For dinner, you make your family a nice vegetable stir-fry with onion, carrots, garlic, red peppers, and broccoli florets. You are going to toss the leftovers in the garbage, but might be wondering whether you couldn’t someday get around to starting a compost pile instead. In the United States, most kitchen scraps become “food waste,” and are dumped into landfills, where they decompose and produce methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. According to the EPA, every year in the United States, 133 billion pounds of the overall food supply is wasted, which impacts food security, resource contribution and contributes to 18% of total U.S. methane emissions. Pretty grim, right?
Well, what if I told you that you could be part of the solution without having to deal with the work of a compost pile in your backyard?
Let’s face it—in our chaotic, busy modern world, composting isn’t exactly the easiest, most convenient thing, nor is it the top priority on your to-do list. Maybe you live in an apartment and composting isn’t feasible for you. Maybe you have a nitpicky Homeowner Association that doesn’t allow compost. Or maybe, you’re just trying to make ends meet—working multiple jobs, long hours, supporting a family—and you simply don’t have the time to compost. We get it.
With Big Foot Food Forest’s new Food Scrap Exchange, we make it simple and easy to compost. All you need to do is pick up a five-gallon bucket (and lid) from our farm in Montague, fill it with your kitchen scraps. Each week, or whenever you want to change the bucket, drop it back off at the farm on your way to town or another errand, and pick up a new empty bucket to take home. Then in the spring, you can pick up 2-3 buckets of cured, composted goodies! You can use this rich compost on your garden and house plants.
Sound too good to be true? Well, let me explain our “new old fashioned system,” which was innovated by the Vermont Compost Company and researched by Black Dirt Farm (with grants from SARE and the USDA). Food scraps are fed to chickens, who not only gobble up the delicious morsels, but also delight in scratching at the scrap piles. Leaves are added, which are rich in carbon. This system gives the compost the added benefits of going through the chickens’ digestive tracts, which produces nitrogen-rich manure. And the scratching effectively breaks apart the scraps into little pieces, perfect for compost. The chickens are basically the best composting machines out there! Not to mention, feeding the chickens nutritious food scraps also helps them to produce hearty eggs. Talk about a win-win!
We have been working with this system for three years at a smaller scale with seven neighbors who love the convenience and having reduced less smelly garbage. The compost cures for a year to finish it, to get rid of any lingering pests or parasites and then is ready for farm or garden!
Recently, our flock has expanded, so we would like to add 20 more neighbors to our exchange, just enough so the chickens can keep up.
Contact us to ask any questions or to sign up and join!
Bigfootfoodforest@gmail.com or text 781-428-1670.