Jacob Turkey Drawing

Use the WHOLE Bird!

I don’t know about you, but my Thanksgiving plans were thwarted by Kate Brown’s newest COVID-prevention orders. My outdoor buffet-style gathering of 7 from 6 different households is no longer ok. Sigh. And we already bought the turkey. In the spirit of #nofoodwaste, in honor of the life that was taken to feed me and my friends, and taking into consideration all six ways I’m making myself more aware this November, here I will talk about how to use the whole bird.

Note: if you haven’t bought your food yet, think hard about the quantity that you buy. Only buy what you will be able to eat or store! It’s a fact that people in the US produce 25% more waste between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Can we reduce that number?

  1. Roast that Bird.

    –A traditional roast is just fine, but “spatchcock”  is more fun to say. This is when you flatten the carcass after cutting out the backbone. (Make sure you save the backbone for your stock!) You roast it for a shorter time at a higher temperature.
    –On the plus side, it makes more crispy skin, which is one of my favorite parts! Another plus: a 10-pound bird will cook in 45 minutes compared with the 4 hours it would take to roast whole.
    –Downside, the high oven temp does cause a little grease splattering. But it’s not terrible

  2. Eat your fill.

    –I  got a 10-pound bird to feed my party of 7 and I know M and I can’t eat the whole thing in one sitting. So there will be leftover meat.
    –Save all your bones! Bones from a roasted bird still make a great stock.

  3. Package up your meat.

    –Refrigerate what you know you will be able to eat in the next week.
    –Set aside some to make some soup!
    –Shred and freeze meat in small packages for later.
    –Set aside all the bones and cartilage pieces for stock!

  4. Make some stock.

    –Hopefully, you saved some vegetable pieces and ends as you were making other dishes. If not, you can use bones only. Simmer your veggies and bones for a few hours. Strain and jar it up! Use some for your soup and freeze whatever you know you can’t use up!

  5. Make some soup!

    –Eat some, freeze what you know you can’t eat.

  6. Compost!

    –If you live in Bend or Redmond city limits, you can put all wasted food in your yard debris bins including the bones you boiled for your stock!
    Here is more information on composting.

And there you have it. Here are the main takeaways:

  • Don’t cook more food than you are prepared to eat or store.
  • Your freezer is your friend (especially if you already bought that turkey-for-12).
  • Use all the bits and bones!
Jacob Turkey Drawing
Jacob’s Turkey Drawing

A few thoughts about waste, awareness, and November.

Imagine your perfect 4th-Thursday-in-November holiday scenario. What does it look like? In the year 2020 (an election year, at that), the economy isn’t doing great and many people have lost their jobs due to a global pandemic. It’s unsafe to travel and gather in large groups. And we are in the midst of the biggest civil rights movement since the 1960s. There is a lot of hard stuff going on in the world. Does that change the image of your November holiday?

I encourage folks to gather (safely) and be grateful and waste less during this holiday season but to have awareness around historical and current times while it’s happening. Should you choose to celebrate in some way (traditional or not), do so with appreciation, intention, and reflection during this unique moment in time. Here are six ways to Rethink the November holidays in the name of waste and humanity:

1.) Give yourself a history lesson.

The 4th Thursday of November is a national holiday with an ugly, violent history. If you need a refresher, here is a good place to start. Take time this month to learn about the history where you live, whose native land you’re on, and how you perpetuate ongoing colonialism. If you’re not Indigenous to this place, have these sometimes uncomfortable conversations with your peers and family. Truth is powerful! 

2.) Give back, get involved.

Be an active part of the community, not a sideline observer. Acknowledge your own privileges AND the suffering of friends, neighbors, community members, and family. This year, the pandemic has disproportionately impacted historically marginalized communities, especially Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and neighbors of color. Learn about people and places in Central Oregon that need support and find a way to give back, whether it’s time, money, a social media share, or otherwise.

3.) Don’t waste food.

Before COVID-19, approximately 40% of the food that was grown to be eaten ended up going to waste. The upset in our food supply chain, as Michael Pollan wrote about in the June 11, 2020 edition of the New York Review, caused an enormous amount of extra food waste AND an increase in hungry people. As you’re creating your holiday meal plan, think about that. Learn about how to stop wasting food at home.

4.) Buy less stuff.

  • Make some holiday decorations from found items.
  • Getting ready for gift giving? Think about handmade options and giving the gift of experiences.
  • If you are going to participate in Black Friday, read this.
  • Appreciate the stuff you already have.

