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A reciprocal food arrangement - all in the math

 
Isaiah Ari Mattathias
Posts: 80
Location: Oregon
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I have an idea but am not sure how to make it work. I'm wondering if anyone has done anything similar.
While I find some places will willingly allow for scraps to be picked up as it saved them time, labor and indirectly, money. However a few other local restaurants seem to have a "what's in it for me" type of attitude, which I suppose if only fair (although we're talking about scraps that are just being thrown out). So I got to thinking. I'm turning bread, fruit and veggies scraps into quality pork. While the pigs eat a lot of grass and grubs, the bread/veggies/fruit are making a contribution, but how much? The kitchen or bakery wants incentive, and they also need USDA certified pork products for breakfast sandwiches etc. Is there a way to work together and still make a profit? I guess what I need to consider is:

How much are four 5-gallon buckets worth of bread/bagels per week really worth in the realm of pork production?
How much is my time worth to prepare and feed this to the pigs?
How much would be a fair amount to award in pork?
Maybe it won't work, or maybe it could.. Maybe even a reduced rate on local, pasture raised pork supplemented "with our restaurants very own scraps" could turn into a win-win? Free (quality) scraps for the pigs, reduced feed cost for me, still some profit, reduced cost for the restaurant, a win-win? Maybe this could even be encouragement to not waste food, and to sort meats from veggies during prep. A good quantity of quality fruit/veggie/noodles/breads for example could result in x lbs of pork.. Has anyone considered this?

 
Dave Burton
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The closest thing I found to what your idea was this trade of CropMobster- a community exchange dedicated to feeding everyone. A similar organization tries to free public food foraging and is called Falling Fruit. The Department of Environmental Quality is also catching on to more progressive ideals like this as demonstrated in their essay on Best Management of Discarded Food Scraps. Lastly, and most interestingly of all, there is a new idea called culinary upcycling which expands the usages of "waste food".

I think your idea would work, and your negotiation skills are very good. Also, disposal of wastes costs money which can be a monetary incentive to let you handle their discarded food. In some locales, there have strict laws regulating how long food can be sold for after it has been made. Just be creative; I am sure a deal could be worked out. Best wishes to you, and please give us an update as events unfold!
 
R Scott
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I would not want to pay them, on principle, unless they contracted a guaranteed amount and length of contract with significant early termination penalties. The ones that are the most "what's in it for me?" are usually the fastest to dump you without warning.

I would have to figure out what their scraps were worth in carb/fat/protein vs. an equivalent feed ration (organic if they are organic, conventional otherwise). Not just pounds--but actual calories and their conversion efficiency. Then I would have to figure my time and expense for dealing with the restaurant. You can't afford to stop (even if it is on your way) for just a bucket's worth, unless you are on a bike. We are talking a full dumpster worth to be worth a trip in the truck.
 
wayne fajkus
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I would probably go a different rout and use salesmanship to convince the " what's in it for me " guy to let you have the waste. Maybe there's an owner above the gut you talked to. I'd hate to have a reputation as an owner to throw something out when it could be used somewhere downstream. Lowering his wastes would be something for him. It would make him responsible and an upstanding citizen.
 
Angelika Maier
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This was done in the past. Actually I worked at a restaurant and they said that some years ago an old farmer picked up the scraps. The thing is that it does not fit with industrial farming methods as the sows don't grow that fast.
The restaurants will give you the scraps because they pay for the disposal and it is expensive. You ask greengrocers as well.
I think the most important thing is that you are reliable and pick the scraps up every day at a given time. Maybe you have to provide a bin for them.
Asl bakeries and food factories too.
I would start by raising a pig for my own and then go from that.
Our greengrocer has bin outside and people pass and pick for their animals.
 
Cj Sloane
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Isaiah Ari Mattathias wrote:The kitchen or bakery wants incentive, and they also need USDA certified pork products for breakfast sandwiches etc.


It is my understanding that if you get waste products from a restaurant kitchen, you technically can't sell the resulting pork to the public.

The incentive for the restaurant to give you their waste products is that the don't have to pay to dispose of it, and if they have any green bent - to know that it's not being waste by putting in a landfill.
 
Amos Burkey
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Cj Verde wrote:
Isaiah Ari Mattathias wrote:The kitchen or bakery wants incentive, and they also need USDA certified pork products for breakfast sandwiches etc.


It is my understanding that if you get waste products from a restaurant kitchen, you technically can't sell the resulting pork to the public.

....

It appears that states regulate any waste food products used as animal feed when they do not contain animal products. Check with your local extension office. If they do contain animal products, it may be regulated by the feds.
Here is what the EPA says.... [Link]
 
Isaiah Ari Mattathias
Posts: 80
Location: Oregon
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Thanks for your replies. I'll be researching/studying these links and mining my brain cycles for more ideas. Luckily we have some great extensions nearby.. The regulatory aspects do concern me, I didn't know there was such a risk that it would be potentially detrimental to animals or food system. I will look into this more. I should clarify that by scraps I mean quality scraps such as only pre-consumer things used in preparation. Think juice bar for example. When I pick up from the juice bar, the scraps are still cold. It will be interesting to see if things like apples fallen from a tree are also regulated, as they are so abundant this time of year and many people see them as a nuisance and give them away happily. Aside from pigs, this is great for compost, worm beds etc..

