A few weeks ago, we made our first donation of 2020 to a local church's food pantry. They're only open one day a month, though, so I went looking for more takers for our extra eggs.
I found a local food pantry in West Warwick that was excited to get some eggs. My son and I headed there today around noontime with 5 1/2 dozen eggs. We'd have had a few dozen more, but we gave 4 dozen eggs to friends this week.
While chatting with the folks running the pantry, I mentioned that our flock was expanding and that we'd be feeding a lot of food scraps. They have a pig farmer who picks up a lot of their expired food, but sent me home with a sack of crackers/bread sticks, some bread, and several cases of baby food.
We agreed I'd return every Friday with whatever eggs I have and pick up whatever food waste they have.
So, we're still in year zero, and we only have 18 of the close to 90 layer hens we'll have at this time next year, but today (and hopefully EVERY Friday going forward) the vision is starting to happen at a micro scale. Very cool!
When we got home, my son went to work crushing up the crackers and dumping them into a 5 gallon bucket. Then he emptied in the baby food in so it could mix in and moisten the cracker mix. Here's a shot of the bucket (before and after throwing some stale rye bread on top.
The bucket got dumped out into the chicken run onto a nice pile of leaves we've been collecting from some neighbor's yards the last few weeks. Eventually, food waste will be fed right on a compost pile, but for now any uneaten food will disappear into the leaves and break down nicely.
The flock really enjoyed their feast. They ate quite a bit of the 5 gallon bucket worth of food. They'll start back in early tomorrow morning. I expect by afternoon to give them another batch. We may soak the next round in water for a few hours to make it easier to eat.
All the metal and glass from the baby food went into the recycle bin. The cardboard boxes from the crackers went into the composter I built out of some old woven wire fence a couple weeks ago. Only the plastic wrappers ended up in the garbage,and that probably will end up being only a couple of plastic shopping bags full for the entire load.
If we didn't take the food waste, the pantry would have had throw it out and pay someone to haul it away, and all that food and compostable/recyclable material would have ended up in a landfill.
So, today was a good day. Doing a little something to help those in need, and being able to recycle landfill-bound waste into next week's batch of eggs.
The vision was shown in action today at a small scale. It's going to be really exciting to watch that continue to grow in the future!