5.) Gather with loved ones (safely).

Please, by all means: eat, drink, and be merry! But when you do so, be cautious. Consider COVID-19 protocols and remember that we’re still in this thing and people are vulnerable. Find creative ways to gather virtually, outdoors, or in smaller groups than usual. Consider the health and safety of the greater community. And consider the health of the planet. Here are a few waste reduction tips for parties, even small ones:

  • Choose reusable plates, cups, and silverware.
  • Have a compost bin in case there is wasted food.
  • Set up a waste station with GOOD recycling signage.
  • Encourage people to bring reusable to-go containers so you don’t get stuck with more leftovers than you can eat!

6.) Have gratitude…

…for the place you live, for the people who were here before you, for the food in front of you, and for those around you who you love and who love you back. Coming from a place of gratitude can help you be open to growth, ideas, perspectives, and traditions that honor and appreciate.

Tips plus Q & A from Rethink Food Waste Challenge 2020 Participants!

Wasted food is kind of a big deal. Did you know that an average household ends up tossing 1/4 of the food they bring home. The good news is that at the household level, there are many things you can do to waste less of the food. 900 Deschutes County households have now opted-in to the Rethink Food Waste Challenge to learn more about wasted food. By collecting all of their plate scrapings, leftovers-gone-bad, and edible peels each week, folks are able to see what went bad most often and how to change their shopping, storage, or cooking habits appropriately. Want to sign up for the rethink food waste challenge self-guided edition? RethinkWasteProject.org/FoodWaste

Spring 2020 we did an interactive challenge from May 10 – June 7. Folks had great questions, feedback, comments, and even some pretty terrible food-related jokes that are worth sharing. So here we go!

Participant Impressions

  • “This was a very eye-opening activity for me and my family.  We realized that doing less fresh food shopping at Costco, only making big meals that I know my kids will eat the leftovers of, and cutting veggies and fruit as soon as we buy them are key to reducing our food waste.”
  • “I am noticing that the more I focus on food waste, the less I’m spending at the grocery store, yay! But we’re still eating really well.”
  • “Loving our ‘Eat First’ shelf…we actually look there before we plan what to eat at a meal!”
  • “This challenge has really changed how I handle my household’s food buying and cooking. I appreciate all the helpful tips and information on our local area. Thanks!”

Tips and suggestions from participants!

  • Keeping a stock bag in the freezer is a great way to use all veggie scraps.
  • To use up an old stale loaf bread: rinse it in water and put it in the oven at 180* under a hand towel for 5 minutes. The crust crisps up and the center gets moist!  Makes a great sandwich!
  • Keep your avocados in the fridge after they ripen. They stay fresh longer that way.
  • My hack of the week: pesto with anything! Whizz up those leftover herbs up before they go to mush. Cilantro with lime and a mix of peanuts, cashews, and sunflower seeds.
  • When your milk is on the verge of going bad, use it to make bread or add to soups. Don’t do this with raw milk, only spoiled pasteurized milk!
  • Here’s a good tip for instant pot users: When cooking meat, or anything that creates extra liquid, I always freeze any leftover liquids and add them to the next soup or stew I cook.
  • Use pizza crusts your kids leave on the plate for a savory bread pudding, make croutons, or serve them under a soup.
  • Reuse your tea bags: once you accumulate 2-3, put them in a Mason jar to make iced tea!
  • Slice and freeze overripe bananas to add to smoothies or make banana ice cream.
  • Check out An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler which inspired me to simmer my own veggie broth. I highly recommend it.
  • Michele Tam of NomNom Paleo has 2 great recipes on her website for when you need to clean out your produce drawer…one is called garbage stir fry and the other is garbage soup. Terrible names, excellent meals!

