Here at Green Willow Homestead we have 40 chicken mouths to feed (and counting!). Our chickens are definitely spoiled. We allow them access to pasture, they freely browse a MOSA certified Organic Chicken Feed, and we give them all our chicken-approved kitchen scraps. When I started to keep track of our expenses though, reality smacked me right in the face. We were spending nearly $175 a month on organic chicken feed! With 40 laying hens producing 3 dozen eggs a day, we technically can rake in $450 a month in egg sales, unfortunately, in the winter this just isn’t the case. Egg laying slows way down as we lose daylight, but the amount these cluckers eat stays the same. I had to put my thinking cap on. How can I cut my feed costs when egg laying can’t foot the bill? Enter a food waste recovery program!
To put it simply, a food waste recovery program is when you partner with a local business that produces food waste, i.e. a restaurant or food shelf, to collect what would otherwise go to a landfill and, instead, compost it or feed it livestock. This partnership can be set up however you want it to: you can volunteer for food waste, you can barter for it, or you can just take it off their hands no questions asked. There are two types of food waste in the restaurant business: pre-plate food waste, which is all the prep scraps that comes before food hits the plate; and post-plate food waste, which is what the customer leaves behind instead of bringing it home as leftovers. Both of these options can be recovered in a food waste recovery program.
In this blog post I’m going to take you through why food waste recovery is necessary, how we got started doing it at Green Willow Homestead, and what equipment you need for successful implementation.
In my last post we talked about the biggest toxic offenders lurking in your kitchen cleaning supplies. In this post we are going to go over the cheap and effective toxin-free cleaners you can utilize instead. After spending years with generic cleaning brands, the switch can be a little bumpy.
Most importantly, you will have to adjust your expectations when it comes to how things smell. With both DIY and Conscious-Consumer-approved cleaning agents, there is no manufactured fragrance that sends the immediate signal to our senses that something is “clean.” Vinegar is the major stopgap for newbie toxin-free advocates. Vinegar has a very acidic smell that can be a bit jarring at first, but keep in mind the smell fades after just five minutes and there is no toxic fall-out for your body involved. Mixing essential oils like peppermint and lavender into vinegar cleaning solutions can leave spaces smelling lovely after the initial vinegar smell has faded. My own personal favorite essential oil mixes are listed below with the DIY options, but feel free to experiment with essential oils and find a combination your own nostrils love.
I grew up with familiar names like Windex and Dawn in our cleaning supplies at home. These brands and many others are ones we’ve trusted to keep our kitchens clean and sparkling for decades. Unfortunately, the trust we have placed in these brands has been taken advantage of. Household brand names in our cleaning supplies are full of toxic chemicals and the findings only keep mounting. From heightened risk of miscarriage to developmental delays to cancer, nearly all of our common cleaning supplies are wrought with problematic ingredients that have dire consequences. I want to take you through the biggest offenders to give you a snapshot of what you are up against when you clean your home. In my next post, I’ll provide you with some easy toxin-free DIY or Conscious Consumer approved alternatives.
Thanks for stopping by Green Willow Homestead! From chicken rearing to orchard planting, we've got our hands full and we love sharing what we've learned along the way. Follow along as we strive to live a toxin-free life and turn these five acres from just property to a fully functioning small-scale homestead.
1. Joe Salatin
2. Rachel Carson
3. Wendell Berry
4. Temple Grandin
5. Sustainable Dish
6. Zero Waste Home
7. Allan Savory
Favorite Books of 2018
2. Bringing it to the Table
3. Holistic Management
4. The Small Scale Poultry Flock
5. In The Company of Women