of my little farm. On Disc 3 of the Mollison/Lawton PDC, Bill goes into a long story about a whale that beached in his hometown in Tasmania when he was a little kid. I have heard, somewhere, I can't remember where, that some people thought this was an example of Bill's rambling, and that he had lost it, and would he please get to the point.

OTOH, I hung on every word. Bill was talking directly to me. He was telling us that part of the design was to be opportunistic with resources, and to incorporate any resource that is freely available into our design, if it fits, and to always be on the lookout to incorporate newly available resources into an ever-evolving design.

It doesn't mean that I have to scrounge for scrounging's sake. It does mean that I have to be constantly open to new information and connect new dots. And if I can produce some high-quality food from it, and make an honest dollar, and keep fit by doing so, well that's what I'll bloody well do.





Pastured poultry, pork, and beef on Vashon Island, WA.
Parker Maynard


Joined: Jan 08, 2012
Posts: 17
Location: Western Pennsylvania
That's what I'm talking about! Really inspiring post Ivan. I went to work the last couple days with a rejuvinated approach to getting not only post consumer food scraps but the trimmings from the prep kitchen (they've been resistant in the past so I sorta backed off but today I got a few of the guys n gals on board). I also got some nice tall buckets set up at the restaurant tonight that a cook buddy of mine will put snap lids on and take out into the dumpster cage after close (I had only been collecting while I was there previously).

I'm currently getting together a couple of snap top 18gal totes to take to the local supermarkets, we'll see how that goes.

I've been thinking about Toby's response to my original post.
I don't expect that waste stream to be so rich for much longer, so the time to benefit from it is now.


I suspect instead of an insanely huge beer battered haddock sandwich for $7.99 restaurants will have to decrease portion sizes to decrease their cost, sell the smaller fish sandwich for $4.99, and keep the customers coming. The portions are excessive now, clearly, i take alotta plates with a third or more of the food left on them. The cost is also low enought that people frequently get an appetizer, a few adult beverages AND the meal and don't care to take the leftover food they paid for home with them. I think the economic changes before us will bring portion sizes down and people will have to eat what's on their plate to fill up, and you can bet what's left is going home with them. As far as grocery stores go, I think the first signs of really tightening up will be a few less exotic choices in the produce section and just less stock - the bananas will sell out before any can go bad.

However it plays out, an economic downturn should be good for Mother Earth - less extraction, less consumption...unless the man exclusively entrusts agriculture to the hands of BIG agritech, agrichem, and agribiz entities. Subsidies and a firm grip on whatever fuel source can be hoarded can really drive food prices, well, right into the range the public can bare.

I like what time it is now, by placing ourselves at the recieving end of the these rich waste streams, we can affordably (and somewhat quickly) build the type of homestead farms/CSA farms/market gardens that are resiliant and provide a choice for our families and neighbors to excercise thier freedom to eat good local food. Unless most permaculturists and those longing to farm sustainably are sittin on gold mines (inheritance, 6-figure careers, actual piles of gold) then we've gotta exploit the opportunities to gather while people are still wasting!

I agree, let's move this thread to a more appropriate forum, maybe frugality or organic/sustainable practices. We can call it "Collecting waste materials for use on the farm" or something like that. Let me know if that sounds good and I'll start it up in the new forum.

I see the main purposes of this thread are to keep each other motivated to stay on our respective waste streams, seek new ones, share in how we collect and use the waste, and get others interested in doing the same.

Ken Peavey
steward

Joined: Dec 21, 2009
Posts: 2092
Location: FL
    
  49
Moved to the Frugality forum
Ivan Weiss


Joined: Dec 19, 2009
Posts: 156
Location: Vashon WA, near Seattle and Tacoma
I considered using restaurant waste and rejected it for three reasons: One is because there's too much separation of paper, plastic, and other nonedible waste involved that no one can reasonably expect restaurant staff to sort. The second is the risk, however minuscule, of human pathogens contaminating my animals' food. The third is that if the food is cooked, it will decompose more quickly than if it is uncooked. Also, there are more likely to be food additives in restaurant food.

If you can find ways to minimize those factors, more power to you. In your situation it might be effective. In mine it wouldn't be. Fed immediately to chickens or incorporated into large-scale vermiculture would be my first options for restaurant waste. I wouldn't feed it to mammals.

But that's just me and I'm not trying to rain on your parade. Quite the contrary. When we can find ways -- any ways -- to turn the waste stream -- any waste stream -- into a resource, we have expanded the permaculture design to the community and local economy level. IMO, that's both necessary and desirable.