Questions and Answers

    1. What do I do with bread loaf ends?I like to dry these out completely and make them into bread crumbs! Then they can be stored in an airtight container or in the freezer. Uses for breadcrumbs? Breaded and pan sauteed proteins or a pasta dish perhaps? Or you can cube the bread loaf ends and make them into croutons for your salad.
    2. Salad greens are my downfall. Greens like arugula, kale, and spinach can be cooked, but what can be done with lettuce before it turns?This was a very common theme during the challenge. Salad gone bad. The best thing to do  is to ONLY buy what you are positive you will eat. But sometimes scheduling gets away from us or we are enticed by a slice of pizza. Here is a blog with some tips on how to use up greens other than in a salad.
    3. Saving my food waste on the counter was really stinky by the end of the week. Is there a way to prevent that?During the challenge, we ask you to save all your food for the entire week so you can weigh how much you’re wasting. One tip: keep your bucket in the fridge! When you aren’t doing the food waste challenge, you can take your compost out every day.
    4. I always get a lot of food waste in my cooler when I go camping. What’s the best way to pack a cooler?Here are my top 4 tips:
      • Don’t store anything in a ziplock, especially not the ice.
      • Instead of ice cubes, freeze water in bottles or use reusable freezer packs.
      • Anything fragile, keep in a rigid container.
      • Plan your meals so you eat the most perishable, fragile things in the first couple of nights.

      Plus, here is a good, thorough article.

    5. I have so many lemons!Ok, that wasn’t a question. But still. Lemons are so versatile! They are useful in nearly every cuisine. I’ve absolutely substituted a lemon for a lime, too.

      …not to mention all the desserts. Mmm..lemon poppyseed cake?

    6. Is there a good way to keep bananas from going bad so quickly?

      A shocking % of participants reached out telling me your bananas are going bad too fast. The best advice I have for you is:

      • Buy them on the green side
      • Only buy the ones you think you can eat in time!
      • Store them on the counter and not next to other foods
      • Store them in a basket and upside-down — sometimes if they are on their side the edges touching the counter get bruised more easily

      Luckily there are so many ways to use up bananas in baking and smoothies. How do YOU use up your bananas?

      Here‘s an article about some interesting techniques to store your bananas. I didn’t vet them, so you’ll have to let me know how it goes!

Less Wasted Food on Farms featuring Boundless Farmstead and Rainshadow Organics.

We in Central Oregon, despite our fame as a semi-desert, are incredibly lucky to have dozens of local food proprietors. From dairies to alpaca farms, from egg-specialists to vegetable gurus. If we’re intentional, we really can live off of only locally sourced food. That is special.

Our national food supply chain has been tested and broken during this time baring an increase in food insecurity AND wasted food: what a confusing dichotomy in a sentence. How can that be? Hungry people and wasted food? I’m not going to even try to out-write Michael Pollan. He has thoroughly and eloquently explored this topic here in his article for the New York Times, “The Sickness in our Food Supply.” Interestingly, as he points out, local farms have been a little more resilient during the COVID pandemic than some large-scale national or multi-national farms. Although coronavirus caused a hard hit to many of our local farms as meat and vegetable suppliers to local restaurants, the farms were able to expand their CSA offerings to reach more local people in a different way. And luckily, our farmer’s markets are all opening this year! Luckily for us and luckily for all of the farms and local businesses who rely on them to exist.

Two Local Farms and Wasted Food Prevention

I got a chance to ask a few questions about food waste on the farm to the amazing folks at both Boundless Farmstead (featured in the header photo)  and Rainshadow Organics (featured in the photo at the end of this article).

First, tell us who you are and what you do for your farm.

Rainshadow: My name is Eleanor Babcock and I am Rainshadow’s Farm Store/Outreach Manager. I manage CSA and farmers market logistics, run our Farm Store, plan and organize our farm to table events, manage website updates, write emails and blog posts, assist with social media marketing, and keep up with general communication and inquiries to the farm.

Boundless: We are David and Megan; farmers, co-owners, and partners in everything.

Why is food waste prevention important to you?

Rainshadow: Spending almost two years at Rainshadow has allowed me to truly experience the seasons of farm food. We begin by planting seeds, which must be closely monitored to ensure proper germination. Once they become seedlings they are very vulnerable to temperature swings and sunlight. We work hard to provide our baby food plants the right environment to grow. We keep them moist and warm, cover them when they need it, and monitor their overall growth. Once the plants are established we harden them off in a propagation house to wear them into the outside environment. Then, once they are big enough, they are transplanted into the ground where they need to be cultivated and weeded many times as they grow bigger. Central Oregon can be harsh and we are constantly covering and uncovering our transplants to ensure they stay at a comfortable temperature. Once they become mature, we harvest, wash, pack, and deliver the food where it is meant to go.

This all being said, my time at Rainshadow has illuminated the amount of energy and constant care it takes to raise organic food. Now that I know how much work and time it took to grow my food, food waste is of the utmost importance. I think it is incredibly important for the community to be aware of how long it takes for their food to grow and how much energy the farmers put into their food, from seed to table:

  • It takes 14 months for an onion to be ready to eat.
  • Potatoes spend eight months in the ground before they are ready to harvest.
  • Tomatoes take 5 months to begin to produce fruit.

