Is it really trash?

Posted: May 17, 2011 by hopejoyandfaithfarm in Kitchen, preparedness, Uncategorized

First off, I hope no one takes this post wrong, I am not dumpster diving for food.  Money is tight, but we have plenty to eat.

I pick up buckets from a couple local restaurants and our local food bank calls me when they have food they cannot get rid of.  The buckets from the restaurants go to our chickens.  They love it, and since I give it to them on the same day the restaurants scrape the plates, its is fresh.  It helps stretch my livestock feed a little bit longer and it helps save the restaurants money on their dumpster costs.  I always feed it to the chickens early in the day to ensure it gets cleaned up and there aren’t scraps laying around to attract raccoons and skunks.

The food bank gives me boxes that contain old bagged salad mixes, mushrooms, bread, etc.  Lately I’ve gotten a lot of mangos and the sheep and mini-horse are thrilled to get a few of them as treats.  The other day I got a huge box of bananas, some of which went to the pigs.  Mushy bananas equal happy pigs.  However, some of the bananas were still in really good shape.  So, I froze some for banana bread and put some in the food dehydrator.  Another day, there were a whole bunch of onions that weren’t even beginning to be soft.  I dried those as well.    There are occasionally carrots and pears that are in good shape too. If the citrus is in good shape I juice it and freeze the juice.  I came home the other day with 5-6 boxes of fruits and vegetables, equaling out to 3 days of fresh goodies for the chickens.  When the food bank calls, even if I wasn’t planning a trip to town, I go to pick up what ever they have.  It helps them a lot with not having to throw the food away.  I spend time sorting them, taking out what I know the chickens won’t eat (citrus fruits, peppers, onions) and sorting out anything that I can use as a special treat for the sheep and piggies (training tools).   I compost what can’t be fed to the critters, so nothing goes to waste.

A lot of times, the lady who runs the food bank calls me for special things.  One day, she had an overflow of red, yellow and white potatoes (like 4 fifty pound boxes).  She called me and I said “yep, I’ll take them”.  I split them up into a bunch of bags and gave them to friends and neighbors who I knew would use them.  Then, I took my share and started dehydrating them.  Now, I have quite a bit of dehydrated potatoes to use in my pantry.   Today when I stopped to pick up a whole bunch of wax and green beans (slightly freezer burnt, but the chickens will enjoy them) she gave me a case of white corn-on-the-cob that was nice and fresh, telling me to enjoy! So, I’ll be cleaning and freezing corn the next couple days.

When my husband sees me dehydrating onions or freezing bananas, he calls it scavenging.  He really doesn’t even understand why I’m willing to pick up the scraps to feed to the critters.  On the other hand, I see it as being resourceful and frugal.  The amount of waste I see from the food bank is sad.  Part of the problem is that people who get food from the food bank either A: can’t use the fresh food because of their living situation (homeless, no stove, etc) or B: don’t want to take the time to prepare it  or C: Don’t know how to prepare it (schools don’t have home-economics classes, families don’t know how to cook anymore).   Another problem is that too often the donated food is donated when it is past the point of no return.  I wish that the stores would pull it from their shelves a bit sooner

Anyhow, yes, the food banks consider it trash, and while this is maybe a bit off of the whole “girls gone trashy”, it does contribute to my preparedness and frugal lifestyle.  If you have food banks in your town, find out what they do with their discarded items.  Maybe you can help them out and help yourself at the same time.

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Comments
  1. Jackie says:

    I’m sorry your husband doesn’t realize what a wize thing you’re doing. You’re not only stretching your food dollar but saving money on feeding the animals.

  2. Lisa says:

    You are doing an amazing thing here…I am going to see how I can cut my feed bill down for my critters by doing the same thing!
    It is so sad that no one knows how to prepare fresh food any more…or put by so they can plan ahead…our country has really been going down hill in this department…I salute you on your frugal ways!

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