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Monthly Newsletter

June 2021
Blemishes Look Good on You and Veggies Too
by Annie Wallace
All food pictured above is from a grocery store's dumpster.

What if you did not know where your next meal will come from? How would it feel to be truly hungry? In our country “more than 54 million people are food insecure (18 million of which are children)”, as stated by Feeding America via a 2020 data collection. This means they don’t have access to reliable, sufficient amounts of nutritious, affordable food. 

This heartbreaking issue does not have to be our reality, at least to this extent. Have you ever thought about how much is truly wasted when an apple is thrown away? It is not just the apple that is wasted but water, nutrients from the soil, physical labor, fossil fuels to harvest and transport the food and worker’s time/energy that is also wasted. Not to mention all the packaging, with a majority being plastic, which takes hundreds of years to decompose. All this waste because this delicious, and nutritious apple had one small blemish (which could have easily been cut out).

The fact of the matter is, in the United States, 30-40% of the food supply was wasted in 2017, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This is unconscionable. Not only is food waste contributing to hunger, but it is also detrimental for the environment. According to Rubicon “As food rots in a landfill, it emits methane (a potent greenhouse gas), which causes food waste alone to contribute to 8 percent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions.” We need to make people aware of this unsustainable predicament so we can work together to make crucial changes for the planet and the human species.

Thankfully, there are fun and simple solutions.

Be conscious about the food in your fridge. Knowing what food you have and what is starting to go bad is essential to limiting food waste. When you notice something is really ripe, make an effort to eat/cook it first. This will also save you money by not throwing away food you spent hard-earned cash on. 

Proper storage. Thankfully, there are a variety of different storage options from freezing to canning to dehydrating. Check out this website for recipes, storage tips and neat information. Another great website is https://www.stilltasty.com/ which provides information on how long food should last, tips to increase its longevity and other frequently asked questions. 

Support local farmers and buy seasonal foods. By buying local and seasonal foods you reduce the demand for long distance transportation of food items, thus reducing the use of fossil fuels. Less travel also means fresher, tastier, more nutritious food. In addition to the food not being picked green so that it can ripen over long travel days. 

Ask employees if you can get a discount for produce with blemishes. I have seen overly ripe bananas or apples with a scar that I am certain customers would not choose over the more “perfect looking produce”. When this is the case, I usually ask an employee if I can get it for free or for a discount. So far I have had good luck. It is a win win for me, the store and the environment. Also, by showing interest in the food with blemishes, an increase in availability of different types of food may increase. 

Cook some meals with the focus on what is going bad. My go-to meal when I have a bunch of rough looking produce is spaghetti. I sauté all the veggies that are accruing some age into a scrumptious masterpiece (and it is never the same twice). Boil noodles, add protein and tomato sauce and you’re ready for guests to impress.

Use common sense with expiration dates. The best-by, sell-by and use-by expiration dates should be taken as a general guideline, not a definitive. Certain products may not cause as big of a threat if eaten a little older, like bananas, while other foods this is not the case, like old meats. Be cognizant of smell, taste, texture and discoloration. If the food passes the senses check you are more than likely good to go. 

When worst comes to worst, try to divert food from the landfills. When it is not safe to eat your produce, it may be a perfect meal for animals or livestock. If it is past their liking too, then compost it with Soil Cycle!

Together we can make a difference, for our environment, community, and pocket book. Reducing food waste is a worldwide issue but with conscious action the solution will be rewarding and fun.

by Annie Wallace, Jeanette Rankin Peace Center Blog, 4/18/21
It's not too late to register for the last online workshop in ​Tending the Land We Call Home: Urban Gardening through a Permaculture Lens! This is the last installment in a 3-part series that is focused on urban gardening, design, and soil health using permaculture techniques. On June 17, our executive director and founder, Caitlyn, will be leading an  informative workshop about soil health. She'll cover topics such as composting & worms, mulching, mycorrhizal fungi, and soil testing. Come to have all your composting questions answered! Visit https://www.phoenixesrising.org/programs.html to learn how to register.
Medicinal and Edible Plant Walks at Soil Cycle!
June 24 and 29 6pm-7:30pm

Join Therese “Trez” Robbins, Garden Manager at Soil Cycle and Herbalist of Heart Beet Herbal Remedies, and Caitlyn Lewis, Executive Director of Soil Cycle as we walk through the vibrant demonstration garden here at Soil Cycle. Register at www.soilcyclemissoula.com/workshops

 
Basic Composting Workshop
July 1st 6pm-7:30pm

Join Caitlyn Lewis, Executive Director of Soil Cycle for a hands-on composting workshop! Register at www.soilcyclemissoula.com/workshops

 
Chef Katie Kirwan poses with a Soil Cycle food scrap bucket! Every week, Soil Cycle picks up food scraps from United We Eat. A project of Soft Landings Missoula, United We Eat "aims to celebrate the incredible culinary talent of Missoula’s newest neighbors and international residents, whose rich and flavorful cooking traditions provide a cultural bridge that enriches our shared community. From supper clubs to cookie sales to take-out meals (and more!), United We Eat offers chefs opportunities to earn supplemental income, while you get to eat delicious food you can't find anywhere else in Missoula." Soil Cycle is proud to be a part of this community service.
During Missoula Gives in May, we raised $1600 from 41 donors! Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who participated!
May Field Trips
May was an exciting month for educational field trips. Three different groups visited Soil Cycle for a tour covering all the fun things happening at the site. The Boys and Girls Club brought some food scraps to compost and learned all about worm composting, the Missoula International School students participated in a compost-themed relay race (in the rain!) and had an absolute blast, and the Boy Scouts of America had a great time learning about Black Soldier Flies. If you have a group you think would benefit from an educational tour of Soil Cycle, please send us an email at soilcyclemissoula@gmail.com.    
Six children use tools to turn compost in a bin
Eight children play with buckets of soil
Soil Cycle Executive Director gives soil demonstration to 4 children
Children watch as compost bins are turned
This spring, Back to the Mother Kombucha launched a creative city-wide clean-up event. Gnomefest encourages people of all ages to get outside and beautify mother earth by searching for ceramic gnomes made and hidden by the owners of Back to the Mother! There are prizes for both specific gnomes and finding sets of separate ones. The best part is that there are still gnomes to be found around Missoula's trails, city parks, and popular hangouts. Enjoy June in Missoula by cleaning up litter around town and finding gnomes!

Thank You For Your Support!

With Love, from our Board and Cyclists! Keep on turning...
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Soil Cycle · 736 S. 1st St. W. Ste. C. · MIssoula, MT 59801 · USA

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