Lessons in Food, Water, and Waste

Lessons in Food and Waste
Creating chicken and duck feed from weevil-infested rice

This was a day in my renewables camp at Mezzacello this summer. We had covered motors, electricity, solar power, wind power, magnetism and batteries and how they can all be used to create power and resources on an urban farm. We had yet to discuss The lessons in food and waste.

Food and water are renewable resources that most young people ignore or are completely unaware of. How much food gets thrown away because most urban people do not know what else to do with it? This is the power and privilege of an urban farm.

Freaked Out

I would be lying if I told you when I showed these young people bugs in rice that they were not freaked out. Their first response was, “Ew! Throw that away!” But I asked them to calm down and reflect.

When we ere working in the gardens and we found a worm, or a grub, what did we do? They immediately knew they had given them to the chickens and ducks at Mezzacello. They watched as the poultry made quick work out of free protein and fat.

So I asked again, who would eat these without question? The chickens! And what do we use to cook it? Recycled water from the atmosphere!

The Luke Skywalker Effect

Earlier in the week we had built an atmospheric evaporator that turns grey water (From sanitary hand washing stations collection) into fresh water using glass, pressure, sunlight, heat, and a rubber tube than ran down into a sealed bottle. The kids knew we could use this water for this task and that if we wanted to drink it we’d have one more step to sterilization. The bigger question was how did we reuse the soap left over?

They decided to use their “Luke Skywalker ‘vaporator Bonus Water” to prepare a rice, weevil, grub, mealworm and sweet pea treat for the poultry. Why not? We had more than we needed and the tools to do it!

Here is a quick video of them deciding what to do and how to get through it. All power was being generated from solar, wind, and battery reserves. Except for my iPhone, which had its own battery.

How we recycle typically trash food into more resources on an urban farm.

Even I have to admit I was not ready for some of these ideas and answers. We do not know we are ignorant or wrong until we are confronted by it. This is why Mezzacello exists.

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