Monday, September 5, 2016

Food Waste

I recently read in the National Geographic Magazine that 21% of food at the consumer level gets wasted. I've read other reports that claim percentages closer to 50%. Egads. That means, for most people, lots of food gets thrown away in the trash. Wow. I would have thought that restaurants were a bigger waster, but it turns out that people in their own homes are the major throw-away'ers. 

One thing about most homestead farms is that there is no such thing as food waste. Uneaten and spoiled food doesn't go into a trash can. There's always something else on a farm to do with it. 

First of all, homesteaders tend to eat food that I've seen city friends discard -- kale leaves with holes in them, green beans that some bug ate the tip off of, an ear of corn with a corn worm in it, that sort of thing. Homesteaders just cut off the damage and eat the rest, while I've seen my city friends ditch the whole item into their trashcan.

Homesteaders tend to make their own broths and stock, so they use the bits of veggie scraps in the stock pot that many city cooks deem to be garbage. Things like celery leaves, onion ends, broccoli stems, radish leaves, etc. (I thought about making myself a t-shirt that says "I Eat Garbage & Drink Out Of Gutters" but most people wouldn't get the joke.) 

On a homestead, items not eaten by humans usually goes some place other than the trash. Depending upon the item it gets fed to the dogs, cats, worms, soldier flies, rabbits, pigeons, ducks, geese, chickens, sheep, goats, pigs, cows, or horses. What the livestock won't eat heads to the garden either via compost, nutrient teas, or dug directly into the soil. On my farm there is a LOT of competition for the "garbage". 

Where wastage goes on my homestead.....
Sour milk -- dogs, chickens, pigs
Molded bread -- chickens, pig
Molded cheese -- chickens, pigs
Wilted, spoiled veggies/fruits -- chickens, pigs
Stale bread and crackers -- sheep, goat, horse, dogs
Unwanted leftovers -- dogs, chickens, pigs
"Off" meat -- chickens
Uneaten seafood -- cats, dogs, chickens (in reality it usually doesn't get past the cats) 
Excess and trimmings from the garden -- rabbits, dogs, chickens, pigs
Certain non-edible items -- compost (onion skins, eggplant caps, grapefruit rinds, and such)

Zero goes into my trashcan! And I do indeed mean zero

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I was reading about garbage archaeology and researchers have found entire steaks in the landfill, perfectly good at the time they were dumped. It shocked me one Thanksgiving when someone was helping clean the tables - he dumped the entire contents of a leftover casserole in the trash. Courtney - Maui Jungalow