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Dumpster Diving for Livestock Food

 
                              
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I've always heard that its okay to feed your animals fruits, veggies and breads from a dumpster, as long as the stuff wasn't moldy. Makes sense to me, but what do the rest of you think? Anyone with experience?

I'm thinking chickens, rabbits, pigs here.

Leigh
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Lots of famous urban pig farmers have written about doing this.  The second story mentions the possibility of talking to the owner of the dumpster about taking feed off of their hands; this is less legally/financially problematic than giving human food that would've been thrown away.

http://cricketbread.com/blog/2009/06/18/explaining-to-kids-why-you-just-jumped-out-of-a-dumpster/

http://francesdinkelspiel.blogspot.com/2009/06/dumpster-diving-in-berkeley.html
 
Leah Sattler
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I purchased day old bread for 5$ for a truckload for our pigs. I have also heard of people taking all the old produce from groceries that would otherwise have been thrown away, although it is getting more difficult to find a business willing to do this because of litigation. I was really dissapointed to find out our local grocery would rather dump day old milk down the drain then sell it to me. what a waste.
 
                              
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Yeah I just got through reading that book, I borrowed it from a friend.  Its pretty good. I'm not sure I'd want to put that much hard work into a piece of land I dont even hold a lease on-like planting trees-but hey, whatever works.

'Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer' Novella Carpenter, NY Penquin Press 2009

Leigh
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Leah: have you offered to sign a waiver?

I'm saddened whenever I think of how much milk is thrown away.  And how many of the dairymen near where I grew up are sending their entire herds to slaughter.  And still they're pushing RBGH.
 
Leah Sattler
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I didnt' specifically offer to sign a waiver. I had inquired at several stores near our old house also. one person told me it was because people were getting it for themselves and that they couldn't gaurantee that it wasn't going for human consumption. even the bread I bought all had the bags sliced open to make it was stale and nasty.  this was their strategy for  preventing people from buying it for human consumption. I was told by one place that the wholesaler picked up the old milk. so I called them and was told they have a deal with a large hog operation. there must be some way to do it. I suppose that for a little guy (or gal ) it is just too much trouble to jump through the hoops. I think  the best bet would be to develop a relationship with a restaraunt or grocery owner. I bet if I actually knew them on a personal level they would help me out.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Don't forget small bakeries & breweries!  I think even coffee grounds have some feed value: they're quite oily.
 
Ute Chook
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Hi,
There is a fruit & veg stall in the nearest town that bags up their bruised stuff, carrot tops, misshapen potatoes etc and leaves it beside the trailer until they finish up for the day and I know I'm not only the only one to take it off their hands every time I go into town. They are glad to get rid of it. Half of it might be waste as it's inedible or mouldy (>>compost) but there's always something in there for the chucks. Just this morning my birds got mashed potatoes mixed with out of date oatmeal free from another shop; yesterday they got cabbage, lettuce, pears and apples.

Last week I had a gigantic box full of apples from another place. The top two layers were quite bruised and some were moldy but they clearly failed to check the bottom three layers - 2 big buckets full of absolutely perfect apples which I shared with a friend for her horses. It's amazing what gets thrown out sometimes!

Until last year, we also got a few pounds of fresh fish waste from a fishmonger in town every time we went in (unfortunately it closed); boiled up and dried off with bran it made perfect chicken food full of protein; 't was also handy for baiting mink traps.

A friend of mine works in a visitor centre with a cafe and always takes home the left over buns and such for their chickens and ducks.
It's invariably the small places that let you do this as it is illegal,  so they kind of have to know you. The odd box of free range eggs in return helps too...

chook-in-eire

 
                    
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sounds like a great idea,  got a dumpster to dive into? It is illegal here. They will call the police if caught. serious.
 
Leah Sattler
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I think few people would literally crawl into dumpsters to get food. the idea is to take food that is fine for animal consumption that would otherwise be thrown away. preferable making a deal before hand with the owner of the establishment. someone told me once that they had a pizza restaurant in the family and they raised pigs on leftover pizza. 
 
                    
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different states may have different rulings, and I guess it helps to have "connections" . I did not mean to jump into a dumpster, I even asked the manager of a store about getting "old bread and veggies" and she said they are not allowed.  I have noticed that the big restaurants around here have something like a kennel around their dumpsters with padlocks. You can not even get near them.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Elfriede B wrote:
I even asked the manager of a store


The three places that I've heard such an arrangement working well:

1. very bad neighborhoods, where the police have higher priorities/don't feel safe there

2. businesses where the proprietor is sympathetic some combination of the following: willing to take a risk, well-connected enough to get away with it, or savvy enough to maintain plausible deniability

3. cities with a popular movement, where some dumpsters are popular enough that people cooperate on e.g. lookout duty

A manager probably isn't the person to ask...a stock clerk or a proprietor would probably get better results.
 
                    
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You mean you were successful in getting permission to "dumpster dive"? 
If a place of business is owner operated I might see a possibility, but it is nothing but big chains, the employees are not risking making trouble for themselves if it is against the law.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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There's a bakery in Berkeley where my friends and neighbors used to dumpster dive years agi, which I recently read about in a book on urban farming (Farm City, by Novella Carpenter...a fair portion of that book is about this topic, she raised two hogs on dumpster food).  It went the "plausible deniability" route early this decade, but seems to have, since, tried and failed to crack down.  Unless the book has dramatized things or my neighbors downplayed them.

The aforementioned book talks about an arrangement with a gourmet restaurant with Alice Waters politics.  It doesn't discuss the two degrees of separation (Ms. Carpenter studied under Michael Pollan, who has worked closely with the mentor of that restaurant owner), but it could be that professional networking had as much to do with getting that arrangement to work as shared values.

I've never done this myself.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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