And during that time, the farmers are constantly caring for the plants to ensure maximum nutrient-density and production. Once I became aware of that work, wasting good, edible food felt like throwing away time and energy.

What are some things that you do on your farm to prevent food waste?

Boundless: Our entire business is focused on the reduction of food waste for environmental, economical, and social reasons. Environmentally, by growing more food than can be consumed, we are using our precious water unwisely and not using our resources to their full potential. Our farm was founded on our love for the environment and the natural world. We would be doing a disservice to our mission and to our earth by not responsibly utilizing the resources given to us. Economically, by growing more food than can be consumed, we are spending more of our finances on labor, seeds, amendments, etc. Farms already operate on very slim margins and it is crucial we act with efficiency. Socially, by growing more food than can be consumed, we are not growing a fair and equitable product or business.

Of course, to participate in our capitalist society, we must sell some of our product for money. But, by doing so, we are also enabled to donate the remaining product to food pantries. When we can meet our bottom line and have enough money to live personally sustainable lives, then we are able to donate more food.

Our food waste prevention starts at the beginning of the farming process: the crop planning. At Boundless, we do extensive crop planning by talking with chefs/buyers about their needs for the upcoming year, reviewing our numbers from the farmers market and CSA, and comparing year after year. By doing so, we are able to plan exactly how many vegetables we need to seed and plant to reach our harvest goals. During crop planning, we add in a “safety factor” and increase our plantings by 20-30% to ensure we have the quantity we need for the harvest desired. After the harvest begins, we are able to utilize our three outlets (farmers market, CSA, and wholesale) to diversify the potential of products being consumed. If we have a large quantity of something, we talk with our chefs about doing specials, or we do discounts for consumers desiring to do preservation products, etc. When there is product left over beyond the sales outlets, we work closely with the High Desert Food & Farm Alliance and Bend Food Project to either directly donate produce or utilize their “glean team” to help us glean product from the farm.

We also use a lot of “small” food waste prevention techniques including a fast and clean harvest/post-harvest, so that products last longer out of the field, using “seconds” for home preservation or fermentation projects, working with chefs to use our less than perfect produce for items like pestos, purees, etc., and doing twice-weekly whole field walks to determine how all crops look and how best to utilize them in the coming weeks.

Rainshadow: I think many of our interns/apprentices and full-time farm staff are truly aware of the energy it takes to produce food. We don’t find ourselves with much edible food waste on the farm. We have a commercial kitchen where we are licensed to pickle and ferment excess vegetables. Our full-time chef, Travis Taylor works hard to preserve all our extra food as it comes out of the field. If we have any food waste on the farm it is either fed to the pigs or fed to our compost piles which makes a closed-loop circle on the farm. When we feed our compost or moldy/excess food to the pigs, we are transferring that energy to create new food. When we add food waste to the compost, we are creating food for our soil microbes and providing our plants with the necessary nutrients.

What are some barriers to food waste reduction you have encountered or noticed on your farm or on other farms?

Rainshadow: I feel we have implemented many systems to help us reduce any food waste on our farm. We have many different food streams to share our food with the community. We feel so fortunate to have so many outlets for our food. Our commercial kitchen and preservation helps us really mitigate any waste from excess or abundant crops. I could see farms that have more narrow outlets for selling and preserving food having trouble with extras coming out of the field.

Boundless: The biggest barrier we have found on our farm is the lack of time and labor to always be able to donate produce. For example, every late spring, we transition our greenhouses from early-season crops to midseason crops. Typically, we transition beds of spinach, lettuce, salad mix, and arugula, to something like peppers and tomatoes. When the time finally comes to till in the early season crops, we like to cut all of the remaining usable crops and donate them. In 2018 and 2019, we called on HDFFA’s glean team to help us harvest, wash, sort, pack, and deliver. This process would have taken David and me nearly half a day to complete, plus drive time. With the glean team, we are able to donate about 100lbs of greens in less than two hours.

In 2020, due to COVID concerns, we were unable to have the glean team out. When the time came to transition our tunnels, I felt at a loss on how to make it happen. David and I were both completely slammed with farm work and couldn’t take the extra hours to do all of the work needed to donate. Luckily, Seed to Table heard our plea and was able to come to the rescue. We were able to harvest all of the greens, and Seed to Table was able to do the wash, sort, and delivery to food pantries. Without their help, I do not think we would have been able to donate.

