Composting Meat: Can You Compost Meat Scraps?
In the past, many people did not like eating animal flesh because they felt it was cruel or even worse, they didn’t want to eat it. However, nowadays there are so many alternatives available now that one cannot just say no to them. One could easily become vegan if one really wanted to do so.
However, what about those who don’t have time or money for such a thing?
They still want to enjoy their favorite foods but don’t want to go through the trouble of making them from scratch.
What about those who are vegetarian or vegan and simply can’t live without certain things?
For these people, there is another option. If they are willing to take some extra steps towards sustainability, then perhaps they could consider eating animal products with a little bit of effort.
The first step would be to learn more about what goes into the production of meat and dairy products. Many people are surprised when they discover that cows produce milk and sheep and goats produce eggs. They may even be shocked to hear that pigs, chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese all contribute to the world’s food supply. The next step would be to read up on the different types of animals used in livestock farming.
There are several kinds of farm animals such as cattle, hogs, lambs and calves. These animals are grown for their meat and by-products such as milk or eggs. Furthermore, there are also types of aquatic animals that are consumed as well.
The third step would be to familiarize yourself with the different types of animal products. In order to do this, one could either purchase or inquire at a butcher or grocery store. In the later case, it would be a good idea to ask a clerk as opposed to a manager. Depending on one’s location, many people would be surprised to know that the milk and eggs in their local grocery store are produced in large industrial farms.
If one feels so inclined, they could even ask if the store provides these animal by-products.
The fourth step would be to determine whether or not it is possible to raise animals for food on a smaller scale. There are several types of farm animals that could be grown on a smaller scale. For example, lambs and calves could be grown as a source of meat. Pigs could be raised for their meat and their fat (lard).
Chickens are another option for those who would like to raise their own food. These animals are raised for their meat as well as their eggs. In fact, many farmers will typically sell the eggs produced by their hens to help cover some of the costs involved in raising them. Some breeds of fowl are even capable of producing crops such as potatoes or other vegetables.
The fifth step would be to look into the supplies that would be needed to grow these animals. As stated above, many of these animals can be grown on a small scale. For example, someone wishing to raise pigs could build a small pen and outside area for them to play in with the proper research and supplies. The same could be said for lambs or even calves.
As for chickens, they can simply be raised in an enclosed space such as a small house or rely on an outside area. If they are going the outdoor route, then their house will need to be predator-proof.
The sixth and final step would be to ensure that these animals are properly taken care of and prepared for slaughter when the time comes. Raising animals isn’t the easiest thing one can do, but it sure is a great way to ensure that your family will ALWAYS have food on the table. It takes a lot of hard work, research and dedication, but certainly can be done if one is persistent.
Raising farm animals isn’t for everyone, and people have their own reasons for not wanting to do so. Some people feel as though it is cruel to farm animals for food, some feel that it is unnatural and others simply don’t have the room to do so. Whatever the reason, everyone can still take part in keeping their family fed but raising crops or gathering wild plants.
Part Five: Foraging
Foraging is the act of collecting wild edibles. For the most part, wild plants are going to be your main source of food as a forager. There are some key differences between wild edibles and their farm-grown counterparts. First and foremost, foraging doesn’t require the same level of resources that farming does.
While one can till the soil and water their crops, a forager can pick the majority of their foods right out of the ground, or in the case of trees, from the branches.
Another benefit of foraging is that many wild foods are more nutritious than their farmed counterparts. It isn’t unusual for wild foods to contain twice the protein or more than a comparable portion of meat. While some farmed crops contain less calories than their wild alternatives, this isn’t the case for all of them. For example, potatoes grown by a farmer will have fewer calories and less protein than their wild cousin, the sweet potato.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, foraging doesn’t require any expensive tools. You don’t need a hoe, a rake or any of the other gardening tools that a farmer might need. For the most part, you can simply collect food as you go without the need of carrying anything in particular. Some foragers might bring bags to collect their finds in, but even this is avoidable if you’re careful.
Now, there are a few downsides to foraging. First and foremost, it is generally going to be less predictable than farming. You’re relying on the whims of nature to provide you food. This means that you’re probably going to have an erratic food supply where you might go entire weeks with little to no food before suddenly having a week where you can’t collect the food fast enough.
Another disadvantage of foraging is that the food itself isn’t always the most appetizing. This is usually supplemented by either keeping the food in a preservation state (such as drying or canning) or by simply eating a lot of it to make up for the lack of taste. There are some foraged foods that are known for their taste. More on this later.
And, finally, foraging doesn’t provide you with the same sense of “producing” food like farming does. It’s easy to feel like a failure when your crops fail or you can’t find anything to forage.
Types of Forageable Food
There are many foods that are available assuming you know where to look and when to look. Some are available all year round, others are seasonal and some are even dependent on the weather. The types of food that are out there are numerous and varied.
In this section, I’m going to cover some of the common foods that you can forage. This is by no means a complete listing, just some notes about what is out there and where.
Gathering Edible Plants:
Note that this refers only to plants that are safe to eat and are generally nutritious. There are many plants that are edible but have little to no nutritional value and can even be harmful if consumed. In addition, some plants that are edible but only under certain conditions (i.e.
certain plants can be eaten only when the leaves are young, but not the older leaves). When foraging for plants, it’s always best to learn what you can and cannot eat as some plant derivatives (teas, tinctures, etc) can cure many ailments that you might suffer from when living a survivalist lifestyle.
As I mentioned earlier in this post, the foraged foods that are most easily found are going to be plant-based. This is more a listing of plants with brief descriptions on where they can be found, how they can be used and other bits of information.
Note that it is always best to learn what plants are safe to forage before you go out picking them. For that, I highly recommend a book called “The Forager’s Harvest” by Sam Thayer. It goes through the common plants of North America (and in this case, a lot of the foraged foods are based in N.A since that’s where I live and it’s the area I’m most familiar with) and tells you not only what it is and what it’s good for, but also where to find it, when it’s found and how to prepare it.
Sources & references used in this article:
Meat waste as feedstock for home composting: Effects on the process and quality of compost by F Storino, JS Arizmendiarrieta, I Irigoyen, J Muro… – Waste Management, 2016 – Elsevier
Food waste composting: institutional and industrial applications by LM Risse, B Faucette – 2009 – esploro.libs.uga.edu
Meat byproducts as composting feedstocks by F Vidussi, R Rynk – BioCycle, March, 2001 – p2infohouse.org
Small meat processor experiments with composting by B Jerose – BioCycle, 2001 – p2infohouse.org
Home Composting by DSL Behind – rucore.libraries.rutgers.edu
City of Port Phillip: Staff engagement with on-site office composting by B Christie, V Waller – 2018 – apo.org.au