The Power of Pigs to Reduce Food Waste

Reducing Hunger, Reducing Waste

Blanchet House’s meal program increases equitable access to nutritious food while maintaining a low food waste kitchen thanks to a few very hungry pigs at Blanchet Farm. The pigs help to reduce food waste. We’re able to do this by collecting surplus good food from local grocery stores, restaurants, and wholesalers. We keep valuable food from going to waste and get it to people who need it. The rescued ingredients are prepared into meals and shared with peer organizations and mutual aid groups. Sharing food with peer groups increases access to marginalized individuals who have difficulty connecting to healthy meals.

About the Food Recovery and Waste Reduction Program

  • Rescue surplus good food and get it to people who need it.
  • Protect the environment by keeping food and compost out of landfills.
  • Offer people the opportunity to care for pigs as they build sobriety.

Behind the Scenes

Every day our driver picks up surplus food from local grocery stores, wholesalers, and caterers. Our chefs inspect every item for freshness, determine what they can use or store, then contact peer aid groups to share excess items. Anything that is unfit for human consumption goes to the compost bin.

During meal preparation for the three daily services, staff place food scraps in marked bins for the animals at Blanchet Farm. All leftovers are also knocked from guests’ plates into the bins. This food waste becomes animal feed for pigs and goats. A couple of local farmers also come to Blanchet House to collect food scraps for their animals.

The alternative would be 63 tons of good food and compost going into local landfills each year.

Pigs Change Lives

In 1962, the founders of Blanchet House saw a need for a peaceful respite outside the city for people struggling with addiction. They converted a prune farm into a therapeutic recovery program centered around meaningful restorative work. People live at Blanchet Farm for up to nine months while practicing animal husbandry, vegetable gardening, fine woodworking, beekeeping, and cooking surrounded by peaceful natural beauty. There is usually a waitlist to stay at the farm as it is the only option for so many low-income and formerly homeless men who’ve tried traditional recovery.

After serving two tours in Afghanistan, Lindsey was diagnosed with PTSD which lead him to abuse drugs. He tried traditional recovery programs but continued to relapse. He came to live at Blanchet Farm on the recommendation of a friend.

“The solitude and working with animals has really helped me. I go down to the pigs and think, ‘What do they need right now?'” It makes me feel really good. I get to show some love and feel some love without having the stress of ‘Oh, did I do it right,'” he says.

Read more about Lindsey.

Pigs Reduce Food Waste: The Rewards

Reduce imprint on the environment while serving those in most need.

  • Provides valuable service to businesses by giving them a place to donate surplus fresh food before it goes to waste and get it to people who need it.
  • Provides food to share with peer aid groups.
  • Feeding food scraps to animals stops them from going to a landfill where methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas is generated.
  • Food scraps as animal feed preserve valuable resources, such as fresh water and arable land, since less purchased feed is needed.