Do you have any book / film / lecture recommendations to help folks better understand food waste or innovations to prevent it? And is there anything else you would like to add?

Rainshadow: I really recommend that our community checks our Project Green Bin. This home-composting program collects food scraps from households in Bend and transports them to Rainshadow where they are fed to our pigs. It’s a win-win as our community members now have a stream for their food waste and we contribute to the growth of our tasty pork! If the pigs choose not to eat the scraps, it decomposes in their pasture and feeds the soil we use to plant wheatgrass or triticale in the spring.

  • Rethink Waste: One of our newest Deschutes County hotels, SCP Redmond, has partnered with Project Green Bin and Rainshadow to add their commercial food waste to your pig pen. They also buy back some of your produce and meat products. What a nice local way to close the loop! Also, have you been to their rooftop bar yet?

Boundless: I would recommend everyone buy a canning book or two and get some preservation under their belt! Pickled items and jams are a great way to use “seconds” and are very safe ways to begin canning and preserving!

I would love to add that, as a small farmer, we need our community to have flexibility in aesthetics to ensure minimal food waste. The food that comes to the grocery store is the cream of the crop (pun intended). Those items have been selected for their aesthetics before being shipped off, and then picked through again once they come to the grocery store. There are two points of food waste already in the chain. When we bring our items to the farmers market, most small farms will do some sorting, but we do not want to waste products we know are nutrient dense, super fresh, and maybe just look different than what we are used to. So please, buy the twisted carrot, the split tomato, or the flea beetle bitten arugula, because every piece of produce brought to market was treated with the same love and care as the next, even if it looks a little different.

A Rainshadow pig eating a Rainshadow squash.

Composting when you don’t have a yard or a public service.

  • I live in a small apartment and there is no composting on the property.
  • I have a yard, but my HOA says I can’t have a compost pile.
  • I live outside city limits so I don’t get yard debris service and I don’t want to deal with a compost pile.

Do any of these statements sound like you? I’m here to help! First, learn to reduce your wasted food as much as you can. Here is a link for tips and tricks to do just that with the Rethink Food Waste Challenge. Second, below are a few options that might work for you.

1.) Get a worm bin: learn vermiculture.

Vermiculture, or worm cultivation, is for you if you mainly have fruit and vegetable scraps. In addition to produce, worms will eat eggshells, tea bags, coffee grounds with the filter, and shredded paper. Some sources say other stuff as well: do your own research. Worms can live outside if you insulate their bin. The laundry room or garage is another good place to keep them. Another cool thing: our local Wonder Worman can supply your worms! Here is our guide to Worm Bin Composting for everything you need to know.

2.) Find a friend with a compost pile you can add to!

Or find one who has chickens or pigs. My chickens love any veggie scraps I will spare them.

Scrap-happy chickens from one Rethink Food Waste Challenge participant.

3.) Try out Bokashi: a Japanese method of anaerobic composting.

This method sounds really great! I’ve never seen it in action, so will you test it out for me? Bokashi actually ferments food scraps (all food scraps) using microorganisms. Apparently, it has no odor whatsoever. Check out Face Down Waste’s blog post for one person’s experience.

4.) Just want to teach your kiddos about how it works?

Or see how it works yourself? Learn more about how our Eco Heroes made their own DIY composters here.

How do you compost?

Rethink Waste: DIY Beeswax Wrap!

We’re up to our armpits in our second Rethink Food Waste Challenge! Folks are learning all about ways to reduce their household food waste through shopping with a list, keeping their refrigerator organized with an Eat First shelf (a place to keep all the food that needs to be eaten soon!), and only buying what they know they will eat. Another great tip? Shop your kitchen first and make a meal plan for the week before making a list! Beeswax wraps are a useful tool for preventing food waste AND preventing single-use disposable waste in your kitchen.

What’s a beeswax wrap?

Food waste is not the only kind of waste that happens in a kitchen.  Stores are full of single-use items like ziplock bags and plastic wrap. A Meliwrap beeswax wrap is a great reusable alternative! If you’ve never seen one in action, check it out here. You can use them to cover a bowl or to wrap a sandwich, for example. You can find these locally made Meliwraps at the Gear Fix, Locavore, Newport Market, and other places around Bend or you can buy them online for delivery!

