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bought compost worse than none at all?  RSS feed

 
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Location: Fennville MI
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Chad Sentman wrote:I don't know much of anything about herbicides, but I've heard plenty of warnings against bringing any sort of resources from off-site.

I've been implementing some of the methods I've picked up from Karl Hammer regarding feeding my chickens with compost, and I'm curious what sort of things I should watch out for when sourcing food waste from restaurants or grocery stores.

I very much like the idea of eliminating waste from the waste stream by putting it to use, and while I don't want to be cavalier about it, my general thinking is that if it is fit for human consumption, it is also fit for chicken consumption, which is also fit for the soil.

Am I way off here? I know other people (whom I deeply respect) who also import food waste or vegetable scraps as animal feed or for composting, but I'm starting to wonder if I could be shooting myself in the foot.

How can I know, what should I watch out for, or should this practice be altogether abandoned?

A detailed response would be appreciated.



Opinions vary. Mine runs along these lines: If I am importing from offsite, do I know where the import was sourced originally? For example, if I were bringing loads of plant material from restaurants and grocery stores, without knowing where they were grown, I might not want to do that. But if I knew the waste had been grown organically, I would be more comfortable with it. If it were manure, as another example, I would want to know whether the animals were treated with dewormers or antibiotics or hormones... If they were treated, then I don't want that manure.

And then there's the matter of some persistent herbicides that are making it from feed through horses' digestive tracts and are still active in the manure some time later

In my opinion the last one is both the greatest hazard and the least likely to be identified reliably.

Many of the things that might be of some concern are neutralized through decomposition. Some, not so much.

Here is a question that may help with perspective: Are the people you know that are concerened about external imports purchasing feed for livestock?
 
Peter Ellis
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Location: Fennville MI
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Chad Sentman wrote:I don't know much of anything about herbicides, but I've heard plenty of warnings against bringing any sort of resources from off-site.

I've been implementing some of the methods I've picked up from Karl Hammer regarding feeding my chickens with compost, and I'm curious what sort of things I should watch out for when sourcing food waste from restaurants or grocery stores.

I very much like the idea of eliminating waste from the waste stream by putting it to use, and while I don't want to be cavalier about it, my general thinking is that if it is fit for human consumption, it is also fit for chicken consumption, which is also fit for the soil.

Am I way off here? I know other people (whom I deeply respect) who also import food waste or vegetable scraps as animal feed or for composting, but I'm starting to wonder if I could be shooting myself in the foot.

How can I know, what should I watch out for, or should this practice be altogether abandoned?

A detailed response would be appreciated.



As a sort of perspective, consider that the FDA is ok with a practice of spraying wheat crops with glyphosate at harvest (i think it is supposed to help with ripening?) and there is nothing I am aware of in terms of requirement for washing it off before it gets processed into flour and so on. I forget what the permissible concentration of glyphosate in human food products is, but the official stance is that the stuff is not toxic to humans.

In other words, what is legal to produce for human consumption and what is "fit" for human consumption might not match up all that well.
We all have our own parameters of what is acceptable risk, and I think the best we can do is try to be informed so as to have a reasonable idea of what the risks are, and then draw our lines.

For me, with what I understand, I don't want to go collecting manure from the local stables, because I have seen too much evidence about persistent herbiicides coming right through the horse! On the other hand, I am less concerned about collecting vegetable scraps from the grocery store or restaurants, despite the possibility of those same herbicides being present. Why? Because the horse manure concentrates the herbicide from hundreds of pounds of feed, while I am unlikely to collect anything close to a comparable volume of scraps. The risk is still there, but I see it as reduced enough to be acceptable - to me.
 
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