So please keep us posted on what uses you find for what you're getting. It's bound to be helpful. Cheers.
Parker Maynard


Joined: Jan 08, 2012
Posts: 17
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Definately, I think chickens due to their HIGHLY acidic digestive juices and quick metabolic rate are good little digesters for restaurant waste. I can understand not wanting to feed the post consumer stuff to pigs as well, were just to close genetically and physiologically? the pathogens are more likely, if at all, to be a problem with any mammal. I'm finding now that I'm bringing home too many food scraps for the chickens to eat. they generally pick out what they like and then go munch on winter rye coming up in the garden beds.

I like the idea of spreading the scraps onto the first few layers of my hugel beds as I begin to build them. I haven't read Sepp's book but I'm thinking something like - In the spring, start with a base of semi-rotten logs (from the swamp the beavers created over the last few years on our back acre) then smaller water-logged twiggy stuff, 4 to 6 inch layer of food scraps, then old hay, manure, a little more twiggy stuff, food scraps, hay, manure, garden soil and a skin of hay/cut weeds...let the hugels drop over the rest of the summer til late July/August. Sow buckwheat in July/August then chop and drop on the bed or chop n save seed in Octoberish. Then plant winter rye (or wheat). Chop that crop the following spring and plant some potatoes or another annual crop in the hugel in the spring of year two.

Alotta labor in there I know, but I think a good safe way to incorporate massive ammounts of restaurant food waste into the farm fertility cycle.

Oh and what about bones? i sorta gather them in a bucket (mostly chicken wing bones and pork ribs) as I walk throught the chicken yard. Biochar? I dunno it seems like it could be a kind of an homage to the great chicken spirit to spread the ashes of her unfortunate corporate farm kept descendants into a system that honors chickens and their purpose in SAVING THE WORLD! But then again, Biodynamics recommends using the ashes of certain pest insects to deter them from ever coming back. Wait, I think I just answered my own question...BONE SAUCE! for protecting newly planted trees. Remember this?>>>

http://www.richsoil.com/sepp-holzer/sepp-holzer-permaculture.jsp

Ken Peavey
steward

Joined: Dec 21, 2009
Posts: 2092
Location: FL
    
  49
Sorting of scraps
I speak with 20 years of experience in the food service industry. This is not a problem. When tables are cleared, the server or busser separates silverware, glasses, cloth napkins, plates, bowls, saucers, ramekins, and knives, with the rest going into the trash. The only additional sorting is food to one bin, trash to the other. The last restaurant I worked in we sorted the meat scraps (owner's dog), bread (owner's neighbor's mule), and food scraps (me).

Human Pathogens
These thrive within the human body. Once they are outside of a human body, they dont fare so well. The amount of exposure is predominantly oral-bitten foods and silverware. Nonetheless, there is still some chance of exposure and contamination. Pasteurization of the food scraps is as simple as firing up a rocket stove and bringing the food to a boil. Many states allow feeding food waste to livestock but it must be pasteurized before feeding the critters.

Food Additives
The most common additive used in restaurants would be a product known as Salad Fresh. Mostly it is citric acid. When mixed in water with cut greens it reduces the browning of the leaves. It's not a chemistry lab back in the kitchen. The majority of products go through similar production and distribution channels as the stuff on your kitchen table, just in larger sizes. This means herbicide and pesticide residue, GMO crops, and preservatives will be in the food as it is in the foods of every grocery store. Organic restaurants would have cleaner waste, but these are few and far between and often have less business volume, hence less waste.
There are operations where much of the food is prepared from scratch. This will reduce the preservatives and food colorings, but for the most part, the ingredients used are still grown with industrial methods.

It all boils down to your level of tolerance for the amounts of chemicals being brought to your land. In this day and age, it is tough to get away from synthesized contaminants. In a Certified Organic operation, restaurant waste would not be suitable. If your operation uses feed purchased off the shelf, restaurant food waste can save you money and give the critters some diversity in their diet.


Ivan Weiss


Joined: Dec 19, 2009
Posts: 156
Location: Vashon WA, near Seattle and Tacoma
All good points, Parker and Ken. Not all restaurants sort, though, in my experience. Whoever can make restaurant waste work in their operation should be encouraged.
Walter Jeffries


Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 907
    
  18
We use whey from a local butter and cheese maker to feed our pigs. When they have a bad batch of butter (over cooked) or cheese (over cultured) they send it to us. We don't buy commercial feed/grain. The pasture/hay+dairy makes up almost all of our livestock feed. We also get a little expired bread occasionally from a local bakery (makes a great training treat) and sometimes boiled barley from a local brew pub (high in minerals and protein). There is a tremendous amount of good 'wasted' food that can be fed to animals thus keeping it from going down the chaos slope and keeping it out of the land fills.