DIY Beeswax Wraps

If you don’t want to buy them, you can make them! This is a fun DIY project to produce an alternative to that use and toss mindset. This recipe does not use tree resin and plant oils like the Meliwrap, so they are a little less sticky. Beeswax by itself is a little easier to handle in the home kitchen, but if you get adventurous, let us know about your project!

Using the wrap

I like to use my wraps to hold a burrito. Just for simplicity’s sake, I like to wrap my burrito in a cloth napkin first and then use the beeswax wrapper. This way food doesn’t get on them. If food does get on them, you can wipe them off with a washcloth or with your hand with a tiny bit of soap and water, but you don’t want to scrub it too hard because it could remove the wax.


For these beeswax wraps, here’s what you need:

  • Some cotton cloth (I used an old clean bed sheet.)
  • Beeswax (check in with your favorite honey producer to see if they have some in stock! Also available at craft stores and Natural Grocers.)
  • Cheese grater (I recommend having one specifically for crafts.)
  • Cookie sheet
  • Scissors or pinking shears
  • An old paintbursh

Step 1

Cut your fabric into whatever size of wrapper you want. It’s nice to have a variety of sizes, but my favorite is about 12″ x 12″. If you have scissors that make a patterned cut like pinking shears, you can use those, but normal scissors are ok too.

Step 2

Grate the beeswax! This can be a tricky step as sometimes the wax clogs your grater holes and you have to scrape it out. Place one or two cloths on your cookie sheet and sprinkle a small amount of wax onto each cloth. Finding the right amount of wax will take some practice, but err on the side of too little!

Step 3

Place the cookie sheet in your oven at THE LOWEST TEMPERATURE setting available. Watch it through the window to see when the wax is melty. When it looks spreadable, take the cookie sheet out and use your paintbrush to spread the wax as evenly as possible. If necessary to redistribute the wax, put it back in for a bit. The key is even distribution and not soo much wax that it pools, which will cake and crust when it dries.

Step 4

Pull your new wrappers out of the oven and pick each up by a corner. Wave it in the air for a bit to cool it off and then hang it up to dry completely. Voila! You’ve got yourself a new reusable beeswax wrap!

Refreshing an old wrapper

As you use your wraps, they show signs of wear. But it’s easy to renew it! If there is enough wax on the wrap, you can just put it in the oven for a minute and it will re-melt into all the cloth crevices. If too much wax has rubbed off, you can grate a little more onto the wrap when you heat it and repeat step 3 above.

The used wrapper on the left has been around for about 2 years. The one on the right has just been refreshed.


Have you made beeswax wraps? How did they turn out?

Join the Spring 2020 Rethink Food Waste Challenge!

Join over 700 households who have taken the challenge!

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, we are bringing you a FREE home challenge to reduce your household’s wasted food. This interactive challenge (May 11 – June 7) will help you understand what is going to waste in your own household with tips and tricks on how to reduce that wasted food. You’ll learn why it’s an important topic and what people around the globe are doing to help combat this enormous problem. And we have $1,000 worth of prizes to give away.

Want to sign up?

Find the sign-up form here. You must be a Deschutes County resident to be eligible for prizes, but anyone can take the challenge. Questions? Send them to: ani AT EnviroCenter.org

Why does wasted food matter?

Wasting food has social, financial, and environmental implications. Especially now during this pandemic, food insecurity is a real and tangible and GROWING issue for many of us. Over the course of the challenge, you will learn many things about the state of wasted food. For starters, did you know that 40% of the food that is grown to be eaten in the US ends up not being eaten? Yet in Deschutes County, 1 in 6 people is food insecure, meaning they don’t always know where their next meal will come from?

What do I have to do?

  1. As a household, you will collect your wasted food (everything that was at one time edible — not eggshells and onion skins) in a lidded bucket.
  2. At the end of each week, you will weigh or measure your wasted food.
  3. Then you will enter the data into an online form, which will also enter you into the weekly prize drawing.
  4. After you measure your food waste for the week, you don’t have to save it. Compost it!
  5. The challenge lasts for 4 weeks starting May 11.
  6. Each week you will receive emails learning tips and tricks to reduce your wasted food.

Ok. What do I need?

  1. A bucket or container in which you can collect your food waste. One with a lid is nice to keep in any odors.
  2. A kitchen scale would be nice, but you can also record your waste by volume.

That’s it, really.

What’s in it for you?

We have $1,000 worth of prizes that we’ll be giving away including two $250 grand prizes in farm bucks good for a local farm (TBD).

