At the beginning of 2020, we set a goal to have zero food waste at Whispering Horse Farm. (And boy, if there’s ever been a good year to eliminate food waste, turns out this is the year!) We decided to make it a daily goal and see how many days we could go food-waste free out of the 366 days of the year. (It’s leap year, remember?) Food waste is a big problem in our society for a number of reasons – it causes lots of water to be wasted, creates an incredible amount of methane gas in the landfill, and individually wastes money from the household budget.
We got the boys on board with this and set a plan for buying more responsibly, eating more intentionally, and utilizing the chickens and compost bins better for food waste. So far this year, the only food we have thrown away has been: about 1/3 of a carton of yogurt that got shoved to the back of the fridge and forgotten, the remnants of a yogurt sauce I made for fish tacos, and 1 small hunk of cheese (It had mold on it and when I went to cut the mold off, I dropped it in the floor. When I picked it up, it had Esther fur on it, so I decided it was no longer worth the effort to save it). At this point, we have had food waste 2 out of 101 days (the cheese and yogurt were thrown away on the same day). Not too bad.
Giving kitchen scraps to the chickens was easy, but figuring out what to do with the things we weren’t feeding to the hens was a little more challenging. When we first moved to the farm, we tried ‘pit composting’ but apparently didn’t do something right because we ended up with rats out by the compost (way away from the house, thank God). Thankfully Lena the Barn Cat has remedied that situation.
Then, we noticed that our neighbors had an old barrel composter sitting down by their barn that had been there, unused, the entire time we’ve lived next to them. They offered it to us and we started putting the rest of our scraps in there. This has worked great, but we’re now at max capacity and need to give that compost some time to cook, so this week, we’re going to start the project of turning an old, unused trash can into a compost bin. Once we get started, we’ll document the project for you here.
In the meantime, have you ever ‘made’ a compost bin? If so, I’d love to hear how you did it and how it worked for you!