Repurposing the vegetables reduces waste, Melvin Burns said
By Diego Flammini
A Cooks Brook, N.S. farmer is helping reduce waste by feeding discarded vegetables to his livestock.
Melvin Burns, a livestock producer at Moo Nay Farms, feeds his pigs pumpkins and other vegetables that were originally destined for composting. Burns also has cows and goats on the farm.
He came up with the three years ago idea while working off farm.
“I’m a welder and machinist by trade,” he told Farms.com. “The company I work for was working in landfills and compost plants, so I knew there was a lot of food waste. I’m just trying to figure out how to find another use for that food.”
He posted a Facebook message asking people with used jack-o-lanterns to drop them off at the farm. Interest in Burns’s idea has increased, and local families are collecting pumpkins for him.
The Jannex family, for example, collected about 1,000 pumpkins at their home for Burns to pick up.
Grocery stores and farmers markets have also started to donate old vegetables to the farm.
The initiative has become into a community effort, Burns said.
“It’s a nice way to bring everyone together,” he said. “I know young kids have fun with the pumpkins, and they like to know that (the pumpkins) are going to farm animals.”
For the pigs, the pumpkins and other vegetables are more of a treat than anything else.
If Burns is raising the pigs for meat, he’ll have to supplement their diet, said Dr. Vicente Zamora, a swine nutritionist with Gowans Feed Consulting.
“The pumpkins will give them more energy and I’m sure they like it, but it isn’t a complete feed for them,” he told Farms.com. “The pigs will grow, but they might not build any mass for meat requirements.”
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