That said, check your state laws. Don't be feeding illegally. Pre-consumer wastes are good food. Post-consumer wastes are banned from feeding to pigs who will be sold because of the concern about the humans transmitting disease to the pigs. Humans are pretty filthy.

Another concern with restaurant/cafeteria wastes is silverware, broken glass and other foreign objects in the food wastes that could hurt the animals.
Parker Maynard


Joined: Jan 08, 2012
Posts: 17
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Ken... you pretty much described the exact process, from table to dish station/waste bin, that occurs at the restaurant I work at. The only difference for the servers when collecting scraps is that they scrape the leftovers into the bucket at the foot of the garbage can instead of into the garbage can. I do get the occasional straw, fork, or ramekin in the food scrap bucket.

It's seems like there's some agreement, and maybe even legal restraints against feeding post-consumer waste to pigs. Seems like a good rule of thumb to me, I'd probably extend that to all mammals and save the post-consumer scraps for chickens and composting, Vermicomposting is probably a good choice but I have heard of worms disliking overly greasy/oily substances in their living environment (I think it disrupted their reproductive processes) but dilluted with hay, leaves, sawdust, or woodchips I'm sure even the greasiest scraps could make good worm bedding/food.

As for food additives, thanks for the tid-bit on 'Salad Fresh'. I eat alot of salad at work - it's free for employees and I can make my own in whatever way I feel. It's conventinally grown lettuce and no doubt has the citric acid based product in it. I wanna look into how ingesting alot of this product could affect my health.

Ken wrote:
It all boils down to your level of tolerance for the amounts of chemicals being brought to your land. In this day and age, it is tough to get away from synthesized contaminants. In a Certified Organic operation, restaurant waste would not be suitable. If your operation uses feed purchased off the shelf, restaurant food waste can save you money and give the critters some diversity in their diet.


I think this is an area where the emerging sustainable farming community needs to do some soul searching. There seems to be a sort of fixation (asphixiation maybe?) on the idea of organic. Sure, the term implies something being grown without the intentional addition of chemical ferts/pesticides/and herbicides but it doesn't rule out monocroping, foolish soil tillage techniques, and more to the point, the infiltration of the growing environment by ambient and adjacent pollution sources. The world is a sullied place, it's the bed we've made and by choosing not to lay in it and saying "not in my back yard" when it comes to collecting and using the fallout from the chemical agriculture model (modern wastes i.e. restaurant food scraps) we are sort of castrating the real rehabilitative potential of the sustainable farming movement. I'm not attacking the 'all-organic or nothing' types out there I'm just making the point that we may be at a point in the Earth-human relationship where we have to take a triage approach to reclaiming these materials for the good of the land and the future health of humanity.

Hey Walter, I only have chickens so far but I think pigs will be next on the farm. It's great to hear how you're feeding with the dairy by-products. I have two cheesehouses in a 10 mile radius, I'll definately be feeling them out for some of these materials. Just curious, what animals are you training with the bread, and what are you training them to do?
Walter Jeffries


Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 907
    
  18
Parker Maynard wrote:Walter, I only have chickens so far but I think pigs will be next on the farm. It's great to hear how you're feeding with the dairy by-products. I have two cheesehouses in a 10 mile radius, I'll definately be feeling them out for some of these materials. Just curious, what animals are you training with the bread, and what are you training them to do?


The cheese houses are an excellent resources, especially if their size and your size match up well. Talk with them now. Key is being consistent. They need to know they can get rid of the whey, dated product, bad batches, etc.

As to the training, we load pigs to go to market every week of the year. By training them to herd and follow from when their wee piglets it means that when it comes their turn they're easy to sort and load.

Cheers

-Walter
Sugar Mountain Farm
Pastured Pigs, Sheep & Kids
in the mountains of Vermont
Read about our on-farm butcher shop project:
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/butchershop
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/csa
Chris Fitt


Joined: Jan 10, 2011
Posts: 115
Location: Eastern Shore VA
I have both worked in a restaurant that saved scraps for pigs and now get scraps for pigs from a bakery. In both cases only pre-customer food was used and no meat. The place I worked and saved was a mostly organic vegetarian cafe with a juice bar. The bulk of the waste was from the juicer. I wish that I had access to something like that here. My rule of thumb, although not perfect, concerning bringing food scraps from a restaurant is whether or not I would eat there. It doesn't mean they would not be using processed foods at all but certainly that does not make up the bulk of their ingredients. The pigs right now get mostly vegetable and fruit trim, egg shells and a few muffins or burnt baked goods. Whatever they don't eat the chickens pass over next.
David Spain


Joined: Apr 09, 2012
Posts: 1
Just discovered these forums and been lurking for a couple of days, felt a need to sign up an account so I can say I found this thread really helpful and inspiring.