Buying in Bulk: What’s the Big Deal?

In considering whether or not to buy in bulk, there are many pros. And in my book, there are also some challenges. (To clarify, for the purposes of this posting, bulk is when you can get any amount of something you want.  Pre-packaged items do not count.)

First, here are some benefits:

  1. Less packaging waste
    This is especially true if you bring your own container.
  2. Less food waste!
    By buying in bulk, you are able to buy only what you need.
  3. It can save you some money
    Buying heavily packaged products can mean that you are paying more for the packaging. That is, you are paying for something that you will throw away immediately.

Ok, what about the challenges?

  1. It’s not always the least expensive option.
    But you can still save money by buying less quantity and buying only what you need. If you do this, it is less likely for food to go bad, which is like throwing money away.
  2. It takes time to learn to remember your containers.
    Forming new habits takes time. And more than the mythical 21 days. While it would be nice to change yourself in 3 weeks, one study found it takes closer to 2 months. But you just have to start doing it and it will get easier every time!

So where can you buy bulk in Deschutes County? Zero-Waste extraordinaire Bea Johnson started a bulk finder website with a database of bulk sellers. There are quite a few in the area! If you know of one that isn’t on the site, you can add it. The biggest lack we noticed was beauty and animal products. As far as we know, Cornucopia Natural Foods in Redmond is the only place that sells bulk laundry and dishwasher detergent as well as shampoo and conditioner. Market of Choice does have liquid Castille soap (Dr. Bronners) on tap!

One type of bulk is loose produce: whole fruit and vegetables that are not pre-packaged. Potatoes can be put in a reusable bag rather than taking the big bag of potatoes that are pre-packaged. You can buy a whole apple and cut it up rather than buying a pre-sliced apple.

Buying your beer in a growler definitely counts as buying in bulk, by the way! Growler fill stations are not included in the list below, but most places will do it for you.

Before you go: get your clean, dry containers ready! Don’t forget to make sure they are labeled with the tare weight. You can also re-use plastic bags and mesh produce bags.


Deschutes County Bulk Locations

Below is a list of stores we know carry bulk. I didn’t include any breweries, but buying your beer in a growler definitely counts as buying in bulk! No, our list isn’t long, but we do have some great options here:

Central Oregon Locavore (1841 NE 3rd St, Bend)

Notables: Teas! Locavore also puts a deposit on your egg carton. They have deposits for some of their cream and milk as well.

Cornucopia Natural Foods
111 NW 6th St, Redmond

Notables: As far as we know, the only shop in the county that sells bulk laundry soap, dishwashing soap, shampoo, and conditioner! Plus almond oil. (In addition to Dr. Bronner’s Castille soap, spices, teas, herbs, and other general dry goods.)

Country Store (57100 Beaver Dr, Sunriver)

Fettle Botanic
19570 Amber Meadow Dr #120, Bend

Notables: Medicinal and culinary herbs, tinctures, and teas.

Food for Less (63455 N highway 97, Bend)

Notables: Maple syrup! Balsamic vinegar, liquid aminos, soy sauce. Good spice section.

Fred Meyer (61535 South Highway 97, Bend and 944 SW Veterans Way, Redmond)

Hawthorne Healing Arts
39 NW Louisiana Ave, Bend

Medicinal herbs

Market of Choice (115 NW Sisemore St, Bend)

Notables: In addition to many types of dry goods including grains, candies, fruits and nuts, Market of Choice has honey, nut butters, oils, cider vinegar, spices, teas, soy sauce, and vanilla extract! Plus, they are the only store we know of that sells bulk liquid soap (Dr. Bronners). Coffee!

Melvin’s (160 S Fir St, Sisters)

Notables: nuts, beans, grains, coffee

Navidi’s Olive Oil and Vinegars (120 NW Minnesota Ave, Bend)

Notables: An amazing array of oils and vinegars. BONUS: bottom of the barrel oils that is too small a volume to sell or a little bit old gets taken to a local soapmaker who turns it into bar soap that’s sold in the shop! You can bring your own bottle as long as it is CLEAN and DRY. Plus, it must be a size they sell. That is, either 200 mL or 375 mL bottles that are clearly labeled as such.

Safeway (All 3 locations in Bend and the 1 in Redmond)

Notables: coffee!

TeaBuzz – Global TeaBar
45 NW Greeley Ave, Bend

Notables: loose leaf tea where you can bring your own container!

