Many of the issues that our society faces are interconnected. Food insecurity is an issue for a large number of people, with access to healthy foods a pressing issue. Diversion of waste, especially food waste, is also a large issue as concerns about climate change and diminishing landfill space are every increasing.
But what if it was possible to reduce waste and feed hungry people while improving the soil, reducing harmful climate effects, and building community?
The transformation of food waste into healthy, locally produced food for those in need is a lofty goal. The solution, we believe, features the humble chicken as its centerpiece.
A chicken can consume food waste and convert it to eggs, a healthy and versatile fresh food. The chicken also produced manure, an all-natural source of nutrients and organic materials that help grow fruits and vegetables.
While this an idea that could certainly scale, we feel significant positive effects came be made with a very small physical footprint.
Helping Hens Farm
Helping Hens Farm will be home to roughly 90 laying hens.
The farm layout includes a number of chicken coops, highlighted by a 20’ x 8’ mobile coop, with the chickens all having sufficient coop, nesting box, and roost space to live in good comfort and health.
The chickens will also have plenty of run space to stretch their legs and enjoy lots of fresh air and sunshine.
The setup will also contain a number of sizable compost piles, with the chickens having access during daytime hours to scratch and peck around the pile to their heart’s content.
Instead of eating exclusively commercially produced chicken feed that is industry-farmed and shipped long distances, the chickens will be fed locally sourced food waste and compost.
Food waste makes up a significant portion of landfill-bound waste, and when landfilled, creates methane, a greenhouse gas many times more potent than carbon dioxide.
With a combined food waste / compost system, the chickens can eat their fill, and whatever food waste isn’t consumed is mixed with high carbon materials - leaves, shredded cardboard/paper (diverted from landfills), wood chips, etc. - and turned into rich, fertile compost. The chickens will help scratch and turn the compost, consuming bugs and worms along the way.
The healthy, happy hens lay a bunch of eggs. These healthy, delicious eggs will be donated to those in our community who need them most by partnerships with local food pantries, soup kitchens, and other organizations who get food into the hands of those that need it.