After the great turn out to the showing of the documentary film Just Eat It, which highlighted the grotesque amount of food that is thrown into the dumpsters across America, the question arose, “Is it legal to salvage food from dumpsters?” I had to admit that I did not know the answer but that I would find out.
The City of Renton Police Department stated that there is no law that exists that would prohibit dumpster diving. You cannot go onto residential property and take things from a dumpster, but commercial properties such as restaurants, grocery stores or bakeries are open market for divers. Salvaging items for resale is illegal but salvaging food for personal consumption is not.
The woman on the phone did say that to be safe she recommended just asking the business if they would mind if their throw away food was taken away instead of thrown away. Seems like a good idea. Happy diving!
Things are busy at the farm! We originally had set aside space for 20 plots-those have all sold! So, in the interest of getting more gardeners we have sacrificed the pumpkin patch space to make two more plots-one of which is gone already and the 2nd is being looked at this week. How amazing! If you haven’t had the time or made the time to come and take a gander at the garden it would be well worth the time to take a trip up there and see the magnificence that is happening. Someone described it as a healing garden. I just think it is pure magic. The gardeners are so kind and have a real sense of community spirit. One of our gardeners that just came on board is also a beekeeper and has made his delicious honey available for sale to us-yum.
On another super positive note we made our first official delivery to the Salvation Army on Monday morning. They have such a wonderful program there at the space off of Tobin. They provide a hot meal to the hungry every night of the week thanks to a combined effort from the local churches and other local organizations. There is no higher calling than to be of service to those in need and The Salvation Army really has their hand on the pulse of what is happening with those in need in the Renton area.
Sometimes it’s easy to indulge in less than ideal thinking; worrying about the future, the bills, the kids, etc. but when I visit a sacred place of service like The Salvation Army I am quickly reminded just how abundant my life is and how grateful I am to be a part of the solution that is taking place. Thank you.
Today I was invited to speak at the Board meeting for the Renton Community Foundation on behalf of Sustainable Renton and our work around community gardens, education, and supporting a healthy, local food system. They are currently looking at different ways of addressing issues surrounding hunger in our community. The Foundation is an important supporter of local non-profits and charities in our community, and I felt privileged to be able to speak with them.
While speaking with the Board, there were conversations around the impact community gardens have on a community, how livestock and poultry fit into the picture, and how education is a pivotal piece in people eating healthier lifestyles. I shared with them the inspiring story of 21 Acres (http://21acres.org/). 21 Acres, located just outside downtown Woodinville, is an agricultural and environmental learning center that has a community garden, a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), a community food kitchen, classes on sustainability, and a farmer’s market.
This got me to thinking-What would a center like this look like in Renton? Would it have livestock-like chickens or goats or rabbits? Would it have a community garden? How about a community food kitchen? What about a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)? How about a meeting space for classes on gardening, canning, food drying, cooking with vegetables? The possibilities for creating an inspiring, community-building center like this are limitless.
A bigger question is: what would it take to make this happen? Who are the stakeholders in a project like this? Could partnerships with the Salvation Army Food Bank, King County Conservation District, and other local organizations pull together a project of this scale? Is there land available to support a farm of this nature in our suburban town?
What are your thoughts? How would you like to be involved with a sustainable community model like 21 Acres in Renton? Please share your thoughts!