Whole Foods (2610 NE Hwy 20, Bend)

Notables: Bulk bar soap, liquid dairy with deposit bottles

Any place we’re missing?


4 Trail Food Ideas With Rethink Waste In Mind

Just because you’re heading out in the wilderness, doesn’t mean you have to eat poorly. It also doesn’t mean you have to throw your Rethink Waste lifestyle out the window. Don’t you find it frustrating when you see that little corner of someone’s Clifbar wrapper that fell out of their pocket along the trail? There are lots of ways to reduce your waste when thinking about what you’re going to eat on the trail. Here are a few of my favorite ways to eat well and keep thinking about waste reduction on the trail.

The two main takeaways for camping, backpacking, or hiking foods:

  • Buy bulk and bring reusable containers to the store with you
  • Avoid purchasing foods in non-reusable or non-recyclable containers when you can
  1. DINNER:
    Curried Cashew Chickpea Couscous – for 2 hungry people on an overnight

    Place the following in a ziplock bag (I re-used one that had sunflower seeds in it from a Natural Grocer’s purchase):
    1 c couscous
    1/4 c cashews
    1 T curry powder
    1 t hot pepper flakes, or as you like it
    salt to taste
    some dehydrated veggies such as kale and scallions

    Boil 1.5 c water. Off the heat, stir in contents of ziplock and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and then stir in 1 can tuna (drained), 1 cup cooked chickpeas, and 1/4 c golden raisins.

    BONUS: Dehydrate your veggies using the heat of your car instead of an energy-intensive food dehydrator! Solar power is free — kale, scallions, and morel mushrooms have worked great for me in Bend. (This only took 2 hours in my brown car parked in full sun from 12:30pm – 1:30pm on an 85 degree day).

    Ok, so oatmeal isn’t very creative. And trust me — it has not always been my first breakfast choice. But it’s lightweight and versatile! I have come to find that my favorite oatmeal mix has dried mango, crystallized ginger, cardamom to taste, and pecans. You can add sugar if you like it sweet, but I think the mango and sugar from the ginger are enough. Just mix it all up in a reusable container of your choice. Boil water, pour in oatmeal, and cook til done! Yum.

    All of those ingredients are available in the bulk section at Food for Less, Market of Choice, and Fred Meyer. You can have your jar tarred at the front register to avoid using the plastic bags. Or you can bring some old plastic bags from home that you have washed out. Boil water, pour in oatmeal ingredients

  3. SNACK #1:
    Trail mix from the bulk section

    Just pick out whatever you like, remembering to bring your reusable jars or bags from home, and mix! This way you don’t have to worry about mining because you will like everything you put in the mix. I like pecans, cranberries, chocolate chips, and crystalized ginger. Again, all available in the bulk section.

  4. SNACK #2:
    Make your own bars!

    By buying ingredients from the bulk section and making bars at home we can monitor what goes into our bars AND reduce the amount of packaging we bring home from the store. Even if we use the plastic bulk bags, at least we can reuse them the next time in the bulk section or, as I sometimes do, use them to clean up after my dog. After the bars are made, you can freeze them and then stack them in a reusable container. When you head out on the trail, you can wrap a few in a beeswax wrap any other reusable container.


Here is a great formula for building your own bars from the No Meat Athlete.

And here is a link for some homemade Larabar hacks.

What is your favorite reduced waste trail meal?




Residential Composting Pilot in Bend

Last week, Bend Garbage & Recycling and Cascade Disposal announced that they’ll be introducing a residential food waste pilot program to some areas in Bend. About 300 households from each company will participate in the pilot, which allows customers to put more food in their standard yard debris bins for curbside collection and composting. (Raw fruit and veggie scraps can currently be added to this bin. During the pilot program, they will accept meat, dairy, bakery items, and more.) If all goes well, residential composting could be available to all of their customers sometime in 2019. We’re very excited to hear this news, because it’s estimated that 26% of Knott Landfill is food waste!

We have partnered with both haulers to provide food waste prevention information for those selected for the pilot, including an Eat First card: a tool from our Rethink Food Waste Toolkit that helps you separate out foods in your fridge that need to be eaten first so they don’t end up in the compost pile. Of course we want to keep food out of the landfill and turn it into beautiful and useful compost, but we encourage you to prevent food waste in the first place. Sign up for our Rethink Food Waste Challenge to learn more and access helpful resources around food waste prevention.

You can read the full press from Bend Garbage & Recycling and Cascade Disposal here.

View the article from from KTVZ.