Thanks!
Dave
Fred Morgan
steward

Joined: Sep 29, 2009
Posts: 972
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
    
  12
We process wood, and you wouldn't believe how much scrap we end up with. We give it away often to locals who use it to cook with, but now that I have my own kilns that use rocket stoves, I am using more, but it seems like I won't be burning more than a cubic meter of scrap per week for four kilns... and we can produce a lot more than that.

Some day, I am going to just make trenches with our backhoe and bury it, and then plant fruit trees on top, but I have so much wood chips, wood shavings, sawdust that I exchange with people with horses, cattle, chickens. They bring me dirty, they take away clean...


Sustainable Plantations and Agroforestry in Costa Rica
Ken Peavey
steward

Joined: Dec 21, 2009
Posts: 2092
Location: FL
    
  49
Welcome to Permies.com, Dave.
greg patrick


Joined: Mar 17, 2012
Posts: 167
Location: SoCal, USDA Zone 10b
    
    1
We collect the scraps from the local farmer's market for our chickens and goats. So much goes to waste but we make good use of it all. It costs me $5 in gas to collect about 200# of green waste twice a week. We also collect tree trimmings and feed those to the goats. Our ultimate waste products are wood to warm our home and fertilizer to feed our fruit trees. Whatever the goats and chickens don't eat we feed to the worms, which we then feed to the chickens. Pretty efficient system. We also run the animals on pasture, so they get the best of both worlds. Our goats get to eat green grass and piles of kale and collards.

We used to collect spent grains from the local breweries but we've stopped. Yes, spent grains improve milk output, but they also bugger the FA profile of the milk. I could supplement with flax to bump up the Ω3 but that costs too much. Now the only grains our goats get are when I home brew or when corn is in season, and even then they're divided between the goats, chickens and worms. -g


'Science is the father of knowledge, but opinion breeds ignorance.' - Hippocrates
Jocelyn Campbell
steward

Joined: Nov 09, 2008
Posts: 2450
Location: Missoula, MT
    
  60
This is really inspiring - so many great examples. Here's a couple more and a question.

Jacqueline Freeman, at Friendly Haven Rise Farm, gets the sweepings from a whole foods bakery floor for her chickens. It's full of seeds, nuts and grains and her chickens love it!

Rick Valley at Lost Valley Educational Center, gets fish waste from a local business to add to his huge compost piles. He was composting an entire futon in there!

Where I live, there are hundreds of wineries. Now that laws have allowed craft distilleries around here, one distillery makes grappa - an Italian drink made from the what's left after pressing the grapes to make wine (the pomace). Smart! (I thought grappa was more vodka-like, perhaps because it's usually clear, though Wikipedia calls it a brandy.)

A couple wineries I know pay fees to dispose of the pomace, etc. at a local compost company. It's cheaper than taking it to the dump which is good because there are tons and tons of this waste - even at the smaller wineries. I'm sure these businesses would love to give this organic matter to someone free (and would probably even deliver it!) though I'm not sure how the pits (and stems?) might affect different uses. Any suggestions or creative ideas out there?

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John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6431
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
132
I once read that a lot of farms in Austria put a cubic metre of pomace in their barns.
It keeps their animals warm all winter.

Jocelyn Campbell
steward

Joined: Nov 09, 2008
Posts: 2450
Location: Missoula, MT
    
  60
John Polk wrote:I once read that a lot of farms in Austria put a cubic metre of pomace in their barns.
It keeps their animals warm all winter.



Now there's a creative idea! Lots of horse barns around here, though our winters don't get that cold so I imagine folks (especially the folks in this well-to-do suburb) might think the pomace more mess and trouble than it's worth. Though I can think of some people....hm. Thanks John!
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6431
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
132
Yeah. By the time the weather has warmed up in the spring, the pomace is probably about ready to dig into the soil.

Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
sawdust and wood chips of course from a sawmill...hair from the stylists..ask for them to save only non chemical treated hair...waste from food processing plants


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
 
 
subject: Evolving a farm from society's waste
 
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