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Composting 30,000lbs of Food Waste -Ashley's Crazy Business and Homestead

 
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Hey Jay, no I hand't heard of them! That's awesome! I actually just talked to a local gardener who would be interested in me selling her extras at market. I think it will be a collective of local gardeners as there are no farmers selling produce in the area.... or maybe there could be in the future?

Yes Thomas, the idea is that it starts in the covered space and get moved down by chickens and hand turning. I find if I don't hand turn it that it becomes anaerobic. I'm trying to add way more wood chips as well. What you cant really see is the slight slope n the land; the deck is the high point and runs down to the fence so if I didn't put the logs in it just get piled against the fence. It's my version of edible acres system. Next winter I'm going to build a greenhouse and compost in there.

Someone just introduced to the concept of running perforated pipes under the compost to help aeration. That will be a Spring addition for sure..
 
Ashley Cottonwood
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Things are moving slowly here with the change in season.

Still working on getting a good sprouting routine. Also battling having mold in my sprouting trays.

An update though: I've had a huge demand for more books from Paul and Shawn! I'm getting an order in from Shawn for Christmas to sell. I'll let ya'll know how sales go!


 
Ashley Cottonwood
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My book order is here!
I already sold 6 copies and I have friends selling them for me at an upcoming Christmas market as part of their "Zero Waste" pop-up stand.
 
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i have really enjoyed this thread.
Currently I  have passed your 30,000lbs in the last 6 years total. Now I am doing about 500lbs in 4 pickup dates (or 20 'five' gallon buckets) from 2 restaurants making 1,400 meals weekly.
Questions:
1. how many meals are your restaurants doing?
2. Have you considered a hybridized or in tandem vermiculture system?
3. Are you doing both pre and post consumer compostables from the restaurant? and if so, are the consumers gleaning the trash out of it first?

i want to start a program in a local university restaurant that does 60,000 meals/weekly. They are paying a pretty penny to a service carting offsite over 8 miles away and have the space within 750yds.
 
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Ashley, you mentioned you were having problems with mold in your sprouts? There’s this channel in YouTube that I follow; Hydroponic gardening and more with Brent https://www.youtube.com/user/C3Voyage He grows without medium and has a high intensity yield.
 
Ashley Cottonwood
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It's been a crazy finish to 2019 but I'm still going strong. Composting about 600 lbs of food waste despite snow storms and cold temps.

Here is a quick summary of my projects accomplishments:



I will post an update on my chicken feed/fermentation/sprouting process when I'm not working 7 days a week :)

Happy New Year!
 
Ashley Cottonwood
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Response to Pat:

That's amazing! Would love to hear more about what you're doing.

Answers to your questions:
1. how many meals are your restaurants doing? -->  Not sure. Typically they provide two serving times (ie lunch and dinner or breakfast and lunch) I doubt it would come close to those numbers.
2. Have you considered a hybridized or in tandem vermiculture system? --> Yes as I find the soil quality high using vermiculture but not sure how to combine with poultry.
3. Are you doing both pre and post consumer compostables from the restaurant? and if so, are the consumers gleaning the trash out of it first? --> Not really, just non-bleach paper towel. I have been unable to process them using my system.

Response to Vanessa:

Thanks for the link!
 
Ashley Cottonwood
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Wow, I've already a busy start to the new year.

Currently is a high of -20C/-4F with 95km/60mile per hour winds gusts.

Our coop is located directly against our home. It is sheltered on 2 sides by our house and the other two sides by our 8ft hedge. We still had issues with blowing snow last season so this fall we tried to fill the cracks between the side of the house on the roof of the coop. Apparently it still didn't work...



I've filled the bottom of the coop with 12" of fresh bedding to help with the blowing snow. I have a heat lamp on and have been bringing them lots of high calorie treats; however, they are currently locked up 24 hours a day. Coop is spacious enough that it hasn't been an issue. Previous experience has told me if I let them out they wander, get cold, hunker down, and get frost bite. I only use the heat lamp when it dips down below -18C at night, currently it's been on for 2 days straight.



I've been making "chicken sink soup". Any veggies I have in the fridge that are turning a throw in a pot with some grains and garlic.  
 
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What an awesome encouraging and interesting business idea! I wish I could get ANY business to pay me to take scraps! They will sometimes give them to me, but it can be a hassle. A lot of people in the area raise pigs and chickens, so there is competition for scraps. The grocery store (Kroger) who touts ‘zero waste initiatives’ on their website will not separate produce waste for me even if I pick it up at no charge.
I would vote for a ramp, much as I love my crane rig for loading some things. A ramp is easy to construct, useful for many many things, and you already have wheeled carts. 70 lbs is not much to pull up a ramp. The ramp can be stored under or on the side of the truck bed. Using a crane to lift bins one at a time is slow. A better option, as has been mentioned, may be a small, low to the ground trailer. Usually can be bought for a couple hundred $ used.
Neat you are doing school presentations! I have tried to talk a couple schools into doing composting/gardening, but not much luck. Even offered to build a greenhouse if they bought the materials. Drives me crazy seeing so much land go to waste, not to mention cafeteria waste getting landfilled. One school does raise sheep, which is interesting, but they have a heavy 4h program.
Hope you have amazing success!
 
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Julie Reed wrote:The grocery store (Kroger) who touts ‘zero waste initiatives’ on their website will not separate produce waste for me even if I pick it up at no charge.



ALDI is that way around here.  Advertise being "green" and recycling, but I know what they throw out.  I know that they are better than other stores in some regards... but I still get frustrated when I ask and the answer is a flat "no"  Most likely liability concerns.
 
Julie Reed
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“ ALDI is that way“

Yup. I lived near one on the east coast, and friends of ours used to load a pickup truck bed FULL of bagged bread from the ALDI dumpster once a week to feed pigs. They had to time it when they knew the manager wouldn’t catch them and have them charged with trespassing. Many times they pulled other edibles from the dumpster, like full unopened crates of bananas or peppers. This is ALDI, a streamlined efficient operation by their own definition. Multiply that example, from a small (6000sf) store by every similar grocer. The amount of food waste in this country is mind boggling. Even though I can’t get produce waste locally, I’m at least happy that in some cases it’s because others are getting it to feed livestock.
 
Ashley Cottonwood
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The province of BC just passed a law to help with the issues of liability. A business can not be sued for donating food if it is still considered edible. It takes the pressure of the business and food recovery services have seen a drastic spike in donations because of it!
 
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I have no idea if this is of interest but....
As a kid back in England we lived next to a shop that sold fishing tackle and maggots for bait. Outside the store were trash cans clearly marked "Paper only, glass only" etc.
One day I heard the owner complaining that some of his customers could not read and they had emptied the remains of their last maggot purchase, many now chrysalis, into the paper trashcan.
That trashcan was filled with maggots, and I mean filled.
I have often thought of conducting an experiment to see if flies can lay their eggs on a few food scraps in a bin of newspapers which will then hatch into maggots and consume all the old newspaper. And you know how much chickens love to eat wriggly things.
Paper to chicken feed is about as good as it could get for recycling.
 
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