Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, May 18, 2009

Another reason I love coffee shops

After reading several awesome articles on using scraps from businesses to supplement your chicken operation, both as feed and also use in compost, I decided that it was something I wanted to do. I thought about what I was interested in most, and came to the conclusion that I really want to keep my birds vegetarian fed. That being so, I decided to start asking local businesses what they do with their fruit, vegetable and dairy scraps. Carlisle was a bust, as they were already supplying local farmers, though it was nice in that it meant that I was not necessarily going to get shot down all the time for reasons like the idea being too odd. I moved on the Altoona, where Fareway was pretty rude about the situation, throwing perfectly good fruit scraps away right in front of me as I asked about bringing in covered garbage cans for them to use instead, that I would empty a few times a week. They said the state "frowned upon that sort of thing" and took my name and number to talk to a manager about. I never got a call back, but aim to go back in just to prove a point later, armed with the articles published my waste management groups applauding city vegetable big wigs, like Loffredo produce, for actually having similar programs in place. They actually DELIVER to local farmers, I was going to do the leg work. But, you know...Anyway, I moved on to Coffeehouse Hollander, one of my faves anyway. They were EXCITED to have someone take the coffee grounds (for my gardens) and scraps (for the chickens) off their hands, and glad to know they weren't going to waste. I have talked with the wife of the owner many times now, and am finding friendship there in us both enjoying a natural, country lifestyle. They are always kind and I cannot push their business enough, as they continue to always welcome us, and by us I mean my kids as well, in, are always accommodating my drink splitting tendencies for the kids, plus now are partners in recycling perfectly good foodstuff for the farm. I hit up another great little coffee joint in town there, Being There Coffeehouse. Kara, the owner, was very accommodating as well. Her business is another I love to frequent, and I was excited to have yet another source for my birds and plants to find nourishment. It is comforting to know that people are open to new ideas. It actually helps reduce the amount of waste going out on their part, which should help with the waste pickup costs, and also make them feel good in knowing the waste is not "wasted" but being put back into the earth in a very earth friendly manner. I happened to swing through Des Moines to pick up some free tomato plant extras from Ed Fallon and his wife Lynn, and may have talked them into trying something similar with their city bird set up, possibly asking Gateway Market about their waste food and such. I talked with Smokey Row in Pleasantville, and was kind of upset with the response I got. I think I will be calling the owners to talk with them. The Row is definitely owned and run by very liberal thinkers who try to keep up with the green movement. That being said,I would have thought it a shoe-in to start a setup with them. Rather, the lady working was very cold about the idea, saying that there would be health inspection violations. With covered buckets. Picked up every other day. Because that is different than the uncovered garbage cans I see you using. Right. Then she made off about how she couldn't guarantee anyone would actually put the grounds into the bucket, but I could bring it in and try, and so long as the health inspector doesn't disagree, we would give it a run. Seriously, folks. COVERED BUCKET. If it starts to draw flies (one of her arguments) set it outside. But its covered. And picked up more frequently than your trash is. We'll see what the discussion with the owners goes like, but I was not happy with a coffeehouse I try to give business to because they are local. That is the big news on our chicken front. I am excited,both because it will help with the bird health and my bird budget, but also because it is yet another aid in keeping things healthier, earth-wise for my kids. I am hoping to continue adding business, I just have to keep them within a certain driving distance a on a certain schedule in order to not make it worth my time to make the rounds.


  1. how VERY cool that you are doing this - i lOVE IT! wish more businesses were openminded, but....*sigh*

  2. I do know some coffee houses in town that leave their grounds by the front door for people to take and feed their gardens! I do have a question, if you're animals are vegetarian, does that mean they do not free range on bugs from the ground??

  3. I knew shops would leave grounds a lot. I was more interested in the food scraps, but the grounds are great as well. I never have to buy fertilizer between the chickens, grounds and the llama poo as well. As it turns out, it is already the perfect composition for garden fertilizer, and does not aged like other manure. The llama farms I was reading about actually bag and sell the stuff.
    And my birds, if they choose to eat bugs, I guess they aren't really vegetarians. Actually, once I thought about it, they really do like meat. Between the cannibalism, the bugs, and they will eat any snake or small rodent that jumps out from the lawn mower as well, or tries to hide out in their coop, they aren't. But I try. There are just substantial issues with eating meat that has been eating meat. Most the funky issues out there with animal health can be tracked back to an animal eating other animals, especially the same animals as themselves. A few mice or snakes are not going to hurt the birds, but it makes an animal biblically "unclean" to eat if it has eaten other animals regularly. Not that we live according to OT rules, strictly, but there was a purpose there. So, that is another reason that pastured/grass fed is sooo important if you choose to eat meat (we are big ol' carnivores over here) because if it causes all those problems in the animals, it only makes sense that it will do so in a human as well.
    Sorry for the binge-I just had thoughts coming all spurred by the bug comment, which was very funny :)


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