The food loop: using every last scrap

Ever wonder what Grey Bears does with our daily food pick ups from supermarkets and bakeries? From our coolers it goes to our senior members and volunteers – including loaves of bread that accompany each weekly bag of groceries. It’s also used by our volunteer chefs who dish up more than 300 hot lunches for volunteers and staff every week.

We also donate as much as possible to a host of other agencies, especially those that support seniors, including the Mid-County Senior Center, MHCAN (The mental health client network), Homeless Services Center, numerous churches, United Nations Association local chapter, American Relief, United Transportation Union Local 23, and others.

Any leftover spoils and scraps are either composted in our Earth Tubs or literally go to the pigs. Yes, local farm animals reap the benefits, including happy pigs at Fogline Farm in Soquel, who enjoy hors d’ourves (left) before their main course (below). With help from Grey Bears, owner Caleb Barron says Fogline saves $900 a month on organic feed for the animals.

Grey Bears also donates old produce and bread to John Giottonini’s ranch in Wastsonville, where five of his rescued donkeys, 20 deer and wild turkeys gladly partake in the scrappy bounty.

The Bunny Refuge is another organization that benefits from Grey Bears food waste, picking up left over lettuce on Fridays. The first time they came, one of their volunteers told us that bunnies need green leafy vegetables more than anything and to our surprise, carrots are not something that bunnies should eat regularly. We learned to feed bunnies “starchy vegetables (e.g., carrots) only in moderation, and use bits of fruit in very small quantities as special treats. Too much sugar and starch can cause cecal dysbiosis and its associated problems.” Guess bunnies are a lot like us humans after all.