The BIG question is, what are scraps worth? I just don't have the experience to quantify what, say 200lbs of apples or 1.5 racks of bakery bread are worth in terms of nutrition/meat for pigs.. If time and logistics are planned correctly, 200lbs of apples could be picked up on a 1hr lunch break easy.

Here's where I'm going with all of this. I don't have time to do pickups on my own (farm, kids, work etc), but there's definitely a need for highs school/college people in every zip code to earn some extra $, my animals and soils need good quality food (that means no spray), people and restaurants need to rid of "waste" and save money, and we can do something that promotes positivism and permaculture while even marketing good pork (have to research regulations still).

With a little technology, I could have kids needing some spare change picking up apples and dropping off at a rendezvous point twice a week (all in a 10 mile radius). Assigned tasks by zip code, paid .50/mile plus x amount per pickup. But the pay is based on the nutrition of the apples to the pigs, that's the hard part. Any ideas here?
 
Cj Sloane
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Several thoughts...
Feed conversion efficiency (FCE) for pigs is is 3-4:1
That's live weight of course. You loose about 50% slaughtering and butchering. Theoretically 8 lbs of apples would give you 1 lb of finished pork but 8 lbs of apples ≠ 8 lbs of hazelnuts.

I can buy 50 lbs of local dried corn for $6.50.
A pickup truck of apple drops from an orchard can be anywhere from $30 to 0 depending on the source.

2 wild apple trees on my road provided me with 700lbs of apples last fall. I stopped and picked them after driving my kids to school and got 1 or 2 5 gallon pails worth at a time. I divided them up among all the livestock: cows, sheep, turkeys, pigs, chickens.

It was worth my time to pick 'em but I'm not sure it'd be worth it to pay for it. I'm not sure what the equivalent of fresh apples is to dried corn but I'd guess 200 lbs of apples would = 50 lbs dried corn ($6.50) so that gives you some starting point anyway.
 
Isaiah Ari Mattathias
Posts: 80
Location: Oregon
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Cj Verde wrote:Several thoughts...
Feed conversion efficiency (FCE) for pigs is is 3-4:1
[/b]


Feed conversion efficiency, EXACTLY what I'm looking for. Thank you!
 
Peter Ellis
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Location: Central New Jersey
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Let me just check my understanding here - you are not only looking at offering some sort of compensation to the source of the scraps, but at having a third party involved doing the collection and delivery to you, who is also going to need compensation?

If I understood correctly, then you are looking at what is currently a resource with its only cost elements being the time and fuel of the farmer collecting the scraps, and adding to that two additional expenses. The relationship with the resource provider probably does not get you into any regulated areas by virtue of paying for it (the issue of what you can do with animals that have been fed "garbage" is another issue), and you can probably negotiate any rate at all without it being a problem.

The people making the pickups and deliveries are a different matter. If you are paying them as employees, you run into minimum wage and all sorts of other regulations about employing people.
If they're contractors working for themselves, but picking up and delivering on your terms on contracts you negotiate with the resource providers - then they probably are not going to qualify as independent contractors if any regulatory agency looks at the operation. If they're the ones negotiating the contract with the resource provider, and then negotiating with you, well, they're independent and you're kind of stuck at their mercy. They may decide in a week it isn't worth their time and you're back to zero, possibly worse, because the resource providers got expectations from the deals they worked out with the now gone contractor. They may drop you to do business with another farmer who will give them a better rate. They are, in essence, competing with you for those resources that previously were available to you for no more than the cost of your time and fuel.

I cannot see how this plan works out to the benefit of the farmer.
 
Dana Jones
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I watched a segment on the TV show Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe, it was about a pig farmer outside of Las Vegas. Everyday, the farmer collected the buffet food waste from the casinos. He had a huge cooker that he had to cook the food in to kill any germs, virus or bacteria in because some human diseases are transmissible to pigs and vice versa. Then he pumped it into a tanker truck and pumped the slop into the troughs. Point being, it had to be heated to a certain temperature to satisfy food safety laws before being fed to the pigs.
 
Andrea Wiley
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I don't have any direct experience with this, but math wise I figure on spending one dollar per finished pig lb in weight. So looking at the feed conversion rate above, 8 lbs scraps may be worth one dollar. I say May because of nutritional quality.
So I'd scrap mileage and other ideas of compensation and make it a flat rate per pound. I would leave the solicitation up to them so you are not spending your time on it either.
 
Keith Murphy
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Location: NE Tennessee
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The feed conversion is, as stated, 3 to 4 pounds of feed to one pound of weight gain. Other than rabbits its one of the best conversion ratios in animals. However, that is with high quality feed of around 12% protein or more. Commerical starter/grower feed is 16% protein for example. With the kind of food you all are discussing you aren't going to have that kind of growth rate. I snagged a small trailer load of pumpkins last year after halloween. The pigs loved them. I had a 400 pound sow who would eat a 30 pound pumpkin and be looking around for more. While good for her (the seeds for example are a natural dewormer) it wasn't causing her to gain 7 pounds of weight. I believe a pumpkin is essentially carbs but regardless of its actual composition it's very little protein which is what drives the growth factor.


Anyways, I would be hesitant about getting food for my pigs from a place where I don't know much about the food. I don't like feeding my hogs. Even apples from trees I don't own (or know about). Pesticides and herbicides on the fruit is no more good for them than it would be for you.

Just my two cents!

Keith
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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